Bushwalking Equipment | The Ideal Camp / Hut Shoes

There is nothing like stepping out of you hiking boots at the end of a long day into something more comfortable. Need to go outside in the middle of the night? What are the alternatives?

I’ve just come back from a few weeks in NZ, and during this time decided that, despite what others might think of me, the time was right to buy a pair of  Crocs.

Crocs Yukon Sport

NZ huts require that you remove your boots before entry and either leave them at the entrance or in the drying area. In the middle of the night, “the call of nature” may require a 25m walk through the bush; hardly something you can do in your socks, and without waking the whole hut, putting on your heavy wet boots is not an option.

What should you look for in the ideal hut/camp shoe?

  • comfortable
  • lightweight
  • compact
  • non-slip sole
  • adaptable for emergency use
  • waterproof
  • drain easily
  • quick drying
  • reasonably thick sole
  • long wearing
  • stop on your feet

I want to be able to wear my camp shoes on the trail,  cross rocky creeks in them if needed, AND use them in the hut or around my tent.

What are the options?  

Thongs/flip-flops, Crocs, neoprene or fleece booties, thick socks, Dunlop Volleys, Vibram FiveFingers shoes…. I’ve seen them all and each has their supporters. Unfortunately, none of these will satisfy all your needs and so each becomes a compromise, decided by personal preference and your environment.

Dunlop OC Volleys

I have used neoprene boots in the past. These are lightweight, compact but have thin soles which make them unsuitable for rocky ground and they don’t dry or drain easily.

Fleece boots are great in a hut; warm, lightweight, reasonably compact, but unsuitable for outside use.

Thongs are compact, lightweight, cheap but lack grip and slip easily off your feet.

Volleys have their ardent supporters and meet most of the criteria, but are reasonably heavy, get dirty easily and don’t dry quickly; not really what you want in a hut.

Vibram FiveFingers (VFFs) are new on the scene, lack a thick sole or heel and imitate barefoot walking, which is something that most of us don’t often do. Take care, they use muscles and parts of your foot that you have probably neglected. They are not the sort of shoes you can put on and walk for kilometres without previous experience.

Crocs meet almost all criteria, except they are a little bulky!

  Creative Commons LicenseThis article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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