Wednesday, March 7, 2012

BLOG 1. New from Chota by Cliff Jacobson


BOOTS, by Cliff Jacobson

Hello, my friends:
It’s spring and the new round of canoe-camping shows have started. Last week (March 10) I was in Lansing, Michigan for the Quietwater Symposium. A particularly superb event this year, with over 3000 people in attendance, up about 100 percent from last year. What a rush! Mark Brown, from Chota, was there. He showed me a new pair of water boots called “Hippies” which look very interesting. Picture the Caney Fork boot with a knee-high neoprene liner and Gore-tex coverage to the hip. You can roll em down to knee-high, roll 'em to just “over-knee” or raise ‘em up to function as hip boots. The Gore-tex liner should make them cool and comfortable. And the Caney Fork boot is tough enough for the meanest, rocky portages—much tougher than the Quicklace mukluk. The combination is also very light.

This may be the best footwear for Canadian and Alaskan rivers where one does a lot of wading and lining. I wish these had been available when I was hooked on canoeing Arctic rivers.
Until recently, my favorite canoeing boots have been the Chota Nunavut mukluks. I especially like them for solo canoeing because the soles and sides are flexible enough to bend easily under a low mounted seat. And like a flexible rubber tire, they hang together on tough portages. These were the boots I wore while canoeing in Norway last June. They worked perfectly even when portaging heavy loads on the tundra. But there is a downside—they load with moisture (sweat) and must be sun-dried daily—a less than easy task because they can’t be turned inside out to dry. If the sun’s not shining, you’ll need to change your wool socks every day to stay dry.

Buy Chota Hippies Here

Enter the Caney Fork wading shoe with its breathable knee-high neoprene wading sock. I tried this combo last August on a Piragis canoe trip I co-guided with Steve Johnson (that guy is awesome!). This combo is now my favorite footwear for rocky areas like the BWCA and shield country Ontario. Why? First, the tough Caney Fork boot provides more stability on rocks than the Quetico Trekker. You have the comfort and stability of a dedicated hiking shoe. Thanks to the Gore-tex upper, the boot is also much cooler than one with a neoprene liner—a plus in the summer sun. And because the neoprene bootie sock goes half-way to the knee and acts as a “stiffener”, the Gore-tex fabric upper portion stays put; it doesn’t keep falling down like the quick-lace mukluk with Gore-tex upper. To dry the neoprene liner you just pull it out of the boot, turn it inside out and set it in the sun. It’s dry in 30 minutes. If you want to go really light—like with just one pair of boots/those on your feet—in camp, just pull out the neoprene socks, install the thick neoprene footbed (provided), and wear the Caney Fork boot alone with wool socks.

Canoeists are still looking for the perfect footwear. The new Chota offerings are, in my opinion, about as good as it gets.
Cliff Jacobson

No comments: