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Thread: Waterproof Socks in Winter

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    Senior Member 1ADAM12's Avatar
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    Waterproof Socks in Winter

    For those of you that have read the "Cautionary Tale for on line trips" posted by Pedxing. The trip leader reports that he was wearing waterproof socks and that they froze to his feet because they got waterlogged from postholing.

    So my question is, is it a bad idea to wear them in winter? I have a pair of gortex waterproof socks that have tight elastic near the tops to prevent water from seeping in. Just curious on your input.

    Thanks,
    Adam
    "undefined Wilderness areas are first of all a series of sanctuaries for the primitive arts of wilderness travel, especially canoeing and packing.
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    Senior Member WhiteMTHike's Avatar
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    I have a few pairs of these (NEOPRENE). I can honestly say I've never had a problem with them and I find them effective. But then again, I don't go postholing.

    "The laborers day ends with the going down of the sun, and he is then free to
    devote himself to his chosen pursuit, independent of his labor and his
    employer". Henry David Thoreau

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    Senior Member cbcbd's Avatar
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    I have not used it, but IMO a Gore-tex sock in winter time would have little benefit because:
    -it would be very warm and possibly just make your feet sweat more
    -the perspiration from your feet would just go into your boot and soak your insulation (which is what a Vapor Barrier sock is meant to prevent).

    If you had on some Gore-tex socks and snow got into your boot (but not your sock), the heat from your feet would melt the snow and soak your boot from the inside. If snow happened to get into your Gore-tex socks then it would probably be too water logged for the membrane to let anything through.

    I just really don't see any benefit to a G-tex sock in winter unless that is the only way to keep your feet warm - and then I would still rely on gaiters to keep snow out of my boots/feet.

    In winter time I try to keep my feet dry and I learned overtime that it sometimes means wearing a thinner sock that won't allow my feet to sweat as much and chill my feet.
    Last edited by cbcbd; 12-12-2007 at 08:58 AM.
    Doug

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    Senior Member sleeping bear's Avatar
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    If your feet are that wet and cold does it really matter what kind of socks you are wearing? Aren't they all going to freeze to your feet?

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    Senior Member cbcbd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1ADAM12
    For those of you that have read the "Cautionary Tale for on line trips" posted by Pedxing. The trip leader reports that he was wearing waterproof socks and that they froze to his feet because they got waterlogged from postholing.
    I just read the report you are talking about.
    "What we got was 3 to 5 FEET of powder followed by torrential rain."
    Honestly, I would think it would be very hard to keep completely dry in that situation unless you took waders or were wearing a dry suit. Luckily I don't think we'll see that in the NE soon.
    Last edited by cbcbd; 12-12-2007 at 09:03 AM.
    Doug

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    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
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    I've had no experience with Gore-tex socks, and don't personally know anyone who has, so I can't comment directly on their effectiveness (I use Dachstein's and VBL's if I need extra cold weather protection).

    However, I would caution folks not to draw too many conclusions from the recent incident in Washington state in terms of appropriate gear, etc. The storm they encountered was one of "Biblical proportions", and of a nature rarely seen in New England. The Pacific Northwest often get storms that have been building for thousands of miles as they track across the Pacific Ocean, with high water content and even this storm was referred considered a 100-year storm. When you read of "45' ocean waves" and "every road in the county is closed", then even by Pacific NW standards, this one was doozy. (And if you watch WCAX, Channel 3, you may recall Gary Sadowsky's "Doozometer" - that storm was off the scale.)

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    Which again raises the question-what the heck were those people thinking? Novice winter hikers + 100 year storm + no snowshoes + poor choice of shelters + no bivy sacks for their down bags = damn lucky their cel phone worked and someone came and got them.

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    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomD
    Which again raises the question-what the heck were those people thinking? Novice winter hikers + 100 year storm + no snowshoes + poor choice of shelters + no bivy sacks for their down bags = damn lucky their cel phone worked and someone came and got them.
    They put their trust in a trip leader who made some poor choices and was not weather-smart.

    Keep in mind - if you're a novice in any area - hiking, backpacking, basket weaving, etc - it's difficult to determine the competence of the leader/instructor. The more experienced we become, the more discerning we are of trip leader qualifications, etc.

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    Senior Member Mongoose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rooney
    They put their trust in a trip leader who made some poor choices and was not weather-smart.

    Keep in mind - if you're a novice in any area - hiking, backpacking, basket weaving, etc - it's difficult to determine the competence of the leader/instructor. The more experienced we become, the more discerning we are of trip leader qualifications, etc.
    That's very true, at least for me it was. On one of my first winter hikes, my trip leader had us leave our packs at greenleaf hut so we could get to the summit of Lafayette faster. Visibility was maybe 500ft. He wore ski pants over jeans on the hike. I thought the whole hike was a great adventure then, now it's just insane.

    As for waterproof socks, they make no sense to me. I wear VBL against my skin, with an insulated sock over that and a tight gaiter over the boot. That has kept out all water and snow even when post holing and my feet perfectly dry.

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    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mongoose
    As for waterproof socks, they make no sense to me. I wear VBL against my skin, with an insulated sock over that and a tight gaiter over the boot. That has kept out all water and snow even when post holing and my feet perfectly dry.
    A waterproof outer sock* can make sense with a VBL. That way, an insulating layer (presumably wool) can be kept dry from both internal and external water. K-boots (syn mouse boots, Korean boots) do the same thing--rubber inside, rubber outside, and dry felt in between.

    * Goretex is a poor choice as an outer--a plastic bag or more robust waterproof layer would be better.

    Doug

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    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    What do Gore-tex socks costs? Thinking gaiters a better thing to spend money on & they would have kept the snow out of the boots.

    Personally, when I've formed online hikes before, I like to hear a short bio on where/when some people have been, & a gear list if I don't know them. (sometimes that comes out in the where/when exchange) Also like to hear about some trips where they turned back. IMO you learn more about people from those than you do their successes
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

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    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike P.
    What do Gore-tex socks costs? Thinking gaiters a better thing to spend money on & they would have kept the snow out of the boots.
    Even if you have your socks water-proofed, you still need gaiters to keep snow out of your boots and to keep your pants legs away from your crampon points.

    Personally, I just use gaiters over my non-water-proofed socks. A friend with colder feet sometimes adds a VBL.

    Dave.M has some useful thoughts on VBLs: http://home.comcast.net/~pinnah/Dirt...r/dirtbag.html

    Doug

  13. #13
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    DP,

    It was a case of trying to be funny, Yes gaiters are required winter gear (I hate wearing them any other time) it seems that the West coast group forgot that if snow got down his boots & caused his socks to freeze to his feet.

    On the other hand 3-5 feet of snow & no snowshoes, they had bigger problems. Why go in those conditions seems hard to fathom a forecast saying 3-5" and you get 3-5 feet. So much sensationalism now that it usually happens the other way around.

    Withe the snow potential near that pass, I've been no futher west than Detroit & yet I know that is one of the places where big snow totals happen frequently (well not as much as reported at Jay! ) but more than my house.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

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    Senior Member 1ADAM12's Avatar
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    What is VBL?
    "undefined Wilderness areas are first of all a series of sanctuaries for the primitive arts of wilderness travel, especially canoeing and packing.
    -Aldo Leopold


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    Senior Member cbcbd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1ADAM12
    What is VBL?
    Vapor Barrier Liner.
    A non-breathable sock worn under your main thick sock to prevent your foot's perspiration from soaking your thick sock and/or your boots insulation.

    You can accomplish the same result with a plastic bag over your foot.
    Doug

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