Gadling gear review: Bogs Jamison Boots

When packing for a trip, one of the most important decisions we make is what shoes to bring along. Usually we know that we’re going to be busy, and on our feet a lot, so comfort is always a consideration, but versatility doesn’t hurt either – especially if you prefer to travel light. That’s why the Jamison boots from Bogs are such a great choice for active travelers, as they manage to be stylish and comfortable, while providing plenty of protection from the elements, at the same time.

Bogs has built its reputation by designing boots that are rugged and tough, which has made them a favorite in workplaces ranging from farms to construction sites. But the Jamison is one of their first attempts at creating a hiking shoe, and in that arena I feel they get mixed marks. While these boots are more than capable on the trail, I believe there are better options out there from companies that specialize in hiking boot, as these felt a bit heavy and cumbersome while on extended hikes.

That said, the Jamison boot brings a lot to the table that does make them easy to recommend for travelers. As noted several times already, they are quite comfortable to wear, even over an extended period of time. They’re also completely waterproof, which comes in handy whether you’re caught in a sudden rainstorm or visiting a destination well known for its inclement weather. These shoes also happen to be plenty warm as well, which make them an ideal choice for cold weather adventures. But be warned, I did find them to be almost too warm at times, although I fully admit that my feet tend to run hot anyway.

While putting the Jamison boots through their paces, I was impressed with how well they handled the wear and tear of regular, day-to-day use. While it took very little time to get through the initial break in phase, my pair continues to look like I just took them out of the box. This speaks volumes about the build quality of these shoes, which seem like they’ll be accompanying me on my travels for years to come.
I was also impressed with how these boots continually provided sure footing, even on wet or uneven terrain. While I mentioned above that they wouldn’t necessarily be my first choice for a hiking shoe, they are still a good option for short day hikes, handling rock, mud, and snow with equal aplomb. That means they’ll be even more stable when worn around town, and they actually look good at the same time.

When I travel, I almost never take more than two pairs of shoes with me on any given trip. I prefer my footwear to be multi-functional, which is part of the reason I ended up liking the Jamison boot so much. I think they make an excellent travel shoe for anyone that values a solid mix of comfort and versatility. Bogs has designed a shoe that is quite adept at protecting our feet from the elements – something that can’t be overstated – while still looking good at the same time. What more could you ask for out of a travel shoe? How about a great price too? The Jamison boots cost just $108, making them a great value as well.

On my feet: shoes & boots I’m wearing this fall

Fall is a sad time for feet. After months of fresh air, getting shown off in flip flops and enjoying their day(s) in the spotlight sun, it’s now time to cover them up for cold and inclement weather. Inspired by our very own Pam Mandel’s post on her favorite boots for the season, I thought I’d pass along some tips of my own by sharing with you what I’m wearing on my feet this fall. When it comes to footwear, style and fit are subjective, but I feel pretty comfortable recommending these shoes to you because they’ve kept me and my feet very happy.Teva Mush Frio Lace Canvas

I wore the Teva Mush Frio Lace Canvas shoes (pictured above) during my time in Quito this summer. While it was May, it always feels like autumn in Quito (it was in the 40s and 50s most days). The Frio is based on Teva’s popular Mush flip flop, which also happens to be my favorite sandal of all time. Like its sandal sibling, the Mush Frio is incredibly light and fantastically comfortable while remaining supportive. I’ve spent hours doing urban walking in the Mush Frio and experienced none of the back and foot pain that I typically feel after a day of sightseeing. They pack down easily and weigh next to nothing, making them perfect for travel, too. They’re not waterproof, which is a bummer, but they are quite possibly the most comfortable closed toe shoe I have ever worn.

The Teva Mush Frio Lace Canvas shoes are $50 and can be found on Teva’s website or at outdoor retailers.

Keen Targhee II Mid

When you think of Keen, you probably picture the classic Targhee in your head. It’s the look that Keen is known for, with the rubberized bumper toe that Pam mentioned in her post. She’s not a fan of that style, but on that we differ (sorry, Pam!). I opted for the Targhee Mid II because I wanted a proper boot rather than a low top shoe. It’s been great for fall hikes, as well as walks with my dogs and helping my grandmother with yard work. It’s a practical hiking boot that can double as a work boot. They’re waterproof, which is perfect for fall, though they are not lined, so they won’t suffice as winter boots. That said, the deep and aggressive tread make trudging through mud a breeze and they’ve been incredibly comfortable no matter how I’ve used them.

The Keen Targhee Mid II boots are $130 on Keen’s website and can also be found at most outdoor retailers.

Tretorn Stråla

For rainy days in Ney York City when I need boots that keep my feet dry but also look good dressed up a bit, I love my Tretorn Stråla ankle boots. I don’t enjoy rain boots that go up to my knees. That’s why I love the Stråla’s low profile and the fact that I can continuously aim for puddles while I walk (just as fun as when I was a kid) and keep my feet dry. They’re not lined, so they will be retiring to the closet once the temperatures dip closer to freezing, but for now, they’re perfect for nights out on the town when the weather is wet but the event is more formal.

The Tretorn Stråla ankle boots are available for $65 on Tretorn’s website, as well as department stores and sites such as Zappos (where you can often find them on sale for under $50).

Blundstone 261

Lastly, when I’m dressing up, I still like to wear shoes that are durable and, more importantly, comfortable. I’ve had Blundstone boots before (they’re the Australian boots that aren’t Uggs). They’ve finally started selling low top shoes, so I jumped into a pair of the 261 suede shoes the minute I saw them. They’re fashionable, sure, but because they’re made by Blundstone they’re also designed to be supportive and comfortable no matter how many hours you stay on your feet. Blundstone is known for the slip on boots and these shoes maintain the same design. A pull tab in the heel makes them easy to get on and the elastic sides allow them to stretch as you move your feet. This flexibility makes them infinitely more comfortable than most dress shoes and means that they’re perfect for wearing all day and into the evening.

The Blundstone 261 suede shoes are $120 at REI and other retailers.

If you’re going to put your feet away this fall, you might as still make them feel special.

Kickass Boots for Fall and Winter Travels

I’m so not girly when it comes to style and I won’t wear heels, I just won’t. I don’t care how cute they are, I’m not running for a train or to the bus that’s pulling away from the stop while I’m wearing heels. No way. That doesn’t mean I don’t like cute shoes, I do, and I really like it when it comes to fall and I have an excuse for new winter boots.

Here’s the sacrifice I’ll make, given my boot fetish. Boots are heavy and they take up a lot of space in your bag. They’re a hassle in the airport, getting in and out of them in the security line is a drag. But if there’s bad weather — wet or cold conditions — I want my feet to be warm and dry. I’ll wear my boots on the plane or I’ll figure out how to get them in my bag. I can be really resourceful when it comes to packing. And often we’re on bad weather weekend getaways in the Pacific Northwest so I can just toss my boots in the car. That means I can take two pairs, if I’m so inclined.

Here are three styles I like this fall, all from different brands.

I love my Bogs (picked up at hardware store in Forks, Washington). Whenever I wear them, I get compliments. And my feet are wildly happy in them. They’re comfortable, they keep my feet warm and dry, they are great for winter beach walks and stomping around in snow and just dealing with relentlessly wet city days. Adventure cruises often give you boots to use while you’re on board but I love these so much that I packed them for my trip to Antarctica. I was the only person who wasn’t crew that had their own boots. Crazy, maybe, but my cabin mate complained the whole time about her boots while I was at home in mine. It was totally worth the space and the weight. The boots I have list for $100 on the Bogs site, I paid about $75 for mine. They come in a bunch of colors and patterns.

Keen makes those bumper toed sandals that I’m not crazy about, style wise, but they make a lot of other stuff too. I tried to fight it, but I’m becoming a convert to their shoes because they keep my feet happy. I’m wearing Keen’s Silverton for stomping around my city this fall. They’re insulated and waterproof. I can vouch for how warm they are, but I haven’t yet had a chance to see how dry they keep my feet. My sense is that they run just a little small — I wish I’d got a half size bigger, but after just a few wearings, they’re relaxing nicely and are fast becoming my favorites for the season. The styling is a bit like a clog meets a wellie, chunky and solid, but I like that look. They’re built to walk in, too, and that matters a lot in a shoe you’re packing for travel. They retail for $170, they come in brown and black.

Teva is probably best known for their sport sandals but they’ve got a full line of hikers and casual shoes as well. I’m totally digging their new Vero boot. It’s a little bit like a Converse high top fell in love with a pair of Sorels and they had a love child. They’ve got that “I’m off to harness the dogsled” look about them, but they’re nowhere close to the weight of a pair of Sorels. (I have a pair of those and trust me, that is more boot than you want to drag across the planet. I’ve done it.) The Vero is insulated and waterproof and ready for snow. And I think they’re cute as all get out, great for hanging out at the lodge after that day on the slopes, but also, for swanning about the city doing holiday shopping on those biting cold days.The Vero retails for $180 and comes in five different colors.

Photo: Fall by Istelleinad via Flickr (Creative Commons).

SkyMall Monday: Top 5 products for hurricane season

Here on the East Coast, Hurricane Irene made for quite the weekend. First, we braved the hordes of crazy people in the supermarket (no one needs that much peanut butter), then the torrential rains and, more than anything, the constant barrage of media hype. Thankfully, we’re all safe and accounted for here at SkyMall Monday headquarters. However, we’re now well aware that hurricane season is underway and still has weeks to go. That’s why it’s time to make sure that you’re prepared. By now, you should have flashlights and batteries (and to the people who needed to buy them this weekend, why didn’t you own them already?), but there are plenty of other items that you should own to ensure that you’re prepared for the next month or so of tropical weather. Here are the top five SkyMall products you need for hurricane season.5. Monet Rain Boots (pictured above)

When the weather is bad, it doesn’t matter how ugly you look so long as you stay dry. Since it doesn’t matter, you might as well be the ugliest.

4. Make Your Own Truffle Kit

There’s a good chance that your local chocolatier will be closed during storms so they can hoard their confections for their own family. Fear not, however, as you can easily whip up some emergency truffles. Disaster has never been so decadent.

3. The Spectator Umbrella

Let’s go right to the product description:

When not providing rain protection, it can be converted into a seat cane with a comfortable 13″ wide leather strap seat by simply spreading the handles.

You want to stay dry as you brave the storm, but you also want to relax once you get to the shelter and using the cots that they provide just sounds unsanitary.

2. Women’s Waterproof Rain Cape

Over the river (which is flooding over its banks) and through the woods (which is full of fallen trees), to grandmother’s house you go (because she’s outside of the evacuation zone and still has electricity). Ponchos are so last year and jackets are cliche. This hurricane season, it’s all about capes. Just look out for the big, bad wolf (or, you know, downed power lines).

1. Testosterole Sexual Enhancer

You’re going to be spending a lot of time inside the house with no TV, internet or electronic entertainment options. Eventually, you’ll want to have some fun with what’s underneath that cape. [Note: I would have posted the product description but it’s painfully long and includes the word “secretion,” which makes me very uncomfortable.]

Stay safe out there, kids.

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.

New travel gear from Outdoor Retailer

Last week, Salt Lake City played host to the latest Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, a bi-annual event that gives outdoor gear and travel companies the opportunity to unveil their latest creations. The expo is jammed packed with row upon row of backpacks, boots, climbing gear, and other items for the outdoor enthusiast and world traveler. Here are five great items that debuted the show that may find their way into your pack the next time you hit the road.

CamelBak All Clear Water Purification System
CamelBak, the company that specializes in hydration systems and water bottles, has introduced a new water purification system that uses ultraviolet light to kill 99.9% of the bacteria, viruses, and protozoa that lives in water. The device connect to the top of the included bottle, and with the touch of a button, it goes to work, making your drinking water safe to consume. The All Clear operates on rechargeable batteries that are good for 70 uses between charges, cleaning up .75 liters at a time. The lamp is rated for 10,000 cycles as well, meaning it will last for years before needing to be replaced.

The All Clear will be available next February with an MSRP of $99 and is ideally suited for travelers headed to destinations with tainted water or backpackers hiking through the backcountry on an extended trek.

Adventure Medical Kits World Travel
Adventure Medical Kits have long set the standard for lightweight, yet well equipped med kits designed for all occasions. They offer ultra lightweight and waterproof kits that are perfect for adventure racers, and they have a line of med kits for the world traveler too. The kits are recommended for travel in remote, developing countries, where travelers have the potential to be hours away from a doctor, and they come equipped for nearly any situation. There are a wide variety of bandages, treatments for blisters and burns, medications for stomach ailments, and so much more. In fact, they’re so well stocked, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without one.

The World Travel medical kit is available now with an MSRP of $70.
Adidas Terrex Fast R Solo
One of the surprises for me at Outdoor Retailer was the impressive line-up of gear coming from adidas. The company that is well known for its athletic shoes is moving into the outdoor market in a big way, beginning with their Terrex Fast R Solo hiking boot. The design on the Fast R is so impressive, it looks like it was sent back in time from the future. It is lightweight, rugged, and comfortable, and perfect for hikers looking to go fast on the trail. With a specially designed sole that was built for performance, even in wet conditions, and a Gore-Tex lining, the Fast R is poised to become a favorite amongst travelers and backpackers alike. Depending on your destination, this may be the only shoe you’ll need to take with you.

The Fast R Solo is due out this fall with an MSRP of $195.

The North Face Havoc Performance Layer
As you would expect from a company like The North Face, there was a lot of gear on display in their OR booth. But what really caught my eye was the new Havoc jackets for both men and women. These versatile mid-layer garments are designed to move with you, whether you’re on the trail or just hanging around town, giving you the comfort and temperature control you need. Both versions of the Havoc will keep you warm and dry in inclement weather, but are also built to breathe and offer ventilation when needed as well. This is a lightweight, highly packable, technical jacket that will work well on it’s own over a base layer or as a mid-layer under a shell.

The new Havoc for men and women will be available next spring for $70.

Brooks-Range Foray 3-Season Tent
Brooks-Range came to Outdoor Retailer looking to show off their new line of four tents, each of which was very impressive for backpackers, mountaineers, and cold weather explorers. Perhaps most impressive of all however, was the new Foray, a two-person, three-season shelter that weighs in at just 2 pounds, 10 oz. That’s extremely light for a tent of this quality and design. The freestanding tent takes just minutes to assemble and comes with an optional rain fly for when the weather turns especially bad. This is the kind of shelter that is perfect for any backcountry escape and will serve you well in all but the coldest of conditions.

The Foray is due to hit stores in the spring of 2012 with an MSRP of $475.

This is just a sample of some of the many things that were on display at Outdoor Retailer. Expect more information and gear reviews in the weeks ahead.