As hunting season begins, you may be looking for a new pair of boots. The proper boots will make or break your hunt. 

A good hunting boot needs to be tough, well-insulated, and, most importantly, comfortable. However, not all hunting boots are created equal, and some might suit your situation. 

Although you may be hunting, winter hunting boots may not always be the most suitable boots to wear. 

Depending on the time of year and season, lightweight hunting boots may be better to wear, and then heavy Pac boots may be better during colder weather. 

This article aims to take a closer look at pac boots to help determine their suitability for use when hunting or, at least, what types of hunting they are best suited to. 

What Are Pac Boots?

Eddie Bauer pac boot

Eddie Bauer Pac Boot

Pac boots are considered winter boots, but their defining characteristic is a thick,waterproof rubber lower shell.

The upper portion of pac boots is usually made from leather or nylon and may be waterproof or water-resistant. This upper portion can also be of different heights, depending on the manufacturer. 

According to the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Dictionary of American Regional English the term pac may have originated as an abbreviation of the word shoepack.

Pac boots are named after a “pac,” which traditionally is a moccasin-type soft shoe worn inside boots as a liner against the cold and wet.

They are great for bad weather. They handle cold and rain well and are comfortable sitting in for long periods. 

However, they are not great for long stretches of walking or serious winter hiking. Their rigidity and rubber shell, while great for insulation, can be heavy and difficult to move in, making miles of walking, particularly uphill, exhausting. 

Hunting boots, often less insulating than pac boots, are better for warmer weather and more active hunting activities. This article will compare the typical characteristics of Pac boots vs. hunting boots. 


Hoffman Lineman Felt Pac Boots

Pac boots are well-known for their warmth in frigid weather. However, the traits that make them provide excellent insulation also make them less suitable for hiking. 

Unlike winter hunting boots, pac boots are bulkier, heavier, and more rigid because their design keeps your feet warm in cold conditions. They don’t provide enough ankle support for hiking. Winter hunting boots are generally easier to hike in and cover miles of territory in. 

But, because they provide such great insulation, pac boots are great for standing for long periods and sitting in a tree stand. You do not have to keep moving to provide blood circulation to keep your feet warm, like certain hunting boots. But that means that hunting boots are better for active activities like hunting pheasant. 

In terms of boot liners, both Pac boots and hunting boots may come with liners. Some liners are not only waterproof, keeping your feet dry from the outside elements, but are also sweat-wicking. Some liners help increase the air circulation within the boots so that sweat can evaporate quickly, keeping your feet dry from the inside out. 

Boot liners are generally easy to remove from boots, allowing you to dry them quickly if they get wet but may be more challenging to put back in.

Remember, there is a wide range of good quality insulated hunting boots to choose from. Some of them are geared towards the highly active hunter while others for the less mobile. 

Weight, Support, and Flexibility

Pac boots can be very comfortable, depending on the activity. As mentioned above, they are great boots for standing or sitting for long periods, as one would in tree stands or for certain types of fishing. 

However, their flexibility on the upper portion means they provide less ankle support than winter hunting boots and won’t be suitable for scaling rocky terrain or hiking uphill.

In addition, their rubber shells, while great for insulation and keeping your feet warm, are stiff and heavy, making them uncomfortable to walk in after a while. 

Hunting boots tend to be lighter and provide greater ankle support, particularly the higher quality boots, making them better suited to long periods of walking. 

Outsole Traction and Grip

Pac boots and hunting boots differ in their traction and grip. Pac boots do have excellent grip, perfect for walking in snow or on ice. They are great in deep snow but are not as great on rockier terrain. 

Pac boots cannot compete with hunting boots in terms of hiking uphill and over uneven, sloped terrain. 


Tamarack Tundra Pac Boot

Tamarack Tundra Pac Boot

Pac boots and winter hunting boots differ in terms of waterproof ability. Rubber hunting boots are 100% waterproof, meaning that the rubber provides a complete water barrier. Pac boots, on the other hand, tend to be part waterproof and part water-resistant. 

The rubber bottoms of pac boots are waterproof, but the uppers may be waterproof or water-resistant, depending on the material used. Water-resistant materials are woven so tightly that it is tough for water to get through them. 

If the pac boot uppers are made of leather, the pac boots will offer similar water resistance to leather hunting boots. No leather is waterproof, but you can treat or seal the leather to make it more water-resistant. 

The Bottom Line

Pac boots and winter hunting boots are both great options for hunting, depending on your chosen activity. 

Winter hunting boots, especially those with more of a hiking boot make and style, are great for hunting activities that involve a lot of walking, such as stalking elk. 

Because pac boots provide excellent insulation, they are great for standing or sitting for long durations, such as with ice fishing and tree stand hunting for whitetail.

Further Reading

Insulated vs Uninsulated Hunting Boots

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