- Gear Reviews
- About Us
- Contact Us
"Finally a down booty that has the versatility to be used in the outdoors. Feathered Friends designed the booty so that you can wear the liners inside of your sleeping bag. The exterior shell can be used alone while hanging out around camp in the backcountry. The exterior fabric is breathable enough to help dry out your socks. Combine the shell and liners for cold weather use." Features water resistant durable shell fabric, drawcords at the ankles and cuff, Schoeller stretch waterproof/breathable shell rand, Toughtec waterproof soles, removable foam insoles, 800+ Fill power goose down, and liners have stretch waterproof/breathable bottoms.
Fill Weight: 4 oz. 800+ Down
Average Weight: 9.3 oz.
I'd heard of having 'camp booties' for snow camping for a while and eventually did some research and realized that the Feathered Friends Down Booties were probably the best choice of all available. The neat thing is that you can get any color combinations you want all at the same price! There is the black bottom/sole area, then a rand around the foot, the ankle, and then the shin--so you can actually have a multicolored boot if you'd like.
Two selling points more or less 'sold' me off the bat:
1) Brand integrity - Feathered Friends pedigree with down products is unsurpassed. They make products that are used to the top of Mt. Everest, for thousands of miles on the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails, and every obscure hardcore adventure around the end of the earth. Feathered Friends doesn't change their models every year, or really often at all, only occasionally updating their shell materials as textile technology advances. Why? Because what they make works, they don't need to use marketing gimmicks to sell their products. They use the highest quality down, 800+ fill power, when other manufacturers try to get by with lesser fill powers like 500-600, which is cheaper, but provides less warmth and less compression when packed.
2) The removable 2-boot setup with a light-weight highly water-resistant shell and then the warmth providing inner bootie that contains the down. This is very helpful for allowing you to use them both around camp, but then retain their warmth for in your sleeping bag or in the tent, without having to clean them or worry about bringing snow inside.
As expected the booties met all my expectations as shown above. I ended up buying a pair they had in the store in the color Tangerine with black bottoms because I liked this color and it would save me on having them shipped to Portland (from Seattle).
The inner sole is smartly done, with a piece of easily replaceable foam providing insulation between the bottom of the down bootie and the toughtec waterproof soles. They fit well on my size 9 foot. There is some extra space but this is preferred over being slightly small. I have low-medium volume foot so for the 'average' foot it is probably spot on. Additionally the booties are only intended for use while snow camping or perhaps indoors in a ski lodge or a rustic cabin, but not where they are subjected to harsh abrasion or required to provide any semblance of stability for agile movements. That said, with care, they can certainly be used during regular camping trips in the shoulder seasons. My greatest worry would be that they get muddy and/or punctured from debris.
Use in the field:
These perhaps have been more appreciated by my wife than anyone else! We have the same foot size and they work wonderfully for us both. When we arrive at a snow camp I am always satisfied with my foot warmth from my Lowa Mountain Expert boots. However my wife gets cold feet when she stops and is more than happy to get her feet out of her tight boots and into the Feathered Friends Down Booties.
I've used them in a wide variety of conditions: wet snow, dry snow, in a rustic cabin, in a ski lodge, and in my sleeping bag for additional foot warmth. I have little to say other than that they work exactly as intended. The shell does its job and really does not get wet in my usage of them thus far. I have never noticed moisture on the inside even after using them for a few hours outside in snow right around 32 degrees. The foam insole does an okay job of stopping heat transference to the snow underfoot, but I'm never standing still for long enough for this to be a problem. It would be exceedingly easy to cut another thicker type of foam if one desired, in order to give more underfoot insulation whilst in the snow around camp.
The draw cords around the ankle and at the top (at the shin) work as intended and help to give a slighter sense of security. The top drawcord when pulled tight can uncomfortable, but assures that if one steps into snow deeper than the top, loose amounts are prevented from going down into the bootie. The ankle drawcord functions by keeping the bootie on the foot such that in deep snow, it does not give a sensation of being 'pulled off' when stepping up out of the snow.
One area they really shine at is during bathroom breaks (especially) or having to leave the tent to shovel snow. When wearing the inner down bootie, putting the outer shell on is about as easy as it gets-easier than putting a sock on I'd say! You can do it in a mere second and be on your way. The hassle of trying to get your feet into your boots, lacing them up, or forgoing lacing and risking getting copious amounts of snow into them is a thing of the past.
A feature I did not anticipate is just how wonderfully small they pack up. If I take the inner down booties out I can fold the shells+foam insoles into a very flat package. The down booties can go into a compression sack and take up virtually no space. There is a lot to be said for the broad utility of being able to change out of hiking/mountaineering/ski boots and into something more comfortable, and additionally to be able to use this for foot warmth in one's sleeping bag, which is a frequent 'cold spot' for people while camping. In the aim of saving weight while in the backcountry this type of utility really goes a long way.
In my personal opinion I rate this piece of gear as highly as I can. While it is a niche item that is not essential for backcountry snow trips, it is probably one of the first 'optional' pieces of gear I'd bring.