Best footwear for Coldwater Cave

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Best footwear for Coldwater Cave

Postby varunr89 » Feb 20, 2014 8:59 pm

I plan to visit coldwater cave, Io next month and was looking for recommendations on the best footwear/socks for the conditions.The water temps are in the low 40's and its usually ankle to waist deep. I have the appropriate wetsuit for it. I have been there once before and I'm quite certain I barely missed getting frost bitten on my feet. I was using regular hiking boots with a 3mm neoprene socks.

This time I am thinking of using a 7mm neoprene boots on top of a 3mm neoprene sock. Any comments or suggestions?

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Re: Best footwear for Coldwater Cave

Postby Moff » Feb 21, 2014 12:55 am

Dry suit, 2 pair of wool socks and rubber boots.
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Re: Best footwear for Coldwater Cave

Postby CaverCSE » Feb 21, 2014 8:13 pm

The cheapest solution I know of is to buy surplus Mickey Mouse boots (US Military Extreme Cold Boots) on Ebay... They look silly but, they will sure keep your feet warm..
Last edited by CaverCSE on Feb 22, 2014 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best footwear for Coldwater Cave

Postby Grandpa Caver » Feb 21, 2014 11:00 pm

After a long, wet, midwinter trip we were back at the cars changing clothes in the snow. A friend who had been wearing the Mickey Mouse boots asked me to hold out my hands. He poured water from the boots over my hands and it was surprisingly very warm. Those things do look silly but apparently work quite well.
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Re: Best footwear for Coldwater Cave

Postby NZcaver » Feb 22, 2014 10:23 pm

Image

I own a pair of white military cold weather "bunny boots" which are rated for lower temperatures than the black. They work great down below 0 Farenheit, and are still reasonably easy to find up here (Alaska) for around $50-$100. However both the white and black versions are heavier and more cumbersome than regular boots. I've never caved in them, but if you need to keep your feet warm in really cold caves these would be one option.
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Re: Best footwear for Coldwater Cave

Postby stx2006 » Feb 23, 2014 8:47 pm

Grandpa Caver wrote:After a long, wet, midwinter trip we were back at the cars changing clothes in the snow. A friend who had been wearing the Mickey Mouse boots asked me to hold out my hands. He poured water from the boots over my hands and it was surprisingly very warm. Those things do look silly but apparently work quite well.


So your saying these will NOT keep water out?
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Re: Best footwear for Coldwater Cave

Postby stx2006 » Feb 23, 2014 9:27 pm

Check these out. I was thinking about trying them out.

http://www.amazon.com/NRS-Work-Neoprene ... HYF9HDR5Z2
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Re: Best footwear for Coldwater Cave

Postby varunr89 » Feb 23, 2014 11:07 pm

So that 3 votes for the "mickey mouse" boots. Does anyone know a reliable place online to buy them? You can find a hell lot of cheap chinese makes of these online. Also, any idea on how the sizes run. I know that a lot of boots designed for wet use run a size larger so that you have some room for a neoprene socks and maybe a woolen one.Is that true for these boots too?
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Re: Best footwear for Coldwater Cave

Postby NZcaver » Feb 24, 2014 2:46 am

The black Mickey Mouse boots are probably the best option for warmth. The white bunny boots I mentioned before will be overkill for your needs, and the black ones may be too. The difference between the two styles is the thickness of the insulation.

Boot sizes do run a little large because they are designed to be worn with thick socks and not fit too snugly. You need a little air trapped around the feet to maximize the cold weather insulation. The boots are fully waterproof, until water comes over the top of the boot. But unlike other cold weather boots, the insulation material is sealed between the inner and outer layers of rubber. So they still insulate even with filled with water, and are quick drying once you empty the water out. Make sure you keep the valve closed on the side of each boot unless you are going to be wearing them while jumping out of aircraft.

If you really want to go with this type of boot I suggest you phone around military surplus stores in your area to see if you can find some to try on in person.
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Re: Best footwear for Coldwater Cave

Postby John Lovaas » Feb 24, 2014 5:39 am

I'd recommend 7mm booties and a pair of stout caving friendly boots that fit comfortably over the 7mm socks. I've used the Expé boots since they've been available, and folks also like Muck boots.

Whatever you choose, don't choose crappy old military gumball boots. They were ineffective in the cave in 1973, and they're ineffective today. You shouldn't trust your feet to decades old surplus- you are going on a long hike in an underground rocky-bottomed stream. That is the least suitable application for gumball boots. If the boots have a gaiter, that'll be good- the Coldwater solution is duct tape around the top of the boot.

Drysuits have never proven useful in Coldwater, given that the long walking streches out of the water will cause you to spontaneously combust. And there's the matter of the 100' ladder you descend and ascend, and the holes you risk putting in the drysuit, which will not please the drysuit owner.

Given the snowfall we've had this year, water temperatures could be low if snow melt is going on before your visit- I've measured temps as low as 37 F in the cave.

I've had frostbite on my feet twice as a teenager, and the 7mm socks have kept me comfy at Coldwater for 20 years. Have fun!
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Re: Best footwear for Coldwater Cave

Postby CaverCSE » Feb 24, 2014 4:13 pm

I really like Muck Boots or Bog Boots with extra wetsuit booties but they are very very pricy for the combo... The Mickey Mouse boots are just a cheap option that (for the most part) works for me in cold wet things... Also, I have no experience with and know nothing about "Coldwater Cave"; I though (for some reason) it was for a general wet cave with cold water...ha ha!
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