Author Topic: Tips for crossing streams?  (Read 10949 times)

legs-o-lead

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 988
Tips for crossing streams?
« on: 14:35:15, 27/11/15 »
Walking on Dartmoor in winter means crossing some fast flowing streams about 10 feet wide, and a max of 2 feet deep. Taking spare shoes/Crocs/sandals to change into/out of at each river seems too slow/laborious. Jumping from slippery rock to slippery rock is fraught with risk of serious injury/fall/getting totally soaked, and the thought of just wading across in boots (sans socks or otherwise) is anathema as I don't want to spend the rest of the walk with wet/cold feet..... has anyone tried plastic bags/gaffa tape or variants? Are there any other tips ? Out with friends last weekend we spent 40 minutes trying to find a suitable place to cross the River Walkham near Dead Lake as it was in full flood. Has anyone got a reliable strategy ?
Courage doesn't always roar like a lion. Sometimes courage is a small voice at the end of a long hard day saying "I'll try again tomorrow".

mike knipe

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2883
Re: Tips for crossing streams?
« Reply #1 on: 15:12:43, 27/11/15 »
I usually remove boots and sock and put some cheapo sandals on...  just like you don't want to do! This is great providing you don't forget to take your boots across, which is what I once did - crossed that river 3 times altogether. Chilly!  You used to be able to get some heavy duty polythene "wet waders" which I once used on a TGO challenge - crossed the River Feshie in them and they were great. You'd have to google to see if they're still available. Unfortunately I put a hole in mine whilst chucking them across the river for my son to use (I weighted them with rocks..dhuhh...) Wet waders went up to just below the knee and tied at the top to stop overflows and they went over your boots, so very little faffing about. There was a weight penalty, though.
Some kind of happiness is measured out in miles

See the blog!  www.northernpies.blogspot.com

legs-o-lead

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 988
Re: Tips for crossing streams?
« Reply #2 on: 15:47:30, 27/11/15 »
Hi Mike, that is exactly the sort of thing I was thinking of... plastic bags or something similarly light, foldable and (ultimately) disposable. I didn't realise there was a specific product out there to suit the bill though.... I will google it now I know.
Cheers
P
Courage doesn't always roar like a lion. Sometimes courage is a small voice at the end of a long hard day saying "I'll try again tomorrow".

Slogger

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1582
Re: Tips for crossing streams?
« Reply #3 on: 16:02:49, 27/11/15 »
River Feshie! We failed big style to get across to the bothy. Managed to get across most, from island to island, but could not get across the deep and fast flowing last twenty foot or so wide channel. We had carried a bag of wood for a fire in the bothy and didn't want to carry it all the back round via the bridge that we had crossed earlier, so threw it all piece by piece onto the far shore.
We back tracked then walked up the other river bank to the bothy, then went to collect the wood. This was around a couple of hours after trying to cross. It had all been washed away, the river had rissen around 2 -3 feet!

fernman

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3147
Re: Tips for crossing streams?
« Reply #4 on: 22:15:44, 27/11/15 »
There's a USA manufacturer sells Wiggys Waders which they say are under 1 lb weight per pair, they'll come up in a search. I heard about them in a backpacking blog (I'm not sure it would be appropriate for me to name it here) whose author has taken them on TGO Challenges.

oodboo

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 47
Re: Tips for crossing streams?
« Reply #5 on: 07:22:51, 28/11/15 »
Just thinking cheap and disposable here but has anyone tried rubble sacks? I don't think bin bags would be durable enough but rubble sacks are pretty tough, weigh next to nothing and are cheap.

Roburite

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 71
Re: Tips for crossing streams?
« Reply #6 on: 10:09:14, 28/11/15 »
I used to take some supermarket carrier bag on one of my regular walks. The stream was just too deep for my boots to cope with. I slipped them over my boots and held them up by the handles which meant I had to take the few steps across in a half crouch. Of course free bags aren't available any more but a couple of "bags for life"  may be worth the expenditure.

youradvocate

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2360
Re: Tips for crossing streams?
« Reply #7 on: 10:10:28, 28/11/15 »
This happened to me this August in France, the muddy water just burst through over the footpath in front of me, about 12 - 15' wide and about knee height. Very scary at the time and no alternative route, other than to go back. I took my boots and socks off, hung them around my neck and then waded across wearing my flip flops. The most important tool was my walking sticks, they gauged the water depth, helped me to locate any deep underwater holes (there were none) and helped me to steady myself against the strong water flow. I could feel the earth and stones moving under me.

A couple of years ago in the Lakes, whilst trying to leap from rock to rock without walking sticks aid, I slipped and fell in up to my knees, something I never want to repeat. For me, nothing worse than wet feet, wet socks and wet boots, especially when it is raining hard at the time anyway! In addition to normal socks I also carry a pair of trainer inserts with me, it doesn't fully solve the problem but with these and a pair of dry socks it certainly helps when errors are made.

legs-o-lead

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 988
Re: Tips for crossing streams?
« Reply #8 on: 10:14:14, 28/11/15 »
There's a USA manufacturer sells Wiggys Waders which they say are under 1 lb weight per pair, they'll come up in a search. I heard about them in a backpacking blog (I'm not sure it would be appropriate for me to name it here) whose author has taken them on TGO Challenges.
From a Google search it doesn't look like these are availabe from UK sellers... anyone know differently ?
Courage doesn't always roar like a lion. Sometimes courage is a small voice at the end of a long hard day saying "I'll try again tomorrow".

Summit

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1176
Re: Tips for crossing streams?
« Reply #9 on: 10:42:39, 28/11/15 »
This is a tip from my military days. First and easiest was Berghaus yeti gaiters. Put simply if the river is deeper than the top of these the current will usually be too strong to cross in winter anyway. Second buy some army surplus NBC over boots like these. http://www.johnsonsofleeds.co.uk/shop/en/boots/205-nbc-protective-over-boots.htmlPut them over your boots and tie them as tight as possible around the ankle. Put your gaiters over the top of them. Fit these small bungees originally used as trouser ties by the forces over your gaiter before the top of the over boot. http://www.cadetdirect.com/trouser-twistersThis is not perfect but should keep you dry for most crossings.
BURN FAT NOT OIL

Summit

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1176
Re: Tips for crossing streams?
« Reply #10 on: 10:47:39, 28/11/15 »
Best tip I ever learned was to find the longest straightest widest stretch of water from your map. The same volume of water is passing each part of the river at the same time. If it's straight then you are more likely to have an even depth as apposed to corners that always have a deeper bank due to camber.


The widest is obvious too. If the same volume of water is made to go wide it will usually be shallower. The river bed is also more likely to be firm because the power of the water has not been able to push the bottom away or it would be deep rather than wide.
BURN FAT NOT OIL

Mel

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9936
Re: Tips for crossing streams?
« Reply #11 on: 11:54:57, 28/11/15 »
Yeti gaiters?
 
Having said that, I've crossed streams in my Trekmates gaiters and not had wet feet or legs - the water has been about mid-calf deep.
 
... summat to do with water pressure creating a seal between the gaiter and the boot I think  :)

fernman

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3147
Re: Tips for crossing streams?
« Reply #12 on: 13:46:55, 28/11/15 »
From a Google search it doesn't look like these are availabe from UK sellers... anyone know differently ?
The blog author probably ordered them direct from the Sates, he seems to buy a few items that way. My experience when trying to buy something (different) that was only available from USA is that many suppliers wil not ship abroad, while the carriage is high with those that do. You also have the possibility of Customs duty and VAT being charged at this end. However, as a lot of things are cheaper in USA than here, it can still work out comparable.

Youradvocate's mention of using his poles to locate any deep water holes brought back a memory from years ago when I was in a fishing match on the middle Thames which was swollen and rose alarmingly through the morning, till the match was abandoned. Three of us at the upstream end were cut off, and waded across the fields behind us towards higher land. Suddenly one of our trio totally disappeared in the water, leaving just his hat floating on the surface. He had unknowingly stepped into a big hole in the field. He climbed out spluttering but laughing, even though he was soaked through. Fortunately we used to keep a bag full of spare clothing on the coach for such situations.

Trenchfoot

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3778
Re: Tips for crossing streams?
« Reply #13 on: 14:02:34, 28/11/15 »
if you're not alone, then draw lots, the loser has to then 'piggy back' the others across.  ::)
roll on the weekend

Strider

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1261
Re: Tips for crossing streams?
« Reply #14 on: 15:19:21, 28/11/15 »
 ;D

Good point about finding the widest straight section....

A pair of rubble sacks sounds like the way to go.
Not all those who wander are lost