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How to Dry Your Boots Out While in the Woods
Nothing ruins a camping trip like wet boots. Not only does this situation make your feet feel terrible but it can also cause blister and athlete’s foot. But what can one do if they are out in the backcountry and have no way or really drying their boots out or getting another pair of shoes? Well, the steps below will help you dry out your boots with a little work and patience.
To begin this process, one will first need to set up camp. Get your tent up, and a nice fire going. Make sure to pick up lots of firewood before moving onto the next step. Why is this? Well, besides the convenience, you will have your shoes off for some time and probably do not have another pair of shoes to put so that you can go on a wood walk about.
Once your fire is going strong, go ahead and look around your camp. What you need is a lot of dried leaves and/or grass. After you have found this dried material, gather several hands full. You will also need a few medium sized rocks. While I know you created a fire ring prior to building your fire, you will also need a few extra stones that can be heated up for the process of drying your boots out. If you do not have any extra stones for your fire ring, make sure to gather a few before moving on to the next step. Please note, do not use river stones. They will explode during the process.
Now that you have your supplies, put a pot of coffee on and take your boots and socks off. Lay your socks along the fire but far enough away from the fire that you do not have to worry about them burning. As far as your boots go, you will need to dismantle the boots somewhat. The first thing you need to do is to remove the insoles and set them aside. Make sure you remember where you put them. Once that is done, pack the inside of the boots with the dried plant material (leaves and/or grasses). Push the material down and when it becomes compete saturated, remove and replace with fresh material. Repeat this process until the inside is dry as possible.
While you are doing the previous step, place your extra stones in the fire or in a pot of boiling water. Again, do not use river stones. Once they are hot, take your socks and fill them up with these stones. If the heat from these stones burn the socks, do not use them. It is easier to get into your pack for a new pair of socks than it is to burn your boots.
As your boots are drying out with the stones, it is time to make an insole sandwich. How do you do this? Well, first you need to reach into your pack and pull out some clothes. Once you have those clothes out, sandwich the insoles between the clothes and push down. Pull apart the sandwich and wring out the clothes. Repeat this process until you can no longer get any moisture out. Then, place the insoles inside your sleeping bag for the night.
Continue to monitor the hot rocks inside the boots and reheat as needed.
If you follow these simple steps, you will find that your boots are dry by morning. All that you need to do at that point is to reassemble your boots and continue with your walkabout.