APPLICATION to Test Oboz Yellowstone hiking boots - Lyon
- Please accept my application to test the Oboz Footwear Yellowstone
hiking boots. I have read the BackpackGearTest.org Bylaws v. 0609,
the Appendices, and the BGT Survival Guide., and I shall follow all
requirements. This test will not conflict with any of my other
current tests (listed below) nor impose too heavy a report-writing
burden. I've always submitted my test reports on time and I shall do
so with this test. I have a signed Tester Agreement on file.
Male, 61 years old
6' 4" (1.9 m) tall, 200 lb (91 kg)
Dallas, Texas, USA
rlyon AT gibsondunn DOT com
Personal Information and Backpacking Background: I've been
backpacking for 45 years on and off, and regularly in the Rockies
since 1986. I do a weeklong trip every summer, and often take three-
day trips. I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes 5000
to 13000 ft (1500 - 4000 m). I prefer base camp backpacking, a long
hike in with day trips from camp, but I do my share of forced
marches too. Though always looking for ways to reduce weight, I'm
not yet a lightweight hiker, and I usually choose an extra pound or
two over foregoing camp conveniences I've come to expect.
Background Applicable to This Test: As I strive to lighten up I've
been looking for an alternative to the full-grain leather boots that
I have been wearing. Recent experimentation has produced some
promising candidates but no clear winner. The mid-height style of
the Yellowstones matches my personal preference and suits my
backpacking style. Much of my hiking and backpacking is done in and
around Yellowstone Park and outside Bozeman, Montana, for which Oboz
is named and which Oboz claims to have inspired its design
philosophy. I like investigating and working with small, new
companies, as my reviews of gear from ULA Equipment, Nunatak,
Mystery Ranch, and r2 Custom Packs attest.
Size: Men's 13
Testing conditions. I have backpacking in the Texas Hill Country
and Utah planned in March and April. I hope to add a Yellowstone-
area trip over Memorial Day weekend, and have booked a week's
vacation in the Yellowstone area in July. Temperatures in Texas can
vary from near freezing to 90 F (32 C) or higher; Utah in mid-April
should be in the 40s F (5-9 C) at night and 70s F (21-24 C) during
the day. Montana and Yellowstone in May should be slightly warmer
than that. Once the summer hits daytime temperatures up to 100 F (38
C) are certain in Texas and possible elsewhere, with dusty trails in
both places, a fine environment for testing breathability.
Spring is the rainy season in the Rockies, and mud from rain and
snowmelt presents a constant hiking hazard. June is North Texas's
monsoon season. I expect to test Oboz's claimed waterproofing
Hiking and backpacking will be mostly on trail, which in the
Yellowstone area includes plenty of rocks, a few scree fields, many
stream crossings, and the occasional old paved jeep road. I expect
some bushwhacking to get to the better fishing holes. My July trip
is to the Slough Creek area of the park and we have planned a couple
of long off trail day hikes from our base camp.
When carrying a backpack I almost always hike with liner socks and
mid- or heavy wool or wool-blend socks. If I can do it without
blister risk, I shall try the Yellowstones with a single pair of
socks when carrying a day pack in warmer temperatures.
If chosen I'll also wear the Yellowstones on my regular day hikes
here in Texas.
Test Plan. I shall look for the following in the Yellowstones:
Fit. This is by far my most important test criterion. With a narrow
heel and a large foot I'm not an easy customer to fit in a shoe.
But no one's feet are standard. Several features listed under
the "Our Technology" tag on Oboz's website appear to be directed
toward a proper fit: external heel counter, B-fit insoles, radial
fit system, and gender specific fit. The insoles and gender-
specific fit are of particular interest. I'd really welcome a boot
that doesn't require the extra fitting and cost of a custom footbed
or other orthotic (which I usually must add) for a secure and
comfortable fit. How will the gender-specific fit work with my
narrow ankles? When properly fit out, will the boot roll with my
ankle rather than letting my foot slip about in a loose heel? I
shall check these boots' ability to keep my foot firmly in place in
Protection and comfort. Are these boots really waterproof to the
point where I can "cross streams" in them, as Oboz claims? Can they
handle a Texas-sized thunderstorm? How quickly will the boots dry?
Will they retain proper fit when they are wet or after they have
been soaked? Do they become waterlogged and heavy when wet? Will
Let's not forget the other means of soaking boots perspiration.
How breathable are these boots when worn during normal hiking, with
and without a backpack? Will the B-Dry Membrane (Oboz's proprietary
waterproofing) wick perspiration that builds up through, or will my
socks have to absorb it? How will this vary with the temperature or
Will my feet stay warm in colder temperatures without having to use
a second pair of socks?
Is any break-in period needed and if so how many miles?
Capacity. How much arch support do these boots provide when used
when hiking with a full backpack? This will be a closely watched
(closely felt?) test when I wear the boots with a heavier
backpacking load. Do these boots have enough support for me to hike
with a 35-pound (16 kg) or larger pack?
Durability. Is the nubuck leather robust enough to protect by feet
from injury during rock scrambles and bushwhacks? How well will the
stitching and materials fare in these conditions? How robust are the
Traction. What kind of traction do the special lug pattern and Z-
GRIP rubber provide on the various surfaces I expect to encounter:
pavement, dry trails, mud, dry and wet rocks, and streambeds?
Versatility. Will the Yellowstones be suitable for heavier loads
yet not be overkill for day hikes?
Care. How easy is it, at home or in the field, to clean these boots
thoroughly enough to eliminate all grease and dirt, or at least
enough to avoid extra weight or discomfort? What's the appropriate
cleaning agent? Will cleaning adversely affect fit, protection, or
durability? Is any care needed to avoid build-up of odor in the
shoes or footbeds? If there's a build-up how can it be treated?
Tests in Progress: I have four tests in progress. All but one will
conclude by April 8: r2 Custom Backpack (LTR just submitted);
MontBell UL Down Parka (LTR stage); Red Ledge Exile Softshell (LTR
stage); ScotteVest High Performance L/S Tee (FR stage).
Pending Application: Ryders Eyewear Adrenaline Intersect
Selected to Test: None
I have completed thirteen test series (one on trail runners) and
have submitted thirty owner reviews (one on boots). All these
reviews are collected at