Kamik Nation Plus Review
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Kamik Nation Plus
|Price||$62.37 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Warm, comfortable, affordable, good traction||Great traction, excellent fit, very comfortable, warm, affordable||Weather resistant, easy to slip on and off, durable||Relatively inexpensive, great performance across the board||Great traction, very comfortable, inexpensive|
|Cons||Not completely waterproof, more labor intensive to put on than others||Other boots are warmer, relatively low water-resistance height||Expensive, loose fit, clunky, poor traction||Clunky, style isn't the best, questionable construction quality||Not that warm, fabric eyelets, low height|
|Bottom Line||A casual boot for tromping around in the snow at a budget friendly price||These boots are the total package, with warmth, comfort, a great fit, and a fair price||These easy-to-use boots are protective and durable, perfect for winter chores or quick jaunts into snowy weather||These affordable boots nearly match the performance of the best models but without straining your wallet||This very comfortable and inexpensive winter hiking boot has excellent traction, making it perfect for winter walks and treks|
|Rating Categories||Kamik Nation Plus||The North Face Chil...||Muck Boot Arctic Sp...||Columbia Bugaboot III||Merrell Thermo Chil...|
|Weather Protection (25%)|
|Comfort and Fit (20%)|
|Specs||Kamik Nation Plus||The North Face Chil...||Muck Boot Arctic Sp...||Columbia Bugaboot III||Merrell Thermo Chil...|
|Maximum Puddle Depth Before Major Leaking||8"||8.5"||13"||8"||6.5"|
|Measured Shaft Height (from bottom of sole to top of shaft)||12"||11"||13"||10.5"||7.5"|
|Measured Weight (per pair, size 13)||4.56 lbs||3.86 lbs||5.09 lbs||3.69 lbs||2.74 lbs|
|Appropriate Activity||Town, Chores, Errands||Town, errands||Chores||Hiking, town, chores, errands||Hiking, town|
|Fit Details||True to size||True to size||Roomy||True to size||True to size|
|Lining/Insulation||200B 3M Thinsulate||400g Heatseeker Eco||Fleece, 5mm CR Flex-Foam neoprene||200g synthetic||200g M Select|
|Upper Material||Waterproof suede||Waterproof leather & suede||Rubber||Waterproof leather||Waterproof polyurethane-coated leather and mesh|
|Outsole||Rubber||Surface Control rubber||MS-1 molded rubber||Omni-Grip Rubber||Rubber|
|Company Claimed Cold Weather Rating||Not listed||Not listed||-40 F||Not listed||Not listed|
|Sizes Available||7 - 14||7 - 14||5 - 15||7 - 17||7 - 15|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Nation Plus is noticeably less expensive than other similar models, but there are flaws that were hard to overlook. The lower flood height severely impacted wet weather performance, and the wet material leached color and ended up staining the wood floor of our entryway, so exercise caution. We also found the leather heel reinforcements to be uncomfortable when walking.
The Nation Plus winter boot has just 200 grams of Thinsulate insulation. At first glance, we thought it would be one of the coldest boots in our test. In reality, it performs well against boots with double the insulation. This is because the insulation is allowed to maintain its loft, while other boots compress their insulation by sewing it behind an inner liner material. The sole is thick rubber and provides good insulation from cold concrete and asphalt. A thin metallic lining is sewn into the bottom of the boot liner to increase its R-Value, blocking heat transfer from your feet to the ground.
The exterior of the Nation Plus is built from thick rubber and suede leather, which did not suffer from major leakage issues, though it performed less admirably than we would have hoped for such a tall boot. That said, the rubber sole and outsole are one molded piece, so major damage would have to occur for a leak to spring there, and a waterproofing agent is daubed along the inside stitching where the rubber meets the suede.
However, the seam that stitches the waterproofed, gusseted tongue to the leather upper allows water to leak through, lowering the maximum puddle depth to 4.5 inches. This is a shame since the boot's shaft is a full 12 inches high. While prolonged deep immersions are not what this model is meant to withstand, as soon as water enters through the tongue gusset, the Thinsulate foam insulation is very quick to soak it up, making the inner liner cold and soggy.
Comfort and Fit
This boot fits true to size, though Pac boots tend to give a sloppier fit than others because they occupy a space somewhere between a traditional lace-up boot and a slip-on. The bottom of the liner on the Nation Plus offers only a thin felt piece between your foot and the firm sole below. After standing around in the boot for a while, we could feel the hardness of the sole. There is also a stiff leather reinforcement patch on the outside of the heel, where lots of abrasion occurs. This patch is stiff and dug into our Achilles tendons whenever we took a step forward. We thought this would change over time as the boots broke in, but it didn't. As such, these boots aren't that comfortable to wear.
The tread pattern on the Nation Plus is reminiscent of a pair of burly off-road tires, featuring deep lugs that offer good traction in soft snow and muck but keep enough surface area to travel on flat and slippery surfaces like icy pavement effectively. The soft, sticky rubber compound seems to aid in the grip on icy surfaces and does not cost the boot any grip on snow or hardpack. Every time we thought we had found a boot with good grip on the ice, we would slip the Nation Plus on the other foot and test them side by side, and every time the Nation Plus was among the grippiest. That said, ice is still ice, and nothing will guarantee you can stay on your feet on an ice rink, but these boots did better than most of the others.
These boots are built relatively well and last a long time. Every seam is double-stitched, meaning it would take a lot of wear and tear to get the pieces of leather to separate. We have been testing these boots for a long time and haven't experienced a leather panel separating. However, we have noticed that the leather can leach out color when wet, and one tester noticed some color from the leather staining his mudroom floor. Also, unlike other Pac boots, the Nation Plus has a synthetically-insulated liner instead of felt, and this material packs down over time and loses its loft, but not for a while.
Should You Buy the Kamik Nation Plus?
This boot performs decently well, and it comes for a price that is hard to complain about. However, for just a little more money, you can get a much better boot. Modern winter boots have diverged from Pac boots by combining the insulation with the shell, which creates an overall lighter and better-fitting boot that is easier to wear. We recommend either spending a little more money on a much better boot or choosing a bargain-basement model that will get you through an average winter just as well as this one will.
What Other Winter Boots Should You Consider?
If you are looking for the best traditional Pac boot on the market, the Sorel Caribou is a tried and true model that will last forever. If you want a warm, comfortable, and durable model that is also lighter and more nimble, The North Face Chilkat V 400 is our recommendation for most users. And if the low price of the Nation Plus is what appeals to you, check out the Columbia Bugaboot III, which is only a little more expensive but delivers great performance.
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