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#201137 - 06/08/18 08:09 AM What's your water crossing technique/method?
willie1280 Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/17
Posts: 35
I've got a hike in Alaska coming up in August and i have 4 streams i need to cross. Most of them are only a few yards wide, but i for surely have 1 that'll be at least 30yds wide and waist deep. I have crossed streams before and know how to do so safely, but i'm curious how others do it in terms of clothing/footwear/gear.

Do you take your socks off and wear your hiking boots/shoes? Do you strip down to your undies (for deep water crossings) and go? Do you hoist your pack above your head?

These are the types of things i'm curious how others do it.

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#201140 - 06/08/18 01:32 PM Re: What's your water crossing technique/method? [Re: willie1280]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6538
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
For me, that stream would be a no-no because I am short with short legs, so for me it would be armpit depth or worse. In other words, for me it's a trip cancellation issue.

I hike in breathable trail runners, just splash through stream fords and walk the shoes dry. The shoes will be mostly dry in an hour or two. Wearing merino wool socks helps, since they feel dry and warm even if still damp.

Be sure everything in your pack will stay dry even if the pack is immersed!

No doubt you'll get lots of other options in this thread!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#201144 - 06/08/18 02:50 PM Re: What's your water crossing technique/method? [Re: willie1280]
4evrplan Online   content
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 720
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Pretty much what OM does. If my shoes are still wet at bed time, I'll take out the insoles so they dry faster.

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#201145 - 06/08/18 03:02 PM Re: What's your water crossing technique/method? [Re: willie1280]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2956
Loc: Portland, OR
The strength of the current is a huge issue in waist deep water. Personally, I would not attempt a crossing of such deep water unless it was very slow moving, such as you'd find in a slowly meandering stream at the mostly-level bottom of a U-shaped valley. The main criteria for me is safety and a too-strong current can be a killer.

If the crossing can be made with reasonable safety from being swept off my feet by the current, I like having trekking poles to steady me as I cross. Go slow is the watchword in deep water. Your hiking partner(s) should not be crossing deep water at the same time you do. Only one at a time is best.

Since truly waist deep water would immerse the bottom of my pack, I'd most likely have all its contents stowed inside a waterproof pack liner, to keep them dry. Your sleeping bag should NEVER be put in danger of wetting out. If any of your pack is immersed it will increase the surface area exposed to the current and increase the drag you'll be fighting. Get it as high as you can out of the water.

I would most certainly wear my hiking footwear while crossing. The last thing you want to do when crossing a stream in a remote area is to land your bare foot on something sharp or jagged. Muddy bottom can hide sharp sticks or stones. Clear, but uneven and rocky, streambeds are bad enough without adding a foot injury mid-stream to your list of concerns.

I generally do remove my socks before crossing, if it will be my only stream crossing for the day. If there are multiple crossings, I just walk through.

Taking all these precautions will increase the safety of your exposure, but waist deep streams are never going to be anything but dangerous. Good luck!

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#201161 - 06/11/18 07:35 AM Re: What's your water crossing technique/method? [Re: willie1280]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1171
Loc: Florida panhandle
I've taken three approaches, depending on circumstances.

1. If I know I'll be hiking through longer distances of water such as a flooded trail (not unheard of here in Florida) I'll wear footwear that drains well and slosh on through. I've found that in shallower water (less than knee deep) it's better to shuffle through as picking up the feet results in everything getting soaked. Shuffling minimizes soaking one's shorts.

2. If I think it's only a stream crossing or two, I'll carry sandals. I've used various brands but I believe Xero makes the lightest.

3. If I feel unsafe for any reason I turn around. I hate doing this when I've traveled far for a hike but I'd prefer my epitaph not read "he made a deliberate and stupid choice for no good reason".

Enjoy your trip!

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#201165 - 06/11/18 03:51 PM Re: What's your water crossing technique/method? [Re: willie1280]
willie1280 Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/17
Posts: 35
I haven't submerged my Salomon Ultra 4 Mid GTX's yet, so i'm not sure how well/quickly they would dry out.

I was thinking of bringing some croc's for around camp, but i'm not sure those would say on securely for a water crossing to serve dual purpose.

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#201166 - 06/11/18 04:12 PM Re: What's your water crossing technique/method? [Re: willie1280]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6538
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
My experience with Goretex lined footwear is that once it gets wet, it takes several days to dry, even in hot dry conditions. They also turn my feet into a sauna, causing blisters. I'd rather have well-ventilated footwear that dries quickly, and forget anything to do with Goretex.

I've tried wading with sandals, Crocs, and water shoes, and found that none of these supported my feet properly during dicey fords where stable footing is critical. If you insist on wearing the Goretex boots, I'd suggest supportive trail runners for fording, despite the added weight. If you wear them without socks, then they should fit your feet well without socks. Wool socks will keep your feet a bit warmer in cold water, though.


Edited by OregonMouse (06/11/18 04:14 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#201167 - 06/11/18 04:13 PM Re: What's your water crossing technique/method? [Re: willie1280]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2956
Loc: Portland, OR
GTX stands for Gore-Tex, eh? That's why I don't purchase hiking footwear with waterproof liners. Instead I have "waterproof" (well, to a degree) neoprene socks I can wear inside my trail runners when the weather turns wet.

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#201216 - 06/21/18 10:53 AM Re: What's your water crossing technique/method? [Re: willie1280]
HPD Offline
member

Registered: 12/22/16
Posts: 61
Loc: Colorado High Plains
I've always taken water shoes (without socks), which I also use as camp shoes. They tend to have a grippy sole unlike some other options but they are heavier than Crocs or sandals. I hang them on my pack after using them and they usually dry out. If not, I give them a little help by loosely stuffing pages from whatever I'm reading inside the shoes. Best to use the pages you've already read. wink

I've never crossed anything as deep as what you're describing. Waist deep, 30 yards wide sounds daunting. If for some reason it's flowing heavier, could be a real challenge. Colin Fletcher wrote about crossing the Colorado River in his "1,000 Mile Summer". If I remember correctly, he used an inflated trash bag to keep his stuff dry and as flotation. He also did it naked, which could be an issue in Alaska.

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#201406 - 07/19/18 02:01 AM Re: What's your water crossing technique/method? [Re: willie1280]
Billy02 Offline
newbie

Registered: 05/18/18
Posts: 8
Loc: Dallas, TX, USA.
I try to wear dry fit if i know i have to cross streams, and usually when crossing i takeoff my shoes, and i carry crocks as they are light and rubber so i just use them instead of getting my boots wet and then wait for them to dry.

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