Winter river crossing strategies

Discussion in 'Places & Planning' started by alex_roddie, Jan 25, 2019.


How would you deal with winter river crossings in the Highlands?

  1. Bare feet

  2. Crocs/sandals and bare feet

  3. Remove socks and cross in boots, then put waterproof socks back on

  4. Other…?

  1. Robin

    Robin Thru Hiker

    Personally, I’d be very wary about ever crossing barefoot especially if it was stony. Same if water was above knee level. I’m also amazed at the number of videos of people crossing without trekking poles or similar.
    edh likes this.
  2. dovidola

    dovidola Section Hiker

    Taking the time to survey for a better crossing spot often works wonders. Unfortunately, when the operation coincides with a midge attack (not entirely unheard of on a damp overcast windless day in summer by a Scottish river), the resulting decisions can be flawed...
    Chiseller and tom like this.
  3. alex_roddie

    alex_roddie Summit Camper

  4. Gadget

    Gadget Thru Hiker

    Neoprene uppers?
  5. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    Which flappy bin bag leggings won't make easier to deal with...
  6. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    I think drowning would be the better outcome in these circs...
  7. alex_roddie

    alex_roddie Summit Camper

    So, an update! The 'water shoes' I ordered were not that good, due to the fact that they were extremely slippery on river rocks. Also, the shock of the cold water against my bare lower legs was far more uncomfortable than I'd imagined in low temperatures. I only attempted one river crossing in the water shoes and after that I just waded through in my boots, gaiters and waterproof socks – which resulted in inundated socks a few times, but at least it kept my feet warm.

    The water shoes were ok as bothy slippers, but not ideal due to the drainage holes in the bottom (which meant getting wet feet a few times).
  8. oreocereus

    oreocereus Ultralighter

    Do you have a waterproof sock you liked Alex?
  9. tom

    tom Thru Hiker

    Or try neoprene socks - cheap, light, not slippery and they keep your feet warm - probably not worth to carry for the occsional crossing but for trails with frequent (cold season) crossings, I'd take those if I wanted to keep my shoes dry. Not waterproof so I wouldn't use them as camp shoes with socks...
  10. Robin

    Robin Thru Hiker

    The shock of cold water is a major factor in my using waders. I suspect that any soles are going to be slippery on rocks in rivers if they have any weed or sediment on them. I’m extra careful and use two trekking poles.

    The soles of my Wiggy’s waders are flat with a stipple effect on them and seem to have a decent grip under most circumstances. It’s also important to secure them around the ankle and under the knee. I use some velcro tapes. This mitigates any drag in fast flowing water.

    The other system I’ve used is some Reed Chillcheater waders plus Vivobarefoot shoes (also double as camp shoes). This is probably slightly more secure but is more of a faff to put on and take off. The Reed waders only reach to below the knee too whereas the Wiggy’s reach to the top of the thigh.

    TBH, I’d be really careful with water higher than knee level unless it was slow moving. That’s my experience.

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