HansB

BOA wading boots and sand, workaround.

12 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Just wanted to share my experience with the use of BOA boots in the surf or anywhere you are likely to foul the BOA mechanism

 

Initially tried them in the surf with just the built in gravel guards from my Orvis Guide Waders and the BOA mechanism fouled up first trip and it was difficult to get them off.   I took the mechanism apart and it was literally clogged with sand and I felt fortunate to be able to get them off at all considering some of the other experiences I had read.

 

Called Orvis and they recommended their Infinite Gravel Guards worn over the built in gravel guards on my waders.  Didn't take long to realize that wearing them over my existing gravel guards was a bad idea as the surf will work them loose, so I put them under my gravel guards.   Unfortunately, the sand still got under both sets of gravel guards and clogged the BOA mechanism.  Took it apart again and there was a decent amount of sand in the mechanism. 

 

So thought trial and error over the next few trips I was able to find a way to keep sand completely out of the mechanism:

 

1) Use the old garbage back trick.  Using a plastic trash bag has always made it easier to slip a bootie into a wading boot and will actually save wear and tear by making the boot entry smoother with no pressure or stretching on the neoprene fabric.   I use a cheap lightweight 10 gal wastebasket liner I got from Costco and use the excess and fold it to create a barrier on the upper 2-3” of the boot to cover the BOA mechanism.  I take the leftover liner and pull it back and just tuck it into the back of my boot.

2) Use an additional neoprene gravel guard over the top of the boot thereby sealing the plastic liner over the BOA mechanism.

 

Just a couple of steps that doesn’t take a lot of time and the BOA boots are good to go in the surf.

 

I clean the mechanism out after a few trips with a T6 driver.  Call BOA folks and they will send you a repair kit and the driver free of charge.  Quick rinse and check and simple maintenance to keep the BOA mechanism functioning properly.  There are pros and cons to the BOA boots with the potential for the wiring breaking but at least clogged mechanisms can be managed.  I really like mine, the easy in and out is real plus.

 

I also have a small mini-pry bar with a beveled edge in my SUV just in case I need to lift the BOA knob should it get jammed.  Haven’t had to use it in several trips once I started using the methods above

 

HTH 

 

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Edited by HansB

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Posted (edited)

I wanted to add that the only thing you have to watch for is that the better neoprene gravel guards have a Velcro strip that runs the entire length of the attachment side of the gravel guard. There is a sharp edge on the upper edge  of the strip once it’s attached that can cause abrasions and tear into the inner fabric of the gravel guard built into my silver sonic waders.  When you fold your gravel guards down to attach to the D ring on the boot, the inner fabric of the gravel guard is resting on that sharp edge and can damage it.  Just be careful with this when wrapping the neoprene gravel guard or modify that edge by removing some of the outer edge of the Velcro.  I have been able to use the Orvis Infinity Gravel Guards and the Frogg Troggs Gravel Guards with success.  I removed the outside edge of the guards and tacked them down with a couple of stitches.  If you are careful  how you wrap the neoprene gravel guards it likely isn’t necessary to remove the edge.

 

 

 

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Here is a close up of the upper edge that abrades the lining of the built in gravel guard.

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Edited by HansB

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Posted (edited)

Nice report Hans... 

Sand is INVASIVE and RELENTLESS...!

if there is any way in, sand WILL find prevail...

well intended "mechanisms" and zippers WILL clog...

soonerorlater...

I've had my best "luck" [to date] with Henderson H2 titanium 5mm's hard sole booties...

sofarsogood...

Fairly snug slip on / off [no zipper] sealed at the top with some duct tape...

worksforme...

2006-03-30%20006_zpszdmwx1ry.jpg

 

Edited by petegray

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I just got a pair of korker darkhorse and wish I got wraptrs instead because of this happening my first 2 outings

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A product that clearly is not suitable for sandy beaches. The evidence is there to read above.

 

Laces might be a bit of a pain but nothing like a mechanism that is jammed and you can’t undo in a hurry.

Mike

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And when a lace breaks, I reach into my gear bag, pull one out, and am back in business in 10 seconds...

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And if you don’t have a spare and I admit I don’t have back up laces 

you just knot them back together for a field fix.

 

mikey

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BOA Laces breaking?   Is this something that actually happened to you, if so, that’s a real bummer.  Or something you read or heard anecdotally somewhere that occurs at a high rate?  Please provide the reference or the shop you talked to.

 

To be honest, I’m still on the fence about the BOA systems, but the laces are not what I am concerned about.   Managing the sand issue is a big step in liking these boots.  

 

I talked to BOA before I bought these boots and they claimed less than 1% failure rate and most of those failures they tracked are secondary to impact such as bike crashes.  The reason they offer a lifetime “no question asked” warranty where they will provide you parts at no cost is because of the robustness of their systems.  The wire is supposedly a 49 strand aircraft grade stainless wire cable.  They were kind enough to send me a 100mm wire kit to have as a spare just in case, which included a T6 driver used to open the mechanism.

 

I was told that for this application (wading boot) I should worry less about the wire breaking and more about the materials of the boot itself breaking down before that would likely happen.   Cleaning and maintaining the mechanism would go a long ways to prevent failure as would changing the wire should you see a fray or klnk develop.  But for tensile strength failure, unlikely.

 

I spoke to the customer service desk at Orvis about the BOA Pivots boot and they said to look at the reviews and to date, there is one mention of a wire problem out of 118 reviews. (4.7/5)  Orvis fan boys?  Don’t know but mostly positive things are said.

 

I also received firsthand positive feedback from the customer service folks at REI who sell BOA-equipped snowboard, ski and cycling models.  All the feedback I got from them was positive, and none of them had any problems with wires snapping without user error.  The only precaution they gave as an example was not to let the snowboard edge rest on the wire and possibly fray it.  I mentioned fishing and the reply was that snowboarding involves a lot more physical stress on a BOA mechanism than climbing a hill, walking a stream or the surf. 

 

Guessing time will tell and I’m hoping others with firsthand experience will drop in and share them, and I will do the same at the end of the season.

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I have a pair of Hodgman BOA boots one size larger than I normally wear for winter fishing with multiple sock layers and 5mm neoprenes.  I really like them and have had no issues whatsoever.  My younger son has a pair he uses is SW - no isssues.  They are very easy on/off.

 

I have not used them in the surf in CC or RI but I could see how sand could foul them.  Hell, if you ever went to the beach, you know how sand gets EVERYWHERE...

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I gave up on boa after a few different Korker boots, replacement boa systems at $10 each. Great idea but the sand just ruins them, jams them up and strips the plastic gear inside. I find they work ok on more rocky north shore LI spots but they are not good if you’re fishing any fine sandy beaches. I actually removed the boa systems and punched holes for regular laces in a couple pairs of korkers. 

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I have a pair of LL Bean Boa's that I used in salt and sand exclusively 3 or 4 years. No problems, with religious rinsing. Mileage is limited as I shed and shiver (the waders) earlier than most.

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