By Istvan Hernadi
January 01, 2009
NAME: Istvan Hernadi
EMAIL: ih42ca AT yahoo(dot)com
LOCATION: Kimberley, BC
HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
WEIGHT: 160 lb (72.60 kg)
I am long time outdoor activities enthusiast. I started hiking in the hills of Hungary at an early age. When I moved to Canada as a teenager I became fascinated by the Rocky Mountains near my home in Calgary. Soon I joined the Alpine Club of Canada and became an avid climber, skier and backpacker.
My activities also included marathon running, biking, camping and alpine climbing. Now that I moved to Kimberley in the Purcell mountains of BC I am very close to the trails, so my daily activities include trail running, mountain biking and cross-country skiing. My summers are usually spent in the Yukon and northern BC where I pursue multi-day trips to the mountains and on the rivers paddling a small packraft. I enjoy photography, so my days are also spent looking for that perfect landscape shot.
Manufacturer: Charlie Van Gorkom Boots
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.hikingbootshandcrafted.com/snowboots.html
Listed Weight: 56 oz (1600 g) / pair
Measured Weight: 56 oz (1600 g) / pair
Material: handmade of full grain leather, waxed and oiled
Sole: insulating foam neoprene sole
Insulation: felt lining
Temperature Rating: -40 F (-40 C)
These boots are made to order from leather that is soft, forgiving, and they are lined with felt.
From the manufacturer's website:
The felt liner is of the latest warmth technology using poly fibers of a diameter to trap and reflect the foot's natural infrared. Van Gorkom Felt lined all weather Yukon Boots have:
77% white polypropylene
5% miscellaneous fibers, bonded to a polyethylene metallized film
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The majority of my hiking and backpacking trips were taken in northwestern BC, Canada. The terrain included hilly boreal forests, mountain trails and lakeshores. Elevations ranged from 3600 ft (1100m) to 7600 ft (2300 m ) and temperatures ranged from 28 F (-2 C) to approximately -10 F (-23 C) during early winter.
I have used the boots successfully for backpacking, dayhiking, walking to the local stores and in combination with snowshoes. They have been extremely versatile boots. They are so easy to wear. I just insert my feet into the boots, use the velcro strap to tighten, adjust the laces and tie a knot on each boot.
Unlike many other Yukon Boots, Van Gorkom felt lined boots are not made of rubber. Rubber has a tendency of causing feet to sweat due to condensation. Condensation freezes, until your feet are encased in ice. I found these boots warm, but my feet did not sweat while out hiking. And they kept my feet very warm when I stopped to set up camp.
Leather takes constant care, after every couple of outings, they will need to be thoroughly waxed again to be waterproof and supple, using a wax rather than any oil based product. Sno-seal is good or one of the Nik-wax products. They are bee's wax based.
These boots are my constant companions for long walks in the snow as they are made of soft leather and feel just like mocassins. They are 14" high so they keep out the snow even as I walk in some deep fluffy stuff. Everyone I meet remarks on the workmanship, they immediately notice that these boots were hand-made individually for the customer's feet.
While the Yukon boots look large, they are actually lightweight, each one weighs 1 pound 12 ounces, much less than most hiking boots, making it less effort to make trails in the fresh snow. They are handmade of full grain leather and are waxed and oiled for water repellency. They are highly flexible and include a removable felt liner, to insulate well even at -40 degrees. The soles are a Vibram sole with good traction on packed snow.
I am very happy with these boots as they allow me to participate in winter outdoor activities regardless of the temperature or amount of snow on the ground. The boots are comfortable for walking in deep snow. They are easy to use on icy surfaces when I wear polar cleats over the sole. And these boots are perfect to use with snowshoes on long trail hikes into the bush and on mountain excursions.
The boots are versatile enough to be used in the city, commuting, shoveling snow, working around your cabin, while sitting around in camp, or riding on a snowmobile or sled.
They are not made for technical mountaineering, as you cannot use them with stiff crampons on glaciers, but they will work well in all other cases except for rock climbing.
These boots can be repaired and re-soled to give you years of trouble-free usage.
THINGS I LIKE
They are very warm, 14 inches (35 cm) high and very comfortable. My feet don't get cold or wet, and the snow never gets inside the boots unless I try to walk into deep snowdrifts. They are waterproof and protect me well from the cold and snow.
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
The fit is a little large, I need to wear 2 sets of thick socks for a snug fit. The laces and velcro straps are very long, I need to trim those a bit.
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Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.