Best Down Booties for Backpacking next to snow

High Warmth-To-Weight Ratio, Packable, Lightweight, and Ultralight Booties

When backcountry camping in temps at or below freezing, the situation calls for lightweight down booties. Thick socks won’t cut it! You’re only as comfy as your coldest body part, thus foot insulation is mission critical in staying warm. Without booties, you will be locked in sleeping bag jail. With booties, synthetic or down, you are free to enjoy your evenings out of the sleeping bag in comfort and style.

This guide is entirely focused on lightweight and ultralight backpacking booties. Every model we cover is 10 oz or less, with the lightest down socks weighing 2 oz or less. We strongly recommend that you avoid full-tread booties designed for car camping, yurt-ing-, hut-ing, cabin-ing, etc, as they’re too heavy and bulky to feasibly carry while backpacking. For example, the most popular model in that genre – The North Face ThermoBall Traction Booties, is 4x heavier than Alan’s preferred system of GooseFeet Gear Down Socks + Over-Booties, yet they are approximately equal in terms of warmth and both are adequate for walking around camp.

Cold weather adventurers may also be interested in our guides to 0 degree sleeping bags, 0 degree quilts, winter sleeping pads, down parkas, and 4 season tents.

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Quick Picks For Backpacking Booties

Soled Lightweight Down Booties For Camp & In-Tent Use

Ultralight Down Socks For In-Tent Use Only

Modular Over-Booties (Pair With Down Socks)

Comparison Table

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Model Price Weight Down/Synthetic Soled
Enlightened Equipment Torrid 70 1.4 Synthetic No
Zpacks Goose Socks 80 1.8 Down No
GooseFeet Gear Down Socks 74 2.0 Down No
Western Mountaineering Flash 85 3.0 Down Yes
Outdoor Vitals LoftTek Hybrid 50 3.5 Hybrid No
Exped Down Socks 90 4.2 Down No
GooseFeet Gear Over-Booties 49 4.5 Uninsulated Yes
Western Mountaineering Standard 115 6.0 Down Yes
Exped Camp Booties 65 7.8 Synthetic Yes
Montbell Windstopper Down 129 8.3 Down Yes
Feathered Friends Down Booties 119 9.3 Down Yes

Soled Models For Camp & In-Tent Use

GooseFeet Gear Down Socks + Over-Booties

GooseFeet Gear Down Socks + Over-Booties

Our preferred bootie system combines the GooseFeet Gear Down Socks with the GooseFeet Gear Waterproof Over-Booties to great effect. Firstly, it’s modular, so you can wear these inside and outside of the tent. Remove the over-bootie upon climbing into the tent and cozy up in your sleeping bag with extra toasty feet. Put them back on while cooking dinner or using the privy. Don’t worry about snow or rain, because the sil-nylon shell fabric is as waterproof as a tent’s rain fly. The only downside is that like a fly, it’s not breathable. So take them off if you start to overheat. Despite the added weight, we recommend the ToughTek Traction outsole, which is durable and grippy on all surfaces.

  • Price: $124
  • Weight: 6.5 oz
  • Insulation: 1 oz of 850 fill power down
  • Soled: Yes
  • Shell Fabric: Waterproof Sil-Nylon over 20d ripstop nylon
  • Pros: Ultralight. Warm. Walkable. Good traction. Waterproof outer fabric. Good cinching. Modular.
  • Cons: Expensive. Requires seam-sealing for complete waterproofness. Shell is not breathable.
Feathered Friends Down Booties

Feathered Friends Down Booties

A pair of Feathered Friends Down Booties has four ounces of down fill, that’s as much as a sweater-weight puffy jacket! They’re incredible warm, but also modular. The down sock can be worn separately from the soled, weather-resistant shell with foam insole. They even have ankle cinching and calf cinching, to ensure they stay upright! Great for winter.

  • Price: $119
  • Weight: 9.3 oz
  • Insulation: 4 oz 800 fill power down
  • Soled: Yes
  • Shell Fabric: 20d Pertex Endurance
  • Pros: Warmest. Lightweight. Walkable. Light weather resistance. Durable. Modular. Ankle & calf cinch. Tall.
  • Cons: Heavy end of lightweight. Expensive. Somewhat bulky.
Western Mountaineering Flash Down

Western Mountaineering Flash Booties

The Western Mountaineering Flash Booties are the lightest weight pair of down booties with a foam insole. The fact that they only weigh three ounces yet can be worn outside of the tent is practically a miracle. That being said there are drawbacks. This is a mid-top, rather than high-top bootie and durability is low. They’re not the warmest, either. All said and done, an excellent pair and great value for the ultralight crowd.

  • Price: $85
  • Weight: 3 oz
  • Insulation: 800 fill power down, fill weight unlisted.
  • Soled: Yes
  • Shell Fabric: 12d Nylon Ripstop
  • Pros: Ultralight. Okay for walking.
  • Cons: Not the warmest. Low durability. Low top.

Western Mountaineering Standard Booties

Western Mountaineering Standard Booties

Here we have a great all-around bootie that is warm, tall, and fully capable of walking around camp, thanks to the foam insole and Toughtek outsole. The Western Mountaineering Standard Booties are designed for mountaineering and snow camping and basic traction on wet surfaces is built-in. The 360 rand keeps your tootsies dry, and an elastic heel band provides lateral stability.

  • Price: $115
  • Weight: 6 oz
  • Insulation: 800 fill power down, fill weight unlisted.
  • Soled: Yes
  • Shell Fabric: 20d nylon rip stop
  • Pros: Lightweight. Warm. Tall. Okay for walking, can grip snow. Elastic heel band.
  • Cons: Expensive. Light-not-ultralight.

Exped Camp Booties

Exped Camp Booties

The Exped Camp Booties were the least expensive pair of soled, full-height booties from a respectable brand that we could find, and they’re sustainable to boot – made with recycled insulation and shell fabric. This model has a 4mm EVA foam insole to insulate against cold ground and allow for walking. The synthetic batting is warm, but definitely lower warmth-to-weight ratio than down. The elastic band calf closure isn’t our favorite, and user reviews indicate it is prone to sagging.

  • Price: $65
  • Weight: 7.8
  • Insulation: 100% recycled polyester
  • Soled: Yes
  • Shell Fabric: 50d polyester
  • Pros: Good value. Lightweight. Okay for walking. Durable. Recycled materials. Performs when wet.
  • Cons: Unusual elastic band closure causes sagging. No ankle cinch. Not the warmest.

MontBell Windstopper Down

Montbell Windstopper Down Booties

It’s hard to argue against the Montbell Windstopper Booties for use on the snow. Not only do they straddle the line between waterproof and water-resistant (while maintaining breathability and also being windproof), they come with a built-in full height gaiter that tucks away when not needed. They even have a cozy liner and insoles to prevent heat loss when standing on snow.

  • Price: $129
  • Weight: 8.3 oz
  • Insulation: 800 fill power down, fill weight unlisted.
  • Soled: Yes
  • Shell Fabric: 30d Gore Windstopper
  • Pros: Highly water resistant. Windproof. Okay to walk on snow. Includes built-in snow gaiter. Durable.
  • Cons: Expensive. Heavy end of lightweight. Bulky.

Down Socks For In-Tent Use Only

GooseFeet Gear Down Socks

GooseFeet Gear Down Socks

GooseFeet Gear Down Socks are Alan’s preferred model! They’re built with a 20d nylon shell, an 8d liner, and have one ounce of down fill. If you don’t mind a 2+ week lead time, you can go directly to GooseFeet and order a Custom Pair with overfilled baffles for use in super cold temps. We highly recommend pairing these with the modular GooseFeet Over-Booties, which provide weather protection and a foam insole, and durable outsole so you can walk around camp.

  • Price: $72
  • Weight: 2.0 oz
  • Insulation: 1 oz of 850 fill power down
  • Soled: No
  • Shell Fabric: 20d ripstop nylon, 8d liner
  • Pros: Ultralight. High warmth-to-weight. Pairs perfectly with GooseFeet Over-Bootie.
  • Cons: Not for walking.
Zpacks Goose Down Socks

Zpacks Goose Socks

You won’t be surprised to find Zpacks Goose Socks in our preferred ultralight slot. This pair has an ounce of down split between each sock, encased in a 7d nylon ripstop shell – the same Ventum fabric you’ll find in all of their down garments and sleep systems. As such, the warmth-to-weight ratio is extremely high, but durability is rather low. They have no sole, and cannot be used for walking.

  • Price: $80
  • Weight: 1.8 oz
  • Insulation: 1 oz of 900 fill power down
  • Soled: No
  • Shell Fabric: 8d ripstop nylon
  • Pros: Very ultralight. High warmth-to-weight.
  • Cons: Not for walking. Low durability.

Enlightened Equipment Torrid Booties

Enlightened Equipment Torrid Booties

We love the Enlightened Equipment Torrid Booties because they’re simply the lightest option on the market. Their line of synthetic insulated Torrid garments have continually impressed us, and the CLIMASHIELD APEX batting is warm, lofty, lightweight, and quick-drying. Like with all down socks, these are not for use outside of the tent without supplemental overbooties.

  • Price: $70
  • Weight: 1.4 oz
  • Insulation: 4 oz/yd CLIMASHIELD APEX
  • Soled: No
  • Shell Fabric: 10D Nylon Ripstop
  • Pros: Most ultralight. Dries quickly. Performs when wet.
  • Cons: Not the warmest. Not for walking.
Outdoor Vitals Lofttek Hybrid Booties

Outdoor Vitals LoftTek Booties

Can’t choose between down or synthetic? How about the Outdoor Vitals LoftTek, which are insulated with a blend of both materials. This increases warmth to weight, while also providing moisture management. It’s a hedge-your-bet kind of design. What’s more, they’re a killer value for just $50. Though like all down socks, cannot be used outside of the tent.

  • Price: $50
  • Weight: 3.5 oz
  • Insulation: LoftTek Synthetic Insulation Mixed with 650 fill power down
  • Soled: No
  • Shell Fabric: 10d Nylon Ripstop
  • Pros: Warm. Lightweight. Good value. Performs when wet.
  • Cons: Not for walking. Low durability.
Exped Down Socks

Exped Down Socks

While we’re not terribly impressed by the materials, stats, and price of the Exped Down Socks, they score incredibly good user review. The 30d nylon shell fabric is the most durable we found in the down sock category, which some might appreciate. That being said, all of the other down socks on this list have a higher warmth-to-weight ratio, and are less expensive. And despite the durable 30d shell fabric, they’re not soled and cannot be used outside of the tent.

  • Price: $90
  • Weight: 4.2 oz
  • Down/Synthetic: Down
  • Soled: No
  • Shell Fabric: 30d nylon
  • Pros: Durable shell fabric. Good value. Warm. Lightweight.
  • Cons: Heavier than average. Not for walking. Unusual elastic band closure.

Modular Over-Booties

Goose Feet Gear Overbooties

GooseFeet Gear Waterproof Over-Booties

The GooseFeet Gear Waterproof Booties are an exceptional product that converts any down socks into soled booties enabling you to walk around camp. They are made with sil-nylon (tent-fly fabric), a foam insole, and either ultralight Robic Nylon, or ToughTek rugged grip for an outsole. We recommend the ToughTek, as it increases safety and quality of life when wearing them. If you own or intend to purchase down socks, these are an essential add-on, and Alan’s preferred model.

  • Price: $49
  • Weight: 4.5 oz
  • Down/Synthetic: Uninsulated
  • Soled: Yes
  • Shell Fabric: Sil-nylon.
  • Pros: Synergizes with down socks. Waterproof fabric. Modular. Good traction.
  • Cons: Requires seam-sealing for complete waterproofness. Traction adds weight. Not breathable.

Choosing Between Down Booties Vs Down Socks

How to choose between booties vs down socks is an important question to ask yourself when shopping for backcountry foot insulation. In general, we prefer a system like the Feathered Friends Booties or GooseFeet Gear Down Socks + Over-Booties that combines down socks with modular over-booties to create a best of both worlds scenario which can be worn inside or outside of the tent.

Pros and Cons of One Piece Booties

  • Pro: Can be worn inside of and outside of the tent
  • Pro: Weather resistant, keeps insulation dry
  • Pro: Provides some degree of traction
  • Con: Traction is usually bare minimum
  • Con: More expensive
  • Con: Bulkier and heavier
  • Con: Awkward to use inside sleeping bag, may drag in wetness

Pros and Cons of Down Socks

  • Pro: Lighter weight, more packable/compressible
  • Pro: Higher warmth-to-weight
  • Pro: Can be used inside sleeping bag
  • Pro: Least expensive
  • Con: Cannot be used outside of the tent
  • Con: Zero traction
  • Con: Low durability

Pros and Cons of Down Socks + Over-Booties System

  • Pros: Modular
  • Pros: Most versatile, easily transitions between camp, tent, and in-sleeping bag use.
  • Pros: Weather-resistant
  • Pros: Allows for faster drying of insulated liner than one-piece booties
  • Pros: Provides some degree of traction
  • Cons: Most expensive
  • Cons: Time spent putting on/taking off over-booties
  • Cons: Adds bulk and weight
  • Cons: Traction may be minimal
Outdoor Vitals LoftTek Booties

Backpacking Booties Conclusion

Thank you for reading our guide to backpacking booties. We know this assortment is lighter than average and excludes heavy models that cannot reasonably be carried in a pack. For cold weather backpacking, booties are an essential piece of gear and you will not regret purchasing them. Please drop us a line in the comments if you have questions or suggestions. Happy camping!

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