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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

So, a brief background first.. I live in California and have never hunted before, but I promised myself I'd try it at least a few times this year. I plan to start with either Boar or Deer, but I'm not necessarily sure about what location.

I need to get a pair of hunting boots because all my hiking/work boots are 6" and I want something taller (and maybe warmer). I really like Irish Setters (have a 6" pair of Wingshooters) and the Elk Trackers look great. The problem is, I've never owned a pair of extra insulated boots so I'm not sure how warm to go.

I probably won't be hunting in the snow (and if I do, I'll buy a warmer pair when the time comes), but I imagine I'll still encounter cold weather.

Which insulation level should I go with and why? Please explain!
  • Non-insulated
  • 200g
  • 600g
  • 1000g

Link to boots: Men's 881 Elk Tracker 12" Waterproof Hunting Boot | Irish Setter

Thanks!
 

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If you hunt in the Winter here in PA, it gets cold. Most of my buddies that are hunting in Nov-Dec buy 1000 gram insulated Hunting boots. Being that you are in North Carolina, you should consider getting boots that would be more appropriate for the time of year you plan to hunt and the average temperatures during that period. If you buy boots from a local supplier they can tell you what other Hunters buy; that would be helpful. The quickest way to end a hunt is to be cold, wet and uncomfortable.



Mike T.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If you hunt in the Winter here in PA, it gets cold. Most of my buddies that are hunting in Nov-Dec buy 1000 gram insulated Hunting boots. Being that you are in North Carolina, you should consider getting boots that would be more appropriate for the time of year you plan to hunt and the average temperatures during that period. If you buy boots from a local supplier they can tell you what other Hunters buy; that would be helpful. The quickest way to end a hunt is to be cold, wet and uncomfortable.

Mike T.
I'm actually in Northern California, not North Carolina :laugh:

And because I'm in California, there's a whole lot of people that don't hunt, so it's tough to find the right people to ask.

Is there any way you could ball park what temperature ranges the different insulation amounts would be good for?
 

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I have a couple of pairs of Irish Setter boots. I have the Black Bear - a model they no longer make. They are very comfortable. I live in Hawaii so I have the non-insulated boots. I cannot help you with what amount of insulation to get, what I can tell you is my experience with the boots.

I hunt in very steep and rough terrain - lava rocks. I find it best to go one full size larger than my normal shoe size and use 2 socks. This seems to help noticeably when going downhill. I don't end the day with sore toes. Even though the boots are supposed to be waterproof, they aren't. After walking through wet grass or rain, I'd swear the boots weight 5 lbs each from all the water the leather soaks up. I have the best luck with Sno-seal for waterproofing the leather. The soles of the boots were worn out after 2 seasons. The soles have really good traction, but do not last. Part of the issue is the terrain that I hunt and the other part is the frequency. I hunt in lava rocks and hunt 60-70 days a year. The boots can be resoled. The pair I just got back was resoled with a vibram sole - great traction and seems more durable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have a couple of pairs of Irish Setter boots. I have the Black Bear - a model they no longer make. They are very comfortable. I live in Hawaii so I have the non-insulated boots. I cannot help you with what amount of insulation to get, what I can tell you is my experience with the boots.

I hunt in very steep and rough terrain - lava rocks. I find it best to go one full size larger than my normal shoe size and use 2 socks. This seems to help noticeably when going downhill. I don't end the day with sore toes. Even though the boots are supposed to be waterproof, they aren't. After walking through wet grass or rain, I'd swear the boots weight 5 lbs each from all the water the leather soaks up. I have the best luck with Sno-seal for waterproofing the leather. The soles of the boots were worn out after 2 seasons. The soles have really good traction, but do not last. Part of the issue is the terrain that I hunt and the other part is the frequency. I hunt in lava rocks and hunt 60-70 days a year. The boots can be resoled. The pair I just got back was resoled with a vibram sole - great traction and seems more durable.
Cool! Thanks for the tips. I was actually looking into buying some beeswax to help out the waterproofing.
 

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Yours is not an easy question to answer quickly. A lot depends upon where and how you will hunt.

The less active you are, the more insulation you will want. Even in 30+ degree weather, your feet will get cold if you are just standing. On the other hand, if you are walking or climbing, your feet will likely be warm even without much, or any insulation.

Elk hunting often involves hiking/walking nearly all day long. Either walking through timber looking to find elk, or climbing from ridge to ridge to glass for elk that you will walk up to, or try to cut off. Both will involve 8-15 miles of walking daily. While you are glassing, you will be still, but feet should stay warm for at least an hour.

The ruggedness of the terrain will determine how much support you need. Will you be hopping over rocks while climbing up slopes? Or will it be more like hiking on a trail. Either way, you won't go wrong with a good amount of support, but generally having more insulation means a cushier fit inside the boot which translates to more sliding around of your foot inside the boot. Sliding around causes blisters. I find this is often the case beginning at 600g and almost certainly at 1000g.

You must buy best quality boots for this use. I have a pair of leather Danner boots in 600g that I can wear all day. They were $250+ more than 10 years ago. They fit my feet perfectly and provide excellent support and warmth. Even after wearing them all day, I do not need to take them off for comfort. In fact, I have 3 different pairs and weights that fit me this way. Danner Boots may not fit your feet the same way. I also have a pair of AKU stiff soled (no bend) hikers that rival the Danner boots for comfort. I could wear either pair all day on any slope or surface.

Another consideration is the soles. I find the best all around sole, rocks, skree, logs, grass, forest, is the Air Bob. A close second is a Vibrum lug sole. The Air Bob seems to be a bit better at shedding mud, and are a bit softer on hard surfaces.

Don't buy a brand. Buy support and comfort. Buy the best. Try them out and wear them in. You should have a minimum of 50 miles and several 10 mile hikes on your boots before you take them elk hunting.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yours is not an easy question to answer quickly. A lot depends upon where and how you will hunt.

The less active you are, the more insulation you will want. Even in 30+ degree weather, your feet will get cold if you are just standing. On the other hand, if you are walking or climbing, your feet will likely be warm even without much, or any insulation.

Elk hunting often involves hiking/walking nearly all day long. Either walking through timber looking to find elk, or climbing from ridge to ridge to glass for elk that you will walk up to, or try to cut off. Both will involve 8-15 miles of walking daily. While you are glassing, you will be still, but feet should stay warm for at least an hour.

The ruggedness of the terrain will determine how much support you need. Will you be hopping over rocks while climbing up slopes? Or will it be more like hiking on a trail. Either way, you won't go wrong with a good amount of support, but generally having more insulation means a cushier fit inside the boot which translates to more sliding around of your foot inside the boot. Sliding around causes blisters. I find this is often the case beginning at 600g and almost certainly at 1000g.

You must buy best quality boots for this use. I have a pair of leather Danner boots in 600g that I can wear all day. They were $250+ more than 10 years ago. They fit my feet perfectly and provide excellent support and warmth. Even after wearing them all day, I do not need to take them off for comfort. In fact, I have 3 different pairs and weights that fit me this way. Danner Boots may not fit your feet the same way. I also have a pair of AKU stiff soled (no bend) hikers that rival the Danner boots for comfort. I could wear either pair all day on any slope or surface.

Another consideration is the soles. I find the best all around sole, rocks, skree, logs, grass, forest, is the Air Bob. A close second is a Vibrum lug sole. The Air Bob seems to be a bit better at shedding mud, and are a bit softer on hard surfaces.

Don't buy a brand. Buy support and comfort. Buy the best. Try them out and wear them in. You should have a minimum of 50 miles and several 10 mile hikes on your boots before you take them elk hunting.

Good luck.
Thanks for the detailed response!

I'm not actually planning an Elk hunt, that's just the name of the boots I was interested in. I figured I'd start with either Boar or Deer.

Which pairs of Danners would you recommend I look at? I've considered those too, but there's actually no stores around me that carry their hunting boots, so I'd have to order them.

I'm really just looking for a decent all-around pair (as much as that's possible) to start with. I've never owned hunting boots and I've never owned a pair of boots where you get to pick the insulation amount.

What type of weather would you normally hunt Boar or Deer in? I guess that's the type of weather I'll be in the most to start with...
 

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1000 grams is for cold weather.... freezing temps and below. Think gun season in the Midwest or winter temps. 600 grams is more for temps in the 30's to low 50's. Think bow season in the Midwest or fall temps. 200 grams is pretty lights insulation and would be utilized in warmers... more moderate temperatures/seasons.

Also consider whether you will be sitting for long periods of time.... or moving around quite a bit. Sitting for long periods of time in colder temperatures requires more insulation. Moving around a lot...even in colder temps... you might want to go a bit lighter on the insulation.

If you will be hunting in colder temperatures... make sure you get the right size boot. You need enough room for a thin pair of wicking socks and then a wool layer over those. You don't want your feet to be constricted. Bad. Cold. No good. But you don't want the boots too big either. Sometimes take some trial and error to find the right size.

Its all a tradeoff.... Hope this helps you dial it in a bit....
 

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Here in Nebraska it gets pretty cold. Like I'm usually hunting in 20 to 30 degree weather. I'm always walking and my feet are completely warm and fine using 200 gram boots with 75% merino wool socks. To me a bigger issue than amount of insulation is getting wet feet. But merino wool really really helps with wet feet! I have a pair of Lowa Tibets. Best $400 I ever spent. Gotta remember when buying boots quality boots will spread the upfront cost. If I just used these for hunting they would last a lifetime. But I can wear them everyday and get 5 years out of them easy. Maybe a year or two with $200 boots I would wear everyday.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
1000 grams is for cold weather.... freezing temps and below. Think gun season in the Midwest or winter temps. 600 grams is more for temps in the 30's to low 50's. Think bow season in the Midwest or fall temps. 200 grams is pretty lights insulation and would be utilized in warmers... more moderate temperatures/seasons.

Also consider whether you will be sitting for long periods of time.... or moving around quite a bit. Sitting for long periods of time in colder temperatures requires more insulation. Moving around a lot...even in colder temps... you might want to go a bit lighter on the insulation.

Its all a tradeoff.... Hope this helps you dial it in a bit....
Yeah that helps, thanks! I actually might be sitting around a bit because I plan to go on camping/hunting trips. I'm leaning towards either the 200g or the 600g. I figured with the 200g, I might be able to double up on socks if necessary, but then the fit might be off. This is such a tough choice..
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Here in Nebraska it gets pretty cold. Like I'm usually hunting in 20 to 30 degree weather. I'm always walking and my feet are completely warm and fine using 200 gram boots with 75% merino wool socks. To me a bigger issue than amount of insulation is getting wet feet. But merino wool really really helps with wet feet! I have a pair of Lowa Tibets. Best $400 I ever spent. Gotta remember when buying boots quality boots will spread the upfront cost. If I just used these for hunting they would last a lifetime. But I can wear them everyday and get 5 years out of them easy. Maybe a year or two with $200 boots I would wear everyday.
Interesting. I would have thought you'd need more insulation with that kind of weather. The socks make a huge difference then?
 

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Interesting. I would have thought you'd need more insulation with that kind of weather. The socks make a huge difference then?
I'm a little warm blooded and cold doesn't bother me much. I walk around outside barefoot in the snow every once in a while just to wake me up! But wool is huge!
 
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well to know the temp is to know the month and elevation you will hunt.
N Cali... well if hog hunting late spring to late fall i like any hiker... rattle snakes are a consideration in hot weather.
Bear... well depending on season a knee high rubber boot would be good for wet lowland hunts when bears are eating
food in swampy ground. sometimes bears will be up in high rocky areas eating bugs in late fall. Then the hiker boots will
be the choice.
Bow season or Rifle...for Deer... but I doubt you will see much snow on a deer hunt so I would not get a insulated boot.. less
ya got poor blood circulation and you plan on setting. LOL i wear tennis shoes a lot till i have snow to deal with.

That's my opin but I have 40+ yrs of experience in my hunting areas. Coyote hunting in 0 degree F over in Eastern Oregon
gets cold fast setting and calling. mostly if I am walking any boot is just fine.
 

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I have several pairs of really comfortable boots but I buy socks for the truly cold hunts. I layer and keep extras in zip locks on outside pack pockets. No matter what boots the combo of socks can make all the difference. Thin, thick and small fuzzy animal wrapped around your food.
 
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As already touched on, a lot depends on temperatures you may encounter and type of hunting; even type of socks. I personally use several kinds of hunting boots, from un-insulated for warm weather and on up to the 1000 rated insulation for late season Elk where temps will be in the teens here at times; snow, etc. Your tread patterns may be a consideration as well, and I use the more heavier lug type soles in the mountains for traction with canyons/slopes, snow, wet, or what have you; but in the more desert-like areas and/or flatter terrain, I prefer the more tennis shoe type soles for quieter movement/stalks; on gravel, rocks, wash-beds and all, a bit less clunky too. You might also think about the size a little too, if wearing thicker/thermal socks a lot you might want to go up a size? I have a pair I can barely get on with heavy/thermal types of socks, so have gone larger on my cold weather boots.
Anyway, you have to start somewhere, so think perhaps if you're going to be in cooler situations (not freezing or hot) maybe a mid-range would be the way to go, see what happens... clear as mud 'eh, LOL?
Good luck to you.
 
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Well it depends upon the weather, your personal metabolism, and style of hunting. I've accumulated several pairs over the years to use depending upon the circumstances of my hunt.

If you are not going to be doing cold weather hunting, if you are hot natured, or if your hunt involves a lot of walking and moving then non-insulated to 200 gram is best.
I'm prone to cold feet so I like 400-600 gram boots for my winter hunts, if I'm going to be moving around a bit. If I'm stand hunting and will be in one spot all day in freezing weather then I whip out the heavy 1000+ gram boots.

Personally, I find the 600 gram boots to be the best all around combination of warmth to weight/comfort ratio for me. Over 600 grams, boots tend to get heavy, less flexible, less comfy, and less suited for walking long distances or in difficult terrain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
As already touched on, a lot depends on temperatures you may encounter and type of hunting; even type of socks. I personally use several kinds of hunting boots, from un-insulated for warm weather and on up to the 1000 rated insulation for late season Elk where temps will be in the teens here at times; snow, etc. Your tread patterns may be a consideration as well, and I use the more heavier lug type soles in the mountains for traction with canyons/slopes, snow, wet, or what have you; but in the more desert-like areas and/or flatter terrain, I prefer the more tennis shoe type soles for quieter movement/stalks; on gravel, rocks, wash-beds and all, a bit less clunky too. You might also think about the size a little too, if wearing thicker/thermal socks a lot you might want to go up a size? I have a pair I can barely get on with heavy/thermal types of socks, so have gone larger on my cold weather boots.
Anyway, you have to start somewhere, so think perhaps if you're going to be in cooler situations (not freezing or hot) maybe a mid-range would be the way to go, see what happens... clear as mud 'eh, LOL?
Good luck to you.
Haha yes. Clear as mud. I have a feeling I'll be buying a few pairs of boots over the years for different situations, but I just need something decent to start with. I'm leaning towards the 200g...

Well it depends upon the weather, your personal metabolism, and style of hunting. I've accumulated several pairs over the years to use depending upon the circumstances of my hunt.

If you are not going to be doing cold weather hunting, if you are hot natured, or if your hunt involves a lot of walking and moving then non-insulated to 200 gram is best.
I'm prone to cold feet so I like 400-600 gram boots for my winter hunts, if I'm going to be moving around a bit. If I'm stand hunting and will be in one spot all day in freezing weather then I whip out the heavy 1000+ gram boots.

Personally, I find the 600 gram boots to be the best all around combination of warmth to weight/comfort ratio for me. Over 600 grams, boots tend to get heavy, less flexible, less comfy, and less suited for walking long distances or in difficult terrain.
I do tend to run hot, but I'm also planning on doing some camping hunts, and those nights/mornings could be fairly cold. I might just do the 200g and double up on socks if needed..
 

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Well it depends upon the weather, your personal metabolism, and style of hunting. I've accumulated several pairs over the years to use depending upon the circumstances of my hunt.

If you are not going to be doing cold weather hunting, if you are hot natured, or if your hunt involves a lot of walking and moving then non-insulated to 200 gram is best.
I'm prone to cold feet so I like 400-600 gram boots for my winter hunts, if I'm going to be moving around a bit. If I'm stand hunting and will be in one spot all day in freezing weather then I whip out the heavy 1000+ gram boots.

Personally, I find the 600 gram boots to be the best all around combination of warmth to weight/comfort ratio for me. Over 600 grams, boots tend to get heavy, less flexible, less comfy, and less suited for walking long distances or in difficult terrain.
I have no need for heavy weight boots (wear me down). I bought some great Gortex boots for coyote hunting in E Oregon.
$200+ bucks... never really liked them... and in the end... the $20 lace up rubber boot with insulation and wool socks would have
been warmer, lighter. What I hate about them cheap boots is they rub you at the top of the boot.... where leather doesn't.
 

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Paradoxically, a double pair of socks often makes your feet colder. If your feet are tight inside your boots, it interferes with circulation and decreases warming blood flow. Nothing wrong with a thick pair of socks in cold weather, but even two medium weight socks can end up making your feet colder.

The military for years used an inner light (silk) sock under a heavy wool sock to allow some movement and protect the skin of the sock from the itchy wool. The combination was (and is) much warmer than either alone, but barely thicker than just the wool sock.

The comments about waterproofing are absolutely correct. Water will act as facilitated conductor of heat, carrying it through the boots away from your feet. This happens whether you step into water and soak your socks, or whether you sweat inside your boots (virtually inevitable in rubber boots). An advantage of Gore-Tex is that some water vapor will escape through it, and allows some dissipation of foot sweat.

If you know you will be standing in one place, you will stay warmer if you can stand on some sort of insulation to keep your feet off the cold ground. Plywood, foam, whatever you have or you can find. Try not to stand on ice or bare ground.
 
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