Category Archives: Out Afoot: Stroll, Ski, Scramble, Snowshoe

Everything about getting around on two feet.

Isn’t It Time You Sno-Sealed Your Boots?

You waxed your car. You painted the deck. You brushed the dog. But when did you last Sno-Seal your boots?

by Tamia Nelson | February 11, 2019
Originally published in different form on November 11, 2012

I like leather boots. And when I find a pair that fits, I want to keep it going as long as possible. Farwell has some work boots that have been resoled five (or is it six?) times. But they’re old-style boots, made back in the day, when every small city boasted at least one cobbler and it was no big deal to get a pair of boots resoled. Those days are long gone, of course. Ours is now a use-it-once-and-toss-it-away economy. True, most modern hiking boots are good for more than a single outing. But just try getting a worn pair resoled…

Still, there are a few things you can do to get the most out of your investment in footwear. You can treat the leather with a preservative from time to time, for instance. I use Atsko Sno-Seal. It … Continue reading »

It’s Hunting Season! How to NOT Look Like a Deer When Biking and Hiking

Every year there are unfortunate incidents during hunting season, and this year is no exception. A mountain biker on a popular French trail was shot and killed by a hunter who mistook him for a deer. So do your bit to avoid a similar tragedy, and that does not mean having to stay out of the woods.

by Tamia Nelson | October 19, 2018

In France, close to the border with Switzerland, a 34-year-old mountain biker was shot dead by a 22-year-old-hunter while the cyclist was riding a popular mountain track. The hunter is reportedly suffering deep shock, and his father claims that the young man mistook the cyclist as a deer. This tragedy is a sober reminder to all cyclists and hikers who take to the trails during hunting season to do what you can to avoid “looking like a deer.” I don’t know of any deer who wear “hunter” or international orange clothing. (I have never seen a deer that rode a bike, either, but that’s another issue.)

Most of the year, I’m … Continue reading »

Gaiters: The Great Cover-Up

The gulf between boots and pants looms large in cold weather, but gaiters can bridge the gap with ease. But they’re not only good at keeping out the cold, as Tamia points out.

by Tamia Nelson | April 20, 2018

Lug-soled boots are my first choice for winter footwear when I’m not using snowshoes or skis. An aggressive tread and the support that only stiff uppers can give improve the odds that each step will be sure-footed. But there is a problem with hiking and mountaineering boots. They don’t rise above the ankles, and this leaves the lower leg vulnerable to soiling and wetting, not to mention cold. No matter. I have gaiters. They’re not exactly a new idea, either. Backcountry and high country trekkers have worn them for generations. Townsmen used to wear them also. )Sam Weller, the cheerful cockney who rescued Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers from obscurity, was described as “wearing light breeches and gaiters.”)

So gaiters have stood the test of time. Little more than a fabric tube that reaches from ankle to … Continue reading »

Smoothing It: Secrets of a Happy Camper

Camping can be great fun, but the fun fades fast if you’re soaked, bug-bitten, hungry, or tired. A few days of misery like that, and you’ll find yourself daydreaming about the traffic jam on the way to the office. You don’t have to rough it when you hit the trail, though. Here Tamia tells you how to smooth your way in the wild.

We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home.…
—Nessmuk (George Washington Sears)

by Tamia Nelson | August 10, 2004

Some folks like roughing it, or think they do. I did, once. My dream of a good time was hanging like an addled bat from the flank of a knife-edged ridge and snatching forty winks in a gale-buffeted tent, while waiting for the next avalanche to sweep down off the towering heights. So when my first long camping trip proved to be a never-ending ordeal of sodden clothes and blood-sucking flies, I shrugged off my … Continue reading »