To begin with, wet feet on a hike are normal. Often during trips, you happen to step into a puddle, stumble, cross a stream, cross a river, or even fall knee-deep into a swamp. Do not be afraid of this; you just need to be mentally prepared. In this article, we will look at several ways to dry your shoes on a camping trip.
The first thing we do is clean our hiking shoes from dirt and remove excess moisture by absorption. Socks can work as an absorbent. You can dry your socks on the burner, periodically (we recommend safety measures for using open fire in the tent).
A towel is a better microfiber than socks. It is compact, lightweight, and perfectly absorbs moisture in seconds. In any case, the towel is useful in the campaign and dries faster than socks.
A classic kitchen napkin absorbs moisture perfectly. For best results, use toilet paper. Just do not forget to calculate its amount for your unit.
If you are in the woods, you can dry the trekking boots with dry moss. It absorbs moisture like a sponge. You can read our post to know how to choose hiking shoes according to your adventure.
Remove Insoles while drying
You should dry your shoes without insoles and laces, and this rule is universal for all drying methods. The insoles retain moisture and increase drying time, so it is much easier to dry them by removing them from the boot.
Further, we offer you ten ways to dry your boots on a hike; you can choose any one of them or combine them according to your needs.
How to dry Hiking Shoes around a campfire
Let’s start with the first and most logical of the ways that come to mind the owner of wet shoes. This method is not only the most popular but also the most dangerous. You can also look for a shoe dryer to dry your shoes inside your inside the house.
We are against this option, no matter how carefully you do it. You cannot dry all your hiking shoes by the fire. Most modern materials do not tolerate high temperatures; membrane shoes can completely lose their properties and should be dried away from heat sources.
What happens to Hiking shoes when drying around a campfire
- Your shoes may sit down, and you simply cannot pull it on your leg.
- Shoes can burn out from sparks of a fire, which quickly leaves holes in synthetic fabric.
- Shoes will burn out if you hang out with a friend and leave them unattended for a long time.
If you nevertheless decided at your peril and risk to put into practice the method of drying hiking shoes by the fire, you need to remember a few rules:
- Boots by the fire are dried in the hands and are not exposed side by side and are not attached to a pebble or log. One should keep this in mind that single careless movement, a gust of wind, or a stronger bonfire can leave you without shoes or with a damaged shoe.
- You should keep your shoes at such a distance from the fire that you can hold your hand without being burned.
- It is most useful to dry the shoes by directing their neck to a heat source, that is, to a fire.
Subject to these rules, the risk of being left without shoes is less. Nevertheless, it is worth thinking several times before resorting to this method of drying hiking shoes, because walking in wet shoes is much better than without it.
Drying in the sun or the wind
This method is one of the safest ways to dry your shoes. If, after a wet transition, nature decided to please you with good weather, then it will be enough for you to unclip your boots and put them in a sunny place, and the sun will do all the work for you.
This method allows you not to follow the boots and go about your business. Everything else, the sun almost does not harm your shoes. The only thing you need to worry about is changing the position of the shade during the day – most recently standing in the sun’s shoes can be in the shade, and then their chances of drying out noticeably drops.
Drying Hiking shoes yourself
This drying option is also effective and safe. It is enough to pour the water that has accumulated in your shoes, squeeze out the insoles, squeeze the socks, and put the shoes back on. A body heated by physical activity becomes an excellent battery and eventually dries wet shoes.
It is this method that the author of the article uses on summer trips. Of course, this method is better not to use at low temperatures, so as not to get frostbite of the limbs. You can use shoe covers or gaiters to keep your shoes dry in winters. Here is a link to shoe covers to choose from.
Dry hiking Shoes with stones
For this method, we need small pebbles that are stacked in a pot or an old tin can and put on fire or burner. When the rocks are well heated but have not yet heated up to white, we pour them into the boot.
If you are afraid to stain your shoes from the inside, you can wrap the stones with a scarf. You should regularly and actively shake shoes with rocks so that rocks roll-off. The rocks mustn’t belong in one place. Otherwise, they can ruin the boot.
When the rocks have cooled, you can repeat the procedure several times until the boot becomes dry. This method is advantageous and allows you to dry even very wet boots in a few tens of minutes. But you need to understand that for shoes with a thin synthetic lining and a membrane, and this method is not suitable – the stones will simply melt the delicate synthetics.
Dry hiking shoes with sand
For this method, you will need sand, it’s poured into a pot or any other container. After this, you put the container on the fire. When the sand is heated up, you pour the heated sand into a worn toe. A fiery sand sock goes inside the boot. Such a sandy warmer perfectly dries shoes, as it occupies their maximum area. Repeat this operation several times for the best effect.
Drying with water heaters
For this method, we need two half-liter bottles. If you dry your shoes in turn, then one such bottle is enough. Boiling water is poured into the bottles; after this, you fit the fits into the shoes. This method requires a lot of time since the water cools quickly enough, and to dry the shoes; you need to fill the heating pad more than once.
How to dry shoes in a sleeping bag
This method is suitable for the most severe tourists and climbers – wet boots are laid directly inside the sleeping bag and are dried again due to the heat of the human body. This method is instead an extreme way of drying because you can forget about a comfortable sleep with wet shoes in the sleeping bag.
Classic paper drying
Newspaper drying is a well-known and widely practiced method since the time of our grandmothers. Until now, some tourists carry a newspaper on their trips just to dry their shoes. The paper absorbs moisture very well and can dry wet shoes – you just need to put a sufficient amount inside the shoes.
The disadvantage of this method is distinct: overweight newspapers in your backpack. Taking a paper with you on long trips is not very rational. In some cases, you can replace the paper with some dry and absorbent natural material that can be found directly on the hike, for example, dry leaves, moss, or grass.
We dry boots with salt warmers
salt warmers are used to warm cold hands, but they are also great for drying shoes. There are even unique models of warmers in the form of insoles. Salt heaters are usually a silicone container filled with a supersaturated salt solution, inside which a small metal element floats. It is this element that starts the heating pad – it is enough to bend this metal part a little, and the saline solution leaves the state of calm, starting the crystallization process. There is a release of heat during this process.
After using and cooling such a crystallized heating pad, you can put it in boiling water for ten minutes, and it will return to its original liquid state and will be ready for reuse. A similar heating pad is a reusable thing. But this is again the extra weight in your backpack.
Drying hiking shoes with silica gel
This method not very common in tourism, but this method can work when required. In this case, moisture is removed from the boot using silica gel. Most likely, this substance is known to you in the form of small paper bags with transparent balls that are put in boxes with new shoes. The task of silica gel, in this case, is to absorb excess moisture and prevent the shoes from wetting.
Of course, it’s not necessary to try to accumulate the right amount of silica gel by buying shoes. Silica gel can be purchased in any quantity online or at shoe stores. Our experiments with drying shoes with silica gel showed that this method is more suitable for slightly wet shoes, and it is tough to dry entirely wet shoes with silica gel. Moreover, such drying takes a lot of time, and the presence of silica gel in the backpack increases its weight.
What the manufacturer says about drying shoes
Let us turn to the recommendations of shoe manufacturers, in what way is it best to dry your shoes in a hike and at home. Most manufacturers in the care instructions indicate that even direct sunlight can harm shoes, not to mention drying by the fire or using heated stones. They recommend drying shoes in the wind. Some manufacturers do not recommend speeding up the drying process. Each tourist finds his balance between the desire to walk in dry shoes and the desire to extend its life for the longest possible time and, depending on his priorities, chooses the most suitable drying method for himself.