Hunting Boots: Kenetrek Northern Pacboots

September 30, 2014

The high peaks of Colorado in mid October till mid November, will be cold, snowy and wet. As I write this, it has been thundering up in the Sawatch, switching for rain, to hail, to fat snow flakes then back to rain. By the second and third season of elk, from mid October till mid November hiking the high country will be harder and there will be snow on the ground that won’t melt away till June.

Autumn aspens & first snow

The pac boot design has been around for over a century, LLBean mentions their founder invented the half rain boot half leather boot in Maine. In WWII and Korea, GI’s used pacboots, or “shoepacs” in winter conditions to mixed success.

A double boot increases your comfort with its insulation you can be warm when you are resting and stopping for long periods, and at night when you sleep the liners can be removed and worn or placed inside the sleeping bag to dry them. There is no joy like putting on warm dry boots when it is gross outside.

I’ve had mixed success with Kenetrek pac boots. In the past I have had durability issues with this brand, but since this year they repaired my boot for free, I will give them another chance.



Note the repair patches on the sides.

The major design feature of pac boots is that they are waterproof on the bottom to muck through mud and slush. Yet the upper laces up and forms to your body like a leather boot.

 The coolest thing about the Kenetrek version over Sorel’s and LLBean boots is they have a half inch steel shank in them like the Bean boot, but aggressive tread and thick liner like the Sorel. The best of both worlds. The shank keeps the boot sole rigid to the ball of the foot. While this shank does not allow for enough stiffness for mountaineering, they work for general purpose packing on rough terrain. The flexibility would not stop me from putting on a strap crampon on them if the snow was packed hard or icy and I needed traction and french technique.

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I love treating leather boots. Its a meditative process, and by winter it will be a weekly ritual. I feel connected to the item in a way that a aerosol spray can and goretex boot cant provide. It also smells like honey. If the boot is well constructed, coat of beeswax will keep out water for up to a week of hard use.

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I gotta get these things into the woods and put some scuffs on that nice polish.


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