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Dry Warm feet in camp when shoes are wet. ??
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Nathan Stuart

Locale: Hunter Valley - Australia
Dry Warm feet in camp when shoes are wet. ?? on 01/03/2012 14:27:10 MST Print View

Recently I was on a walk where we crossed a few streams and rivers not far before camp.
This meant my Inov-8 315's were still quite damp as there wasn't sufficient time or distance for them to be walk dry.

I did the bread bag thing over some dry socks, back in the wet shoes for camp time. When I went to get in my quilt and took off the wet runners and bread bags I quickly realised I had damp socks. No fan of damp socks in my down quilts at all and I'm a cold feet sorta guy.
100% sure this is from the moisture trapped under the breadbags, not from leaking.

Would it work to wear a bread bag against the skin (VB), then sock (for insulation against cold wet shoes), then another bread bag to keep the socks dry and not in contact with the damp shoe ??
Bread bags are free and I don't mind taking spares. Lighter than another 3rd pair of dry sleeping socks too.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Dry Warm feet in camp when shoes are wet. ?? on 01/03/2012 14:37:27 MST Print View


David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
It's been done. But you're doing it lighter. on 01/03/2012 15:35:47 MST Print View

Just like the "bunny boots" or "mickey mouse boots" that mountaineers used once they became available through military surplus.

The insulation is in between an outer waterproof boot and an inner liner. There are air valves on the side so you can vent air on ascent (like in an unpressurized aircraft) and refill with air on descent.

Bunny Boot cutaway

Used in Alaska by cabin dwellers and hippy dog mushers because it's the cheapest way to have warm feet at -40.

Not so much by mountineers anymore because they have have no edges and crampon attachment is dodgy.

By sandwiching your insulation between two vapor barriers, you are creating your own very lighweight version.

It makes me wonder about trying your bread bag trick BEFORE crossing the creek. Then only the shoe is wet and if you make camp soon, you set the shoes aside but the socks are still dry.

Edited by DavidinKenai on 01/03/2012 15:38:30 MST.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: It's been done. But you're doing it lighter. on 01/03/2012 15:38:47 MST Print View

David, do they go sockless in those shoes?

John Whynot

Locale: Southeast Texas
Re: Re: It's been done. But you're doing it lighter. on 01/03/2012 15:52:27 MST Print View

I'm not David, but I can tell you from personal experience you do not want to go sockless in military surplus VB boots -- and you want the sock to come up over the top of the boot. The rubber will rub your skin off...

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Dry Warm feet in camp when shoes are wet. ?? on 01/03/2012 16:19:34 MST Print View

The bread bags are really only practical at camp because walking with them on will destroy them pretty fast and you still end up with damp/wet feet anyway.
(on a late spring walk a few weeks ago , I did walk out with bread bags over my Coolmax socks and under my still wet socks . The bags had holes after a few hours but kept my feet warm. Wet but warm. )
I use them at camp the same way N Stuart describes (dry socks with bags on top and occasionally with my wet socks over that) but I don't sweat very much , however I always have another "emergency" pair of Coolmax socks for the night. So my suggestion would be to carry an extra pair of socks and forget about the four layer (bag/sock/bag/sock) version.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Durable Alternative for Breadbags on the Feet on 01/03/2012 16:44:01 MST Print View

What I have been using are the free UPS plastic shipping bags, which I have cut down to sock size for my trail runners.

I have hiked in the rain with them and through heavy morning dew covered grass that soaked my shoes, but these kept my feet wamr & "dry" and I was able to walk many miles without putting a hole in them. (Dry is a relative term with vapor barrier clothing....humid and slightly damp is a better description).

As long as I kept moving, I felt complete rest, I did feel a chill as my sweat cooled down, but a lot better than having wet socks at night.

Very durable and you can not beat the price.


Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Dry Warm feet in camp when shoes are wet. ?? on 01/04/2012 01:18:47 MST Print View


Edited by skopeo on 06/17/2015 16:51:08 MDT.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Durable Alternative for Breadbags on the Feet on 01/04/2012 02:04:12 MST Print View

Using shipping bags isn't right for me unless I'm using it to ship something or recycling it. Fortunately these bags can be purchased, and quite inexpensively. $11 for 100 including shipping for Amazon Prime members:

Edited by leaftye on 01/04/2012 02:04:42 MST.

Heath Pitts
(heathpitts) - F

Locale: Nashville
GoreTex socks on 01/04/2012 05:48:11 MST Print View

I agree with what Mike W said. The GoreTex socks have worked well for me

James Stewart

Locale: New England
Dry feet on 01/04/2012 06:05:27 MST Print View

If I've been slogging around in water all day, I make sure I really dry my feet good before slipping them into my sleep socks and the bread bags. If your a camp fire kind of guy, start one with wet shoes, and then take your time, dry off your feet by the fire. If not a bandanna works, and one of those micro-towels even better. I find that if I dry my feet good, and moisture left over is negligible in my thick wool sleeping socks.

Doubling up, like you had mentioned would probably work too, but chances are that you'd still have clammy or damp feet when it's time to take off the liners and put on your sleep socks before bed.

Will Webster
Re: Dry Warm feet in camp when shoes are wet. ?? on 01/04/2012 06:06:25 MST Print View

I hope I'm not hijacking this thread, but this is very similar to my experience last weekend (except that it's winter here).

Like the OP, I tend toward cold toes. I was wearing some brand new Rocky goretex socks over thin synthetic liners, inside Inov-8 315s. There were 3 or 4 wet creek crossings the first day. I could feel the chill in my feet once the shoes got wet but my feet felt dry. Temperature was probably in the low 40s. Once we stopped hiking to make camp my feet started to feel painfully cold; when I peeled off the Rockys I found that one liner sock was fairly damp and the other mostly dry. Since I'm still experimenting with footwear I had alternatives with me; I replaced the wet liners with another pair (actually old nylon dress socks) and replaced the Rockys with a pair of NRS Hydroskin 0.5 mm neoprene socks. I put my sleep socks (fluffy Smartwool boot socks) over these and covered all with Goosefoot overbooties. This worked pretty well, except that my feet got pretty beat up on rocks the rest of the evening and they didn't really warm up until I massaged them at bedtime. The next day I wore liners + neoprene under my hikers which worked well.

Once my feet get cold, they get very cold and don't recover without external heat. With bloodflow to the skin virtually cut off I don't imagine there was any transpiration or sweating going on inside the socks, so the humidity outside the goretex (inside my wet shoe) would have been higher than that inside. Is it possible that the humidity gradient was driving moisture the wrong direction through the membrane? Or is it more likely that I have a defective sock? Getting them on and off is a bear but I've been doing it as carefully as I can and I don't think I've torn the membrane.

I bought the Rocky socks with snow hiking in mind, not creek crossings. I think my next step is to do some testing at home and evaluate whether the Rocky socks are actually leaking; if so I'll exchange them at REI. I should probably also get a larger pair of hiking shoes so I can wear a proper insulating sock instead of the liner in colder conditions (teens and 20s). I don't have the opportunity to try on a lot of shoes in my area; I really like the 315s but should I try a different shoe for cold weather?

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Dry Warm feet in camp when shoes are wet. ?? on 01/04/2012 06:49:10 MST Print View

Let me chime in here. Insensible perspiration is when your body perspires for no discernable reason. Your BODY knows it needs to perspire to keep skin flexible, to carry oils out of your oil producing cells and distribute it around your skin. You would MUCH rather have some flexibility than have stiff, dry, brittle skin. It will happen whether you are hot or cold. You NEED it to happen to stay healthy. Keeping your feet 100% dry should never be a goal. They will crack and bleed, eventually leading to sore spots and just generally poor health, discounting infection and the potential of other foot diseases.

A VBL will trap moisture next to your feet. Good and bad. Water will conduct heat away from your feet a lot quicker than damp feet. A couple or three pair of socks and some extra large shoes does the same as lined boots. If your toes and front part of your feet get cold, that's usually, OK. Your feet can tolerate a LARGE temperature range. If you can FEEL it as painfull or numbing, or, it is anoying, that is worrisome. Have a doctor check your feet. Smoking causes some damage to peripheral circulation. Diabetes causes a lot of damage. The list goes on, but it should be checked. I have diabetes, and, no longer hike in winter because of that. Day hikes and walks only. But, bread bags, turkey bags, or garbage bags as VB liners can help. They do need changing every 8-12 hours and they need to be dried out. Anyway, my 2 cents...worth about that, I guess.

sarah sundstrom
(yappy) - F
bunny boots on 01/04/2012 07:03:43 MST Print View

I live in Alaska and anyone w any sense wears bunny boots and the so called hippy mushers r very veryyyyy tough wilderness athletes tht blow everyone here away in terms of hardcore mountain adventures......just sayg

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: bunny boots on 01/04/2012 07:15:13 MST Print View

Wow what an informative post Sarah.

Cold wet shoes are the best argument for camp shoes.

Cold feet=no fun

sarah sundstrom
(yappy) - F
close the air valve on 01/04/2012 08:25:21 MST Print View

The boots r too much for any weather in the lower 48 but if a Musher has broken thru a river the air valves need to b closed my husband spent 2. Hrs in the water ...and his feet were fine they do their job for what intended better then any gear out there. My point is extreme cold which obviously wasn't the original post was about....Alaskan r a breed apart and would laugh at being called hippy mushers when thy r anything but..... but then again who cares? Enjoy the woods and stay safe

Hamish McHamish
(El_Canyon) - M

Locale: USA
_ on 01/04/2012 10:31:51 MST Print View

"With bloodflow to the skin virtually cut off I don't imagine there was any transpiration or sweating going on inside the socks"

It's pretty much impossible for bloodflow to have been cut off to your feet without the tissues going ischemic and dying. Reduced enough to make them cold, yes, but not "virtually cut off". Plus insensible perspiration cannot be stopped.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
how much time wearing shoes in camp? on 01/04/2012 12:10:28 MST Print View

I use the system the OP described, i.e., shoes are wet from rain, snow, stream crossings, or whatever. In camp put on dry socks and --- for the very limited amount of time that I need to wear shoes after that --- put bread bags over the socks.

What I think might be key to success for me is that I don't wear the shoes very much, and thus not the bread bags either. I keep my wet shoes and socks on when putting up the tent, do the essentials out of the tent, then take off the shoes and crawl into the tent.

From then on I spend very little time with shoes on, and very possibly just none at all. I.e., I cook just outside of my tent flap, don't get out of the tent. Eat in the tent, use a pee bottle, etc.

All that said, I have had times when for whatever reason (usually social) I spent more time out of the tent and used the bread bags. I can't recall ever having wet socks as a result. Cold feet sometimes, as even though the water isn't getting into the socks, wet shoes aren't a great thing to be wearing when it's cold outside.

Generally, though, when conditions are such that my shoes are all wet, I'm disinclined to do anything but get into the tent and stay there.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Dry Warm feet in camp when shoes are wet on 01/04/2012 12:19:05 MST Print View

I have Goose Feet down booties for sleeping (I want warm feet at night!) and use their over-booties in camp. Thanks to old age and childbearing, I usually have to make several exits from the tent during the night, and doing this in my trail runners does tear up the soil outside the tent door.

I have used the plastic bags, though, and will continue to take them. I just grab some extras from the bulk foods section of my grocery store (those are a little stouter than the ones in the produce section). I tried the Rocky Goretex socks and found them extremely uncomfortable--too stiff.

You don't need to wade streams to get your feet wet; walking through a meadow with the dew on the grass gets your shoes and socks just as soggy!

Edited by hikinggranny on 01/04/2012 12:26:52 MST.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
grocery bags on 01/05/2012 08:26:55 MST Print View

i find grocery bags to be very durable. able to withstand at least a whole day of hiking. they are also free with purchase of food :D

OP you may want to consider taking your insoles out of your trail runners when you get to camp, as the foam may be a culprit of your shoes being soaked.