Snake proof hiking boots?

5:45 p.m. on September 25, 2013 (EDT)
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Hi everyone,

I live in the hills of Southern California, and have seen many rattlesnakes in my backyard since moving there 1.5 years ago. I'm looking for boots that I can go hiking with through the hills where I live, as well as other places. I also want to be able to use these boots to just do some yard work in my hills. The criteria I'm looking for includes the following:

- comfortable

- water resistant/proof

- completely snake bite proof

- tall enough to protect enough of an area above my ankles

- easy to put on

- ventilated so I do not over heat in them on hot summer days

Can anyone make any recommendations based on my criteria?

Thanks in advance!!!!

7:11 p.m. on September 25, 2013 (EDT)
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Welcome fellow SoCal,

I am not expert on this, but it’s hard to avoid snakes in SoCal, but if you’re that concern about the snakes I would learn more about them.  In the spring they will climb up the bushes to look for prey.  The temperature has a lot of effect on them; if below 50 degrees don’t have to worry that much (ground temp) not head level.  If above 90 they’re going to find shade to cool down.  If you stay on the trail, wear sunglasses and watch were you are walking you should be OK.  This year I haven’t seen any snakes, but put my pack on a large rock and one let me know it wasn’t happy were I choose to stop, put my pack back on because I am a guest, and moved on.  Last year 4 all in the chaparral and 2 of them on 1 hike: they made noise, and that means get away, I don’t want to mess around with you, but I will defend myself.  No matter how hard you try to avoid them, you are bound to come across them.  I have watch very carefully climbing up a step part of the trail, and stop to catch my breath, and felt something wasn’t right, just to look down and see large rattler next to my boot., nothing happen but me getting out of that area.  I use leather boots but, the clothes you wear also is your protection.  I respect the wilderness and know my limits, which is a very good topic.  I like Zamberlan and Salomon boots.

9:38 p.m. on September 25, 2013 (EDT)
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I recall seeing a catalog with snake proof boots. It could have been Eddie Bauer. They had leather bottoms and a knee high canvas upper. Canvas gaiters might work as well.

9:08 a.m. on September 26, 2013 (EDT)
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You're going to be limited to hunting boots and snake gaiters. They are going to be hot also. Check Cabella's. I think Bass PRO Shops carry them also. We have rattlers in Texas and Oklahoma and I have come across them while hunting or hiking. The best thing is to learn how to spot them and then avoid them. I've never had a snake chase me. They generally prefer being left undisturbed. Carry a snakebite kit.

9:42 a.m. on September 26, 2013 (EDT)
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I used to wear full leather combat boots when I lived out there, but because I liked them, not because of the snakes. 

You really need good eyes more than good boots though.  Don't walk so fast that you outpace your eyes ability to scan the ground. So long as you don't step on them most rattlers won't even care that you are there.

4:06 p.m. on September 26, 2013 (EDT)
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rob5073 said:

You're going to be limited to hunting boots and snake gaiters. They are going to be hot also. Check Cabella's. I think Bass PRO Shops carry them also. We have rattlers in Texas and Oklahoma and I have come across them while hunting or hiking. The best thing is to learn how to spot them and then avoid them. I've never had a snake chase me. They generally prefer being left undisturbed. Carry a snakebite kit.

 I sometimes might go off trail, so it could be difficult to spot rattlers all of the time.

1. What good is a snakebite kit? Once you get bit, besides cleaning the wound what else can you really do until you get antivenom?

2. Any idea how high a rattler can lunge into the air and bite? I'm six foot one, should I be getting boots and gaiters that cover my legs?

Thanks!

6:46 p.m. on September 26, 2013 (EDT)
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One purpose for the height of the traditional cowboy boot (in addition to the obvious protection against friction) was the theory that snakes always struck below the knee. Not sure how true that is in reality, but you might want to consider a gaiter with a leather boot just to get the same height..

I have a pair of heavy (double layer) Gore-Tex gaiters meant for river crossings and use in deep snow. There is no way a snake could bite through that fabric. 

August 30, 2014
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