Ice Raven - Sub Zero Adventure - Partner site of Ravenlore Bushcraft and Wilderness Skills and Waylandscape. Arctic Exploration, Travel and Photography.
Ice Raven - Sub Zero Adventure - Partner site of Ravenlore Bushcraft and Wilderness Skills and Waylandscape. Arctic Exploration, Travel and Photography.
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Ice Raven is a partner site of Ravenlore Bushcraft and Wilderness Skills Ice Raven - Sub Zero Adventure

Winter Footwear.

There seems to be two main camps when it comes to Winter boots.

One camp suggests that a waterproof boot with insulated inner boots or multiple layered socks is the way to go, while the other camp suggests that Non waterproof breathable boots are better because sweat build up in the boots is the actually biggest problem and if it’s cold enough, the snow should remain frozen and therefore not wet the boots anyway.

There is wisdom in both arguments.

Given the wet cold Winter condition I face most often in the UK, I opted first for Pac Boots which fall into the waterproof camp.   What I now need to source is some spare liners but Baffin’s UK distributors have been about as useful as a chocolate tea pot so far.

Pac Boots with poor quality sythetic liners. - Ice Raven - Sub Zero Adventure - Copyright Gary Waidson, All rights reserved.
Mukluks with decent felt liners. - Ice Raven - Sub Zero Adventure - Copyright Gary Waidson, All rights reserved.

I have also obtained a pair of Canadian army Mukluks which I’ve tarted up a little bit.

Unlike the Pac boots these are in no way waterproof, trading that for increased breathability in lower temperatures.

The character of snow changes dramatically at about -10c. Colder than that it tends to be quite dry, above that it melts easily under pressure and in contact with boots and cloths making everything much wetter.

The Mukluks serve well in temperatures of -10c or below but for the tricky “wet” and slushy cold temperatures of +5c to -10c then I can change over to the Pac boots.

Having dispensed with the synthetic liners that Baffin supply (Thanks to the UK distributors for their complete lack of help and service.) and replaced them with far superior and cheaper wool felt, it now means that both pairs of boots share the same liners and insoles, which helps considerably with logistics.

Another type of equipment that has never been very fashionable in the UK are snowshoes.

In Canada and North America their use is well known but until recently we have not had the level of snow that warrants their use.

Having obtained a pair of surplus military ones I am surprised how handy they have already become for me.

Much of my local terrain is boggy, tussocky grassland and heather.

Crossing this in the Summer really means sticking to the very few footpaths available or slogging your way across extremely rough, wet ground.  Very hard work.

British Army Snowshoes - Ice Raven - Sub Zero Adventure - Copyright Gary Waidson, All rights reserved.
Traditional Snowshoes - Ice Raven - Sub Zero Adventure - Copyright Gary Waidson, All rights reserved.

In Winter, most of the bogs are frozen which makes it slightly easier but when there is a covering of snow, the underlying vegetation still makes it hard going.

This is where snowshoes seem to come into their own. Because they spread your weight across the surface, you are not treading as deeply into the snow. For much of the time you are walking above the rough ground and bridging the gaps between the vegetation and this makes it possible to travel with considerably less effort.

Although I still consider myself  a novice in their use, I can see that they are going to prove very useful if we continue to get the sort of Winters that we have had lately.

 

Sub Zero Crew - Bushcraft UK
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Unless noted otherwise, all photography, artwork and content on this site is copyrighted. © Gary Waidson 2014 All rights reserved.

The Ice Raven Project promotes sustainable and low impact bushcraft and wilderness skills in Arctic and winter conditions. This includes the use of  tents, tarps  and snow shelters where possible. Fires are only used where safe and where use and collection of firewood will not damage the natural environment. We often travel to locations by public transport and then use snowshoes, sleds, toboggans and pulks to transport our equipment into the wilderness.

Ice Raven is a partner site of Ravenlore Bushcraft and Wilderness Skills