How to Dry Hiking Boots While Out on the Trail

Written by naomi judd
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How to Dry Hiking Boots While Out on the Trail
Boots can easily get wet during river crossings. (George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Getting wet is inevitable when out on the trails, and hiking in wet boots tops the list for most aggravating setbacks on an outing. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to dry out your boots while on the trail, even if you don't have an extra pair of shoes with you. Leather boots will take longer to dry than those made with synthetics, but most any boot can be dried out.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Hiking socks
  • String
  • Extra pair of hiking shoes

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  1. 1

    Take off your hiking boots and squeeze the soft parts, such as the tongue, laces and sides, to get as much water out of them as possible. Take off your wet socks and squeeze as much water from them as well.

  2. 2

    Hang your damp socks on the back of your backpack with a piece of string, or put them in an outer mesh pocket if your pack has one. If it is raining, place them inside a pocket of your pack until you return to camp and dry them.

  3. 3

    Put on a pair of dry socks and put your boots back on as well. As you walk, the dry socks will absorb some of the dampness from the boots and begin to dry them from the inside. Mid-weight hiking socks work best for this.

  4. 4

    Repeat step 3 with a third pair of socks after about an hour of hiking. If you have a fourth pair of socks, you can repeat it yet again.

  5. 5

    Tie the laces of your wet hiking boots together. Sling them across the top of your backpack if you have a second pair of well-fitting trail sandals or camp sneakers with you. Dry all damp socks, boots and boot liners in your sleeping bag when you go to sleep at night. The heat of your body will help dry them out for the next day.

Tips and warnings

  • You can also tie a string across your tent ceiling for drying small items like socks and base layers overnight.
  • Hiking in wet boots and socks for several hours can result in blisters.

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