Monday, December 27, 2010

Men's Bugatech™ Lite Omni-Heat® review by Claude Diamond

Columbia Bugatech Lite Omni-Heat Boots (pictures below)

Wifey: "Hey, can I try on these new boots?"

Moi: "Uh, sure Honey, but I need them back for the review I am writing for Ryan at Snowshoe Magazine."

Wifey: "Well, OK, but can I have them when you are finished? They look and feel great."

Darn, the wife likes my new Columbia Bugaboots which translates into sharing or a complete surrender of my new lightweight Columbia Lite-Omni hiking boots. As many of my readers know, I live part of the year in Winter Park, Colorado which has a top elevation of 12,060 feet. In a good winter, (like this one), we can get up to 400 inches of the fluffy white stuff. Durable boots are a way of life here and are the basis of many a heated discussion. We had a holiday party several years ago where a guest’s brand new hiking boots were taken by mistake from the mud-room. That is how gunfights used to begin in the Old West Colorado mountain towns!

Yes, hiking boots is serious business here and having feet stay warm and dry during long hikes and snow shoeing is often a problem. Many boots I have previously purchased, look great in the store or in the catalog, but in reality, are not designed for the tough Rocky Mountain environment. Nothing is worse, than when I am 5 miles from home and feel the moisture seeping in my boots, resulting in cold and wet tingle in my toes. I need boots that don't make a fashion statement, they just need to WORK!

Here is my list of wants/needs in hiking wear:

A. Warm.
B. Comfortable, dare I say Snug.
C. Easy to get on and off. AKA: secure fit.
D. Not so heavy that they are cumbersome.
E. Reputable company.
F. Ok, Ok, they should also look cool.

I am delighted to say the Columbia has hit it out of the park with their Omni-Lites. A solid looking green and black designed shoe which looks great, right out of the box, with no significant wear-in period. I took these puppies for a long initial test hike in 2 feet of packed powder snow on the Wolf Park Trail in Winter Park. They had a good secure feel without any slippage. The tread is serious stuff. They were as warm and snug as my sheepskin slippers with no leakage or external moisture. The best part of this design is the weight: only 1 LB 6 OZ per shoe.

The following week, we received a ton of new snow and I thought that I had better try them with snow shoes on a more challenging trail. I wore them up to the Vasquez Trail and then onto my favorite secluded mountain trails, Blue Sky and Ice Box Trail, for some really heavy duty, untracked mountain traveling. Nothing I love better than warm pitters in 5 below temperatures. These boots endured the challenge with flying colors!

These are the boots you want for the back country, when weight and warmth are major priorities. Columbia has the right combination here. The only problem is that if your outdoor active wife likes them,  you will have to buy a 2nd pair!

Information from Columbia's web page
Designed with advanced Omni-Heat® technology, this flexible, ultra-light evolution of the Bugaboot is like wrapping your feet in a waterproof space blanket. LESS
The ultra-slim Techlite® shell adds protection in critical areas without sacrificing nimble-footed mobility on snowy terrain. Made of rugged ballistic waterproof mesh, the upper features protective Thermoplastic support panels for added stability in deep-snow conditions, while Omni-Heat technology reflects natural body heat back into the boot. A Thinsulate® lining with additional underfoot insulation adds even more warmth, keeping feet comfortable all the way down to -25º below zero. Completing this high-performance package is an Omni-Grip® outsole with lugged traction patterns for outstanding grip in any winter wonderland.

Waterproof ballistic mesh upper
Protective Thermoplastic support panels
Omni-Heat technology reflects body heat for added warmth
200g Thinsulate with added underfoot insulation
Contour Comfort® 1D footbed with AgION® anti-odor treatment provides cushioned comfort and support
Zonal Techlite lightweight shell provides warmth and moisture control in critical areas around the foot
Omni-Grip outsole with lugged traction pattern
Weight: Size 9, 1/2 pair=1lb. 6oz/635g

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