High-ankle boots can make one less nimble, especially when bushwhacking, and they’re heavier at the end of the day—but the extra support and warmth is usually worth it. This is definitely true with the Lowa Uplanders, which provide all the big-boot benefits with less additional weight. Just about any boot can repel water during a quick splash through a creek, but what separates pretenders from the real deal is traveling through beargrass in the rain—in that scenario, the Uplanders kept my feet completely dry. One day, after eight hours hiking in wet, early-season snow, my left foot finally got damp—though curiously the right stayed dry. These boots are also super quiet; while wearing them hunting I managed to walk right up on a big bull, and he never heard a thing. Available at Schnee’s. $285; lowaboots.com.