Author Topic: The Best VBL socks (IMHO)  (Read 434 times)

Litehiker

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The Best VBL socks (IMHO)
« on: 04:41:35, 01/03/19 »
For almost 20 years I've been using 3 mm thick closed cell neoprene divers socks as VBL socks and for warmth.


The best divers socks I've found are US Divers brand (possibly Aqua Lung elsewhere). They come in Right and Left foot shape and are so marked. Also they are factory seam sealed which is important to keep all foot sweat inside the socks.


I wear thin polyester or polypropylene liner socks beneath them and when winter camping I carry a fresh pair of liner socks for each day, putting the used socks in a zip freezer bag as they are "odourous".


Anyway, this setup has kept my feet warm and the liners/insulation of my boots dry. I've used this combination with my uninsulated Merrill GTX 3 season hiking boots and knee high GTX gaiters down to 15 F. and was warm unless I stopped moving for more than 20 minutes.


In the colder days of "Engish Drizzle" I think these VBLS would be ideal in a GTX lined boot, esp. with gaiters.

Eric B.


UPDATE:
I can see from the comments below that some are not familiar with the VBL concept. GOOGLE it and learn.








« Last Edit: 20:52:08, 01/03/19 by Litehiker »

motorlaunch

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Re: The Best VBL socks (IMHO)
« Reply #1 on: 08:01:14, 01/03/19 »
Don't understand the benefit. Is it just to stop my boots getting damp on the inside.

richardh1905

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Re: The Best VBL socks (IMHO)
« Reply #2 on: 08:15:23, 01/03/19 »
I'm not familiar with the abbreviation VBL.

jimbob

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Re: The Best VBL socks (IMHO)
« Reply #3 on: 08:34:35, 01/03/19 »
VBL in fashion terms means visible bra line. ??? ??Not sure how socks deal with that.
As for the other form of English across the pond it stands for Vapour Barrier  Liner.I.e. something that stops your sweat getting away from your body. An unbreathable fabric.
Not too sure I would ever want to walk far far with soaky,  sweaty feet.  Easiest way to get blisters, footrot and stinky malevolent extremeties.God allowed the UK  to have sheep in this dampish atmosphere for very good reason. Use of their hair for breathable,  wicking socks being one. A lump of lamb with proper beer being the other.
Too little, too late, too bad......

richardh1905

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Re: The Best VBL socks (IMHO)
« Reply #4 on: 08:49:31, 01/03/19 »

 ;D


Thanks jimbob.

fernman

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Re: The Best VBL socks (IMHO)
« Reply #5 on: 09:15:38, 01/03/19 »
VBL in fashion terms means visible bra line.

Now how did you know that?

jimbob

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Re: The Best VBL socks (IMHO)
« Reply #6 on: 09:44:50, 01/03/19 »
Now how did you know that?
It's a problem I developed when I put on too much weight ;D . The criticism you can get from your mates? in the darts team for having a VBL when you step up to the oche is hard to cope with. Luckily a few others on the team knew the solution.
Too little, too late, too bad......

Owen

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Re: The Best VBL socks (IMHO)
« Reply #7 on: 12:34:04, 01/03/19 »
I remember back in the eighties when Koflach Ultras plastic climbing boots were popular, they had inner boots which were lined with felt this soak up the sweet like a sponge. People then tried wearing vapour barrier sock to prevent their inner boots from becoming saturated and freezing. This sort of work but made for the worst possible footwear sore feet ever inverted.

Fortunately plastic boots have gone out of fashion.   

Ridge

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Re: The Best VBL socks (IMHO)
« Reply #8 on: 13:38:55, 01/03/19 »
Interesting concept as usually we would look at how well a fabric gets moisture away from you, not if it can keep the sweat in.
Over hill, over dale. Thorough brush, thorough brier....
I do wander every where

pdstsp

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Re: The Best VBL socks (IMHO)
« Reply #9 on: 15:48:28, 01/03/19 »
stinky malevolent extremeties


What a lovely thought  ;D




Litehiker

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Re: The Best VBL socks (IMHO)
« Reply #10 on: 20:49:38, 01/03/19 »
Gents,


GOOGLE Andrew Skurka and Vapor (vapour?) Barrier Liners. Andrew Skurka is the US equivalent to your Chris Townsend. Andy has backpacked many very long trails and several long solo expeditions such as Alaska where there were no trails. He has also, like Chris, written a few books.


Vapor Barrier Liners is a well known concept among US backpackers who do longer winter trips. It is an absolute necessity to prevent body moisture from soaking clothing and sleeping bags to the point that they are no longer able to insulate very well and are heavy with moisture. Vapor barrier suits, socks and gloves are used in cold weather to keep insulation dry.


The ill-fated Scott Antarctic Expedition suffered tremendously from their down "sleeping robes" accumulating body moisture at night, freezing during the day and becoming gradually more useless over the duration of the trip. Read the account. It is a series of tragic mistakes in gear selection and use compared to Amundsen's expedition.


Owen,
Those felt insulated Koflach climbing boots would have worked had you been wearing a VBL.

My warmest winter boots are Canadian made Sorel felt pacs. A felt pac has an outer boot that is rubber up to the ankle and then has a sewn-on leather 10" upper. Inside is a roughly 1/2 cm. thick felt removable felt inner boot. By the end of the day it gets very wet from sweat and loses its insulating ability. I began using commercial coated nylon VBL socks and found they wanted to migrate to my toes. Then I discovered the 3 mm thick divers socks and never looked back.
But I also more often wear mySCARPA T3 Telemark ski boots with removable foam liners.

Is anyone familiar with the US military Korean boot? Often called Mickey Mouse boots B/C of their size, they are merely felt pacs with a sealed rubber inner lining. In the Korean war soldiers had to remove them every night, change to dry socks and sleep without the boots, natch. This kept them from getting macerated foot skin and Trench Foot. These boots are Vapor Barrier boots.

THE WINTER CAMPING VBL & BOOT LINER EVENING DRILL:
1. take off insulated boots and remove the liners
2. immediately place the liners in the foot of your sleeping bag & telescope boot shell tops to keep out spindrift snow
3. remove closed cell neoprene divers socks, turn inside-out and let dry in tent for a while
4. remove wet polyester/polypropylene liner socks and place in plastic freezer bag
5. put on clean thin liner socks after feet have dried and put on thick "sleeping socks" (carry one clean pr. liner socks per day)
6. place VBL socks in foot of sleeping bag


In the morning stow the sleep socks in the clothing stuff sack and put on the VBL socks.
Place the boot liners inside the boot shells and put the boots on before the liners get cold. Now you will have warm and dry boots all day.


* If you want to make your own VBL suit buy a men's pajama pattern from a fabric shop and the necessary amount of silnylon from an outdoor fabric supplier (online) and make the suit. The top needs to be a pullover with a zippered opening and a turtleneck. Sew elastic at the cuffs and neck and be sure to seal all the seams with silnylon specific seam sealer.


You cannot rely on a sleeping bag with DWR treated down as the total answer to the vapor problem. (I know, my -20 F. bag has "Down Tek" DWR treatment snd still collects moisture.) It works for two nights and then progressively begins to fail each night after.

Eric B.


*In my experience the very best winter camping book is a little paperback called, "Allen & Mike's Really Cool Back Country Ski Book". About 50% is on camping, the rest on skiing. It is well illustrated with Mike Clelland's instructive cartoon-like drawings.
« Last Edit: 21:32:19, 01/03/19 by Litehiker »

Owen

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Re: The Best VBL socks (IMHO)
« Reply #11 on: 16:20:07, 02/03/19 »

Owen,
Those felt insulated Koflach climbing boots would have worked had you been wearing a VBL.



I was wearing VBL's, the photo was taken after a two day route on a 6000m peak in Bolivia. If you like VBL's then wear them, that's fine by me, I'll give them a miss.
« Last Edit: 16:25:32, 02/03/19 by Owen »

Litehiker

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Re: The Best VBL socks (IMHO)
« Reply #12 on: 21:57:02, 02/03/19 »
Owen,
I'm not sure what I'm looking at in your photo.
-> Are the red marks at your heel area skin rubbed raw from friction? That's not what my form-fitting neoprene VBL socks do. My left SCARPA T3 ski boot liner tends to rub the inside of my ankle but I cover it with moleskin and the problem is solved.
-> What kind of VBLs were you using?
-> Did you keep the VBLs on overnight for two consecutive days?


My experience with closed cell neoprene divers socks (that fit well) is that you must wear thin synthetic liner socks and change them out every night.
I've been using these divers' socks VBLs for over 20 years with no problems IF I change out my wet liner socks every night and turn the divers' socks inside-out to let them dry in the tent for a while then overnight in my sleeping bag.


Eric B.




« Last Edit: 22:24:36, 02/03/19 by Litehiker »

richardh1905

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Re: The Best VBL socks (IMHO)
« Reply #13 on: 22:11:38, 02/03/19 »
My feet are quite nasty enough without them being pickled in their own sweat all day in a hermetically sealed bag, so I'll give VBL socks a miss too, Eric.