You almost made it across the creek–but now your feet are soaked, your boots are sloshing, and you’re headed for misery, if not frostbite. There are no quick fixes to drowned boots, so don’t hold off. As soon as you’re in camp, strip off socks and shoes and get to work.
Stuff & soak
Remove the insoles and set them aside. Pack boots with absorbent materials like dry leaves and grasses. When the materials are soaked, remove them and repeat until you’ve gotten the insides as dry as possible.
Heat dry stones (never use river rocks, which can explode when heated) in boiling water or near the fire. Place the heated rocks in a sock. Test the stones to make sure they don’t scorch the material. Fill the boots with them.
While your boots are cooking, start on the insoles. Press them between spare clothing or dried grasses and squeeze them to express water. Keep them in the bottom of your sleeping bag overnight.
If you can’t resist the temptation to prop boots and insoles by the fire, go easy and don’t get too close. Fire-baked leather will crack, and synthetic material can melt. Insoles can harden in the heat without visual warning.