Faster Stream Crossings?

10:39 p.m. on March 18, 2008 (EDT)
3 reviewer rep
10 forum posts

Any forum members have experience with narrow canyon hiking involving lots of stream crossings? The local mountain streams vary from small in the late summer to relative torrents in springtime, yet some of them run up some nice canyons bounded by hard rock cliffs. There is often no way around, you're going to get wet - often up to your knees - and up to 20 crossings in a day are not unheard-of. Depending on the time of year, the multiple crossings can take on varying levels of safety.

Anyway, my main question is whether anyone knows of methods to get around the large number of boots-off/boots-on drills. I considered waders but wasn't sure about their usefullness with full pack (sounds like a bad idea but who knows). Just to answer the one safety question up front, no, I don't do this when the streams are in flood stage! :)

Any technical recommendations & tips are welcomed.
Jim

4:13 p.m. on March 19, 2008 (EDT)
110 reviewer rep
762 forum posts

Canyoneering shoes maybe? Wetsocks?
http://www.canyoneering.net - there are some shoe reviews on here.

10:17 a.m. on March 20, 2008 (EDT)
3 reviewer rep
2 forum posts

Military jungle boots (canvas uppers with leather lowers with drain holes) and sealskinz water blocker socks. I've used them extensively on canoe trips with alot of portages in the Canadian Crown Lands and the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness of Minnesota. The BSA Northern Tier High Adventure programs require the jungle boots and in 30 days of using them (3 different ten day treks), I never had a blister or problem with my feet. The added ankle support prevents any ankle or foot injuries from rocky bottoms. Just remember that it's just really important to dry out your feet at the end of the day, and pack extra camp shoes, camp socks, and use foot powder every day to avoid trench foot.

6:56 p.m. on March 20, 2008 (EDT)
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3 forum posts

I lead high school students in eleven-day winter trips through the Ventana Wilderness where we frequently cross swollen streams. We used to require changing from hiking boots to river shoes or closed-toe athletic shoes, but the time to do multiple changes was cutting into the short daylight hiking days, so this year most or us just hiked across in boots and gaiters and sucked up the squelchy feeling until our hiking had dried out our boots a bit. On longer crossings, we would empty out our boots before continuing to hike. It is clearly hard on the boots, but we had less trouble with blisters than normal and only a couple of the kids had issues with trench foot, all of them would recover each night with dry socks, foot powder and plenty of hydration. I believe that NOLS uses this technique exclusively.

10:30 p.m. on March 20, 2008 (EDT)
225 reviewer rep
1,202 forum posts

I've used jungle boots exclusively for backpacking in wet environments as who wants to change footgear at every crossing? Or wring out socks? BUT in the winter when it's important to have a reasonably dry pair of boots, I now just hump in Crocs. I know, it sounds like a crappy solution as the things are fragile, but even with a 70 pound pack I can put in alot of miles on trails that have numerous creek crossings with the things. Had only one blowout and that was when duck-walking under a blowdown where I lost a side-grommet snap.

10:31 p.m. on April 2, 2008 (EDT)
37 reviewer rep
1 forum posts

You might want to look at N.E.O.S Superlite Series Trekker Overshoes. I use them when kayaking but they would work well for crossing below knee level.

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