Hi-Tec Sierra Lite - GearReview.com
By Matt Smith

I've been evolving over time as packing a stuffed pack gets tougher and tougher on my body. Both my footwear and supplies have been getting lighter, more focused, and as a result generally more fun. Hi-Tec was on the front lines of lightweight hikers years ago with the introduction of the Sierra boot. They have returned to their roots with the Hi-Tec Sierra Lite I WP (waterproof). The Hi-Tec Sierra Lite I WP features ion mask technology, which is a waterproof barrier that bonds to every part of the boot, without affecting the function.

I tested the Sierra Lite I WP in a variety of conditions ranging from high altitude snowshoeing in frozen dry, and sloppy wet spring conditions, to miles of fast packing on dirt trails, to desert explorations in uncharted territory.

In the cold and wet, my feet stayed dry (although I did appreciate a thick pair of winter weight socks), in the mountains, the miles melted away without my perpetually soggy feet turning into swamps, and in the desert, with a light weight wicking sock they were cool and comfortable.

After the many miles, and many months, there are a few pros and cons that are worth mentioning. First, the mesh outer on the majority of the boot has a tendency to trap small sticks, and certain kinds of burrs. Because of this tendency, if I was off trail, I would occassionally get snagged. However, on the plus side I didn't seem to gather an inordinate amount of foxtail though, to my surprise. The Sierra Lite I WP had more toe room over time, and as the structure of the boot broke in and relaxed I decided I could have probably gotten by with a half size smaller shoe. I found that when I pushed beyond the envelope of 4 class scrambling, the light weight construction and high cuff left me wanting more stability and lateral support

Summary: The Sierra Lite I WP is a great boot, particularly for established trails, and Class 3 and 4 scrambling. Although the MSRP is $179.99, you can find it online for up to about 20 percent less if you watch. For that price you get a fully waterproof/breathable, ultralight hiker, from a company who's been focused on boots for the masses for nearly 40 years.

For more information contact:
Hi-Tec Sports USA
4801 Stoddard Road
Modesto, CA 95356

Matt Smith Is a contributing editor at Gearreview.com and abuses himself exploring the dark, nether regions of the Colorado Plateau.

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