Q: How do you prevent your boots or shoe system from freezing at night on overnight winter backpacking and mountaineering trips?
Group Safety in Winter
I'm planning on leading a few winter backpacking trips this winter in New Hampshire that require full winter gear and I want to know what kind of boot system you'd want other people in your party to use on trips averaging 8-10 miles per day with 3,000 feet of elevation gain, daytime temperatures in the single digits (F) and night time temperatures between -10 to -20 below zero (F).
My goal is to introduce experienced winter hikers to the joys and techniques of winter camping. If you've ever done a multi-day trip like this, it's a ton of fun and the views can be fantastic. But winter camping requires some new skills and has its own set of special hazards that you don't encounter in day-only outings.
Preventing Frozen Boots
Given that most peoples' feet and calves sweat in winter, I see three approaches to preventing frozen boots in winter:
- Wear mountaineering boots with removable liners that you can sleep with in your sleeping bag at night. This lets them dry out and prevents them from freezing in subzero temperatures. If done for a limited time over one or two nights, it's unlikely that the moisture in the liners will significantly degrade the warmth of your down sleeping bag.
- Wear a vapor barrier liner in your boots to prevent them from absorbing perspiration. This is pretty hardcore and a lot of people find vapor barriers to be uncomfortable, but it is an option. In fact, many people do it with number #1 above, in extreme conditions to boost the warmth of their boots.
- If your boots don't have removable liners, sleep with them in your sleeping bag. It's the only way you can dry them out and keep them from freezing.
I don't see many other options that don't compromise group safety, but I want to make sure I'm not being overly cautious in the gear requirements that I post for these trips.
If you can share your own experience on this issue, I'd appreciate the input.
Most Popular Searches
- how to keep your boots from freezing
- should you sleep with shoes on in freezing outdoor