Bring Best Backpacking Shoes, but Don’t Skimp on Time and Resources

Sometimes skimping on things is more costly (and heavier) than not.

Sometimes we get a little too smart for ourselves. We think we know our gear quite well and think we know what to expect from the gear. So we skimp on money or time in preparing gear.  However it is absolutely worth your time to make sure that you have the best backpacking shoes possible for your feet.  ‘Cause if you’re feet ain’t happy then ain’t nobody happy!

To wit: a recent trip I did was just ridiculously stupid on my part. I have some heavy and rugged Merrell Wilderness boots. I ‘ve had them about 20 years and even had them re-soled a few years ago. When I first got the boots I felt like they were very rugged and I wore them quite frequently, even for relatively short day hikes. They’ve been my trusted companions for years.

I have been able to rely on these boots. I have loved the boots for decades, literally. So when I was rushing to get ready for my trip I felt like I could skimp on my time. I didn’t actually put the boots on and loosen them up and see how they felt.

Toward the end of the first day (about 6 miles of gradual uphill), I realized the error of my ways. I had a big blister on the inside of my right heel. I really regretted having skimped on my time up front.  I should have worn them around for at least an hour or two, even if just running errands.  Stupidly, I skimped more though. On the second day I decided not to use moleskin. Dumb, dumb, dumb and too cheap. By the end of the day, it looked like hamburger. Seriously, hamburger. It was truly awful. The next two days we weren’t carrying packs so I wore my Croqs around the camp. When the time came to head back, I borrowed some lightweight “hiking sneakers” and carried my “trusty” boots (and those puppies are not lightweight).

Skimping on my time and the moleskin was just ridiculous. It took more than a week before I could comfortably wear regular sneakers again. Don’t follow my example…don’t skimp!

Take the time to verify your equipment.  Make sure your boots are comfortable.  Make sure stove igniters work.  Make sure your water filter flows nicely.  Make sure your Therm-a-rest holds air.  I find that taking the time to prepare and check my gear helps me extend the excitement of each adventure.

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