Gear Review: Five Ten Camp Four Hiking Shoes
Five Ten Camp Four
$150, 1 lb. 13 oz. (US men’s 9)
Sizes: men’s 4-13, women’s 5-11
Five Ten Camp Four Mid
$170, 2 lbs. (US men’s 9)
Sizes: men’s 4-13
Whether on rugged, rocky trails or off-trail, some hikes demand more from footwear. On a 13.5-hour, roughly 18-mile, mostly off-trail dayhike with about 7,000 feet of vertical gain and loss in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains in July, I needed shoes with sticky soles for scrambling steep rock, but also good traction on every possible mountain surface from sand and scree to snow. Plus, I wanted solid protection for my feet and comfort for walking many hours. The Camp Four Mid delivered on all counts that day, as did the low-cut version on similar terrain when hiking to climbing routes in Idaho’s Castle Rocks State Park.
That big day in the Sawtooths was my first hike in the Camp Four Mid, and they were comfortable right out of the box, with the leather uppers conforming nicely to my feet. Unlike some approach shoes, the Camp Four has plenty of toe space for comfortably walking long miles. That toe comfort compromises sensitivity for standing on smaller edges; so these shoes are great for scrambling and smearing on slabs, but are a little too bulky in the toes for anything but very easy rock climbing (for most people).
True to their pedigree with a climbing-shoe company, these updated versions of the classic Camp Four—both the low-cut and the mid-cut—have super sticky, Stealth S1 rubber outsoles that gripped well when I smeared up or down steep slabs, rock-hopped big talus, and scrambled exposed third-class terrain like the short, final pitch to the summit of 10,751-foot Thompson Peak, the highest in the Sawtooths. But the deep outsole lugs and in-cut heel also gave good traction hiking up and down thousands of feet of loose scree. The hard, rubber toe rand protected my feet from endless bashing on rocks and helped me kick steps in firm snow.
Although there’s no waterproof-breathable membrane, the leather uppers kept my feet dry when I walked across wet snowfields and slopped through some mud and marshy areas; but I would expect the seams to leak when immersed in water or in sustained rain or a lot of wet vegetation. The leather also enhances durability, but makes them warmer than all-mesh, synthetic shoes. My one complaint about the Camp Four Mid is that the collar isn’t very soft and doesn’t close cleanly around my ankles, so it yawns open when I walk, allowing small stones and other trail debris inside; oddly enough, it was less of a problem with the low-cut version. Although it’s not a backpacking boot, just to experiment, I wore the Mids on a three-day, 41-mile backpacking trip on the Timberline Trail around Oregon’s Mount Hood; and sure enough, the midsole doesn’t have the support for hiking 12 to 17 miles a day carrying 25 to 30 pounds—my feet got sore. Whether you’re taking huge dayhikes or walking moderate distances, the Camp Four low and mid excel in rugged terrain while remaining impressively lightweight.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog by clicking any of these links to purchase the men’s Five Ten Camp Four low-cuts at backcountry.com, the women’s Camp Four low-cuts at moosejaw.com, the men’s Five Ten Camp Four Mid at backcountry.com, or the men’s Camp Four Mid GTX at backcountry.com.
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See also my stories:
“Tent Flap With a View: 25 Favorite Backcountry Campsites”
“My Top 10 Favorite Backpacking Trips”
“10 Tips For Getting a Hard-to-Get National Park Backcountry Permit”
“10 Tricks For Making Hiking and Backpacking Easier”
“7 Pro Tips For Avoiding Blisters”
NOTE: I tested gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See categorized menus of all of my gear reviews at The Big Outside.
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