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kinda picky question on sleeping socks
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Hamish McHamish
(El_Canyon) - M

Locale: USA
kinda picky questions on sleeping socks on 03/06/2012 08:39:28 MST Print View

For those who pack a pair of socks dedicated for sleeping: do you size that pair up a bit from what you would wear with your hiking shoes? To the point that they're actually loose? Or do you size them the same in case you have to actually use them for hiking? If sized up do they work OK for hiking?

I know, sounds nitpicky but it has been on my mind. I hike in DeFeet thinny-thin socks and I was concerned that thick, oversized socks would invite blisters if I had to press them into hiking service.

Is there any significant performance difference between the various sock materials in terms of their drying effect as you sleep?

I have had immersion foot before so I'm very attentive to preventing that.

Edited by El_Canyon on 03/06/2012 08:42:12 MST.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: kinda picky questions on sleeping socks on 03/06/2012 08:44:43 MST Print View

In summer I pack a regular pair of socks that I could use hiking. However, I've recently started using Vibram Fivefingers, so the socks won't work in them at all. Strictly for sleeping.

In winter I've taken a warmer, fluffier pair of sleeping socks for sleeping. During the day I hike in Injinji socks and GTX socks. My feet get damp, but dry out and stay warm in my big socks.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: kinda picky questions on sleeping socks on 03/06/2012 08:49:28 MST Print View

I think it depends on the temps. In summer I would sleep in a thin pair of liner socks. For shoulder seasons (lows in the 20/30's) I would generally have a thick pair of wool socks which in my case I also use over liner socks when hiking.

So really the thickness of socks is more a warmth issue. Do you only wear thin socks in the colder seasons?

Edited by randalmartin on 03/06/2012 08:50:36 MST.

Lee Fitler
(tdilf) - F
socks on 03/06/2012 10:38:34 MST Print View

My sleep socks are just another pair of hiking socks. On fall and spring trips they are often the only pair of dry socks I have. On the last day of any trip my sleep socks become my clean hiking socks for the day. BTW i hike mostly in the spring or fall with medium weight Thorlos, Darn Tough or Smart Wool socks.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Re: kinda picky questions on sleeping socks on 03/06/2012 13:18:35 MST Print View

as long as you let your feet dry overnight you should be able to avoid any kind of immersion foot easily. I often backpack in canyons where cold streams are the only trails. As soon as I make camp I take off my thin neoprene socks which are usually soaked and go barefoot for a while (or use loose fitting plastic bags to keep debris off). Usually it only takes 15 minutes or so for my feet to completely dry so this technique should work in most 3-season situations. Build a fire if possible/needed.

I think this drying time where I have no barriers to breathability is the biggest key to keeping my feet healthy on a trip. Once dry to the touch I switch into my sleeping socks.

Depending on weather and bag/quilt I vary my sock thickness. I generally wear the same size sock to bed that I would if I hiked in it though. I really do this because what may be a sleep sock in the summer becomes a hiking sock in the winter. I have considered sizing up to increase circulation, however this is probably only a concern if the sock is tight above the ankle. Below the ankle, it's harder to restrict circulation.

I don't worry about my hiking socks falling apart. If extended trips, I just take two pair and swap them everyday (rinsing/washing daily). I also use wrightsocks which have built in liners and simply don't worry about socks contributing to blisters. I find that blisters only come from ill-fitting shoes that don't conform or shoes holding too much moisture. That's the benefit of really flexible mesh uppers on light/minimal trail runners, they drain fast and conform to any irregularities in your foot shape.

Hamish McHamish
(El_Canyon) - M

Locale: USA
_ on 03/06/2012 14:15:58 MST Print View

Great info guys, thank you.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Re: Re: kinda picky questions on sleeping socks on 03/06/2012 17:16:09 MST Print View

Last year, I did a few hikes in the spring and early summer that included snow travel. This meant that my feet got wet. For those trips, I took two pairs of hiking socks and an extra pair of fleece socks that are significantly bigger than my hiking socks. If both were dry, I wore those socks over my hiking socks. In the morning, I would put on the fleece socks as a way of drying out my shoes. I would basically wear them around camp, thus transferring moisture from my shoes to the fleece socks. When I hiked, I hung up the fleece socks as well as any of the hiking socks that were wet. This worked well.

For whatever reason, I think I ended up using the fleece socks to hike in one day (maybe I only carried one pair of hiking socks on that trip and didn't dry them out) and it worked out fine.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Stream crossing socks on 03/06/2012 18:37:52 MST Print View

Ross: I've sometimes used your technique a bit, although less consicously. It makes me wonder if you wore a special sock made of that microfiber pac towel material after you crossed a stream, could you transfer most of the water to the socks?

Then change to your regular socks, wring out the sponge socks, and hang them off your pack to dry.

Edit: Wear them to cross the stream, wring it out afterwards, wear it again, then remove it for wringing/drying and replace with a normal sock.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Stream crossing socks on 03/06/2012 18:44:54 MST Print View

I have some stream crossing socks. They were given to me on a JAL flight to Tokyo some years ago, and they were intended for wear as you walk around an airliner on a long trans-Pacific overnight flight. They are made of a thin porous nylon fabric, with something like a soft spongy innersole. They weigh two ounces per pair, so I don't take them unless I know I have a wet stream crossing. If I intend to use them around camp, I have tyvek covers made from a used mailing envelope.


Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: kinda picky questions on sleeping socks on 03/07/2012 00:45:10 MST Print View

> socks dedicated for sleeping: do you size that pair up a bit from what you would wear with
> your hiking shoes? To the point that they're actually loose?
Well, I wear my ordinary socks 'not tight', so my sleeping socks are the same.
Actualy, they are lovely fluffy white socks I bought in Chamonix and have never worn in shoes. That way they stay fluffy.

And I try hard to get my feet dry before I go to bed. No moisture.


Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
If you can find them on 03/07/2012 15:02:05 MST Print View

Possumdown socks are great for sleeping. Warm, light, and drying. Not durable to hike in but you could probably wear them around camp.

Jeffrey McConnell
down booties on 03/07/2012 19:13:37 MST Print View

I use a pair of down booties for my 3 season sleeping. I get cold feet easily so they keep me nice and warm. If its warmer I just use a pair of clean hiking socks.

chris kersten
(xanadu) - F

Locale: here
loose on 03/08/2012 13:10:02 MST Print View

I use a pair of ankle wool socks. Also never worn in shoes. They have to be really loose and 90% of the time, I end up kicking them off after an hour or so from being to hot. If I had to, I could hike in them.

Michael Haubert
(SoCalMike) - F

Locale: So Cal
Bigger socks for sleeping on 03/08/2012 22:29:57 MST Print View

I wear larger, warmer socks for sleeping. I think it's important not to risk poor circulation with socks that may be a bit tight. If you've been hiking all day, your hiking socks may be too tight because your feet swell while hiking, thus squeezing your feet. I switched to larger socks after having a terrible night (cold) when I was wearing hiking socks to bed. The switch made a big difference. I could hike in my sleeping socks, if I needed to. They're large enough so they are very comfortable when sleeping but I could loosen my shoestrings enough to cram my sleeping socks into my trail running shoes.


gunther kirsch
(goonch92) - F

Locale: Northern California
Go big or go home on 03/08/2012 22:34:52 MST Print View

I use the biggest and coziest i could find

edit: and these are my sleeping only pair. use um in anywhere from 25-45 degree whether with a bag at 30 degrees

Edited by goonch92 on 03/08/2012 22:46:37 MST.