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12/12/2013 11:18 AM
 

SuperBadger and I were discussing ways to use Neo's as a mukluk.  Most good pac boots or mukluks have a duffle sock that is shaped to your feet and allow an insole between the liner and the bottom of the mukluk. 

SuperBadger - a mesh insole is like any other regular store bought flat insole but made of a plastic mesh.  In our issued mukluks, the duffle socks can be turned inside out (for continual use and to help dry them out at night) and therefore they have little rigidty to them.  As such, we use two sets of insoles, the mesh ones under the felts (the felts are a half inch thick).

The original Neo (non-insulated Adventurer) can be utilized as an excellent mukluk in areas with wet snow or during the spring when the temperature and the melt has begun.  With a duffle sock and felt insole from a snowmobile boot or pac boot, you get an excellent, super light weight overshoe that is fantastic for keeping the feet dry, easy to slip on and off and take up very little space in a pack.  When the weather is warmer, your everyday boot with Neo's on over top are great in the rain and when crossing streams and swamps. 

If you are not a waterproof / GTX boot guy (I am not) the Neo original non-insulated boot is great all rounder.  I would caution people from wearing these for extended periods as you will easily build up sweat inside if you are exerting yourself.  I tend to wear mine for fixed periods (raining, wet snow or stream crossing when the water is too cold to stand in).

 
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12/12/2013 1:37 PM
 

Dang it those trekkers may have pushed me over the edge. I think you are right that those with either a bootie or the inserts from my sorels would make a great winter camp shoe and given the sold wouldn't have the issues Evan's did. Although the sole will add a bit of weight.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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12/12/2013 2:05 PM
 

I have a picture somewhere of Will Steger putting beads of silicone (I assume) across the canvas soles of his mukluks.

Antiperspirant on your feet helps a lot with non-breatheable shells.

 
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12/12/2013 3:31 PM
 

This is a great thread, Craig.  It's prompting me to re-look at warmth to weight ratios and versatility in my winter camp footwear set-up. 

I need to check out those Neos to determine how they'd work out with my Wild Things booties as liners, or even the wool felt boot liners I have from some Kamik pac boots I was issued when on active duty.  The Kamiks I have were issued to us when I first went to Bosnia back in the 90's.  They were great in the frigid cold when we didn't have to move very far and had vehicles to carry our gear in. 

Wouldn't want to have to walk in them very far and wouldn't want to carry them in a ruck, but using the liners in a lightweight overboot would be great.  If the Neos also worked out with my WT booties in them....that would be about perfect.  I coated the bottoms of my WT booties with Seam Grip, and that has helped significantly with both traction and waterproofness, but using a true overboot with a real sole would transform them into full-on mukluks!


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
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12/12/2013 6:45 PM
 

Thanks for starting this thread Craig, this is a great topic. I would like to search for a set of these duffle socks, though my insulated booties may serve the same purpose. 

Neos are surprisingly lightweight, even with their sole. They also pack down very small.

I would imagine that the sole on something like the neos would make them a little easier to use with Kahtoola Micro spikes. Here in Oregon we rarely get cold and dry, so using a waterproof shell like a neos would be mandatory I think. I have a pair of the adventurers that I am going to try with my WTT booties or Sorel liners to see how they fit/feel. 

The soles are rather thin, so I may cut a piece of an old GI closed cell foam mat for the bottom of the neos, and then slip the booties in on top of that. Another advantage of the neos is their generous circumfrance, which would allow you to tuck your pants in very easily. 

 
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12/12/2013 11:08 PM
 

There is only ONE boot for sub-zero use.  The GI/Bates vapor barrier boot.  All others are posers.

 
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12/13/2013 8:26 AM
 

Take-a-knee wrote
 

There is only ONE boot for sub-zero use.  The GI/Bates vapor barrier boot.  All others are posers.

Yeah....those are definitely warm, but not very versatile.  Used them in -35F weather during some winter warfare training, but we hauled them packed in team Akio sleds.  They kinda sucked for any kind of movement on anything beyond gentle terrain and there's no way I'd want to just pack them in a ruck for camp use.  The Neos appear to be at least packable and a lot more versatile for use in combination with Primaloft booties or pac boot liners. 

Also...thinking through different options....if wearing plastic double boots like Koflachs or similar, one could use a pac boot liner (easily packed into a ruck) or booties inside the plastic shells around camp for comfort and warmth.  Take the liners from the plastic boots into the sleeping bag along with the camp booties or pac boot liners.  In the morning, both the booties / pac liners and the plastic boot liners are warm & dry.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
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12/14/2013 12:12 AM
 

Take-a-knee wrote

There is only ONE boot for sub-zero use.  The GI/Bates vapor barrier boot.  All others are posers.

 

I'd be willing to wager there are a few old Inuit who might disagree.


http://www.skookumbushtool.com | sig added by Evan. Go check out Rod's work.
 
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12/14/2013 1:29 PM
 

Never used Neos but used the old Air Force Mukluk a bit in Alaska on outings.  A friend got a nice white strip of frostbite across the top of one foot from a snowshoe binding strap.  I just used my VB boots after that.  I walked/skied hundreds of miles in white bunny boots, with balata bindings (precursor to the  Berwin) on on White Stars that had their edges filed and bottoms pine tarred and waxed.  Never had a problem.  Downhill gear it ain't though.  Squarebanks if mostly flat.

Before a movement, I'd take my socks off and tuck them under my shirt.  After the movement, I'd pour the sweat out of the boots and dry them with a cravat, don the dry socks and enjoy warm toes.    You do have to get out of them for several hours daily or you'll get immersion foot.

 

RD, as far as the Inuit, I'd wager most would opt for the VB's at minus 40.

 
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12/14/2013 3:32 PM
 
Take-a-knee wrote

Never used Neos but used the old Air Force Mukluk a bit in Alaska on outings.  A friend got a nice white strip of frostbite across the top of one foot from a snowshoe binding strap.  I just used my VB boots after that.  I walked/skied hundreds of miles in white bunny boots, with balata bindings (precursor to the  Berwin) on on White Stars that had their edges filed and bottoms pine tarred and waxed.  Never had a problem.  Downhill gear it ain't though.  Squarebanks if mostly flat.

Before a movement, I'd take my socks off and tuck them under my shirt.  After the movement, I'd pour the sweat out of the boots and dry them with a cravat, don the dry socks and enjoy warm toes.    You do have to get out of them for several hours daily or you'll get immersion foot.

 

RD, as far as the Inuit, I'd wager most would opt for the VB's at minus 40.

You are one of the very very few people I have ever heard say a good thing about the VB boots for any kind of movement and most I have talk to hated them period moving in them or not. In fact the only people I know who used them by choice were to cheap/poor to buy anything else, and admitted they weren't great, but boy they were a great deal/all they could afford.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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12/14/2013 4:22 PM
 

In the Far North, the easiest walking in the winter is up and down frozen rivers.  The only problem is, even at minus 40, you can still have thin ice near where some springs feed into the stream.  Step through the ice one time at minus 40F with a mukluk and you'll be a convert.  With VB's you just pour the ice water out, change socks and drive on.  The only boots I'm aware of that are equally warm are some of the euro climbing boots with liners.  I've not used them.  I was issued one pair of crampon-compatible climbing boots and they slowed my walking pace nearly in half.  Climbing boots are not "mile-covering" boots.  Maybe there are mukluks out there with equal warmth that I'm ignorant of.  The snowshoe binding/frostbite issue will be there with any of them though, unless it is a gaiter type covering that goes over the binding.   I used a simple ensolite/nylon overshoe with single leather 75mm XC shoes down to minus single digits that worked fine with a vapor barrier sock, I never used them in colder weather.  Once you stepped out of the skis in camp my feet got cold FAST, as the ski kept your feet away fromt the cold ground.  IIRC, something similar is what Skurka used on his AK circumnavigation.

 
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12/14/2013 6:05 PM
 

Take-a-knee wrote

Never used Neos but used the old Air Force Mukluk a bit in Alaska on outings.  A friend got a nice white strip of frostbite across the top of one foot from a snowshoe binding strap.  I just used my VB boots after that.  I walked/skied hundreds of miles in white bunny boots, with balata bindings (precursor to the  Berwin) on on White Stars that had their edges filed and bottoms pine tarred and waxed.  Never had a problem.  Downhill gear it ain't though.  Squarebanks if mostly flat.

Before a movement, I'd take my socks off and tuck them under my shirt.  After the movement, I'd pour the sweat out of the boots and dry them with a cravat, don the dry socks and enjoy warm toes.    You do have to get out of them for several hours daily or you'll get immersion foot.

We didn't ski in ours as that we were outfitted with Lowa Denali (now known as the Lowa Civetta) plastic double mountaineering boots with their "Red Hot" liners.  The VBs would not fit in our issue Silvretta bindings either.  That said, we did find them helpful once we set up camp.  Had a couple new teammates one year that made the mistake of sleeping with the VBs on (even after they had been advised not to by more senior guys on the team).  So...I as the team medic got to have the wonderful experience of re-warming two pair of feet on my chest and stomach because these new guys had to be hard-heads!  Sometimes the lesson is learned best when pain is involved.  


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
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12/14/2013 7:57 PM
 

 Here are some photos to illustrate the setup.

Neos adventurers! Wild Things Tactical booties

 

 

 

 

 
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12/14/2013 8:07 PM
 

 That looks really squared away!  I'm guessing that the Neos will add about 10 degrees worth of warmth to the booties?  How do they feel walking around with the Microspikes attached?  I've got the WTT booties and a pair of Microspikes, so I'd just need to pick up a pair of Neos.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
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12/14/2013 8:22 PM
 

Take-a-knee wrote

Never used Neos but used the old Air Force Mukluk a bit in Alaska on outings.  A friend got a nice white strip of frostbite across the top of one foot from a snowshoe binding strap.  I just used my VB boots after that.  I walked/skied hundreds of miles in white bunny boots, with balata bindings (precursor to the  Berwin) on on White Stars that had their edges filed and bottoms pine tarred and waxed.  Never had a problem.  Downhill gear it ain't though.  Squarebanks if mostly flat.

Before a movement, I'd take my socks off and tuck them under my shirt.  After the movement, I'd pour the sweat out of the boots and dry them with a cravat, don the dry socks and enjoy warm toes.    You do have to get out of them for several hours daily or you'll get immersion foot.

 

RD, as far as the Inuit, I'd wager most would opt for the VB's at minus 40.

 

 

 

I'm sure Steger would have used the VB rather than the muckluck if he truly thought they were better.

 
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12/15/2013 11:11 AM
 

 In my experience, I think 10* is about right. My main experience with them has been at work with either sneakers or light hikers on.

the micro spikes seem fine, though they do want to squeeze against the non-rigid body of the overboot, so they may restrict some circulation/insulation loft- I'll need to use them to find out if this causes cold feet. It's good to know that they work though. I think they actually might keep your foot from skating around as much in the big loose overboot.

 
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12/15/2013 11:55 PM
 

I've wondered about what the Steeger Expedition used for footgear.  Some sort of Mukluk from what you suggest I guess?  Didn't they mostly ride dogsleds?  That mukluk/binding conundrum is real.

 
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12/16/2013 7:57 AM
 

 Here is a little history on the Mukluks:

"While on an Arctic dogsled expedition in 1982-83 with then Arctic explorer husband Will Steger,[3][4][5][6][7][9] Patti Steger studied native culture and the respective skills. It was during this time Patti Steger experienced wearing mukluks, marveling at the warmth and comfort and learned to hand-sew mukluks and moccasins from the native women.[7][10] Steger Mukluks are made in the Northern Cree Indian style[7] with a rubber sole.

Steger Mukluks have been worn by team members on numerous expeditions with Will Steger to the North and South Pole and contestants[11] in the Iditarod Trail Race in Alaska"

A link to them:

http://shop.mukluks.com/Arctic-with-Ribbon-Mukluks-18995/productinfo/AR-R/#.Uq8GN_RDtIE

 

And some interesting information on Steger and his expeditions:

http://www.willsteger.com/

 

 
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12/20/2013 3:01 AM
 

 I just took delivery of a pair of 40 below camp booties. My initial impression is positive, as they seem like they will be really warm due to a good layer of insulation with lots of loft. Also, they come with a textured rubber bottom, and a closed cell foam insole. Compared with the WTT booties, construction is very similar, however the upper material on the WTT may win out for durability. Mine even came in a nice olive color. Overall, a pretty nice set of booties.

http://www.40below.com/products_detail.php?ProductID=7

I also ordered a neoprene bottle cover from 40 below sized for the 1.5 liter wide mouth nalgenes, which seems promising. 

 
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12/20/2013 3:02 AM
 

 

 
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