I recently read a review for Baffin Borealis double boots. True winter hiking boots that are relatively light, waterproof and have a removable liner? Sound quite nice! If I snowshoed or used non-technical traction devices or even general use crampons, I’d be tempted to get a pair. But I have no need for them as my winter activities of choice take me on skis.
The reviewer noted how the insoles are made of reflective material to help keep the feet warm.
I thought it was interesting as a dirtbag favorite for winter is similar to these high-end boots. The technique? Take some of the reflective material found on sun visors for windshields, trace some insoles and place these reflective insoles into your shoe for a bit of added reflected warmth.This material is commonly called Reflectix as a general name. Many cold weather stalwarts swear by this tip and similar uses to help keep warm esp. when not moving.
The steps are simple as advised by most people:
- Grab some reflective material from a sun visor.
- Trace an insole on said material.
- Place in a shoe under the insole. Still radiates heat apparently and lasts a little longer when hiking.
Now, I have not done it this way myself.
When moving I generate a lot of heat, and I’d rather use VBL socks personally. The Reflectix would work as a partial VBL except my primary insulation socks would be damp on the bottom instead of just the liner.
However, when stationary I did notice this tip worked rather well with my down booties. Much how it works for me to supplement my winter sleeping pads.
So my personal spin on this tip: I’d save the DIY insoles for when stationary in camp. Add them directly to the top of your regular insoles, or your camp shoes of choice, and I think you’ll find your feet to be a bit warmer for a minor weight penalty when backpacking. Naturally, this tip works well when camping, or even pulling a sled, when weight is not quite as critical. Obviously, if you are prone to very cold feet when moving, give the tip a whirl on the move. As mentioned, some people swear by it.
My feet get very cold at night, while sleeping. Do you think it would help to put the Reflectix in my sleep socks?
Simpler and more efficient might be using a VBL system instead. Just make sure you air your feet some point in the morning. Another solution that is effective is simple down booties. Finally, A light fleece around your feet and at the end of the bag also can work.
Yaktrax ‘Thermal Insole’ might be a choice for a pre-made winter insole. Can be a little difficult to trim to size. Denver area: Surplus Store on Broadway-North of Hampden, Shoe Dept. $4.99.
Quick check shows them at Cabelas and Amazon as well..but every seller has them out of stock. :O
Quick buy: Surplus Store w/about 5 left in stock yesterday Jan 8. Used them last winter and needed a fresh pair.
A good tip for those in Denver metro area. May not be as handy for others.
I have done the DIY Reflectix insoles with hiking boots, and agree that they are best for in camp. They wear down quickly when hiked on. Does give a noticeable boost to temperature.
The feel of the Yak Trax insoles is better (not as noisy) and I think they last longer, but I’m definitely not against dirtbagging it!