Finding warm winter boots that are lightweight enough to pack along when you are traveling to cold climes isn’t easy – if you treasure the mantra of traveling light and multifunctional, as HI Travel Tales does. So I was pretty excited to find the Baffin Escalate warm winter boots.

These warm winter travel boots ($139.99) are so cuddly cozy as well as being ultra-packable for when you are not wearing them. It is in fact insane how Baffin has combined packable, ultralight and warm all together in these winter travel boots.

The women’s version (what I tried) comes to about mid-calf, while the men’s are cut a bit lower –to lower calf above the ankle. Other than that they are basically identical. Waterproof, breathable, high-loft down insulation, hex-design EVA “AirGrip” outsole, and front lacing from mid-foot to the top with a drawstring toggle closure for easy on, easy off, and a drawstring toggle collar to keep out insistent snowflakes. Despite being calf-high, these warm winter travel boots squish down to pack to a size not much larger than a normal street shoe. This is what makes them such ideal winter travel boots.

Baffin Escalate folds up compactly into luggage.

Baffin Escalate warm winter travel boots ready for the road

Granted, you are not going to summit Everest or go on a long Alpine winter trek in them. These Baffin Escalate boots aren’t sturdy enough for that with an upper that is soft and compressible enough to pack as I mentioned. But they will get you through wintry city streets, parks and urban trails very well – you of course will need spikes or some other grip device for truly icy conditions because nearly no sole can manage that on its own. If your expectations are for a slip-on warm winter travel boot that isn’t going to hike the Rockies or trek high-altitude Nepalese trails, then these Baffin Escalate winter travel boots are for you.

Baffin says the temperature rating goes down to -22 degrees Fahrenheit (-30 C) and up to 50 degrees F (10C). I can’t personally vouch for -22 but I can however vouch for utter warm coziness down to about 20 F and no discomfort of overheating up to about 35. In fact, they offered such warmth that it was easy to imagine these boots taking my dogs down much farther than the 20 F I experienced – and I usually have pretty chilly toes.

Escalate warm winter travel boots soft and oh so warm

HI Travel Tales Seal of Approval for Travel Product ExcellenceThe insole is cushioned and the Baffin Escalate has a removable insole. With a lower volume, narrow foot, I found I downsized a half-size plus I added a more supportive orthotic for more walking comfort and support. This makes them ideal for me.

The Escalate is part of the Ease line from Baffin, with the Escalate’s little sibling called the Ease (Women’s, $129.99; men’s $124.99) introduced a year earlier – just like the Escalate but without the lacing up the front and just a simple strap across the instep. I personally like the look of the lace up for more multifunctional wear that can go from trail to town.

For lightweight demands, the Escalate will find a place in my suitcase for our winter travels. Thus, how could we not award the HITT Seal of Approval for travel product excellence to the Baffin Escalate boots!


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Therese Iknoian

Traveler at HI Travel Tales
Little did her parents know that a short trip to Europe in high school would launch a lifetime love of travel, languages and cultures. Trained as a news journalist, Therese Iknoian spent a decade as a daily newspaper journalist before launching a freelance writing career specializing in outdoor, fitness and training. All the while trotting the globe, her focus finally turned to travel. Fluent in German, Therese runs a translation business ( working primarily with companies in the outdoor/sports/retail industry. Also a French speaker, she loves to learn a bit of the language wherever she goes -- gdje je kupaonica? Мне нужна помощь! -- often embarrassing herself in the quest for cross-cultural communication and the search for great travel discoveries.
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