Expert Advice

The Top 10 Hiking boots

The Top 10 Hiking boots

If you are a hiking enthusiast, then you know that your hiking boots can make or break your trip. Hiking boots remain popular across all ages, and you would want one that fits your needs.


An ideal hiking boot should be:

  • Sturdy
  • Durable
  • Equipped to handle weather changes
  • Comfortable


The Ten Top Hiking Boots You Can buy Today


Did you know that the European market for Hiking boots is worth over $2,000 million?

For all those hikers who are looking to buy a new pair of boots, here is a comprehensive list of the best hiking boots of the year.


Adidas Terrex Fast Mid GTX

While Adidas mostly grabs headlines for its athletic footwear, the brand also makes excellent hiking boots. These boots, with a modern design, will be the perfect companion for your hiking trips.

Adidas has used a combination of closed and open lace hooks in the boots to make an efficient speed-lacing system. Moreover, the boots also come with Continental rubber soles.

The Gore-Tex Surround, which is a popular breathable waterproof membrane manufactured by Adidas, has also been used in these boots. You will be surprised at how lightweight the boots are despite the support and protection they provide.


Vasque Saga GTX

These hiking boots from Vasque are lightweight and extremely easy to wear. The double-engineered mesh used in the design is breathable which ensures that your feet are always comfortable.

The boots also come with a Vibram MegaGrip sole that will allow you to walk across rugged terrains. The molded TPU toe cap and heel provide additional support and protection to your foot.

You will find that the windows of ventilation incorporated in the boot keep your feet from getting too warm and sweaty. The tongue is also cushiony and soft, which reduces pressure on your forefoot.


Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX

These hiking boots will be a unique addition to your footwear arsenal because they combine shoe-like traction with toughness and stability.

If you are walking over heavy rocks and boulders, you will find that the boots keep your feet well protected. The semi-stiff build along with the flawless construction makes this boots a must-have.

The best part is that the Zodiac will feel comfortable to wear right off the bat. Since it is waterproof, you can be sure that this pair will last you a while.


Tecnica Forge

Tecnica, a ski boot manufacturer, came up with its first hiking boot and it is a huge success. Fully customizable, these boots will leave your spoilt for choice.

You will be able to customize the upper with either synthetic ripstop or nubuck leather. The Forge comes with a Vibram rubber sole and a Gore-Tex liner, both of which are essential for a good hiking boot.

Since the idea behind this boot is individual preferences, you might have to try on a few before you find the perfect fit for yourself.

The sole is rugged, while the boots themselves are waterproof. However, your feet will not feel suffocated even for a second.

hiking boots

Keen Targhee Vent Mid

These boots are not super versatile, but they are also affordable. The Vent in the Targhee line is not waterproof, but it makes up for that in all its other features.

With heavy mesh paneling, the boots ensure that maximum breathability for your feet. This is especially helpful if you live in warm weather.

The boots are made of water-resistant oiled nubuck leather and have a strong footbed design. Moreover, the rubber outsole offers excellent grip. The fit of the boots is roomier than its predecessor.


Merrell Moab 2 Mid WP

If you are looking for lightweight hiking boots that will not break the bank, then this is the pair for you. These boots offer you unparalleled comfort at a very reasonable price.

The underfoot cushioning is soft and protective. The boots come with Vibram outsoles which are extremely reliable no matter what terrain you are hiking in.

They also have a waterproof membrane and a long-wearing suede upper. The overall design and the build of the boots are impressive for the price.


Lowa Renegade

If you are looking for something for something for traditional, then you should consider these hiking boots. They offer the sturdiness and durability of conventional designs but weigh significantly lesser.

These boots will make your feet feel more planted and isolated from the ground. If you like to travel on rocky trails, then you will love these boots.

The external polyurethane frame contributes to the light weight of the boots. The leather upper is also thin which makes the boots more comfortable from the word go.


Vasque Talus Trek Mid UltraDry

If you love to explore wet and rocky trails, then you need to check out these boots because they will provide your feet with adequate protection.

The build quality of these boots is impressive. With a sturdy leather upper, the boots are able to withstand sudden changes in weather without many tears.

They come with a strong toe cap and heel piece which help in giving your feet that extra layer of protection. The fit is rather snug.


Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX

These mid-weight hiking boots are a popular choice because of their versatility. Equipped with Contagrip rubber soles with rough lug patterns, these boots will give your feet sufficient grip as you are navigating through trails.

The Gore-Tex-lined synthetic upper make the boots resistant to water. The boots come with a full-sized cuff that keeps your ankles protected.


Arc’teryx Bora2 Mid GTX

One of the most unique hiking boots on the market, these come with a removable stretch bootie. The design is very effective in warm conditions.

The boots come with a breathable lining and provide a comfortable fit. The sturdy outer shell will keep your feet protected.


Which one do you want?

Choosing the Right Class of Boot

Choosing the Right Class of Boot


Why clop around in stiff, bulky boots all summer when what you need is a light, breathable strider. Follow these guidelines to pick the class of boot that’s right for you.



The lugs should have a beveled shape for easier mud clearance. Many outsoles will combine a variety of properties for traction and durability.

Choose small lugs for delicate tundra and forest country, softer rubber lugs for traction, and tougher lugs for snow and talus.



The best midsoles provide a combination of cushion, protection against stone bruising, and flex control. There are a variety of materials that can be used in the midsole, but a more solid material is generally desirable.

The softer the midsole, the faster the boot will wear out. The flex of the midsole is determined by a shank. The stiffer the shank, the more rigid the boot will be.

Choose softer flex for fast striding and smaller loads, and stiffer flex for edging, climbing, and heavier loads.



Hiking boot uppers come in three categories: full leather, full fabric, or combination. Full fabric boots are still very scarce, but newer technologies are improving this category. Although easier to break-in, they tend to offer slightly less support than their leather counterparts.

Full leather boots tend to be the most supportive and water tight, but they are also the heaviest. Most hiking boots fall in the combination category where breathability, support, water repellency, and break-in time is balanced.

Choose high-cuff uppers for ankle support and low-cuff uppers for freer striding.



Consider buying some off-the-shelf footbeds for better padding and arch support. The supports will work with your foot to improve the fit, comfort, and support of any hiking boot.

Plan on buying the supports before you try on the boots as they can change the fit of a boot.


Boot Classes and Characteristics


Trail Boots (low cut)

This category features lightweight, breathable footwear designed for fast striding on level trails with little or no pack weight. These boots will generally have a softer flex and a softer midsole for more cushion. They require little break-in time. Choose this category if speed and weight are more important than support.


Trail Boots (high or mid cut)

This category has the same features as the low-cut trail boots with a bit more ankle support. This is also where the waterproof/breathable membranes start to appear.


Rough-Trail Boots

This category offers much more support than the trail boot category, and is designed for use on any trail with a pack. The midsoles will be stiffer and the cushioning material will be denser to support some pack weight.

This is the biggest category for waterproof/breathable liners. Boots of every style upper can be found here and they will be stiffer and more supportive than the trail boots.

They require a moderate amount of break-in. Choose this category if your hiking is done mostly on-trail and your pack weight is moderate to heavy.


Off-Trail Boots

This category features very stiff boots that will support you on most any terrain. Most uppers will be full leather although waterproof/breathable liners are very common.

The midsoles will have very a stiff flex and will be aimed more towards support than cushion so you can carry the kitchen sink with these boots on.

However, they will require some considerable break-in time and will be much heavier. Choose this category if a majority of your hiking is done in the middle of nowhere or on talus.


Mountaineering Boots

This category features boots with little or no flex designed for edging and climbing in extremely rugged conditions. The midsoles will have a full shank and the outsoles will accept crampons for snow and ice. As with the off-trail boots, they will support any load.

The fit is extremely important here because the boots will not conform very well to the foot. Choose this category if you have been buying hiking boots for a decade and don’t need this guide.

Hiking Boot Fitting Tips

Hiking Boot Fitting Tips

Proper fit and footwear selection will make any trek more enjoyable. Boots that hammer your arches, blister your heels, and pinch your toes will transform your weekend into torture. To avoid this needless pain, follow some time-tested guidelines.

  • Ask for one of the most experienced boot fitters. They can offer more guidance when you have a tricky fit problem. If they aren’t there, make an appointment to see them later.


  • Either bring your own sock combination or plan to by a new set at the store. That way, you will be wearing the same socks to try on the boots that you’ll be wearing on the trail. Volume is a very important factor in boot fitting and your socks will make a difference.


  • Get measured! It doesn’t matter if you’ve been a size 10 for the last 10 years. Have your foot measured using a Brannock device with a standardized size scale. Manufacturer sizing is not universal and an experienced boot fitter will be able to select the correct size for you. Most of all, trust your feet, not a number.


  • Try on boots near the end of the day. Your feet will be swollen from standing or sitting all day. This will resemble the feel you will have on the trail. Make sure to leave enough time before the store closes to walk in some boots.


  • Take your time. Try on as many different styles as you can before choosing and walk for several minutes in each style. It may take some time for pressure points too appear. Your last choice may be the perfect fit for you and comfort is far more important than looks. Pay close attention to the comfort of the tongue and the heel as  a majority of the problems will appear in these two places.


  • Once the boots are laced up snug, you shouldn’t be able to kick your toes into the front of the boot. Slightly tap the toe of your boot on the ground. If your toe is hitting the front of the boot, they’re either too small or, in most cases, too roomy of a fit.


  • You are the only person who will know if the fit is perfect. The salesperson is there to get you close and give you as much guidance as possible. From there you need to trust your feet. Value the comfort of the boot above all else.
Hiking Boot Care

Hiking Boot Care


A few minutes of care can extend the life of your boots.

Step 1: Clean mud and dirt off with warm water and a brush or rag.


Step 2: Use a boot cleaner such as NaturSeal® or Nikwax® and a brush to scrub your boots to deep clean the leather.

This will remove imbedded dirt, waxes and oils. Allow the boot to dry thoroughly. Now the leather is ready for conditioning and waterproofing.


Step 3: Apply waterproofing and leather conditioner such as NaturSeal® or Nikwax® in either paste or liquid. Apply paste with your fingertips or use a dauper for liquid.

Notice that the paste and liquid soaks into the leather immediately, particularly if leather is old, worn or dry. This will darken the leather. The darker color will fade back to original over time.

DO NOT HEAT!! Excessive heat will destroy the leather.


Step 4: Add a final coat of protection by applying a fabric guard such as NaturSeal® or Nikwax®. This is only necessary if the boot has fabric on the upper.

Walking in wet grass will wear away your waterproofing and conditioner very fast. Plan on applying it more often if you enjoy tromping through meadows early in the morning.

Do I need to treat leather boots that have a waterproof/breathable liner?


Yes, for two reasons. First, leather needs regular applications of conditioner to keep it from becoming dry and stiff. Second, your waterproof liner is under the leather.

It will not prevent the leather from becoming saturated and heavy with water once the original waterproof coating wears off.

Courtesy of Vasque

Water Filters Cleaning Tips and Guide

Water Filters Cleaning Tips and Guide


Most people often overlook cleaning their filter after a trip and before storage. You can triple or quadruple the life of your filter if it is cleaned properly.

Most filters come with extensive cleaning/maintenance instructions, which you should follow closely. Here’s a list of procedures that will increase your filter’s performance greatly.


Backwashing a filter

When output starts to slow, detach the intake hose and attach it to the filter outlet. Pumping will send a “backwash” of clean water through the filter, loosening some of the accumulated gunk.

After backwashing or before storage, the filter element must usually be sanitized with a diluted bleach solution.


Scrubbing a ceramic element

This means removing and wiping off the ceramic cylinder. If the water flow has slowed, scrub the cylinder with a toothbrush to restore normal output.

Some ceramic elements contain silver to limit the growth of bacteria, fungi, and algae within the filter, which keeps you from having to sanitize it after cleaning. Note, however, that the silver isn’t intended as a water treatment by itself.


Cleaning the surface filter

This means removing the filter membrane and scraping or brushing it clean. Most people replace their membrane when it turns gray. After removing the membrane, you must sanitize it with a bleach solution or by boiling.


Start with the cleanest water you can

Try and not make your filter work harder than need be. Use pools rather than large currents, because they stir up sand and debris. Always hold the intake hose above ground so you won’t suck up any mud, muck, or leaves.

You can also dip up a container of water and set it aside to let the suspended solids settle out. A few hours will help, but leaving water to settle overnight is best.

If regular brushing does not help to fully restore flow rate, the filter cartridge may be clogged with organic matter. Here’s how to fix that:

Add one ounce (more is NOT better) of unscented household bleach (such as Clorox Regular or Clorox Ultra) to one liter of clean water.

Mix for 10 seconds. Pump the diluted bleach slowly through the filter cartridge, stopping just as the inlet tube begins to suck air.

Remove the tubing and seal the inlet and outlet ports of the filter cartridge (foil or plastic wrap works well). Let sit 16-24 hours. Flush the filter cartridge with 3 liters of clean water. The filter is now clean.

Courtesy of Cascade Designs

Backpacks Care

Backpacks Care


  1. Brush off loose dirt with a dry brush
  2. As needed, wipe out the inside with a damp sponge and mild soap
  3. Rinse only, if possible. Use cold water and a sponge or rinse in a tub without soap.
  4. Machine wash in front-loading unit (DO NOT use machine with agitator, agitator could cause damage not covered under warranty) with cold water and mild soap (Ivory Flakes, Woolite, Sport Wash, Etc.) Not detergents.
  5. Do Not soak in soapy water, it may cause delamination.
  6. Rinse thoroughly to eliminate soap residue.
  7. Place pack on frame to air dry. DO NOT use a dryer.
  8. Always store in a cool, dry area.

Zipper Care:

  1. Keep loose threads trimmed.
  2. Keep free from dirt.
  3. Spray periodically with a silicone spray.
  4. To prevent salt water corrosion on zipper pulls, make sure you rinse with clear water often.



Most packs are coated with a treatment that is highly water resistant. If you are planning a trip that will encounter severe wet weather, or you are concerned about keeping your gear absolutely dry, we recommend purchasing a rain cover.

Courtesy of Kelty

Sleeping Bags Care and Cleaning

Sleeping Bags Care and Cleaning



Down Fill:

Professional cleaning services:

1.         Send the bag to a cleaner experienced in cleaning down products who will guarantee their work.

2.         A quality service will launder your bag, rather than dry cleaning it.

3.         Solvents used in dry cleaning can strip the natural oils from the feathers that help the bag retain loft.


If cleaning at home:

1.         Close zippers and velcro tabs.

2.         Machine wash in front-loading machine or large tub with cold water and mild soap (Ivory Flakes, Woolite, Sport Wash, Etc.). DO NOT use detergents, bleach or fabric softener. DO NOT use an agitator-style, top-loading machine. The agitator could cause damage to shell and insulation not covered under warranty.

3.         Rinse thoroughly in clean water, making absolutely sure that all soap residue is removed from the feathers.

4.         When you are sure that all of the soap residue has been removed, drip dry or tumble dry at a no- heat setting. It may take several hours to completely dry the bag.

5.         Clean tennis balls may be used in the dryer to restore loft.

6.         Check your bag frequently while it is drying.


Synthetic Fill:

1.         DO NOT DRY CLEAN.

2.         Close zippers and velcro tabs.

3.         Machine wash in front-loading machine (DO NOT use an agitator-style, top-loading machine. The agitator could cause damage to shell and insulation not covered under warranty) with cold water and mild soap (Ivory Flakes, Woolite, Sport Wash, Etc.) Not detergents. Do NOT use bleach or fabric softener.

4.         Rinse thoroughly; double rinse if necessary to eliminate soap residue.

5.         Line dry only. DO NOT use a dryer to dry. (Heat in dryer may cause damage to bag not covered by warranty.) Unzip & dry open.

6.         Dryer can be used to fluff bag only, NO HEAT, fluff cycle only.



Between trips, it is best to store your bag in a large, cotton sack. Never use a plastic bag since it can trap moisture and encourage mold, mildew and bacterial growth. Try to never store your sleeping bag in a small stuff sack since, over time, this reduces the loft of the sleeping bag.

Courtesy of Kelty




  1. After each trip, set up your tent outside on a clear day and let it air out.
  2. While it is up, wipe both the inside and outside thoroughly with a damp sponge
  3. Store your tent only after it is completely dry
  4. Store your tent in a cool, dry place out of sunlight. High temperatures may disrupt the coatings.

Zipper Care:

  1. Keep loose threads trimmed.
  2. Keep free from dirt.

Most of the problems experienced with tent zippers are due to wear in the zipper sliders, rather than failure of the zipper coils themselves (the slider is the metal part that you move to zip and unzip the zipper).

Particles of dirt and grit on the coils, accumulated during use, abrade the mechanism inside the slider head. When the slider becomes sufficiently worn, it will stop engaging the teeth of the coil correctly and cause the zipper to open up behind the slider.

Keeping your zippers as clean as possible will help prevent zipper failure.

Courtesy of Kelty

Firearms Care and Maintenance

Firearms Care and Maintenance


“Take care of your guns and they will take care of you!”

The best way to maintain your firearms is to have a routine – and stick too it. This routine will vary according to the type of firearm, how often it is used, what it is used for, and the conditions under which it sees use.

In other words, a .22 rifle used on an indoor range four times a year will not require the same level of maintenance as the pump shotgun you use all winter for hunting sea ducks! The following is a BASIC routine that should be followed.


NOTE: Any time you clean or disassemble a firearm make sure it is unloaded and pointed in safe direction. Also, be sure to wear eye protection and work in a well ventilated area.


  1. Any time the firearm is handled: wipe down all metal parts with a dry cloth and then a very lightly oiled cloth.
  2. Any time the firearm is shot:
  • field strip the firearm as per instructions in the owner’s manual.
  • wipe all moisture, perspiration and dirt from exterior. Use a cloth and cleaning solvent if necessary.
  • the bore and chamber should be scrubbed with an appropriately sized brush and solvent and then wiped out with patches soaked in solvent until they come out clean.
  • dry the bore and chamber with clean patches and then oil very lightly.
  • clean all moisture, dirt, etc. from receiver/bolt and then oil lightly.
  • check magazine tube/box for moisture or dirt and clean accordingly.
  1. Anytime the firearm becomes wet:
  • follow instructions in #2 and:
  • following instructions in the owner’s manual, remove stock (or the forearm and buttstock for shotguns) and dry off any moisture from the inside of the stock and the metal parts thus exposed. It might be a good idea to leave the firearm disassembled – in a safe, dry place – to allow any moisture that you could not wipe off time to evaporate. This also provides an excellent opportunity to completely clean those parts of the firearm that are usually “hidden” from view.
  • lightly oil all metal parts before reassembling firearm.
  • at your first opportunity test fire the gun to insure proper functioning
  1. Before opening day:
  • field strip the firearm as per the instructions in the owner’s manual.
  • wipe off all accumulations of oil, grease, dust, grime, etc.
  • clean firearm as described in #2 c, d, e & f.
  • test fire at a shooting range (while wearing the proper hearing protection and eye protection) to insure proper functioning.
  • check the zero of iron and/or telescopic sights.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Persons who own a number of firearms might want to consider keeping a maintenance log. It could be a simple a sheet of paper taped on the inside of your gun safe/cabinet door listing the guns and the last time they were cleaned.

Every time you opened your gun safe/cabinet such a log would serve as a reminder to take a few minutes and examine your firearms. And remember, the log will be of little use if it is not kept up to date, because “…the job isn’t complete until the paperwork is finished!”

While many of us might hate to admit it, we are not all experts when it comes to our firearms. Because of this, I believe one of the best forms of preventative maintenance is to, periodically, bring your firearms to a qualified gunsmith or factory authorized repair center for detailed disassembly, examination and cleaning.

These persons are trained to spot potential problems and whatever minor inconvenience and expense such work entails may end up saving you a lot more in the long run.



When putting a firearm away, be sure that all metal surfaces including the bore are coated with a light film of lightweight oil.

This rust fighter is a “must” even if you plan to use the gun again in a few hours. Spray it on, or apply it with a silicone treated rag. The wipe is also perfect for removing fingerprint acids.

Store your firearms in a secure, dry area. Household closets are a poor choice, exposing guns to damage. Sheepskin-or cloth-lined field cases also are unsuitable, since they trap moisture.

The ideal solution is a metal case or locking gun cabinet. Inspect your stored guns regularly, to make sure no rust is forming.

Use a mild cleaner to clean off the grease when taking a firearm out of storage. Before firing again, clear the bore of grease, oil and any obstructions.

With rifles and handguns, push clean patches through on a jag, or use a clean bore swab. With shotguns, use the swab.

Courtesy of Remington






Shell garments should be machine washed in warm water with a powder detergent, and dried in a warm, low heat, dryer.

For optimum performance you may also need to re-activate the DWR (durable water repellant) finish on your water-repellant garment from time to time. Never dry clean.


DWR treatment

All waterproof/breathable shells are treated with a DWR (durable water repellant) finish. The DWR helps water to bead up on the surface of the jacket, rather than soaking into the fibers of the shell, where it can impair the breathability of the membrane or coating that allows the fabric to function.

Over time, the DWR gets worn away, most commonly in areas of abrasion such as the sleeves and shoulders of a jacket, or the seat and knees of pants.

Retreating your garment is usually a simple affair, using one of the widely available spray-on DWR treatments for waterproof/breathable garments such as Nikwax, TXDirect, Techtron, or Reviv-X (marketed by W.L. Gore).

Wash-in treatments are also available although they tend to be less effective than the spray treatments. Often a DWR can be revived simply by washing the garment in a powder detergent, rinsing thoroughly, then tumble drying at a moderate heat for 30-40 minutes, or running a warm iron over the surface of the garment.

The heat application is an important element in activating the DWR properties of a spray treatment, and most of the treatments listed above recommend that some form of heat be applied to the garment after it is treated.

Courtesy of Kelty