I am highly selective and proud about the gear that I use to travel. My boots, rucksack, bags, and clothing are never happenstantial chosen. Rather, I prim and ponder over all of my Travel Gear to outfit myself with the best possible equipment and supplies for the Open Road.
This is kind of a hobby to me. It is something that I am just into. I like talking about, searching for, and pondering upon the Travel Gear that I use and carry with me. I do not travel with very much gear, and what I do haul around has been carefully chosen over a period of trial and error that has been going on for the better part of a decade.
In this time I have found that a sturdy pair of boots is traveled essential. The ones that I choose to wear are a seven-eyed, fully leather set of Carhartt working man’s boots. I have been tramping in them for two years, and they have not failed, nor even faltered yet.
Carhartt makes gear that is meant to be used, beaten, and battered. They make clothing for the working man. I push my Gear to the breaking point, and I have found that my Carhartt boots not only hold up to the test of the working man but also that of the horizon struck wanderer.
When choosing travel footwear, it is my opinion that a solid pair of all leather working man boots is the best option. Hiking boots tend to fall apart surprisingly quickly, as I believe they are made for the suburbanite or the weekend hiker, and sneakers hold up on the Road about as well as a pair of Japanese grass slippers. I hike in my boots every day, and I do not want to deal with them falling apart and needing to be replaced regularly. I hate shopping. I do not like to buy things. I would rather make a purchase that will last me five years than having to completely re-supply myself yearly. I need a pair of boots that are travel worthy. I have found that hiking boots disintegrate in travel and sneakers are unmentionable worse. The Open Road necessitates a sturdy pair of working man boots.
For a couple of years, I wore a pair of Redwing logger boots while traveling. But, although these were made for rigorous use and are still unscathed, they were a little too heavy for traveling. What I needed was a cross between Redwing logger boots and a pair of hiking boots. What I found was my current pair of road-doggers: my Carhartt work boots.
The advantages of these boots are as follows:
1. They do not have steel toes- I nearly had a couple of toes freeze off during one winter night of sleeping under a pine tree in Albany because the steel in the toes of my boots got far too cold for my feet that were housed inside of them. I had to take my boots off to make my feet warmer. It seems ironic that I needed to remove my boots to warm my toes, but it is true: steel toes are perilous in winter climes. On another occasion of wearing steel toed work boots while traveling, I found my self-walking for a very long distance over a mountainous terrain. Every time that I descended a highly vertical mountain side my toes would jam up against the steel in the front of the boots, which eventually began cutting into my feet. This became so painful that I finally slung the steel toe boots over my shoulder and plugged on barefooted over the sticks and stones. Steel toed boots are not travel worthy.
2. Weight- My Carhartt work boots are very well put together, but they can not be considered substantial in the least. I think a balance was struck between the quality of materials and weight in these boots.
3. Lack of Insulation- They are not insulated, which I think is good for traveling because they do not run the risk of excessively overheating my feet while tramping long distances. This is also good because the absence of insulation cuts down on their weight and if they happened to be fully submerged in water they could be dried relatively quickly. If additional warmth is needed in colder climates, I just wear multiple pairs of socks or new insulators.
4. All Leather Exterior- The outsides of these boots are 100% leather, which is good not only because of leather’s natural durability but also because they can be cleaned, shined, and waterproofed easily.
5. Water Proof- There is a Gore-Tex like fabric liner in the boots that has not failed after two years of wear. The boots come pre-waterproofed, but I also add mink oil and polish to them at regular intervals as the leather outers are also able to be periodically self-waterproofed through general commercial applications.
6. Can be polished and waterproofed- Due to the leather exterior they can be cleaned, polished, and water-proofed quickly using regular supplies that can be found all over the world.
7. Comfortable- I have found my Carhartt work boots to be comfortable and relatively easy to break in. They do not blister my feet or make them sore. Their simplicity of design allows them to easily take the form of the foot rather than forcing the foot into a rigged mold.
8. Look worthless- My boots are old, battered, not fancy, made from a standard material (leather), and, I assume, do not look to be worth much money.
9. Durable- They are well put together with quality, stitching, right materials, and sturdy soles. These boots cannot be broken, and, in two years, I have found that they are not prone to breaking down. They are made for hard, manual labor, and, given this, can withstand anything travel can throw at them.
10. Price- Compared to hiking boots and other work boots, my Carhartts are not too expensive. $80 – $120 gets you a pair of boots that will last through five years of travel.
All in all, I have found my Carhartt work boots to be good enough for long haul trips. They stick together, are easily maintained, and have kept me tramping on over mountain, desert, and jungle for the past two years. They are comfortable, not too thick, simplistically made, and have a very general design that allows for cobblers the world over to be able to fix them if they were to need repair someday. These boots are an ancient classic; I did not think that such quality gear was still manufactured.
Carhartt work boots are for traveling.