I’m not sure who made the very first Pac Boot (L.L. Bean maybe?). If someone does, please let me know. But ever since they first came on the scene, the Pac-Boot has been a staple in the outdoors closet, fall through spring, for good reason.
A well-made Pac Boot is waterproof, tall enough to keep the snow out, and warm. I also think that a good Pac Boot should have a removable insulation liner to make it easier to dry out. And if you use your boots a lot, it’s worth having a second liner that you can swap.
As far as I’m concerned, the best Pac Boots you can buy these days are handcrafted by a company called Schnee’s (pronounced – “Shnay’s”) in Bozeman, Montana. Schnee’s makes a variety of styles, from casual, around-town slip-ons to hardcore, extreme boots for working, hunting and riding, rated down to 40-below.
There are two things that make Schnee’s boots distinctive – the obvious quality of construction and materials, and the excellent fit. Some Pac Boots made by other manufacturers may keep your feet dry, but the fit is often too sloppy for serious, active mountain use. Not so with Schnee’s boots – they are made for hiking and climbing all day long. The “ADV” tread available on most Schnee’s boots is a far more aggressive, stable design than the old-school “chain tread” you find on most traditional Pac Boots, which in my experience can be slippery, particularly as the terrain gets steeper.
Best of all, Schnee’s Pac Boots are completely rebuildable. For a video on how Schnee’s rebuilds their boots, click here.