The Vault Regulars

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Down Socks

As we push our limits on weight of backpacking gear some ultralighters tend to stray beyond the normal boundary to achieve that increadability.
Take sleeping bags just as an instance. We look at what the manufacturers are offering and check the specifications of extreme temperature range and balance that against the overall weight.

Sometimes we pick a bag that in all respects does not do quite meet the temperatures that we may encounter but it meets the weight limits we set and therefore we overcome the deficiency in performance by wearing some of our day gear or that ultralight down jacket when night temperatures fall.
Whilst down equipment is very expensive, it is necessary, to keep the bulk of the rucksack as small as possible.
So, for long distance treks like the Scottish TGO challenge walk coming up quite soon, The KIMM or the OMM or for the odd weekend away these down socks may be just what you are looking for to enhance your kit.


These are Made by Ringsted Dun A/S of Denmark
'NOMITE' and OEKO-TEX 100/1000 certified.  Allergy and Asthma Safe Washable at an incredible 60°C.
In the UK they are sold by the Feather Company, London

I called the company and asked for permission to use the above photograph and had a chat with a very nice lady about the product and My Blog. She was very pleased for me to use the picture and to post a link.Link to website

The socks are available for Ladies (one size 5-7) and Men (one size 8-10).  Packaged in a white cotton drawstring tote bag, allergy safe and washable at 60°C/Tumble Dry. 
For the outdoors the supplied tote bag can be changed by yourself to a small dry bag.

On the down side, no pun intended, these down socks are not made specifically for the outdoor scene and the outer covering is down proof cotton rather than a water resistant material such as Pertex. 
But that doesn't mean that they cannot be used as part of a lightweight sleeping system. Hence me sharing this with you here.
On the up side is the cost:-  £27.00,  which makes a purchase well worth considering. 


Most of us use a dry bag for compressing sleeping bags in the rucksack and therefore if you keep these socks inside the sleeping bag for transporting, then their is no need to go to the expensive offerings from the more usual outdoor kit suppliers.
There is also the possibility of spraying the cotton with something like Fabsil if you think it necessary, but my feeling is to try them first.





31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Less is more.

http://www.goosefeet.webs.com/

The Odyssee said...

Hi Anonymous.
Less is more! Well more or less anyway.

Thanks for that link. I had seen these before but they are £37.50 at todays rates and then you have postage from US and import duty so all in all a bit more expensive than a lot of folk are want to pay. I try and show value for money kit rather than just what is available at places like backpackinglight or outdoor magic etc.
It just makes it a little more diverse.
thanks.

Mac E said...

Good Find Alan, at £27 well worth considering. Although I have the Goosefeet socks I too enjoy finding useable kit from outside the backpacking arena.

The Odyssee said...

Hi Richard,
I try and find items which are not mainstream outdoor kit because we have all seen it. And then pass them on.
Sometimes items like this show up and it can bring costs into perspective and give people a chance to buy something that they may not otherwise take the plunge for.

Phreerunner said...

Alan, I appreciate that everyone is different, but I can't believe that anyone would need down socks on a summer backpack like the TGO Challenge. Either keeping daytime socks on or using some thin liner socks should be more than sufficient to keep feet warm on such a trip, even on a cool night? As for winter backpacking, surely it's wise to take a winter bag, which should be nice and warm, even with your boots inside it....

The Odyssee said...

Hi Martin,
Yes we are all different. My sheila would wear these in the middle of summer.
Really my point is and i have read it so many times this year, that ultralight backpackers are pushing the limits to extremes. So where they should use a 3 season bag they will use a 1 season bag and supplement the lack of insulation by wearing a light down jacket and socks. Some even wear down pants in Autumn. The jacket is taken purely for dual use purposes.
And to be honest Martin i do know there are many people who use down socks in Autumn.

The Odyssee said...

Martin, I should have added this.
I may have the wrong person here and i apologise if i do but i am sure i remember Peewiglet bought a pair of Down trousers for last years TGO. If it wasn’t PW then it was somebody else.

Tony Bennett said...

I've played this game before and in the end it's as light to take a decent 3 season down bag! They do look very cosy though :)

The Odyssee said...

hi Tony,
They do don’t they. There’s nothing worse than cold feet and if you are a person who can never get warm feet they will do the job for sure.

afootinthehills said...

I use a 3 season down bag and probably wouldn't need these....but someone not a million miles away might find them very welcome! A reasonable price tag too.

Thanks for going to a fair bit of trouble to show us these Alan

The Odyssee said...

Thanks Gibson for your comment. A good price tag i agree. If you are a cold footed person then it has to be better to wrap your feet snugly than go for a heavier bag, with the extra bulk also.

afootinthehills said...

By the way Alan, Peewiglet had PHD down boots on the 2009 Challenge so obviously some people do need such things. I think they are about £70!

The Odyssee said...

Cheers Gibson,
Down boots and down trousers for a summer walk.
So my post should be met by a few happy pockets maybe. Lol

Phreerunner said...

Ah, so it's a woman thing! PW may have needed all that stuff to go around interviewing people who were snug in their tents. And she uses bothies, which I agree do need warmer kit than that required by those of us who stick to camping.
I'm the one hopping around camp in the Rab 400 btw.
Actually, I can see that the booties may be handy for high Alpine or Himalayan trekking, as well as for use in bothies...

The Odyssee said...

Hi Martin,
No, I don’t think it is just a woman thing. When we tried out the new Scarp 2 out in Late Nov. It was -7C, i was glad of a warm pair of thinsulate booties during those long dark evenings.
I also have a Rab but i think its a 300, i will have to check. Memory’s going you know.
Like you said earlier. It’s not everybody’s choice. But that’s the crux of the matter. I am just showing a different choice to mainstream gear with ultimately better prices if i can find them.

Phreerunner said...

And you provide an admirable service to the less narrow minded (?ha!) amongst us, Alan. Keep it up old bean!

The Odyssee said...

Yes my bag is a Rab summit 300 no zip. Temp rated -2C weight 820g.
Maybe i need a new one. Lighter 550 - 600g , -5C maybe. It never ends does it.
Some new gear to try soon. Well new to me, not new to the world.

Phreerunner said...

Mine's a Quantum 400. Worth each of its 920 grammes. I've an old ME Snowline (I see they still make it) for winter use.
[I don't think I'm so weight conscious as you are Alan!]

The Odyssee said...

I find getting the weight down a challenge. I think i am losing the body weight challenge though.
Yes a good bag the 400.
I like to keep up with technological changes in materials and quality if i can afford to. Not easy. I also own a Pointfive mountain bag which got an airing this winter.

Mac E said...

I use down socks quite often as my feet are often cold, that said I use a PHD Ultra Minim bag and supplement that with a down jacket I'd be carrying anyway so for me there are weight benefits in carrying down socks and jacket with a very light sleeping bag plus there's the versatility benefit if you like that sort of thing.

That I use a light sleeping bag and CCF mat supplemented by clothing to reduce weight yet refuse to change from my Phreeranger tent when I've owned and sold both a Laser and a Power Lizard must sound bizarre but that's what makes me happy :-)

Philip Werner said...

I wore down socks on last years challenge and they were a great comfort. I've never written about them before because they were a top secret test pair from Black Rock Gear (I now have permission), but after spending all day with wet feet they were nice to snuggle into in at night in my down bag. Luxury, yes. So what!

afootinthehills said...

Mine is also Rab 400 Quantum and as you say Martin, worth every gram.

The Odyssee said...

Richard,
When i wrote this post i was thinking in your terms. Thanks

Philip, Thanks for dropping in. You are lucky getting some to test. I agree with your findings. Black Rock have not released them yet as far as i am aware but i bet they are a lot more than £27.

Gibson, Martin. I do like Rab gear, In fact i have quite a bit. But it’s never the lightest but it’s dependable.

Phreerunner said...

Ah, Philip - you have a good point - down booties may well be a useful item to carry if you get wet feet. Personally, wet feet quickly give me 'foot rot', so I don't subscribe to them whilst backpacking (except during river crossings in bare feet or crocs), and, like Mac E, I stick to an old tent - the fully waterproof and breathable Phreerunner, obviously, in my case. Worth every gramme, or should I say kilo(s)! But isn't it about time someone produced an updated version using lighter breathable fabric? I just can't believe the number of backpackers who seem resigned to putting up with condensation in their small one-man tents, though my own lightweight tent, the redoubtable Karrimor Marathon - does also suffer, but the Nallo sheds it quite well.

The Odyssee said...

Martin,
I am with you all the way on the tent issue as you know. But! i have now given up hope of any manufacturer doing one. It will probably have to be somebody like Henry Shires/MLD or similar cottage manufacturer to have the vision to do one.

Phreerunner said...

Alan, I must get back to lobbying Terra Nova! They do the Gemini, for two people, but it's heavier than the Phreerunner. They have been obsessed with the weight of their one-man tents, culminating in the Laser Ultra 1. Perhaps now is the time to suggest that some people may be happy to carry a slightly heavier but more comfortable condensation free product. I'll email Sharon now!

The Odyssee said...

The laser ultra 1 is a ridiculous tent in my opinion.
The price is beyond the average person in the street and only suitable to those who have money to burn.
Certainly not within the scope of me or my friends, and as for the young it can only be a dream.
I will be interested to hear what TN have to say about an eVent tent. Cheers Martin.

Anonymous said...

hi do you know how heavy a pair of these down socks are in mens large ta peter munro277 on twitter

Alan R said...

Anonymous,
These booties weight 220gr per pair. Not the lightest that are out there, for example PHD booties weigh 90gr but i am not sure if this is one or two boots. The PHD cost £72. So in reality these are not a bad buy.

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