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Wet Boots


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I ran into a new problem this weekend, so I thought I would throw it out there and see what you all think. I recently retired my old Ecco Receptor boots and replaced them with a pair of Lowa Renegades which have quite a bit thicker gore-tex lining than my old ones. Saturday afternoon, I was crossing a stream and slipped so I ended up stepping into water deeper than my boots. As soon as I got to the other side, I emptied the boots and switched into dry socks and continued on to the car. When I got there I took my boots off and removed the insoles, then set them near the floor vents to dry. When I got to the hotel that night I was surprised to find that they were still wet, not just damp, but wet. I carried them inside and turned them upside down over the vent and hit the sack, the next morning they were still damp. Luckily I had a backup pair of boots with me, so that was not a big issue, but if I had been out on a two or three day hike, this would have cranked the suck factor way up. I had just never had that happen before. Anyone have any advice on helping boots dry more quickly when they get wet inside?

Edited by Monkeybrad
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Well . . . this might not be doable on a hiking trip, but this is what I did after getting caught in a sudden, torrential summer thunderstorm while riding my horse on Cedar Mountain in Utah, when my tall leather riding boots got wet inside and out.

 

I poured the water out of the boots when I got back to my truck and changed shoes. When I got home, I found two 32 oz. Dawn dishwashing liquid bottles I had saved . . . :rolleyes: I put hot water in each bottle and put a bottle inside each boot. When the water cooled off, I filled the bottle up again with hot tap water.

 

I just kept doing that until the leather dried out. The boots did not get ruined as they might have if I had used more direct heat or just let them dry out on their own without any "help."

 

Just one idea . . . :laughing:

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Using the same method as Peet's Boot Dryer (below - which is what I use when car camping), you probably need to set up a convection like system over a camp fire. Setting the boots upside down above the fire far enough so it is a warm draft hitting the boots is what you want. Failing that, you're just going to have to put the boots close enough to the fire to at least warm up and evaporate, being sure to turn the boots so you get a nice even ...errr... I mean so it doesn't get too hot on any one side.

 

p3261673dt.jpg

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I've actually found a nice temporary fix for general foot wetness. Keep in mind it's only temporary, until you can get somewhere and dry out.

 

Safeway bags (or whatever plastic grocery bags you have in abundance. Over here, it happens to be Safeway :laughing:)

 

Try to look for ones without holes :(. Blowing them full of air and checking for leaks works nicely. Over the sock and into the shoe, and you're ready for a while. But if your sock is wet, or for some reason you need to go over the foot directly, move quickly because your foot won't be getting any air. At least with a sock, it gets some.

 

But I actually use a Safeway as a temporary "winter boot". I only really have just shoes (job issues hindered me getting boots last winter), so I slipped a safeway bag over each shoe, tied it tightly around my ankle, slipped my pant leg over the plastic (less conspicuous), and that'd generally last long enough without ripping bad enough to let snow in until I could wade into the snowdrift, find the cache, sign it, and get out. The snow on my pants I could just brush off. By the time I got out, the bottoms of the bags were typically ripped a bit, but no snow in my shoes = happy Kabuthunk :D.

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...Bare feet dry quickly. :laughing:

 

Amen, Mule Ears! I recently did about 25 miles along the Appalachian Trail, half in Tevas and the other half barefoot - No wet boots!

 

Back to the OP: The best advice in a situation like you describe is "don't step in water more than ankle deep with your boots on!" Most distance hikers who tent at night with no means to rapidly dry their boots generally employ the philosophy that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When you come to a water crossing, use your hiking pole (assuming you have one) or a stick to gauge the depth. If it's too deep and you can't find another crossing, take your boots off and put on a lightweight pair of shoes like Tevas or Crocs. If you don't like carrying an extra pair of shoes, look into using gaiters which are like wearing knee or thigh high waders.

 

If all else fails and you haven't taken any of these precautions, water has saturated your boots with no way to dry them.... You're a geocacher, right? Maybe you have a couple of CITO bags tucked away in your pack somewhere? Take kabuthunk's advice and wrap the bags over your DRY socks before putting your foot in the WET boot. It will make the walk at least tolerable until you make it back to civilization.

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But I actually use a Safeway as a temporary "winter boot". I only really have just shoes (job issues hindered me getting boots last winter), so I slipped a safeway bag over each shoe, tied it tightly around my ankle, slipped my pant leg over the plastic (less conspicuous), and that'd generally last long enough without ripping bad enough to let snow in until I could wade into the snowdrift, find the cache, sign it, and get out. The snow on my pants I could just brush off. By the time I got out, the bottoms of the bags were typically ripped a bit, but no snow in my shoes = happy Kabuthunk :laughing:.

 

Went out with a group awhile back now, and one of the guys used regular garbage bags...

 

My guess is that they weren't glad bags because as you can see from this photo:

 

e21d1838-e24c-4bcc-bb56-928c5accda6b.jpg

 

...

 

the bottoms ripped right off of his shoes.

 

(Actually, my guess is that he put the bags on his feet and then put his bagged feet into his shoes... regardless, when the water is up to your knees, the bag is rather superfluous. It did make for a good time though - watching him slosh the half-mile back to the cars.)

 

 

michelle

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I'm a long distance hiker. I second the notion of not wearing boots. I just wear desert trail runners. They dry quickly. Just cross the creek. You don't have to spend half an hour finding a good crossing, taking off your boots, putting your boots back on. If they stay wet for three days, who cares? Eventually your feet will dry out.

 

If you are wearing boots, and the weather is freezing, you need to keep your boots warm by sleeping with them , or you will never get your feet back in them.

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I've gone for ten mile hikes in my chacos with only an itty bitty blister on my pinky toe to show for it. But I use big honking boots for 'bouldering' (that is, wandering up and down ridges with large rocks, tallus or scree). Walking sideways on a hill without good ankle support sucks.

 

As I gain more confidence, and as my feet get tougher, I'm finding that the additional nimbleness of minimal footwear (bare feet, foot gloves or sandals) obviates the need for ankle support. Last Friday I covered 19+ miles; 6 miles in foot gloves (essentially barefoot) and the remainder in lightweight Tevas.

 

Took about 6 months of training to get my feet to this level, and I don't carry a heavy pack, but it's an interesting alternative. I took up barefooting as a last-ditch kill-or-cure remedy to wicked plantar fasciitis, and discovered additional benefits in speed and energy consumption.

 

Still, on really rugged bushwhacks, I'm back into my combat boots.

Edited by Mule Ears
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For any footwear, if you don't want it to soak up water, you have to treat it with something regularly. Depending on the construction (fabric, leather, or whatever), choose the correct product. I have a pair of low gaiters made from Schoeller Extreme softshell fabric that work well for quick dunks in a creek.

 

For on-trail stuff, I tend to wear as light of footwear as I can get away with, which are either sandals or trail runners. They either dry quickly or don't soak up moisture in the first place. For serious bushwhacks, I have full grain leather + gtx boots that also don't absorb moisture (although if I exert myself too much, I sweat out in them).

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Boots, what are those? Oh yeah those heavy hard to dry out things I used wear when I was hiking.

 

I'm exploring the possibility of wearing trail runners for hiking.

 

ABSOLUTELY. Tired of having my heels rubbed to hamburger after slogging along with concrete blocks on my feet, I permanently abandoned hiking BOOTS and got some hiking SHOES: the $50 Columbia Boorad.

 

BTRMNJ.jpg

 

Cool looking, fast-drying, hard-toed, very comfortable and good grip. I'm never looking back.

Edited by Kiamichi Muskrat
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Boots, what are those? Oh yeah those heavy hard to dry out things I used wear when I was hiking.

 

I'm exploring the possibility of wearing trail runners for hiking.

 

ABSOLUTELY. Tired of having my heels rubbed to hamburger after slogging along with concrete blocks on my feet, I permanently abandoned hiking BOOTS and got some hiking SHOES: the $50 Columbia Boorad.

 

BTRMNJ.jpg

 

Cool looking, fast-drying, hard-toed, very comfortable and good grip. I'm never looking back.

 

I was tired of twisted ankles and feeling every pebble through the soles of my feet which is why I switched to leather hiking boots all the time, even for short hikes. I was also tired of wearing out a pair those light weight shoes every 6 months. Never had a problem with feet getting rubbed to hamburger. My boots fit great.

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I was tired of twisted ankles and feeling every pebble through the soles of my feet which is why I switched to leather hiking boots all the time, even for short hikes. I was also tired of wearing out a pair those light weight shoes every 6 months. Never had a problem with feet getting rubbed to hamburger. My boots fit great.

 

Good points. I wore some trail runners off-trail for about a mile once and they were noticeably more worn after the walk than before. That's why I only wear them when I'm hiking on trails. When I go off-trail, I put the full leather boots on. 4 years of off-trail hiking and they still look nearly new. Sock choice is very important for them, though. $210 well spent, IMO.

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Good points. I wore some trail runners off-trail for about a mile once and they were noticeably more worn after the walk than before. That's why I only wear them when I'm hiking on trails. When I go off-trail, I put the full leather boots on. 4 years of off-trail hiking and they still look nearly new. Sock choice is very important for them, though. $210 well spent, IMO.

 

WOW! $210 dollars for socks. Those better be some &**^% good socks :rolleyes:

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A few observations I've found with wet boots:

 

(1) Wear woollen socks, as these don't feel cold and clammy, even when wet.

(2) Wring out socks after stepping in water, even if you have to replace wet boots.

(3) When stopped in a building, placing a lightly screwed ball of newspaper and replacing when wet, helps to dry out boots slightly quicker.

(4) Dry socks in plastic bags in wet boots = dry feet. Not really suitable for walking long distances, just for round camp. A very popular technique at overnight campsites of mountain marathons in the UK, particularly the OMM held in late October each year.

(5) Personally I've found that waterproof socks are very good at retaining water, if you step in water above their tops.

(6) Using walking poles sometimes makes the difference between crossing a stream / creek / burn etc on stones with relatively dry feet and crossing on the bed with resulting wet feet.

(7) Gaiters also help to keep water out of boots during stream crossings. Yeti gaiters have almost complete seals, which mean dry feet even when crossing calf deep streams. I've found them essential in Greenland, Svalbard and South Georgia (South Atlantic, not USA), as well as very useful in Europe.

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If you're lucky enough to be back in civilization for a couple hours, the best thing I've ever used was newspaper. Seriously, I thought I was being made the butt of a joke before I learned the truth, but here's how it works. Take off the wet boot and remove the insole to let air dry. Do NOT put the insole or boot anywhere near a heat source as this will damage most boot materials rather quickly. If you can find a cool vent (return vent) or box fan to put them near, that's the safest source for convection. Crumple up sheets of newspaper and stuff them snuggly all the way down into the boot and continue stuffing until the boot is completely filled. Wait 15-20 minutes and remove all the now-soaked newspaper. Refill boots again. Wait 20-30 minutes and repeat. Refill and wait an hour and repeat hourly until boots are completely dry. I have no idea why capillary action yanks water out of boots so fast when it comes to "rag" grade newspaper, but you should have a nearly dry boot in only a few hours. Make sure you use the regular newspaper and not the shiny advertisement pages though. I've fallen in a creek and dried a boot enough in a few hours that I could go back out in the afternoon in the same pair of boots without soaking my socks! Try it once and you'll probably be as shocked as I was. :D

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If you're lucky enough to be back in civilization for a couple hours, the best thing I've ever used was newspaper. Seriously, I thought I was being made the butt of a joke before I learned the truth, but here's how it works. Take off the wet boot and remove the insole to let air dry. Do NOT put the insole or boot anywhere near a heat source as this will damage most boot materials rather quickly. If you can find a cool vent (return vent) or box fan to put them near, that's the safest source for convection. Crumple up sheets of newspaper and stuff them snuggly all the way down into the boot and continue stuffing until the boot is completely filled. Wait 15-20 minutes and remove all the now-soaked newspaper. Refill boots again. Wait 20-30 minutes and repeat. Refill and wait an hour and repeat hourly until boots are completely dry. I have no idea why capillary action yanks water out of boots so fast when it comes to "rag" grade newspaper, but you should have a nearly dry boot in only a few hours. Make sure you use the regular newspaper and not the shiny advertisement pages though. I've fallen in a creek and dried a boot enough in a few hours that I could go back out in the afternoon in the same pair of boots without soaking my socks! Try it once and you'll probably be as shocked as I was. :D

I've known that trick for years. Unfortunately, I never remembered to bring the stack of newspaper with me when I went car camping. Off topic, down in Texas, it was almost required to have that stack in your trunk to clean off the windshield after a mud storm.

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Well . . . this might not be doable on a hiking trip, but this is what I did after getting caught in a sudden, torrential summer thunderstorm while riding my horse on Cedar Mountain in Utah, when my tall leather riding boots got wet inside and out.

 

I poured the water out of the boots when I got back to my truck and changed shoes. When I got home, I found two 32 oz. Dawn dishwashing liquid bottles I had saved . . . :D I put hot water in each bottle and put a bottle inside each boot. When the water cooled off, I filled the bottle up again with hot tap water.

 

I just kept doing that until the leather dried out. The boots did not get ruined as they might have if I had used more direct heat or just let them dry out on their own without any "help."

 

Just one idea . . . -_-

 

After reading your solution, I wonder if a set of hand warmers would work. The ones we have will generate 100 degrees heat for 10 hours.

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:)

Summertime in the High Desert and some Newspaper stuffed into the boots. Then take a break and change socks. dfk

In my experience, definitely newspaper stuffed in boots overnight works well. But after river crossing, a change of socks is the best solution after the worst of the water has drained out, if you want to keep going.
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Ditto the trick with newspapers. Other things I have pondered but not tried:

--silica-gel dessicant packs

--super-absorbent diapers or incontinence products

--super-absorbent female hygeine products

Assuming this works, if I have a choice between dry feet and not embarassing myself in front of buddies, I would gladly choose getting caught stuffing Depends and Stayfree in my boots.

 

Having to finish out a long hike in soaking wet footware is miserable, and not to mention bad for your feet.

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Ditto the trick with newspapers. Other things I have pondered but not tried:

--silica-gel dessicant packs

--super-absorbent diapers or incontinence products

--super-absorbent female hygeine products

Assuming this works, if I have a choice between dry feet and not embarassing myself in front of buddies, I would gladly choose getting caught stuffing Depends and Stayfree in my boots.

 

Having to finish out a long hike in soaking wet footware is miserable, and not to mention bad for your feet.

 

Actually, stuffing baby diapers turned inside-out would probably work VERY well. Having a young one about and much hiking planned this summer... if the occasion calls for it, we'll give'r a try! Thanks for the idea! :mad:

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Just a quick update on the boots that started this thread. This weekend while hiking the Fiery Gizzard trail searching for the Raven's Point cache (GC15T8Z) my right boot gave up the ghost as the main side seam burst. The only reason I noticed was that I stepped into the water at one of the crossings and my foot got wet. So my feet got wet with these boots on their first real hike and on what will be their last, but over the year and a half in between they kept me warm and dry and racked up a bunch of miles on the trail.

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So I'm looking at the empty boots with smoke coming out and I'm thinking,

 

"Dozens of people spontaneously combust each year, it's just not really widely reported"

 

Sorry 'bout the boots -- even if they were Wal Mart specials, you still need something ony your feet to get home.

 

Thats what happens when you pay more attention to water boiling for coffee got to have priorities. :laughing:

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Sorry for dragging up an old thread but this might help someone searching through old threads (like me!). I am surprised it wasn't mentioned before. When drying out boots/shoes always lay them on their sides so air can circulate inside to dry.

 

I have two pairs of boots that both have gotten completely wet geocaching. (I like to place geocaches in water. :-D ) One is a pair of Tom McCann's that I really liked at one time and another is a pair of Red Wing's. They both dried out great with no problems. I thought I would have problems. Set em on their side and dry em out.

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while out on a trail

 

1. ziplock bags over dry socks

2. when stopped for the day - warm up small rocks (no wet ones since they could explode) and place the rocks inside the boots - keep repeating -- foil can keep the rocks from gettin the inside of your boots dirty

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This will not help dry your boots, but it will help keep your feet dry. I always take plastic bags with me just in case I do run into a lot of water. You can use the bags (such as bread bags) temporarily until your boots dry. Of course, you would have the problem of your feet not breathing to let out moisture from sweating feet, but it beats soakers anytime.

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