Gear Guide 2009: Vasque Radiator Boot Review - Backpacker

Gear Guide 2009: Vasque Radiator Boot Review

Heavy loads and dangerous terrain are no obstacle for these waterproof mountaineering boots.

Mountaineering Favorite

"I'm throwing my heavy, clunky old plastic mountaineering boots in the trash," our tester announced after using these double synthetic boots on Washington's Mt. Baker. He carried 55 pounds on terrain ranging from rough trail to snow and ice, and tallied more than 7,000 feet of vertical gain–and the boots remained comfortable from parking lot to peak and back.

Waterproofing and breathability excelled, thanks to a unique Aerogel insulation in the shell and outsole. It's a waterproof material, negating the need for a membrane that would likely inhibit breathability, and it insulates well enough for winter temperatures. (Vasque calls it a boot for high-altitude mountaineering and ice climbing; we're waiting for an Everest invite to test it there.) The lacing adjusts quickly and reliably with a plastic Boa dial–which turns to tighten the laces and pops up to loosen–and the boots held crampons securely. Bummer: The removable mini-gaiters are difficult to put on. Best for medium-volume feet. $450; 4 lbs. 8 oz.