Baffin Snow Monster boots

I have received a pair of Baffin Snow Monster boots for review from Baffin.  These are part of their Epic Series of boots, and if taking them out of the box and inspecting them gives me any indication, I know why they are part of the “Epic” series!  Details can be found on their website: Snow Monster boots

IMG_20151209_181324715

The website gives the below in their description:

  • Temperature Rating: -70C/-94F
  • Liner: Removable, multi-layer inner boot system featuring a waffle-comb foot-bed
  • Base: Arctic Rubber Shell, EVA Midsole, Polar Rubber Outsole
  • Speed-lace fastening with toggle
  • Contoured insulated leather
  • Waterproof seam-sealed upper with snow collar

I have always wondered how they come up with ratings such as “-94F”.  Pretty sure if it’s colder than about -20F, I’m not going outside at least for very long!  I have been icefishing at -14F with a stiff wind running down East Grand Lake in North Eastern Maine and I was glad to have good boots at the time.  I have used a host of different pack boots and hunting boots and just from my initial perusal, these boots will be as warm or warmer than anything I have ever used before.  The removable liner is well made and the snow collar won’t let anything down in there to get your feet cold and wet.  I also noticed the “waffle comb footbed” upon removing the liner.  Very unique concept that should work well keeping a layer of insulating air under your feet.

IMG_20151209_181725589

Next I noticed how aggressive the tread is on these boots.  The boots sport Icepaw Design pads on the sole which is supposed to “contact point grip on ice”.  They should perform very well in the snow and hopefully on ice while snowblowing, icefishing, and snowshoeing this winter.

IMG_20151209_181347557 (1)

One interesting feature is the “speed-lace fastening with toggle” which replaces standard laces.  I put the boots on quick to verify basic fit and I noticed it seemed difficult to tighten the boots really well and when as tight as you could get them, you ended up with a long tag end of laces to deal with.  I will be figuring this out before the next installment and will report how this all works and how the boots fit and function while getting active.  The sizing seems true to form although I probably could have gotten a size bigger and had a little extra room for heavier socks, although I don’t think you would need them. There are no half sizes available.

I look forward to putting these to the Maine winter test!

1/10/16 Update

Well we FINALLY got some snow here in Southern Maine!  About 6″ fell and I was quite excited to try out the Baffin Snow Monster boots.  It was fairly cold too, which helped assess the insulating properties.  I am hoping our lakes freeze good soon though so I can REALLY test out how warm they keep my feet.

I put the boots on while getting ready to snowblow our driveway.  The first and really only concern I had with these boots is the lacing apparatus.  It is a cord, similar to paracord, that you cinch up with a toggle.  I had concerns that the boots would not be tight enough and then, what do you do with the excessive lacing that is left hanging?  I stuffed it in the top and forgot about it.  I’m still not sure what you are supposed to do with the laces in terms of how they were designed, but they work I guess.  As to them being tight enough, I wore them to snowblow our large driveway and around the house, then drove two towns over to the inlaw’s and jumped on the tractor and snowblowed there too and the boots never felt loose nor did my heels slip.  I am very happy with how they fit and also how non-bulky they felt despite being a large pack boot.  Other brands I have had have been very wide and make driving somewhat difficult as it feels like you are going to hit the gas and brake at the same time.  These were narrow enough so they didn’t feel that way.

Grip in the snow was amazing.  I never felt unsteady or like I was going to slip.  They also kept my feet warm the whole time I was out.  I wore light weight SmartWool type socks and never felt my feet get cold.  I am not sure I have room for bulky wool socks, but honestly I don’t think I would need them with the insulation in those boots!

Now hopefully we will get more snow and ice so I can snowshoe with the Snow Monster boots and stand on the hardwater catching fish soon!!  Pray for the DEEP FREEZE!!!

3/20/16

This winter in Maine has been quite strange.  My biggest opportunity to test boots like the Baffin Snow Monster is when I go ice fishing.  I only got to go three times this year.  The final time was fairly warm so I didn’t even need a pack boot.  Backpacking boots worked just fine.  What I WILL say is that the Baffin Snow Monster boots are WARM!!!  I was very impressed with the fit, despite the lacing issue I will talk about later.  Traction was fabulous and I never felt unsteady in the various snow conditions here this winter in the driveway or on the ice.  I was able to attach MicroSpikes to these as well in case of bad ice.  I have one issue with this boot, and that is with the lacing system.  Essentially you grab hold of the laces which are attached together at their ends, and you pull as hard as you can to tighten them, then slide the cord lock down as far as it will go.  It is very difficult to get the middle section of the boots tight.  Despite this, I didn’t have issues with my feet slipping though.  It is possible this could become an issue as the insulation compresses over time.  Then there is the most baffling Baffin feature: What in all tarnation do you do with the 12″ of laces once they are tight?  I stuffed it in the snow gator area, but seriously, this is an oversight by the manufacturer in my opinion.  You just don’t have anything to do with all that lacing!  They should look into the speed lacing wrap product that is on the market designed for the military.  You haul up on the laces, but then you wrap a flat nylon tube that houses the laces around the cuff of the boot and it velcros to itself.  That would solve the problem.

In closing, apart from the lacing issue, these are very high quality boots that are a step above most pack boots I have used over the years.  They are VERY comfortable and warm and should work great if we get a colder longer winter next year (PLEASE!!!).

 

Chris D