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need advice re: boots


anonymousegirl
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Hi all,

We are currently booked on the December 19 Atlas Ocean Voyage Antarctica Discovery. Right now, AOV does not have their parka/boot supplier arranged. My issue is that I am a plus size gal with 21 inch calves. If I look at Crystal's supplier for example, they state that if your calves measure more than 17 inches, you need to provide your own boots. I have no problem buying and bringing my own boots except that I cannot find anyone who makes cold weather boots for my size calves. I really don't want to go to Antarctica if I cannot get off the zodiac (unless of course bad weather prevents it as I know it might). 

Does anyone who has been to Antarctica have any advice? I've never been. Are all zodiac landings wet? Can anyone see any way around this dilemma? I have started a major health/eating change to hopefully lose enough weight to make a difference, but I need to sort this out by mid September when our final payment is due and penalties begin.

Thanks

Lori

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I'd recommend calling Crystal's supplier, explain the situation, and ask them for recommendations.  As I recall, there are only a couple of suppliers (for US based travelers) and they are very helpful. They will sell to you even is you are not on a Crystal voyage. Our experience is that the same company ended up as the supplier for our Crystal, Silversea, and Seabourn voyages.

 

My $0.02

 

topkatz

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Nearly all zodiac landings are wet. Most of the time you’ll be stepping out into ankle-deep water. In tougher conditions you might end up in up to your knees, which is why the waterproof pants are important and should be worn over your boots. The water presses the pants against the boot, so it forms a seal that will keep you dry long enough to step to shore.

 

These days most companies use either Muck Arctic boot or a similar model from Bogs for their expedition boots. I have fairly wide calves, but since they carry men’s/unisex boots, I don’t have as much trouble as I do with women’s boots. Especially since I need to size up 2-3 sizes to fit my thick wool sock layers comfortably (too-tight boots are a recipe for cold toes).

 

Is there a shop you could visit that stocks Muck or Bogs boots that you could try them on and see if any would fit? Or a website that you could order and return?

 

Although insulated boots are the norm these days, my first trip used uninsulated thick rubber wellies. I sized up a lot and layered a second pair of wool socks under my Smartwool expedition socks, and I was warm enough even on long zodiac rides or low-activity landings. Since there’s a lot more availability in simple rubber boots, that could be an option.

 

And one final stopgap is too look at shorter height boots. You might want to clear this with the expedition company, but I have seen someone on one of my trips use a mid-ankle boot she brought due to difficult shoe sizing. It was fine for most of the landings. And when we needed to wade across a stream in South Georgia, she just changed into a pair of regular expedition boots that were way too big for her to walk around in but got her to the other side of the stream.

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5 hours ago, kaisatsu said:

Nearly all zodiac landings are wet. Most of the time you’ll be stepping out into ankle-deep water. In tougher conditions you might end up in up to your knees, which is why the waterproof pants are important and should be worn over your boots. The water presses the pants against the boot, so it forms a seal that will keep you dry long enough to step to shore.

 

These days most companies use either Muck Arctic boot or a similar model from Bogs for their expedition boots. I have fairly wide calves, but since they carry men’s/unisex boots, I don’t have as much trouble as I do with women’s boots. Especially since I need to size up 2-3 sizes to fit my thick wool sock layers comfortably (too-tight boots are a recipe for cold toes).

 

Is there a shop you could visit that stocks Muck or Bogs boots that you could try them on and see if any would fit? Or a website that you could order and return?

 

Although insulated boots are the norm these days, my first trip used uninsulated thick rubber wellies. I sized up a lot and layered a second pair of wool socks under my Smartwool expedition socks, and I was warm enough even on long zodiac rides or low-activity landings. Since there’s a lot more availability in simple rubber boots, that could be an option.

 

And one final stopgap is too look at shorter height boots. You might want to clear this with the expedition company, but I have seen someone on one of my trips use a mid-ankle boot she brought due to difficult shoe sizing. It was fine for most of the landings. And when we needed to wade across a stream in South Georgia, she just changed into a pair of regular expedition boots that were way too big for her to walk around in but got her to the other side of the stream.

Thanks for the tips. I looked at both Bogs and Mucks, and the shaft circumference is still too small. I am now on a weight loss journey called Antarctica or Bust! I have until final payment in September to see how much I can reduce my weight and hopefully calf size!

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One additional comment in addition to what @kaisatsu said, if you are going to be in and amongst penguins, your boots will be covered in penguin guano and mud. They will generally have boot washing stations (sets of brushes submerged in bins of water with sanitizing solution) set up to scrub off the gunk. Boots with large lugs/deep treads make it difficult to get really clean. Sometimes the station is set up on shore just before reboarding the zodiac or it may be onboard just after entering the ship.

Bootwash.JPG

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  • 2 weeks later...

Look at xtratuf deck boots.  The men's sizes might be a better fit for you.  They are what I wear winter fishing and what you see on deck in extreme cold weather commercial fishing boats.https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0053/3194/3522/products/22272G_2400x.jpg?v=1593637150

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 6/13/2021 at 2:51 AM, anonymousegirl said:

Thanks for the tips. I looked at both Bogs and Mucks, and the shaft circumference is still too small. I am now on a weight loss journey called Antarctica or Bust! I have until final payment in September to see how much I can reduce my weight and hopefully calf size!

If you can - go to a shop and try on the Bogs or Mucks wide calf boots. Bear in mind they are elasticised and stretchy. So they give way to get over calves and clothes then close in nicely to keep water out. 
My calf circumference is more than my Muck Wide Calf boots. I've also seen many other passengers with calves considerably larger than mine and all have been able to get their Mucks on. 
The other thing I like about Mucks (Bogs possibly do the same) is the inner sole can be removed allowing more foot space (or to pop ones own orthotics in). 
And they are so fabulously insulated that I've only ever needed thin bamboo or merino liner socks in them. And I've been to way colder places than the peninsula where the entire ship froze over and we lost power !! My toes were never chilled. 

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I simply ordered online some boots (in my case the Typ the cruise company used) and tried them on with all the layers before hand since I also have wide calves.

M

i did needed to go up a sitze more to fit them but used some insulation soles so they did fitted better and also kept my feet’s a bit warmer 

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  • 2 weeks later...

My wife is plus size with wide calves and swollen ankles, but Hurtigruten had muck boots and a jacket which fitted her. I can't speak for other lines.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

  I was amazed at how many boots our Silversea ship had for us. We wondered why there were so many - we were told that , the people who had brought their own boots ended up leaving them on the ship since they were too disgusting to pack up and take home, so they just keep adding to their collection.  I think you will be fine with the ship selection but if you are really worried then find the cheapest pair of rubber boots to bring with you,  since you also will not be taking them home.  

Edited by tupper10
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On 7/31/2021 at 6:55 PM, tupper10 said:

  I was amazed at how many boots our Silversea ship had for us. We wondered why there were so many - we were told that , the people who had brought their own boots ended up leaving them on the ship since they were too disgusting to pack up and take home, so they just keep adding to their collection.  I think you will be fine with the ship selection but if you are really worried then find the cheapest pair of rubber boots to bring with you,  since you also will not be taking them home.  

Considering the constant sanitizing of the boots every time you return to the ship, we didn't find that they were at all disgusting.  I rented boots, my wife bought and brought her own and happily brought them home packed in a grocery store plastic bag and has used them many times since then.  Also on Silversea, which does take sanitizing and safety seriously

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10 hours ago, Nitemare said:

Considering the constant sanitizing of the boots every time you return to the ship, we didn't find that they were at all disgusting.  I rented boots, my wife bought and brought her own and happily brought them home packed in a grocery store plastic bag and has used them many times since then.  Also on Silversea, which does take sanitizing and safety seriously

I did not mean to imply that Silversea did not sanitize their boots.  They did which is why we felt fine wearing the 'ship boots'.    We found that most people on our cruise used the 'ship boots' that were available to everyone and that hardly anyone brought their own boots.   We even called Silversea before our cruise and we were told we didn't have to worry about bringing our own boots - perhaps things have changed since our cruise.  

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11 hours ago, tupper10 said:

I did not mean to imply that Silversea did not sanitize their boots.  They did which is why we felt fine wearing the 'ship boots'.    We found that most people on our cruise used the 'ship boots' that were available to everyone and that hardly anyone brought their own boots.   We even called Silversea before our cruise and we were told we didn't have to worry about bringing our own boots - perhaps things have changed since our cruise.  

We took our own boots on SS Arctic cruise, as they wanted $80 rental fee and we bought light weight bogs for less. Weve been able to use them again, so was worthwhile buying.

We were advised that we could not leave our boots onboard as they longer accepted second hand ones, as they couldn’t guarantee the quality etc (This was August 2019)

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On 8/3/2021 at 7:00 PM, tupper10 said:

I did not mean to imply that Silversea did not sanitize their boots.  They did which is why we felt fine wearing the 'ship boots'.    We found that most people on our cruise used the 'ship boots' that were available to everyone and that hardly anyone brought their own boots.   We even called Silversea before our cruise and we were told we didn't have to worry about bringing our own boots - perhaps things have changed since our cruise.  

We were there in Feb 2018, not sure if you went before or after us, but they didn't have extras. And I was referencing the prior mention of "too disgusting to pack up" as I am not sure where that came from

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On 8/1/2021 at 8:55 AM, tupper10 said:

 the people who had brought their own boots ended up leaving them on the ship since they were too disgusting to pack up and take home, 

This says more about those passengers if they couldn't be bothered to follow the pretty basic hygiene instructions that every single polar passenger is responsible for. One wonders what other rules they neglected to follow. 
 

I've taken my own muck boots on 3 out of 4 of my own polar trips and I have also loaned them to several friends for their trips. The boots are sitting in my wardrobe about a metre away from me now and smell like new rubber & the ships virkon disinfectant. As they always have. 

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