After an odd couple of years which you may have noticed I’ve not managed to blog as much as I should, not just Covid but other personal issues, health etc I’m doing a quick blog just to try and get back into the swing of things.
It’s been a long time since I’ve written about walking kit, or gear as some like to call it, so I thought a nice simple but none the less essential bit of advice of how I do things, doesn’t mean to say it’s the right way but after over 3 decades I’ve picked up a few things along the way.
Boots! Or more accurately, our (me and the missus have the same boot make/model) Scarpa Terra GTX boots. In previous blogs I’ve explained that I’m not a kit guru, I find a bit of walking kit and if it work’s I stick with it. For crying out loud my base layer, a bog-standard Lowe Alpine short sleeve I‘ve had since 1995 and still use it when out and about. I used to use Karrimor KSB boot for most of the 90’s but when the old boots gave up the ghost, I found the replacement update didn’t suit my feet, not because they’re a bad make, just didn’t suit me. I tried a pair of Meindl’s which were a nice boot, but again didn’t suit my feet so after a few miles tried a pair of Scarpa’s after the missus had chosen a pair when I got the Meindl’s.
I know exactly what I like about them, the leather is soft but durable. They’re light and fit around my feet perfectly. They’re made from a really soft leather; I’ve heard it called Buck leather or something but it is still hard wearing. The only thing is they do need to be taken care of to get the maximum wear from them. So, with that in mind for anyone out there I would like to pass on how I take care of ‘our’ boots, I say ‘our’ as the missus doesn’t even know where I keep the cleaning kit.
The first thing I do takes place on the last walk we do before cleaning, I find a stream or long wet grass and clean any dirt off. Get home and the day after, or ASAP, take the laces out and get them over the sink and using an old plastic bristled pan scrubber I clean off any excess dirt. I DON’T scrub them within an inch of their lives, the bristles are just useful for getting in the knucks and crannies. Then while the boots are still damp, I squirt a grape size blob of NikWax leather cleaner onto a soft bristled boot brush. Massage the cleaner with the brush all over the boot, into the tongue area and the stitching. I then let the cleaner dry on the boot before putting the laces back in. At this point some of the cleaner will have collected in the lace loops which the plastic part of the lace will push out, I just rub the little chunk into the leather.
It isn’t a kick in the arse off the instructions on the NikWax tube but it works well for us, and unless you spend your next route trapsing through cow fields and farm yards, that clean should last about 4 or 5 walks without having to clean again.
I have walking buddies who never clean their boots and I just don’t get it, they are replacing the boots every 3 to 4 years and complain after a year when the water starts to seep in!?
Guys I’m not sponsored by these manufacturer’s and don’t sell for them, it’s just my opinion!