One of the best parts of camping is feeling like you are one with the wilderness. But, being a part of the wilderness may involve getting part of the wilderness stuck in, on or around you. Whether you are wearing sandals, walking shoes or even hiking boots on your feet, there is a good chance you will find something inside them, aside from your sock-clad feet, if you are going hiking or simply doing light walking in the wilderness.
Here are the top 5 things to avoid getting into your boots.
- Foot Pain
For winter hiking, ice and snow are the surfaces you will be traveling on. It is not so much the ice as it is the snow that can get into you boots. Often, snow depths will exceed the height of your boot. If you do not cover the top of your boot with a gaiter, then snow can get into the boot while post holing. Once snow gets into the boot, it will wet your socks and cool your feet, creating the conditions in which frostbite can occur. The use of a proper waterproof gaiter is the best preventative measure you can take, to avoid this situation.
Hiking and backpacking are not fair-weather activities. Often, the first day of your trip is beautiful while the next 3 days, it will rain every day. In conditions like this, boots will become wet. A good waterproof boot can prevent your foot from getting wet. As for drying a wet boot, avoid fires and heat sources. Both will damage your boots. When the weather breaks, walk your boots dry. If backpacking, make sure to keep your camp socks dry. Once in camp, you will want to dry your feet. Additionally, when you change out of your wet boots, take the insoles out of your boots and loosen the laces fully to open the boot up, so a little drying can take place while you sleep.
The last thing you want to feel while on a hike is pain in your feet. It is very important to wear not only the correct type of footwear but also the correct size. A shoe or boot that is ill-fitting or non supportive can result in damage to the foot tendons and a painful condition called plantar fasciitis.
You need an adequate amount of cushion and support so that your feet are comfortable during and after your outdoor activities. It is also imperative that you have the proper fit. During physical activity like hiking, your feet swell. So you need a little extra room for your feet inside your shoe and boot. A general rule of thumb, while trying on boots at the store or at home, is this – once you’ve kicked the front of the boot or shoe, shifting your foot forward, you should be able to slide your thumb in behind your heel. A proper fit will assure healthy feet happy.
Blisters will give you a warning. This warning is called a hotspot. If you feel hotspot irritations developing, take immediate action with either moleskin or Adventure Medical Kits GlacierGel. Moleskin is better over a hotspot because the skin is intact and the moleskin provides a cushion and adheres to the skin to prevent additional sliding which creates blisters. Once a blister forms, products like GlacierGel are a better choice. GlacierGel is a type of burn dressing. Since blisters are essentially 2nd degree friction burns, a dressing that keeps the new skin layer moist and cushioned will promote healing the best. To help prevent blisters during hikes, use moisture-repellent foot powders like BlisterShield. These powders keep the foot drier and reduce friction against the skin. Wearing the proper kind of socks, is an important considerations as well.
Small pebbles or rocks are a real irritation inside your boot. If you get a stone in your shoe, stop immediately and get the stone out. Wearing a gaiter is the best way to prevent stones from landing inside your boot when they’re kicked up as you walk.
Let us know in the comments below if there is anything else you think should be kept out of your boots!