Lowa Camino GTX FLEX
Best Hiking Boot Review
Just the Facts:
The new benchmark for trekking fit and comfort. The upper is designed with LOWA Flex® lacing which allows the laces to easily pull through the ballbearing lace loops that are set on free moving tabs, reducing overall pressure against the foot. Waterproof/breathable.
• UPPER: Nubuck Leather
• LINING: GORE-TEX®
• CLIMATE CONTROL
• TONGUE STUD/X-LACING
• C4 TONGUE
• FLEX® LACING
• FOOTBED: Balance Comfort
• MIDSOLE: PU with SPS Cushion & Fluke Technology
• OUTSOLE: VIBRAM® AppTrail
• STABILIZER: 5mm Nylon Heel/3mm Forefoot
WEIGHT: 1550 grams
I am a hiker. I look at a mountain and just like the bear, I to want to go over it to see what I can see. Call it a prehistoric machismo thing or simply a friendly challenge from the gods. If I see a tall hill or mountain I want to climb it. Why? Because, I’ll never know what is up there to see until I know… You know? Well, the Eagle Cap Wilderness in Oregon has plenty of mountains to keep both the bear and myself busy for quite some time. I made a call to the local fish biologist and after getting some good intel on some of the lakes that might hold fish I planned a hike. It was about a month out but now was the time to start getting ready.
For the few weeks leading up to my great adventure I was wearing the Camino’s to work. I truly feel that all boots need at least a little break-in time. Not so much for the material as for the foot. A common error I see is a person buying a pair of boots to go on a hike when their daily footwear is flip flops or cross trainers. The problem is that your feet are not ready for boots and the blisters that you may get are more a product of unprepared feet than bad boots. This is often a case of misplaced blame on footwear rather than unpreparedness.
Now, back to the boots. The Lowa Camino GTX boots are fantastic. As I have mentioned in other reviews I have bad feet and I absolutely require sturdy footwear to make sure I don’t injure myself and ruin a good day in the hills. Well these babies fit the bill. They are very robust and offer fantastic support at an acceptable weight of 3.4 pounds. The FLEX Lacing really helps to get a secure fit and allows for fantastic flexibility when needed. This is important when hiking over rough terrain as sometimes having good range of motion can help prevent injury. It all looks good on paper and they are a great looking boot but like my dad always used to say “pretty don’t catch fish”. How do the hold up in the field? I was determined to find out.
I was frothing at the bit waiting for the time to slip by as I had taken half of the day Friday and the following Monday off. This little 3.5 day adventure was going to be the stuffs of legend. Well, to me anyway. When the car was put into drive and my hiking buddy Willy and I were finally on our way I felt as happy as that guy who saw his first “Double Rainbow”. We fattened ourselves up at our favorite burger joint, which was conveniently on the way. After a few hours of driving we pulled into the parking area with our bellies still full and huge smiles on our faces. The adventure begins!
The Eagle Cap Wilderness is simply a fantastic sight. It was hailed as a “Lake-lovers dream” by Backpacker Magazine. With peaks that go as high as 9,845 ft., multiple creeks, and 58 named lakes. It really is something to see.
Sign about a mile in on Main Eagle Trail
Our plan was to make it to three lakes in three days. From the starting point on Main Eagle Trailhead we would hike to Culver Lake, then on to Eagle Lake, and finally spend our last night at Heart Lake. I put a double knot in the laces of my Camino’s and off we went.
Willy and I at the Main Eagle Trail Head.
The trail is well maintained and as we walked into the great unknown the beauty of this place was intoxicating. The trail is a mixture of crushed and broken granite. It can go from nice sand to softball sized boulders to huge slabs. Throw in multiple creek crossings and muddy marshes and we’ve got us a boot testing party. I always have liked a good party.
The Flex lacing was a fantastic feature as the trail provided many obstacles that would bend and contort the foot is every direction. The bearings allow for a tight lacing but also free flow as the foot moves. The floating ankle eyelets really provide another point of great mobility. The design allows for sufficient movement without sacrificing support. For a guy like me with bad feet support is paramount. I was not left wanting. The Vibram sole is arguably one of the best boot soles in the free world. It truly shined as a contender against the ravenous appetite that course rocks have for boot rubber. Creeks and marshes proved to be no match for the Gore-Tex liner and my feet always left the boot dry and happy. The Camino’s are not tall boots mind you, and they do have limits, so water crossings were done with care and depth in mind. These boots are purpose built to tackle the hiking trails of the world and I have to say they do a fine job.
Doing a spot of fishing at Eagle Lake. Caught my first Lake Trout. The Camino’s are doing a fine job on these rocks.
After hiking just over 19 miles my feet felt great. I did acquire a small blister on my right heal at about the 15 mile mark (incorrectly noted in the video as 11 miles). However, I truly believe that was my own fault. I had stopped to take a small pebble out of my boot and in a rush to get back on the trail I laced my boot rather haphazardly. It was not near as tight as it should have been and as we finished the last mile to our final camp I could feel the hot spot but ignored it and went on. At our last camp I had developed a bister but I put the blame on myself and not the boot. Tight boots are a must and I ignored the signs thereby creating a problem for myself that was avoidable.
2 Days into the hike. Feet feel great!
In the end the Camino GTX boot preformed as designed. For a trekking boot they are well-constructed and will meet nearly every hikers needs. Fast lacing, durable construction, relatively light weight, Gore-Tex liner, and slipper like comfort make these boots a dream. The boots are not marketed as a hunting boot but I can see no reason why they could not carry a hunter through archery and even early rifle season with no worries. You will not be disappointed by this boot as it has proven to hold up to the high standards that Lowa is known for. I absolutely recommend these boots for any hiker/Hunter looking for a strong low profile boot.
Check them out here: http://www.lowaboots.com/catalog/camino-gtx-flex/2106440920/6/?Type=M
What could be done better?
Just like EVERY other boot from EVERY other company I have tested. The insoles could use some work. They are basic, plain, and leave you wanting. Aside from the insoles I really am hard pressed to find anything that needs improvement. I did have a little trouble with the left ankle tab lacing hook. If I put too much strain on it I would notice some discomfort. Not sure it is anything that can be fixed. I just made sure not to over tighten and the issue was resolved. These boots are simply great and I recommend them without reserve. Lowa continues to amaze me.