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Every person who falls in love with a piece of gear will inevitably reach a moment where they have to make a decision. Even the best kit wears out eventually, and the day will come when we have to decide: Is now the time to replace it, or do I try and squeeze one more season out of an old faithful?
Let’s face it, new kit is fun. And, if it really is the time to replace a worn out boots or leaky waders, there’s nothing better than placing an order for a brand new pair. After all, everyone likes getting something in the mail.
On the other hand, it may not be the right time to lose an old friend. Tried and trusted, you know your current boots, shoes, or waders fit properly and have performed. It can be hard to let go of that peace of mind. We think there are a few ways to get one more season out of 5 critical pieces of gear.
And a few reasons why you might not want to give them up just yet...
Sometimes, let’s be honest, it just feels a little wasteful. We all want to make our time in the outdoors sustainable and using our gear for as long as we possibly can feels like it’s right in line with that.
New gear can be expensive. And depending on what you’re looking to replace, it can be very expensive. Why not use that cash to take a hike somewhere new, or cast a line in a stream a little farther away? The cold beer at the end of the day will taste so much better knowing you’ve got some time before you have to spend more on some new gear.
One of the nice things about old gear is that you just know it will work for you. It’s been with you through thick and thin. It’s formed to the contours of your foot, stretched where it needed to stretch, and that old worn look is something to covet. When you get new gear, that break-in period can feel a little daunting.
Whether you’re being proactive or you’ve run into a little issue that needs to be addressed, extending the life of your boots, shoes or waders might be easier (and cheaper) than you think.
When we created our waterproof socks over 25 years ago, we knew the applications and use of them would be varied. However, our community has found so many creative ways to use waterproof socks as life-support for other pieces of kit. As we start off the new year we thought we’d share a few of them here.
No one likes water in their waders, but it’s not uncommon to discover your waders aren’t keeping everything out.
We happen to think waterproof socks are a perfect option to stretch one more season out of your waders. The great thing about waterproof socks (or at least Sealskinz waterproof socks) is that while they are 100% waterproof, they also provide all the functions of a normal sock like keeping you warm, wicking moisture away from your skin and overall making your feet comfortable for long days on the river.
We’ve created waterproof all weather and cold weather, and extreme cold weather socks so you can find one perfect for any temp to keep you protected and provide that extra layer between leaky waders and your foot. Plus, you can choose a knee length version to provide optimum protection if you know you’ll be out longer or will be more active.
Running shoes are definitely one of those pieces of gear that are hard to say goodbye to. They fit perfectly and have taken you over many miles. But a hole in your running shoe can really be a dealbreaker.
Not only do holes provide space for water to seep in and soak your feet, they also are a way for dirt and grime to sneak in, often working its way through normal sock fabrics and causing friction.
Waterproof socks can help prevent both of those problems. You can stick with a warm weather or all weather sock that not only keeps you dry, but is incredibly breathable once your feet start to heat up. Choose an ankle sock if you only face puddles and wet grass, or a mid length sock if you foresee wetter or rainy conditions.
While good hiking boots can last years, sometimes you’ll find they just aren’t providing the same level of protection as they used to. Boots soaking up water or wetting out can be a serious issue on the trail or work site. But, sneaking one more season is definitely a possibility if you choose the right sock...
While a good sock is a must-have for hiking or a long work day (I’ve never met a person that likes blisters,) a sock that can also provide you with comfort, support, warmth and waterproofness, is a game changer when your boots are worn out.
Gaiters can be a necessary piece of equipmentI year round. Snow is the primary offender here, so gaiters are most often worn for that purpose. But during the drier seasons gaiters can keep gravel, dirt, and other material out of your footwear. But what if your gaiters are losing their rigidity? Slouching gaiters that won’t stay up can be a real problem, but it doesn’t mean you have to toss them out just yet.
You can definitely still wear them for the extra abrasion and scratch protection around your ankles as well as cinch them up at the top to keep debris out of your boots. However, if you pair your gaiters with a waterproof sock, you are adding protection against any snow or water that sneaks into your less-than-optimal gaiter height.
Despite best efforts, it only takes one misstep for your crampons to poke or tear a hole in your expensive shell or softshell pants.
While some choose glue on patches or to apply a sealant, you might be better off with a pair of waterproof socks instead. You’ll want to get a sock height that extends above the hole in your pants in order to have an effective barrier against any water or snow that comes in..
There are a lot of options for extending the life of your gear, and you should choose the one best suited for you. We couldn’t be more proud of the wide range of benefits the Sealskinz community gets out of their waterproof socks. So, next time you have to make a decision about replacing a key piece of your kit, consider if you might be able to get just one more season out of it with a pair of Sealskinz.<.a>
See you out there.