You must keep your feet dry and warm while hiking. Mother Nature is not always kind. Rainy, snowy, or a requirement stream or river crossing can lead to damp or waterlogged hiking shoes. This leaves you with the dilemma of how to dry your hiking boots quickly. Wet hiking boots can be extremely uncomfortable and cause blisters or other foot-related problems that could make it impossible to continue hiking. There are many tips and tricks to quickly dry your hiking boots to ensure you get back on the trail with dry and warm boots.
Why is it so difficult to dry hiking boots?
Hiking boots are great for protecting feet on rugged terrain, but they can be challenging to dry once wet. The uppers of hiking boots are usually made from highly thick, rigid materials that protect your feet. Additionally, hiking boots’ uppers often contain multiple layers of material. This can slow down the drying process. This is because the inner layers are not exposed to the air and trap moisture in the materials. This is why hiking boots and other types of boots can absorb and store water. However, they require more drying time than tennis shoes, which are lighter and have thinner materials. Additionally, boots are not meant to be dried using traditional methods of drying shoes due to their waterproofing and design. This makes drying boots even more difficult.
Don’t forget to read: How to fit hiking boots
How to dry hiking boots
It’s possible to get blisters and discomfort from wet hiking boots. In addition, it’s not always possible to travel in nature without your shoes being wet. However, you can avoid heat and take in moisture, whether backpacking or returning from a hike. You will find get these kind of tips below on dry hiking boots.
Clean hiking boots after you remove them
No matter how dirty or wet your hiking boots are, it is essential to clean them immediately after you take them off. It can be challenging to do after a long hike, but I strongly recommend it. Read our expert’s guide on how to clean hiking boot.
Baking soda for light moisture
Every bit of moisture can be irritating, regardless of whether it’s from sweaty feet due to waterproof boots or drizzle on the trail. Baking soda is an excellent option for those who need to absorb a little moisture. Sprinkle a tablespoon of baking soda into the boot openings and let it dry overnight. The baking soda can be removed in the morning. Baking soda is a quick way to remove a little moisture. It also eliminates bad smells from your boots.
Campfire boot drying
Although this may seem evident at first, it is not. Boots and any other wet material can be dried out by being placed near a fire. However, there is more to it than simply putting your shoes next to a fire. The leather and waterproofing of hiking boots can be damaged by extreme heat. Rubber soles may melt if they are too close to a campfire. When drying your hiking boots, don’t place them too close to a campfire. Start by putting your feet in the closest place to the campfire. This is the best spot to dry hiking boots.
Although the drying process can be slowed down by using the campfire’s mild heat, it will preserve the durability of your hiking boots. After you’ve determined the proper distance to the campfire, the next step to speed up drying your boots is to align your boots correctly with the campfire. After much trial and error, I discovered that the 45-degree angle is the best for drying hiking boots with a campfire. This means that the foot hole should be pointed as far as possible towards the fire. This will ensure that the boot is dry from the inside.
Be sure to get rid of any mud or debris that could trap moisture and impede your progress. You want air and water to move quickly between your boots’ surfaces. To improve airflow, open them and loosen the laces.
Use a shammee or newspaper
A newspaper or shammee can be a great alternative to a stove to speed up the drying of your hiking boots. Any absorbent material could be used, but newspapers and shammees are the most common. The drying process is simple. First, you will need either two shammees, or a few handfuls of a newspaper. Then, after you have chosen your absorbent material, you will need to pack it into your boots. Pack it tightly and let it dry overnight. Your hiking boots will be much dryer if the newspaper or shammee is used to absorb moisture overnight. This drying trick can be used with both newspapers and shammees. However, for several reasons, I prefer shammees to newspapers.
A shammee is preferred for drying because it can be reused and quickly run out after use. Newspaper ink can transfer from paper, especially when wet. This can stain boots and socks. Finally, shammees can be more versatile than newspapers and are helpful to have on hand as they can do multiple tasks when hiking on trails.
Rice can be an excellent option for those who have dropped their phones in puddles. It’s the same for hiking boots. To make a flexible, tubular bag, place 1-2 cups of rice in a sock. You can either tie the ends or sew them up. To absorb moisture, place one of these bags into each boot. Rice is perfect for the field. Campers sometimes fill large containers with rice so that they can store their boots in there overnight.
Place your boots in a cool area
First, I must say that sometimes this is not possible. For example, I often stay in guest houses, hotels, or bed and breakfasts when I travel on weekends hiking trips. If I have to use my boots that day, most of these places will have a warm area such as a boiler room or hot press. They may also have a generous living area with an open fireplace that you can use to dry your boots. A cool room won’t do the trick if my hiking boots are needed the next day. So if I have to use my hiking boots the next day, I will turn on the heat in a warm area.
Use hand warmers
Like the newspaper or shammee method, instead of packing each boot in absorbent material, you place a handwarmer inside each boot overnight to dry it faster. These hand warmers can reach temperatures up to 158° Fahrenheit and get an average temperature of 135°F. In addition, these hand warmers can dry your boots for up to 10 hours while you sleep so that you have dry and warm boots when you wake up in the morning.
Dry boots with boot dryer
A boot dryer may not work in all situations, such as drying boots out in the field. However, a boot dryer can be used to quickly dry boots that have been wet from hiking or work. If you have wet hiking boots and are in a home-court advantage, I recommend using a boot dryer. It is fast and can protect your boot’s longevity. A boot dryer uses warm, gentle heat through thermal convection to encourage airflow and speed up drying. However, it doesn’t use too much heat to cause damage to the boot’s leather or waterproofing.
Your hiking boots are perhaps the most important and expensive gear you will bring along to the trail. Unfortunately, wet feet can be a problem on any hike, no matter how long it is. While it is tempting to just throw your boots at the nearest heat source. You should consider avobe tips to dry hiking boots. Your favorite hiking boots can last many years with proper care and drying.