Hands-on Gear Review

The North Face Base Camp Lite Review

Best Buy Award
Price:  $35 List | $34.95 at MooseJaw
Pros:  Comfortable, lightweight, great traction, affordable
Cons:  Shows wear and tear, straps take awhile to dry after being wet
Bottom line:  The Base Camp Lite is a well-cushioned and highly comfortable sporty flip that won't add much weight to your pack or strain to your wallet.
Editors' Rating:   
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Sole material:  Injection-molded EVA
Footbed material:  Injection-molded EVA
Strap Material:  Synthetic with jersey lining, recycled PET toe post
Manufacturer:   The North Face

Our Verdict

The North Face Base Camp Lite grabbed up a Best Buy for Sporty Adventures award due to it being highly comfortable, well-tractioned, and lightweight. Other than being on the less durable side, we have no complaints about this plush flip. It's well-priced, and every time we went out for testing, it was one of the first models people would reach for. The straps hold onto water a bit long after getting thoroughly soaked, but nothing outrageous or surprising. All in all, this is a fantastic option to have along for all manner of warm weather outings and adventures.

If you would like to stay in this price range but are craving something a little more stylish, our Best Stylish Buy on a Tight Budget, the Teva Olowahu is worth exploring. We also really loved the simplicity and craftsmanship of the Rainbow Single Layer Premier.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Flip-Flop Sandals For Women Review


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Penney Garrett

Last Updated:
Monday
May 14, 2018

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We loved The North Face Base Camp Lite. It was comfortable right out of the box and gave us excellent traction — both from the sole and the footbed — while weighing just 7.8 ounces. The lightweight EVA is prone to wear and tear, showing dirt and dents quite easily, but with a bit of care, this flip can still last you for many seasons. Time after time our testers reached for this shoe, loving the thick cushioned sole and textured footbed. And when you consider it'll set you back just $34, you really can't go wrong.

Performance Comparison


The Base Camp Lite was one of the easiest flip-flops in our review to fall instantly in love with.
The Base Camp Lite was one of the easiest flip-flops in our review to fall instantly in love with.

Comfort


The North Face model was one of our favorite options for comfort. The plush lightweight footbed and soft jersey-lined straps were instantly delicious, requiring zero break-in time. We also really liked the texturing on the footbed, which not only felt good on our feet but offered additional traction when traipsing around.


We have zero complaints about the Base Camp Lite in this category — or most categories for that matter! The only shoe we found more comfortable was the OluKai Ohana, with its fancy ICEVA drop-in footbed. But it's also almost twice the price and twice the weight, so for anyone needing to stay budget-minded and lightly-packed without sacrificing comfort, this is a smart buy.

We were happy to have the Base Camp Lite to slip into after a hard day of climbing.
We were happy to have the Base Camp Lite to slip into after a hard day of climbing.

Support & Stability


Even though the Base Camp is light and squishy, it did offer some noticeable support no matter what activity we engaged in.


We found this flip to be well-designed for how minimal it is. The thickness of the sole, width of the straps, and overall fit meant it was easy to feel supported and surprisingly stable. While this may not be the hiking sandal that our Top Pick Astral Rosa is, or as contoured and foot-hugging as the Birkenstock Gizeh, the Base Camp Lite performed the best that we could have hoped for considering its design. In other words, we weren't disappointed.

No matter when kind of terrain we wanted to explore  the Base Camp Lite was a great companion.
No matter when kind of terrain we wanted to explore, the Base Camp Lite was a great companion.

Durability


This is really the only category where we had any concerns about the Base Camp, but they were understandable considering its lightweight material.


Being made from EVA foam, this flip is prone to showing wear and tear. It's not something to be worried about, but just to pay attention to. Sharp sticks and dog teeth will do a number on this sandal, as will cams and carabiners in your pack. Just be aware, and you'll be fine and remember: this flip only cost you $34!

If you'd rather pay a little more for something more durable, consider a model made from rubber and webbing like the Astral Rosa, Chaco Flip EcoTread, or Vionic Tide II.

While we loved the way this lightweight foam felt under our feet  it will get nicked and damaged quickly if you're not careful.
While we loved the way this lightweight foam felt under our feet, it will get nicked and damaged quickly if you're not careful.

Water Resistance


We wouldn't consider the Base Camp Lite a water shoe, but if it does get doused, you're going to be fine.


After a full soaking in the river, the footbed on the Base Camp was dry to the touch in 5.5 minutes. With weight we could feel moisture inside of it up to about 10 minutes, but barely. The straps took considerably longer to dry — just over 30 minutes — but they felt fine on our feet while damp.

Our best models for wicking water away and drying out fast were the minimal Rainbow Single Layer Premier and Reef Leather Uptown, both of which dried entirely in 20 minutes. Rubber and webbing models were also great, and if you plan to do any rafting or boating, we recommend the Astral Rosa.

The Base Camp wasn't the most water resistant model in our test suite  but it definitely performed well enough for any impromptu run-in with water you might have.
The Base Camp wasn't the most water resistant model in our test suite, but it definitely performed well enough for any impromptu run-in with water you might have.

Traction


We found the Base Camp Lite to have surprisingly great traction, both on the footbed and the sole.


At first, we didn't expect much from this simple, lightweight foam shoe. But we were pleasantly surprised at how sticky our feet felt everywhere we went. Whether on a rocky trail or an uneven belay ledge, this flop felt pretty fantastic. It gave us a great balance of traction from both the sole and the textured footbed — which also felt great on tired feet!

If you're in need of something even burlier and stickier, be sure to read about the Merrell Around Town, which had the best traction in our test suite. The Astral Rosa was also fantastic due to its add-on straps, as was the Vionic Tide II, with its supportive built-in orthotics.

The Base Camp Lite had excellent traction for a simple flip flop - both from the sole and the textured footbed.
The Base Camp Lite had excellent traction for a simple flip flop - both from the sole and the textured footbed.

Style


We awarded middle-of-the-road marks here — the Base Camp Lite is more sporty than stylish which will appeal to the right person, but it's not as elegant or beautiful as other options in our test group.



For the outdoorsy woman, this is an appealing shoe available in quite a few fun colors. While it will undoubtedly be cute with a sporty dress, it's not the kind of flip-flop you grab for a dressier evening out. But that's not really what it's aimed at either — this flip is meant for adventure in the outdoors, and in that setting, we think it's beautiful.

Simple and sporty  the Base Camp's style is perfect for the adventure-minded and comfort-focused woman.
Simple and sporty, the Base Camp's style is perfect for the adventure-minded and comfort-focused woman.

Best Applications


This sandal is fantastic for all manner of summer adventures. From hanging out at the crag to hopping on rocks through a river, this comfortable and well-tractioned shoe is a great warm weather friend. We took the Base Camp Lite on long desert strolls, hikes to hot springs, and many-a-camping trip and were never disappointed. And with how light it is, we think it's well-suited for backpacking and climbing trips.

The Base Camp Lite made us jump for joy (and allowed us to trust our feet when landing!)
The Base Camp Lite made us jump for joy (and allowed us to trust our feet when landing!)

Value


This flip is our Best Buy for Sporty Adventures, so obviously we think it's a great value for what you get. If this were just a comfortable shoe and nothing more, $34 would be a nice price. But it's also good with water, relatively stable, well-tractioned, and cute! All of that for under $40 is a seriously great deal.

Conclusion


We found the Base Camp Lite to be an excellent shoe that provided fantastic comfort and impressive traction. While the foam footbed isn't the most durable, it keeps the weight down and makes this a great option for taking along on backpacking and climbing trips. We gave this fun flip our Best Buy for Sporty Adventures award because it will only set you back $34 while keeping your feet happy and sticky all over the great outdoors.

Great price  comfort  and traction? Yes  please!
Great price, comfort, and traction? Yes, please!
Penney Garrett

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Most recent review: May 14, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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