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Patagonia River Walkers vs The Rock Grips Update

Tenkara is a great type of fishing for backpacking and securing a meal when out in the woods. This forum discusses backpacking in general and how it relates ot tenkara: fish recipes, favorite spots, ultra-light backpacking

Re: Patagonia River Walkers vs The Rock Grips Update

Postby chorpie » Sat Jan 21, 2012 12:30 am

Gotcha. And that all makes total sense. Whenever I get a chance, i'm usually hiking up to alpine lakes in Yosemite, or maybe King's Canyon/Sequoia and the waters up there get pretty chilly. I also use fairly heavy boots, and can't imagine hiking in wet boots :)

Thanks for the explanation!
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Re: Patagonia River Walkers vs The Rock Grips Update

Postby Karl Klavon » Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:52 am

Chorpie, I also live in sunny California and fish the areas that lie in between the two national Parks you mentioned. I have used two different pairs of the Bean's wading boots, and Simms L2 wading boots with the Aqua Stealth soles, plus the Patagonia River Walkers as my primary hiking/backpacking boots for years, because they were all lighter in weight and less expensive than most hiking boots of equal quality are. If you fish in your hiking boots by wet wading with them, the hiking boots will not last very long at all. The wading boots are made out of materials that do not absorb water, and they have screened drain holes to let the water that gets into them drain out. They do pick up some additional water weight, as do your socks if wearing traditional socks, but not near the weigh a pair of hiking boots will pick up if you wear them in the water.

The wading boots I mentioned did just fine on the trails and I do a lot of cross-country travel in my fishing at golden trout elevations -10,000 to 12,000 feet and sometimes a little higher, with moderate to fairly steep rock climbing in places, and with some old and new snow conditions thrown in as well, and they have all done well in all of those conditions. I do still have a pair of Mendel Perfect Hiking boots but I do not use them at all for fishing, since my fishing almost always means that I will be standing in the water at some point in a fishing day, and often for hours on end.

I have never had the Aqua Stealth soles wear out, and that was over the life span of one pair of hiking boots and 3 pairs of wading shoes over a period of time approaching 20 years or more. The top of the boot went first in every case, with one boot coming apart in between the mid-sole and the sole as glue failure. But by that time the upper was also pretty well shot and it was time to get a new pair of wading boots anyway. The comment about boots lasting only a single year applied to professional guides, who subject their boots to far more use in a single year than the average fisherman will over a period of from 3 to 5 years.

A pair of neoprene socks, and/or quick drying fleece and moisture transport liner socks will augment your dry hiking socks for wet wading and hiking after wet wading at less weight and bulk than carrying two pairs of boots will entail. If you want, a light weight water shoe or slipper is nice to have to wear around camp in the evenings. I made a fishing trip the fall before last where I had no choice but to camp on snow. Much to my surprise my wet River Walker Boots did not freeze, standing on the snow under the fly of my tent for the very long late October night. The laces were frozen but the boots were not frozen, which made them a lot easier to put on the next morning and a lot more comfortable to hike in the next day. And since most hiking boots have a Gore-Tex liner sock under the boot lining, the difference in breath-ability between hiking and wading boots is not as much as you would think it would be. And when a stream fording comes into view, you can just march right on a cross through the water and go on down the trail with the wading boots on your feet. I prefer wading boots for any kind of fishing whether I am on a day or a multiple-day backpacking trip....Karl.
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Re: Patagonia River Walkers vs The Rock Grips Update

Postby Karl Klavon » Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:22 am

Rob, like you I prefer to hike in in the foot wear I will fish in. I guess the terrain must vary a lot from place to place because I have seen pictures of people wearing wading sandals in Colorado and now you ave mentioned them for the Pacific North West mountains. For my use around here in the central Sierra, sandals just do not offer enough protection for my feet. But if they work for you, that's great!

Here is a link for a fairly light weight and inexpensive set of hip waders:

http://wiggys.com/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=5
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Re: Patagonia River Walkers vs The Rock Grips Update

Postby rmcworthing » Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:37 pm

Karl,

Thanks for the added note on durability of Aqua Stealth. I've only had Five Ten's Stealth rubber approach and climbing shoes, both of which you just expect to resole regularly. But I'll have to give those LL Bean boots a hard look. I maintain there is no reason why a wading boot upper should not be manufactured to last greater than a year under the heaviest (guide) uses.

And thanks for the link to the waders. There have been a few posts discussing lightweight wader options. This is a great addition to the list of options for everyone. Have you tried a pair? Really curious about that advertised weight.
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Re: Patagonia River Walkers vs The Rock Grips Update

Postby chorpie » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:17 am

Thanks for the in-depth post Karl :) To be honest, I'm usually only going out during late spring (depending on snow melt) and summer, so i bring sandals with me whenever i'm packing in. I don't get nearly as much backpacking trips in with a (almost 3 year old) kid now but we're hoping to hit up Tuolumne Meadows in July, where my brother and I can try some long dayhikes up to some lakes.

It's funny, I never even learned of Tenkara fishing until I went out to Hetch Hetchy and hiked out to Lake Eleanor; got back and started Google-ing backpacking and fishing.

How is the grip in wading boots when hiking? They look like there's minimal tread on the bottom, does that pose a problem at all? I can't seem to find Simms L2 wading boots on their website. Maybe they're discontinued.
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Re: Patagonia River Walkers vs The Rock Grips Update

Postby Karl Klavon » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:38 am

Chorpie, Yes, you are right that Simms has discontinued the L2 model of their wading boots.

The lack of a deep tread pattern is not much of a traction problem on most surfaces, and it is much easier on the environment than the ground shredding tread designs most hiking boots have. There are a few things, however, that you need to watch out for, which you would also have to be aware of with the traditional Vibram soles, which is a scattering of decomposed granite or sand over smooth, polished rock surfaces, slime covered rocks and logs, wet and frost covered grass on a steep gradient, and rock hard ice anywhere.

Soft snow clogs the tread pattern on any hiking boot sole very quickly and renders them nearly tread-less for all practical purposes, almost instantly. So, for the most part, the Aqua Stealth soled wading boots will hike about as well as any hiking boot does, but they are especially good on wet and dry rock surfaces with some porosity, which Sierra granite seems to have in abundance.

A little caution will be needed in the beginning because the grip on dry rock will be so much better than what you are used to that it can trip you up a little until you become accustomed to the additional grip of the Aqua Stealth soles provide. On wet rock you can tread with impunity where angels fear to tread, again as long as the rock is not slime covered and it has some porosity. If you have any tendency to drag your boot soles over rock by not picking them up high enough to clear the ground, the Aqua Stealth soles will catch when and where you least expect it to happen. Think of the Aqua Stealth soles as friction climbing boots with a shallow tread design built into them.
In some places, on good rock, you will feel like a fly on a wall. And as shallow as the tread design is, about 1/16th of an inch deep is all, I have never been able to wear the tread away on any part of the soles on my Aqua Stealth soled hiking and wading boots over many a year's of use.

Here is a link to L.L.Beans Aqua Stealth Sole Wading Boots, and by the way you do not want the Studded soles for hiking and back country fishing:

http://www.llbean.com/llb/search?init=1 ... ding+boots

...Karl.
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Re: Patagonia River Walkers vs The Rock Grips Update

Postby chorpie » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:53 am

Thanks! I'll take a look.
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Re: Patagonia River Walkers vs The Rock Grips Update

Postby Sawtooth » Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:54 pm

I have the same good boots as others here...Simms Rivershed boots with Alumibite cleats. So far I really like them, and the combo of the soles and the cleats are like 4WD in a stream.

As for wearing waders/boots for backpacking, like some here I also look at how far and hard I'll be hiking, and how many crossings I expect. I have a multi-day trip coming up in two weeks where I'll cross a creek fifteen or so times in six miles of easy hiking. I'll be fishing my way up the creek too. For that trip I'll be wearing hip waders and my Riversheds. I take a pair of running shoes or Crocs to wear in camp.

On other high-mileage or difficult backpacking trips I wear my hiking boots and take along the Crocs for wet wading. All of my longer trips take place in the summer, so wet wading is more doable. I rigged up a simple velcro strap to keep the Crocs from slipping off my feet or the mud sucking them off.
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