After some reviews-blogs had been written in bird-lens.com about photo equipment as the Canon EOS 1 Mark IV or the Canon EOS 1DX and the Canon 400mm f4 DO I think, I write also a short experience review of the Baffin Men’s Shackleton Snow Boot, because I ‘m often asked about my experiences not only with camera staff but also personal equipment which in many cases are as important for successful photo shootings as the photo gear is.
With my Meindl Hiking boots (Meindl Ortler) I have been very satisfied all the time until the beginning of April this year when I spend 4 days photographing Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa) in the vicinity of Oulu in Finland. Finding the Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa) can be hard stuff, but even harder to prevent loosing her. To walk/ run behind the owl means walking in 1,5 meters of harsh snowcover, sometimes breaking through the icy cover, sometimes not. This in temperatures between -20° and -5°. It did not take a long time and my feet were deeply frozen whatever socks you wrap around them.
Maybe I should clarify, that I am a bird photographer, who is specialized on photographing as many species of birds for scientific purposes as possible. The subjects to shoot brought me to Varanger in Northern Norway in February or to Finland in early April. Now I trip to Norway was scheduled again. End of November for Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) s. The experience of Finland should not repeat. So I bought a pair at the german Outdoor Shop “Globetrotter” for roughly 300,- €.
After 7 days in use I can draw the following conclusion: These are really, perfect warm and nice fitting, amazing boots. But I’m glad I informed myself in the internet-forums and took the advice of other buyer who suggested ordering these boots 1-2 sizes above my normal shoe size.
The boots are made of mainly two parts. The one is a removable liner which is inside a waterproofed boot. It is like what you would will find in ski gloves, except it’s for your foot. The liner insulation keeps my feet feel well right from the beginning. But of course, no matter how insulated a boot is, it has a tough task of keeping you warm when you are not moving. The last days saw me spending between 8 – 9 hours in photo hides waiting for Golden Ealges and Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) in temperatures -5° to 8 °. I must say I felt warmer in these boots than in any other boots or hiking shoes I have tried over the last 10 years of hiking and photographing. Unfortunately, by the end of the 9 hour day, my feet were still cold, but it was still acceptable and not unbearable.
What these shoes are not: Hiking shoes and slippers for car driving. From outside these boots are twice the size of your average boot. The boot is so big in fact, because it is designed to fit over a pair of pants – the insulation liner. If you drive a manual transmission vehicle forget about it.
If you have a SUV with automatic transmission, it might work with great care. But this is by no means recommended. I have to wear my normal boots just to drive, then change into these when I get out.