This year I have spent a number of days hiking and fishing the Yellowstone backcountry. These trips have ranged from short hikes with steep, rugged terrain to long distance hikes that covered moderate terrain. I've found that having a boot for each situation works the best for me, much like our need for multiple rods.
A couple of the hikes that involved more difficult terrain were the rim of the volcano on the Gibbon River and up the Gardner River to the Sheepeater Cliffs. Both of these involved traverses and scrambles up steep scree fields off trail. For situations like these I wear my Korker K-5 Bomber. This boot is all about ankle support and like its' name, it's pretty bomb proof. While wearing these I have never been worried that I might roll an ankle. This isn't something you want to happen while alone in the backcountry. One of the best features of this boot is its' 5-ply padding system. The extra padding in the K-5 feels great when doing a steep downhill that puts a lot of stress on your feet and knees. The extra weight from the padding is the only reason I don't wear these for extremely long hikes.
When it comes time to cover a few extra miles in a day, I switch into my Korker Devil's Canyon. This may be the lightest wading boot I have ever had on my foot. Korkers' shaved weight on this boot by using a very light weight, rubberized synthetic outer material. When covering a lot of miles, the weight of your boot is a factor in how far you can travel in a day. Every pound of weight on your foot is equal to putting 5 pounds on your back. The lighter the boot, the more miles you can cover before becoming fatigued. This was the boot I chose to wear when I hiked into Bannock Ford. The round trip covered about 9 miles. I would have felt much worse at the end of the day if I had wore a heavier boot. Being so light they also make you nimble on your feet, hence our the nickname \"The Ninja Boot.\"
There is one other reason I prefer Korkers wading boots over some of the other brands. The interchangeable soles. When I hike into an area to fish I use the Kling-on rubber soles. Once I have reached my fishing hole, I switch into the felt sole that I have carried in my pack (the soles are extremely light and don't take up much room). This gives me the best traction for each situation and doesn't wear down my felt soles. If you enjoy back country fishing or find yourself hiking into your favorite honey holes, I highly recommend you check out these boots.
Enter your number below to receive new, up-to-date river reports from Montana Troutfitters.