Chaco Updraft X2
MSRP: $110 (www.chaco.com)
One of the first lessons my dad gave me for backpacking trips was to always bring a pair of light sandals for camp. That lesson was cemented in my life the first time I forgot and switched between painful barefoot steps and the sweaty confinement of my boots around the campfire. I learned never to underestimate the power of comfortable feet at camp.
I have since switched my hiking boots for paddling shoes, and the principle remains the same for multi-day trips. I have also found the ultimate camping shoe: the Chaco Updraft X2 sandal.
This stylish sandal is made with the same durable and form-fitting features Chaco is most known for, but it has one feature above the rest of their line that makes it perfect for camping. It’s lightweight.
The standard Chacos come in at a hefty two pounds, too much weight for the backpacker or multi-day paddler. The Chaco Updraft X2 solves that problem by weighing in at just under a pound, without compromising any of Chaco’s LUVSEAT platform fit for arch support. It also has the same webbing that keeps your foot locked in place, important for crossing any kind of terrain in the woods.
To test these shoes for strength, weight, comfort and durability, I took them out on one of the ultimate multi-day whitewater runs, the Middle Fork of the Salmon in Idaho. They passed with flying colors, taking up little space in my drybag (and more importantly adding little weight), handling both land and water without degrading, and still enabling me to hike around the camps and scramble on rocks along the river.
They are an all-in-one sandal perfect for camping and great for exploring.