L.P.C.'s: The Original Transportation

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LPC's: also known as Leather Personnel Carriers. This was a joke that my old Drill Instructor used to make to us on the long, hot georgia sun would be beating down on us, as the miles streched out in front. "Don't worry men, you'll always have first class transportation waiting for you!!!" He was a sadistic old b*stard, but it taugh me the value of a good, solid, well-worn-in and maintained pair of boots.

Unfortunately many of you out there have probably not realized the importance of a good pair of boots, and how they can make or break you in a survival situation. Just because you spent $200 dollars on a pair of Timberline thinsulate lined hikers doesn't mean that you are set for footgear. For one, How many miles have you put on them? Have you waterproofed them with neetsfoot oil? Are they already waterproof? Have your feet adjusted to wearing them, or will it be blister city the first time you wear them? Do you have a back-up if they get soaked? If you didn't drop mad money on a pair of timberlanes, did you go for a pair of the $26.99 jungles from US Cav? What kind of winter will you normally have in your area? These and many more questions are absolutely vital in being prepared for winter/Y2K.

Realize that the options you have are numerous in this day and age. From gore-tex bootie liners to battery powered heated wool socks, there are many options to choose from. Just remember, your feet are your life line. Any one else have some suggestions or links for some of the newbies?

-- Billy-Boy (Rakkasan@yahoo.com), November 21, 1999


Billy -- Why don't you copy-paste this subject to the prep forum, where it would make an excellent topic?

http://greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a.tcl?topic=TimeBomb%202000%20% 28Y2000%29%20Preparation%20Forum

Steel-toes on boots are a necessity for safety.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), November 21, 1999.

Good call B.D....

-- Billy-Boy (Rakkasan@yahoo.com), November 21, 1999.

This boot-fitting advice was given to me when I first began to hike... I have very wide feet, so finding a good-fitting boot was/is extremely difficult. SOCKS: When looking for boots/shoes, wear the type of socks you expect to be wearing. Some people will wear 2 layers of socks (especially with heavy-duty hiking boots), such as polypropolene (sp?) as the first layer and wool as the 2nd, outer, layer. Try different combinations to see what works best for you. It is not unusual for a person to wear two socks on one foot and one on another, often one foot is slightly larger than the other.

Cotton socks are not highly recommended if you expect to do a lot of walking. Cotton wicks water close to the skin and is prone to causing blisters. Wool or synthetic fabrics are much more foot- friendly and last longer.

BOOTS: Go shopping later in the day, when your feet are swollen - this is a more true-to-size fitting. (Again, wear the socks you expect to normally wear.)

Loosen the shoestrings and put your foot all the way forward into the boot. Stand up and make sure your foot is all the way forward. Now look into the boot and see how far your heel is from the back of the boot - there should only be 1 - 1 1/2 finger space between the back your heel and the boot. If there's more space, then you're asking for blisters, if there's less space, then your feet could be "pinched" or you could cause tendon damage.

Next, tighten the shoelaces. Be creative with the lacing - if the traditional "x" style doesn't work, try lacing parallel [if you need more space] (never x'ing until up by the ankle, leaving the forefoot area free to expand more). If you need less space in the boot, try doing "double twists" with the laces (the usual "x" pattern, but wind the laces around one another at least twice). Stand up and walk around. Feel the forefoot, can you feel your toes bulge at the edges of the boots? If so, the boots may be too small, or need extreme breaking in (if they're all leather).

Now, if you're thinking about bugging out, put on a pack with an approximate amount of gear you expect to carry. Walk around for a while and see how your feet feel, keep an "eye" out for hot-spots, these are developing blisters. Also keep an eye out for where the crease hits down in the toebox area. If the crease isn't right, it will cross where your toes join the foot and it will cause NASTY blisters. (Some hiking boots are known for this, the shoelacing extends way down into the toebox, so please keep this in mind, especially if you have wide feet or high arches, like me.)

Another thing to keep in mind is that if you expect to do a lot of walking, your feet will grow in size. Many thru hikers (Appalachain Trail, CDT, and PDT) have had to order new boots 1/2 to 1 1/2 sizes LARGER because of the amount of exercise - their feet became more muscular.

Questions about what types of boots are the best? There is a lot of good advice at Backpacker Magazine's home page. Their homepage is: http://www.bpbasecamp.com

-- Deb M. (vmcclell@columbus.rr.com), November 21, 1999.

Thanks Billy Boy got that covered here--hubby used to be a ground pounding grunt....haven't heard the term LPC's in quite some time, brought a smile to my face!

-- preparing (preparing@home.com), November 21, 1999.

Glas to oblige one o' mah favorite preparers...uhhh (Austin Powers pregnant pause)....preparing...

-- Billy Boy (Rakkasn@Yahoo.com), November 21, 1999.

I bought a pair of Brahma boots at Wally-World last winter for about 60 bucks if I remember right. They are totally waterproof, and lined with Thinsulate. I wear them when I deliver pizza in bad weather and they work marvelous. Right after I bought them Mother Nature dumped about 18 inches of snow on us and I figured I would test them. So, I put on all my winter garb and my new boots and went trucking on out into the blizzard. First of all, I found out my new Brahma boots work great. Secondly, I found out the rest of my winter garb didn't work so great in really extreme conditions! Lastly, I found out it is MUCH easier to hike WITH the wind than it is to hike AGAINST the wind in blizzard conditions! Intellectually I knew this but it's the little things that will get you. Damn near froze my A** off getting back. But my feet were nice and toasty!

-- pizzaman (cjwarner@yahoo.com), November 22, 1999.

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