POST - Patagonia Vagabond Boots Field Test Report - [James Triplett]
- Okay - I'm impatient! I posted this over an hour ago and it hasn't shown
up... so I'm sending it again. (Usually when this happens it shows up on
the Yahoo! message page... but it isn't there either, so that is why I am
sending it again.) I apologize in advance if there is a duplicate post.
Please find below the text for my Patagonia Vagabond light-weight hiking
boot Field Report. Also, the complete report can be viewed in the test
folder at one of the following links.
Thanks in advance for the edits.
James E. Triplett
Locations and Conditions:
I have used the Patagonia Vagabond light-weight hiking boots for all my
hiking since receiving them. This has included daily hikes in the private
woods near my home in Eastern Iowa, hikes in the Faulks Heritage Woods,
Squaw Creek Park, and Pinicon Ridge Park, all also in Eastern Iowa, and
three overnight backpacking trips in the aforementioned areas. I estimate
that I have worn the boots for approximately 100 miles (161 km).
Temperatures have ranged from a high of 65 F (18 C) at the beginning of
the test period, to a low of 13 F (-10 C) during a recent trip. The
Vagabonds have been exposed to mud, rain, heavy dew, ice, and snow.
Elevations have been around 860 feet (262 meters).
Performance, Fit and Comfort:
As I reported earlier, the Patagonia Vagabond boots fit nicely and seemed
exceptionally comfortable to slip on. I have used the boots exclusively
with the stock insoles, which seemed adequate for short hikes around my
home. Taking a longer backpacking hike in to a camping area at Pinicon
Ridge Park, however, yielded different results. With a pack weight of
approximately 30 pounds (14 kg), and hiking about 8 miles (13 km), my feet
grew tired and the arch support of the boots seemed lacking. My feet felt
hot and flat. This has happened on three different occasions when going
for similar distances. As I move into the Long Term testing phase I
intend to experiment with some off-the-shelf insoles which are thicker and
have better arch support. Ankle support offered by the Vagabonds is
adequate, and in fact more than expected given that these are rather light
weight boots. Traction with the Vibram Ecostep soles has been good on
dirt, muddy, and snowy trails. The boots slip somewhat on wet rocky
conditions, but no more than what I have experienced with other lugged
The canvas uppers have worn well and resisted staining for the most part.
As can be seen in the pictures, when the boots are wet the canvas
discolors, but it generally restores itself to near the original
appearance when the boots have dried back out. When wearing the boots
through some tall, dew-soaked, prairie grass, the boots kept my feet dry.
I have also worn the boots through standing water when there was no way
around it on a particular trail, and found the Patagonia Vagabonds to be
waterproof as advertised. Snow has also not presented a problem.
One surprising development with regards to the durability of the boots is
that the laces have broken on both boots. The lace on the left boot broke
between the third and fourth pair of eyelets when I was lacing them one
morning. I secured the broken ends together with a square knot, but the
casing of the laces was still detached. Shortly thereafter the lace broke
again in a spot near the original break. I don't fault the laces for this
since the casing was not in tact, and only the inner cord was holding the
laces together. But then the right lace broke, and the left lace broke
again, this time in an area where the lace had not been compromised. I
have had laces last for years and was disappointed that the laces on the
Vagabonds seem to be inferior.
I have worn the Patagonia boots with one sock layer consisting of cotton
blend socks when it was warmer out, followed by SmartWool and Thorlo wool
socks as temperatures dropped to freezing and below. I have found the
boots to insulate fairly well in the cold temperatures, yet not cause
excessive heat buildup on warmer days.
Field Testing Summary:
The Patagonia Vagabond boots are holding up well, with the exception of
the broken laces, through this first phase of the testing process. The
boots are quite comfortable and offer decent support for a lightweight
boot. I will try some more supportive insoles during the long term test
to see if they aid in comfort on longer backpacking trips. Overall the
fit and comfort have been first rate, and there was no break-in period
required prior to heading out on a backpacking trip.
The Long Term Report will be added to this report after approximately two
more months of testing. Please check back then for details on how the
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