Yep! Serious as can be.
A little AT wisdom; where prudence is not always in great supply. After waking for several mornings in a row to have to cram cold feet into cold (if you're lucky and they aren't frozen) boots, that are probably still nice and SOAKED from the day before...
...Well, you'll just have to trust me when I say you are willing to try anything to make your feet feel warmth again. Somebody (actually still a personal friend to this day) one morning decided to heck with common sense and went for it. The look of bliss on his face a few moments later, got every single one of us up and grabbing alcohol bottles. Obviously, it could never be called wise. It also never caused any damage and darn if it doesn't feel downright glorious.
But, it is merely a flash in the pan. The warmth goes away quickly, but at least it gives you a little bit of a head start on the warm-up process. And did I mention how good it feels?
I'll have to try that some time when it's real cold. Don't know if I'll have the stones to do it with my good shoes, though.
To keep stuff from freezing (on all of the six sub-freezing days we get a year down here), I sleep with it next to my skin. My water filter comes off of the Camelbak, the drink hose gets emptied, and I make sure that the water level in it isn't more'n three-quarters of full. The filter and my stove alcohol go into my pocket (or, if I'm wearing my kilt, under my shirt) while I sleep.
Shoes...well, my shoes aren't beefy enough to really freeze solid unless I waded through a stream just an hour before dark or so (haven't had it happen yet). But, if they do, there's always Cannibal's trick...
"Just prepare what you can and enjoy the rest."
My feet sweat like mad. Here's my tricks to dry my foot gear out; If there is no snow and temps are above freezing, I fill my boots up with dry leaves. There is also setting boots near a fire to warm and dry. If you want to do it quickly take out the liners and "roast" them over the fire (keep them well away from the flames of course). Once dry I put them in my pack.
I have an over sized thick pair of socks that I only use for sleeping. When I take off the socks that I was wearing all day, I put then in my long-johns and let my body heat warm and dry them. If they are soaked I hang them up to freeze over night, the next morning I beat the ice crystals out of them and shove them in my long-johns to let my body heat dry them. Once the fresh socks from the morning become damp the socks in my long-johns should be dry.
If I know I wont have any opportunity to dry my boots or feet in winter, I bring my bunny boots. They keep my feet warm even if my socks are wringing wet. I also spray my feet with antiperspirant to minimize moisture.
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A wide spectrum of knowledge and little tricks, thanks for your replies.
Loving the setting boots on fire with alcohol That a gem of a tip!
Its great to hear how you all make life a little more comfortable hanging and camping in winter.
@ Beast. I'm a fellow sufferer of moist feet, its a constant battle. The leaves trick sounds great but dry leaves are non-existent over here for most of the time. I'm on near industial strength anti-perspirant ATM (DriChlor)to try to abate it a little.
Good info! Last year I found out the hard way how nasty it can be putting on frozen-solid boots. Low temp was supposed to be 25° but it got down to 16°. Holding the boot upside down for about 10 seconds with a Bic lighter burning just inside does more than you would think!
I have been using vapor barrier socks for years. They contain the copious moisture from my feet and my liners stay dry. They are much more comfortable than it sounds! I carry spare thin socks that go inside the VB socks and change them daily.
Works for me.