REVISED-Ted-Dahlgren Dristride FR
- Take 2!
Dahlgren Footwear Dri-Stride Alpaca Backpacking Socks
Product information in brief
Field and test information
Product Use and Performance
Future Testing Strategy
Field Report (the second report of three)
My Initial Report may be viewed here.
Report Date: January 3, 2004
* Name: Edward Ripley-Duggan
* Age: 51
* Gender: Male
* Height: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
* Weight: 215 pounds (98 kg)
* Catskills, New York State
I enjoy walking in all its manifold forms, from a simple stroll in the
woods to multi-day backpack excursions. Though by no means an extreme
ultra-light enthusiast, from spring to fall my preference is to carry
a pack weight of 12 lb (5.5 kg), more or less. In recent years, I've
rapidly moved to a philosophy of "lighter is better," within the
constraints of budget and common sense.
Product information in brief
* Manufacturer: Dahlgren Footwear
* URL: http://www.dahlgrenfootwear.com
* Product: Dahlgren Dri-Stride Alpaca Backpacking socks
* Size: Extra Large (XL)
* Color: Black
* Manufacturer's weight: 4.2 oz (119 g), size unstated
* Weight (as measured): 4.4 oz (125 g) for XL size
* MSRP: US $17.00
Fabric content (as noted on packaging):
* Toe & Heel: 45% Merino Wool, 45% Alpaca, 10% Stretch Nylon
* Arch/Instep: 75% Wickspun Acrylic, 25% Nylon
* Leg: 90% Wickspun Acrylic, 10% Nylon
Field and Test Information
For this field report, the Dahlgren Dri-Stride Alpaca socks were used
for a mix of day hikes and overnight backpacking trips in the Catskill
Mountains, at elevations to 4180 ft (1280 m). Most of the hiking
involved off-trail excursions, "bushwhacks," and included a number of
the more difficult Catskill peaks. Minimum pack load was 12 lb (5.4
kg) or so for day hikes and up to 28 lb (11.3 kg) for backpacks. The
lowest temperatures experienced during the testing period were at
elevation, down to approximately -10 F (-23 C). Much of the hiking
involved traversing light snow or ice on the summits, although due to
a mild November and December there was overall far less snow cover
than usual. Still, these were unquestionably winter conditions, albeit
not as severe as in some years. The highest temperature at which the
socks were worn was around 50 F (10 C).
Product Use and Performance
The socks were generally worn with a pair of midweight Scarpa
backpacking boots, although as the temperatures cooled off as winter
approached I used a pair of insulated Vasque Arctic boots. Plastic
mountaineering boots are not required in the Catskills, which is where
I was hiking over this first test period. I was not generally wearing
liner socks. Trips included both trail hikes and bushwhacks, day hikes
I found the Dri-Stride Alpaca socks exceptionally comfortable in all
the settings in which they were evaluated over the test period, and
would, without question, give them a very high rating for sheer
tactile pleasure. This is not an insignificant factora sock that
feels coarse against the foot is not only displeasing, but is likely
to cause blisters. I am pleased to report that I experienced no
significant chafing or blistering over the dozen or so outing on which
these were worn.
A concomitant factor that can lead to foot problems is dampness. My
feet seemed to stay exceptionally dry in the Dahlgren socks, even when
they were worn under gaiters. Dahlgren's sock design is supposed to
wick moisture away from the footbed, up to the ankle and out of the
boot. So far as I was able to determine (bearing in mind that judging
such matters in the field is somewhat subjective) they are extremely
capable in this regard. My feet stayed dry under most circumstances.
Even with a boot that was in need of waterproofing, and in consequence
let in some dampness on water crossings, etc., my feet remained quite
comfortable, although on one occasion I noticed some discoloration to
my toes that at first I took to be bruising. This disappeared after
showering, and must have been dye, but whether it originated with the
sock or the boot lining (black Cambrelle) I have yet to determine. I
will try to pin this down in the months to come, but it was, in any
case, a minor inconvenience.
I found the socks exceptionally warm in cold conditions, yet
comfortable enough at warmer temperatures. I wore them on the first
day of one brutally cold winter camping trip. Combined with a pair of
insulated boots, my feet were perfectly cozy, even when I was standing
still or moving slowly while setting up camp. I believe that, by the
time I rolled into my tent, the temperature had dropped to a chilly
10 F (23 C). I had no sense of chilly toes. I'm not sure that I want
to test these socks to the absolute lower limits of comfort, given
that I retain my full quota of toes and intend to keep things that
way. Still, my feet felt about as warm as I would have expected were I
wearing a pair of socks rated expedition weight, as I indeed did the
These socks have now been washed numerous times, with no especial
carethey go in a regular load for a cool wash and rinse, and are
tumble-dried low. They show no apparent wear at heel or toe (or
anywhere else, for that matter). Given that I have rough "sandpaper"
heels, this is a testimonial to the durability of the fabric. The
socks have retained their full pile, based on a visual inspection (an
important point, as it is presumably said pile that provides much of
their insulating ability). They have also maintained their shape and
fit, and I can't say that I have noticed the reversible shrinkage that
the manufacturer mentions in their literature. I've not noticed any
bunching, nor any discomfort along the selvage. The socks have, in
this short term, proven entirely durable.
The slight slop in the boot that was noted (under "Initial
Impressions") in early testing seems to have been caused by careless
tying of my boots, combined perhaps with some slight stretching of
their leather. The socks were certainly not at fault.
To date, the Dahlgren Footwear Dri-Stride Alpaca Backpacking Socks
have proven to meet all their marketing claims. They have provided
excellent comfort and warmth, resilience to wear and have kept my feet
dry under sometimes difficult conditions. They have withstood repeated
washes and wearings without any significant evidence of deterioration.
So far, my reaction is entirely positive.
Future Testing Strategy
As the winter progresses, I expect to wear the Dahlgren socks with a
variety of additional socks, including vapor barrier socks as an
under-layer, or (for example) Serius Stormsocks as a top layer. I will
also wear the socks while wearing crampons on my boots, as these tend
to act as a heat sink and will make the soles of my feet colder. The
end of the test period is in April, and I will at that point be
experiencing warmer temperatures, and I'll attempt to find the upper
limit of comfort, temperature-wise. Meanwhile, I will continue to
monitor wear and fit.
1. Fit. Does this continue to remain true?
2. Warmth. How well do these socks work with other layers in extremely
cold conditions? Are they comfortable with a vapor barrier sock or
with over-socks? Do over-socks alter the breathability of the Dahlgren
3. Wear. Do they continue to stand up to repeated wear and laundering?
Is there any noteworthy loss of pile, or other evidences of
deterioration? Does the elasticity of the sock continue to keep it in
place on my ankle?
4. Moisture. If they become wet hiking (e.g. rain, melted snow, etc.
slipping through the gaiter), can they be walked dry easily? This will
be interesting to test in spring melt conditions.
5. Other points. Is the staining to the foot noted due to the sock or
the boot? How well do the socks provide warmth when crampons are
attached to the boot?
I thank BackpackGearTest and Dahlgren Footwear for permitting me to
participate in this very interesting test.
- Thanks here are the edits.
Only two things.
Well for whatever reason your links in the navigation bar were not
working for me. I use Mozilla FireFox. I then tried it in IE and it
worked fine. Thats way beyond my pay scale so maybe some one else can
give their 2 cents.
EDIT ### over the dozen or so outing on which these
Should be outings
Upload to the folder when done.
- Thanks, Brian. Weird. I tested this in Firefox, which is my primary
browser, and it worked fine. All upload it and try the links in my
--- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, Brian <tannehillclan@g...> wrote:
> Thanks here are the edits.
> Only two things.
> Well for whatever reason your links in the navigation bar were not
> working for me. I use Mozilla FireFox. I then tried it in IE and it
> worked fine. Thats way beyond my pay scale so maybe some one else can
> give their 2 cents.
> EDIT ### over the dozen or so outing on which these
> Should be outings
> Upload to the folder when done.