Imagine you’re on the trail, and it’s getting late. The sun has gone down. It’s starting to get cold. Then you come to a creek. When you rush to scramble across its exposed boulders, you slip in, filling your boots with freezing water.
Keeping your feet dry and warm is critical when you’re out on an overnight hike or backpacking trip. When crossing rivers or creeks is necessary, it’s often better to completely remove your boots and socks and walk across barefoot.
If you do find yourself with wet boots, you’ll need to get them dried out as fast as possible to prevent discomfort, blisters, or worst of all, frostbite. Drying your footwear by placing it next to a roaring fire might seem like a good idea, but the extreme heat can crack leather and melt synthetic materials. Instead, you want to find a way to heat your boots slowly, removing the moisture without creating damage. One of the best ways to do this is to place hot rocks (or alternatively, bottles of hot water) inside your boots, which will dry them from the inside out.