Skaftafellsjokull glacier

Proving a Pair of Merrell Hikers — On a Glacier

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Skaftafellsjokull glacier
Falljokull glacier may be hard to pronounce, but it’s even harder to stay on your feet if you’re not properly equipped. Photo by Jody Moon

My wife just returned from a trip to Iceland with her family. I was home with the kids, spending some quality time as we ramped up for summer vacation when — as a SAHD/WFH dad — I have a lot more quality time coming over the coming weeks. While I enjoyed adventures in electrical installations, trying to keep up with laundry and dealing with some very disconcerted dogs, she spent 10 days in Reykjavik and touring the island. One of the highlights of her trip was hiking on Falljokull glacier (at the foot of the Vatnajokull ice cap) at Skaftafell National Park. This wasn’t a casual walk, so she’d arrived in Iceland prepared with a pair of Moab hiking boots from Merrell.

The Merrell hiking boots used to challenge the glacier
Merrell Women’s Moab Mid GORE-TEX hiking boots. Image copyright Merrell

As you can see from the top photo, the terrain leading up to the glacier — and the glacier itself — is varied and challenging. There’s plenty of standing water, mud, moss, volcanic ash and rock along with some fast moving glacial melt. It’s slippery, sharp and can be treacherous.

Glacier warning
Photo by Jody Moon

Once on the glacier itself, there are crevasses and ice-cold streams. Even with the best of equipment, visitors are expected to make use of a guide and to strap on a pair of crampons for traction on the ice. I turned to my friends at Merrell to see if they had something that would tackle the rigors of hiking on a glacier, as well as the kind of forest hiking we typically do during our camping trips. They sent a pair of Women’s Moab Mid GORE-TEX hikers, boots that were extremely light — a big consideration when packing for an extended trip to another country.

Hikers aren't enough, you need crampons too
Getting fitted with crampons. Photo by Joni Seager

Jody found Merrell Moab’s a big step up from other hiking boots she owns. They’re constructed with GORE-TEX with mesh uppers, resulting in a boot that’s waterproof, breathable and light weight. They have Vibram soles with fairly aggressive 5mm lugs, Merrell Air Cushion heel, a compression molded EVA foot frame and Ortholite anatomical footbed. She found that they provided the grip, support and protection needed while climbing across some challenging terrain. They kept her feet completely dry despite rain and having to step through pools of frigid glacial meltwater (a pair of Merrell socks helped with the warmth). The boots always remained tightly tied — important when you’re depending on your footing and both hands are full with a walking stick and camera. They were also comfortable to wear on more casual hikes (such as when she went Puffin watching) and she reports wearing them for two straight days without any discomfort. There wasn’t time to work the boots in before her trip so she was a bit nervous about wearing them out for the first time, but noted that they feel broken in right out of the box.

Merrell Women’s Moab Mid GORE-TEX have an MSRP of $135 (they’re currently priced from $125 on Amazon) and come highly recommended by my wife. So is Iceland, by the way. I’ll make it there too one of these days, but in the meantime I have to make do with The Simpsons’ depiction of the country and a few thousand pretty cool photos she took (including many Puffin shots).

A puffin in its natural habitat
The obligatory Iceland Puffin shot. Photo by Jody Moon

Disclosure: Merrell supplied hiking gear for review purposes.

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