cold weather canoe tripping footwear

this is a long debated topic with many notions ideas and preferences. i tried an old standby for the first time this spring, and again on a longer trip this last couple weeks in central BC, and i just have to share with some of the canoe heads out there: the not-so-old-fashioned- rubber boot. believe it or not, i’ve never brought rubber boots on a canoe trip before, never tried it. always some form of draining footwear, and neo socks, and maybe a light hiker for camp, but i’ve rarely been happy with the compromise and often had cold feet. so i go into a commercial fishing joint in town and they have these expensive (around $120 Cdn) olive green rubber boots, and the guy says they are the bomb. they are polyurethane foam, very light, very flexible and the guy says warm. so i bite and use them on the beach for sea kayak trips and i’m pretty happy with them. so i went on a canoe trip in the early spring, cold as hell and promising to be very muddy and i decide to try these boots. they take a thick footbed and are flexible enough to even kneel my big size 13’s under the seat. i was blown away how comfortable they were in cold muddy conditions and how perfect for canoe tripping. a long heavy portage pushes there limits, with little underfoot support, but ninety percent of the time they are perfect. yes half way through the day, they get clammy, but with premium merino socks, it’s no problem.

anyhow, these bad boys are some European jobbies, called Dunlop Purofort and they have HEVEA in raised letters on the side. they truly are a whole different kind of rubber boot, and worth a look for those who want a totally dry and comfortable cold water canoeing option. i was so impressed with my find, i had to blab it here!

When we were up in Juneau
the standard footwear was “chicken house boots”, or as they call them “Juneau sneakers”:

We did make a few converts out of them though when they saw how comfy we were in our NRS boundary Shoes.

Quite a bit less than the $120 that your Olive green “Chicken house Boots” costs too.

Jack L

Huntin’ boots
work for me. High top rubber LaCrosse are my standard. My wife likes the pig farmer boots sold at Tractor Supply.

how about some Neo’s …

– Last Updated: Oct-01-10 12:18 PM EST –

...... these are over shoes .



Neo also have a line of insulated overshoe somewhere on that site . I've had a pair of Neo's in my hand before , and they are unbelievably light (pack down real small too) , and look to be a pretty tough cookie wear wise . As for 100% wind & waterproff , I believe that 100% too . The incredible flexibilty of the uppers on those tall (even short) Neo's has to be a huge plus .

I wear my 8" Red Wing Irish Setter boots (waterproof) w/mirino-wool socks as standards , but have been wanting the Neo's Trekkers as overshoe too , and maybe this year I'm gonna get me a pair (I can just see myself walking in water over my calves , bone dry under the Neo covering my regular boots) !!

cunningstunts , you got a link to …

– Last Updated: Oct-01-10 12:15 PM EST –

...... those water boot things you are talking about ... I'd like to see them .

Is it these ?? ...

yup, that’s them,
but the regular one’s, with out the fun lining. i guess they make a number of diff models, including steel toe.

Cold Weather Canoeing Boots
NRS Boundary Shoes are what I wear! The 5 mm neoprene boots have an excellent traction sole and quick closer velcro over the top of the foot to keep the boot from slipping off or shifting while in mud, etc. They run $80. and are worth every dollar.

Other paddlers I know say that the Chota Quicklace Mukluk is the best cold weather canoeing boot. They are a bit more expensive than the NRS Boot at $118.

I also wear a single pair of merino mid weight socks in my boots. If it was extremly cold I would wear a heavy weight merino wool sock. Any rubber or neoprene boot is going to cause your feet to sweat.

Happy Paddling!

IMO Chota Quicklace Mukluks
both for cold water kayaking and conoeing. - you can portage in them without discomfort.

However, due to my size 11 EE feet, I use Chota Mukluk Lites in my QCC 700.


I’d bet they really are a great pair …
… wellies . Looks like a greatly improved version !! … and wellies absolutely do have some great features , that’s how they became and “stayed” so famous .

Boots and swimming
I frequently swim out of my canoe. Sometimes I think I’m not so much a canoer as a swimmer that takes canoeing breaks.

I’ve avoided impervious boots because I am concerned about their weight during a swim and performance afterwards. Any comments on boots and swims?

My standard for trips where a swim is likely (i.e. whitewater) is neoprene socks over some sort of sneaker, which I usually modify by adding drain holes. These keep my feet from freezing, but I can’t say they keep them warm. Cold and clammy, but no frostbite. Last year I installed latex booties in my drysuit and wear wool socks under. Much improved, actually comfortable!


Chota’s and Neos
I have Chota quicklace and lite Mukluks, and for even moderately cold weather and water they are my choice. They are great for swimming in also. I wear them in the middle of summer for swimming because they don’t come off when pulling my feet out of muck like sandals and shoes do, and they have better protection for my feet and alkles.

I bought the Lite’s a couple years ago and loved them for paddling and swimming in, but the soles were too soft for hiking much distance or even at rocky launches. I bought the quicklace models last spring and they are excellent for hiking and are even warmer than the lite’s.

I will say I also have a set of NEO’s I wear for winter overshoes at work and walking the dog. I bought them on the recomendation of my mailman. He wears them all winter. They would make great cold water paddling boots, but I don’t think they would be so great for swimming in. I would want them to be a little taller if I was going to use them instead of the quick lace mukluks.

My Chota’s leak around the top
when mated with nylon paddling pants. I guess that my calves are too small. Leaks are less likely when wearing neoprene wetsuit.

Need to ride bike more ?
My calves are particularely large, and both the quicklace and Lite’s fit nice and snug (and pretty dry).

I was originally going to buy the gore-tex topped Chota’s but they wouldn’t fit over my calf. I couldn’t even get them on.

different strokes.

Rubber Boots and Swimming

Commercial Fisherman wear rubber boots because if you go overboard you can pull your feet out of them quickly.

Boots that lace are considered a safety hazard on ocean going boats.