It was early January and I’d been lured into a three-day winter camping trip in Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park. This was no walk in the woods, as they say. Temps were below zero and we had 22 kilometers of backcountry terrain to ski before setting up camp.
On this kind of trip, getting out of your ski boots at the end of the day is almost crucial. But hauling in extra boots is so heavy and burdensome that many people just tough it out and tramp around camp in wet socks and three-pin boots all evening.
That’s when a product like Montrail’s new Bivouac Booties can become really valuable. These lightweight booties are, basically, for lack of a better term, technical slippers.
They’re stuffed with Primaloft insulation for warmth. They weigh 5 ounces apiece and come with a stuff sack for packing. And the ankle area has a tight rubber closure that keeps the snow out.
In the tent, you wear only the soft inner booties. When it’s time to step outside for some stargazing, pull the outer bootie on like galoshes and the Bivouacs are transformed to durable, waterproof shoes with studded soles to prevent slipping.
During my Quetico trip, I was the envy of the entire camp after putting on the booties the first night. My ski boots sat by the fire drying as I tromped onto a frozen lake in search of wolf tracks and the Aurora Borealis.
There are cheaper alternatives than $75 slippers. One guy on our trip brought waterproof socks along for use at night. But they lacked the warmth and durability of my booties. He also had to leave them by the door of the tent after coming back inside to avoid tracking snow on our gear. I simply pulled off the outer bootie at the door and slipped into my sleeping bag for a night of head-to-toe peaceful, warm sleep.
Montrail, 1-800-647-0224, http://www.montrail.com.