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Winter Camping Discussion => Winter Camping Clothing => : 300winmag November 30, 2016, 07:28:15 PM

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: BEST VBL SOX EVER
: 300winmag November 30, 2016, 07:28:15 PM
Looking at the post titled "Changing Boots at Site?" reminded me that I need to make this post. IMHO it should be a stickey and maybe even re-posted in the SAFETY Forum.

DIVERS SOX FOR A VBL

For several decades I have been using seam sealed thin 3mm neoprene divers' sox as a VBL/insulator. I wear thin polypro or polyester liner socks under the VBLs.

US Divers now makes the highest quality 3 mm divers sox for this purpose. They have a Right and Left foot indicated on them and the seams are factory sealed, saving you the trouble.

Because they are made from closed cell neoprene foam and covered with stretchable knit fabric on both sides these neoprene VBLs are warmer than the warmest winter socks. They keep sweat from ruining your boots insulation, be it built-in insulation or removable liners as in plastic backcountry ski boots or mountaineering boots or felt pacs.

USING DIVERS NEOPRENE SOX AS A VBL:
1. Try the divers sox on over a pair of liner socks. The fit should be good, i.e. no loose area to bunch at the toes, not tight fitting to restrict circulation. Better a bit loose than too tight.
2. At night remove boots and remove liners. Telescope one boot top over the other to keep out spindrift. Place in vestibule.
3. Remove your neoprene VBLs and turn inside out to dry in tent for 15 minutes
4. Remove your thin, wet sock liners and place in ZipLoc freezer bag. Seal tightly!
5. Place boot liners and inside-out VBLs in the foot of your sleeping bag.
6. Put on new thin poly liners socks and heavy sleeping socks (You will need one pair of thin liner socks for each day or be forced to rinse and dry them if you only carry two or three liners.

** If you have insulated boots that do NOT have removable liners clean them off well, place in a dedicated stuff sack and place in foot of your sleeping bag.
Sleep well knowing you will have warm feet in the morning.

NOTE: I have tried commercial ripstop VBL socks and they are not satisfactory when compared to the neoprene diver's sox. They bunch, wrinkle and wear out too fast. If your divers sox show signs of wear merely coat the areas with "SHOO GOO". They will last many more miles.

Eric B.
: Re: BEST VBL SOX EVER
: Coldfeet November 30, 2016, 09:25:23 PM
Trying to locate it on the web.  Link?
: Re: BEST VBL SOX EVER
: 300winmag December 02, 2016, 02:58:01 AM
CF,

Ebay lists US Divers 3mm neoprene sox for $20. That's $6. less than I paid not including tax.

Eric B.
: Re: BEST VBL SOX EVER
: 300winmag December 24, 2016, 04:51:25 PM
BUMP UP
: Re: BEST VBL SOX EVER
: kiggy January 03, 2017, 02:16:48 PM
do you have a link to your socks?
: Re: BEST VBL SOX EVER
: 300winmag January 05, 2017, 03:40:38 PM
Amazon has them and if you GOOGLE "US Divers" you can find them on the company website. The 3 mm (thin) version is what I prefer B/C it fits all my winter boots and GTX Merrill hiking boots and they still keep my feet warmer than the best wool socks.

The US Divers version is factory seam sealed and has Left and Right specific socks for better fit.

Eric B.
: Re: BEST VBL SOX EVER
: Kaifus January 05, 2017, 06:59:23 PM
As far as the "US Divers" brand sox, there's no mention of them on the companies website, Amazon or eBay.

But if I was interesting in buying VB sox, I would buy them from this company: http://www.rbhdesigns.com/category/169&CFID=38274336&CFTOKEN=5c8621c8c4fc9de0-38FD42AF-155D-0A65-64F151ABBD7FB771/handwear-and-vb-socks.htm
: Re: BEST VBL SOX EVER
: 300winmag December 02, 2018, 02:35:43 AM
Kaifus,
Those fleece VBL socks look OK but... they will bot dry very fast B/C of the fleece holding your sweat longer than the knit skin on the diver's sox.

Eric B.
: Re: BEST VBL SOX EVER
: Kaifus December 02, 2018, 10:57:36 PM
A year ago I started using Reynolds oven bags as vapor barrier liners and I was super impressed with them and totally sold on the idea of using a VBL. I can't really see buying purpose made VBL's after using these.
: Re: BEST VBL SOX EVER
: Fowler December 03, 2018, 08:19:58 PM
I have also looked off and on for the "sox" for a few years and have never found them. Are the no longer made?
: Re: BEST VBL SOX EVER
: Moondog55 December 03, 2018, 10:30:37 PM
I don't think they have been manufactured for years
US Divers is not the big business it seems to have been ages ago [ my cousins were dive qualified and wore US D* suits] but 3mm wetsuit socks are around and as cheap as $20- a pair here
: Re: BEST VBL SOX EVER
: tessiea December 23, 2018, 06:30:39 AM
Anyone in Canada looking for these should try MEC. They have their own brand of 3mm socks for $15. Used a pair last weekend and they were great.
: Re: BEST VBL SOX EVER
: Pathfinder December 23, 2018, 08:25:49 PM
The 'best' VBL sock i have ever used were the ones i found at the grocery store, they're call plastic bags. That's right, plastic bags. I use to get them free, but now i have to pay .05 a piece (imagine paying that much for VBL socks?)

Locate a good pair of thin polypropylene socks and slip on a garbage bag, and voila! A spare pair of dry socks at the end of the day and you're styling and profiling like the Rangers used to do. 



 
: Re: BEST VBL SOX EVER
: 300winmag December 31, 2018, 09:33:47 PM
Pathfinder,

Plastic bags, whether "oven" bags or Ziplock, are not so great for VBLs. They slip around and bunch up and hav ZERO insulation.

The US Divers 3 mm socks I mentioned are warm and form fitting and still the best BVL socks extant.

Eric B.
: Re: BEST VBL SOX EVER
: hotelfive January 01, 2019, 01:53:30 AM
Sorry for the totally stupid question here, but are these waterproof?  I have a pair of Sealskinz waterpfroof socks...would they work the same way?

Thanks
: Re: BEST VBL SOX EVER
: Pathfinder January 01, 2019, 05:15:14 PM
Pathfinder,

Plastic bags, whether "oven" bags or Ziplock, are not so great for VBLs. They slip around and bunch up and hav ZERO insulation.

The US Divers 3 mm socks I mentioned are warm and form fitting and still the best BVL socks extant.

Eric B.

Not sure where you do your grocery shopping but my plastic bags work fine and don't slip around, and have worked for over 27 years. Did i mention they only costs a nickle?  ;D
: Re: BEST VBL SOX EVER
: Kaifus January 01, 2019, 10:27:16 PM
Plastic bags, whether "oven" bags or Ziplock, are not so great for VBLs. They slip around and bunch up and hav ZERO insulation.

I always wear my plastic bag VBLs between a thin poly sock and a wool Darn Tough sock and they've never bunched up or otherwise moved. They also keep my feet in perfect condition because of the plastic the inner sock can slip slightly against the outer sock and the boot so any friction causing blisters is reduced to nothing.


Hotelfive, I think if your Sealskinz socks are made a waterproof breathable fabric they wouldn't work as a vapor barrier.
: Re: BEST VBL SOX EVER
: 300winmag January 03, 2019, 01:16:09 PM
Yes the US Divers 3 mm neoprene socks are waterproof and factory seam sealed.

Most closed cell neoprene has nitrogen bubbles in it. Nitrogen has larger molecules than O2 and does not pass out through the neoprene membrane as readily. That's one reason why some tire dealers offer nitrogen for inflation (at a price, natch).

Yes, you can dry, at least partially, your felt pac liners in a hot tent but it's a PITA to do it every day. Plus by the end each day with no VBL sox your boots have much less insulating value (R value) just when you need it most. Not to mention some of your sweat migrates to the inside of your boot shells then freezes there overnight, building up a bit more each day and wetting your liners when it melts as you wear them in the morning. Vicious circle that good VBLs can stop.

Eric B.
: Re: BEST VBL SOX EVER
: AunNordDuNord January 03, 2019, 11:54:18 PM
Yes the US Divers 3 mm neoprene socks are waterproof and factory seam sealed.

Most closed cell neoprene has nitrogen bubbles in it. Nitrogen has larger molecules than O2 and does not pass out through the neoprene membrane as readily. That's one reason why some tire dealers offer nitrogen for inflation (at a price, natch).

Yes, you can dry, at least partially, your felt pac liners in a hot tent but it's a PITA to do it every day. Plus by the end each day with no VBL sox your boots have much less insulating value (R value) just when you need it most. Not to mention some of your sweat migrates to the inside of your boot shells then freezes there overnight, building up a bit more each day and wetting your liners when it melts as you wear them in the morning. Vicious circle that good VBLs can stop.



















Eric B.



I look all over for those Diver socks and could never find anything that I could be 100 percent sure the product was what is was supposed to be... A link would be helpful!!
: Re: BEST VBL SOX EVER
: Wilderwes January 21, 2019, 03:32:00 PM
I headed-out for a solo overnight hot tenting trip this weekend. It was about -25C on Saturday and went down to -34C on Sunday morning (my coldest trip yet by a pretty good margin). I had just received some 3mm neoprene socks that I had ordered from MEC and was curious to see how my feet would do in those temperatures. I was a bit skeptical before trying, but I have to same that I am now a believer. My feet were absolutely fine. I feel quite confidant to say that my feet would have been cold in those frigid conditions in my normal system of liner sock, heavy wool sock, and 1964 Sorel PAC boots with recycled felt liners.

When I was finally set-up in the tent with the woodstove going, I took of the neoprene socks and watched both my feet and the neoprene socks emit copious amounts of steam for a few minutes and then I put some dry wool socks and booties and my feet were happy. Thanks for the tips in this forum about the benefits of VBLs. At some point, I'd like to get a pair of traditional mukluks, but in the meantime I take comfort in knowing that my feet can be warm in my PAC boots by eliminating the problem of sweat compromising the boot's insulation.