Apparel keeps snakes at bay


HomeHome / Blog / Apparel keeps snakes at bay

Sep 01, 2023

Apparel keeps snakes at bay

A reader recently asked our recommendations about boots, pants and chaps for hunting. Hunters are wise to wear snakeboots and chaps in early fall because venomous snakes are still active. Transitional

A reader recently asked our recommendations about boots, pants and chaps for hunting.

Hunters are wise to wear snakeboots and chaps in early fall because venomous snakes are still active. Transitional weather heightens the risk of a bad encounter with a venomous snake, especially as the weather cools. On cool mornings and cool evenings, rattlesnakes and copperheads might be lethargic and not be willing to move out of your way.

This is not a casual topic for me. A bite from a timber rattlesnake on Fouche Mountain put me in the Danville hospital for a weekend. Even so, I hold no ill will toward rattlesnakes and copperheads. They are beautiful and charismatic. I will not harm them, but I am eager not to incur one's wrath again. Wearing snakeboots and chaps are excellent preventatives.

Muck is my favorite hunting boot. Muck is a stovepipe slip-on design that fits me very well. This fall, and for as long as they last, I'll be wearing the Muck Pathfinder.

The Pathfinder's vamp and heel counter are thick rubber. The vamp rises halfway up the shin. The backstay runs all the way up to the back of the knee.

There is some vulnerability in the upper, which is 5mm Neoprene. Wearing chaps eliminates that exposure.

Chaps made of thick Cordura are very effective, but I prefer a pair of waxed canvas Filson chaps that I've worn for nearly 30 years. The only downside is that you must wax them periodically. The upside is that the wax permeates the material and makes the chaps waterproof. Muck boots are already waterproof, but burrs, briars and branches will damage Neoprene. The chaps make you as impervious to the elements from the waist down.

Muck's Wetland Pro Certified Snake Boots give you all that protection in a single package, eliminating any need or advantage of chaps.

The one disadvantage to the Muck Pathfinder is weight. They are heavy and they will cause fatigue if you walk a lot in them.

Two excellent alternatives are Irish Setter's VaprTrek and Northside's Kamiak.

The Irish Setter VaprTrek BOA is an exemplary snake boot. It covers the entire leg, but you can customize calf compression with its ratcheting BOA fastener. It replaces traditional laces and eliminates tedious tightening and loosening laces. Tighten by turning a knob. Release tension by pulling the knob.

Its snake resistant features are impressive. A rubber belt enshrouds the toe and heel. The vamp and heel are made of leather that is double-stitched to a Cordura foundation.

The Irish Setter VaprTrek BOA is water resistant and contains a ScentBan liner. Its light weight is ideal for long treks and arduous walking through cutovers and other nasty environments.

The Northside Men's Kamiak is a highly problematic boot for us. Except for rubber caps on the toe and heel, the construction is all Cordura. We absolutely love the Canebreak camo pattern.

The pipe is the problem. It zips from the side. That's a great concept, but side-zip snakeboot zippers are notoriously fragile. In time it will fail, and probably sooner than later.

A bigger problem is the pipe itself. It wraps very tightly around the calf. I have big calves, souvenirs from a year-long backpacking walk from Arkansas to Maine. I cannot zip the boot closed if I tuck my pants into the pipe.

The Irish Setter pipe is also too tight to tuck pants inside the boot. Either of these boots requires me to wear shorts. In cold weather, I wear a thermal base layer.

This is not a problem for Muck boots because their Neoprene stretches if you stuff a pant leg inside the pipe.

Also with the VaprTrek and the Kamiak, we recommend sizing up to accommodate thick hunting socks.


My favorite pants are made by DU/ER and LIVSN. They are the best camp/utility trousers I have found. I use them for everything except turkey hunting, and only because they are not camo.

DU/ER trousers are made of 62% cotton, 30% Tencel Lyocel, 8% Lycra 1400 polyester and 2% Spandex. They fit snugly, but they stretch so that they are not tight. They are also water repellent. You can enhance this quality by applying Scotch Guard.

Each leg has a large pocket with a vertical zipper on the front. The collapsible pocket is really more like a big pouch, and it can hold a lot of stuff. The front pockets are deep. A metal loop is sewn into one of the belt loops in the rear.

The cuffs contain interior straps that secure the cuffs tightly against the ankle. They snap against a rivet on the cuff.

Andrew Gibbs-Dabney of Fayetteville founded LIVSN in 2018. In every regard LIVSN trousers are very well conceived and executed. The mid-weight fabric, made from certified organic cotton and recycled polyester, is light and flexible. Even so, it is durable, but the versatile styling is also suitable for casual wear.

Unique to this type of garment is the mesh seat liner similar to that in premium fishing attire. It wicks away moisture and allows air to circulate while providing a barrier between the primary fabric and skin.

Rear pockets with concealed zippers keep items secure. Front pockets are deep, reinforced mesh pouches with phone sleeves for those that are comfortable keeping their phones close to that part of the anatomy. Two knife pockets on the seams between the front and rear pockets are the perfect width and depth for my Case pocketknife and a multi-tool.

The roll-up leg closure system is really nice. The cuffs roll up 2 inches per fold, and they stay put with a strap and button system like that used to roll up the sleeves on my fishing shirts. Strips of reflective tape adorn the straps.

LIVSN will repair any manufacturing defect, or refund or replace the product at no charge. For issues from normal wear and tear, LIVSN will repair it at cost. For more information, visit

Print Headline: Apparel keeps snakes at bay

Copyright © 2023, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc.

All rights reserved.

This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc.

Material from the Associated Press is Copyright © 2023, Associated Press and may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. Neither these AP materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and noncommercial use. The AP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions therefrom or in the transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages arising from any of the foregoing. All rights reserved.