Effective Methods to Dry Your Boots During Rucking: Tips & Tricks

Why Drying Your Boots While Rucking is Important

If you’re an avid rucker, you’ll know that there’s nothing worse than that soggy-boot feeling. However, it’s more than just being uncomfortable. Wet boots can have serious consequences on your feet’s health and your rucking performance.

Let’s get right into it. Damp footwear creates an ideal environment for bacteria and fungus to breed. You don’t want that! The last thing you need mid-ruck is an uncomfortable fungal infection or athlete’s foot creeping in. Keeping your boots dry can help you dodge these unwanted problems.

Wet boots can also lead to painful blisters. Sodden socks rubbing against your skin as you go can cause friction, resulting in sore spots. It’s a rucker’s nightmare. You’re trying to focus on the terrain ahead and all you can think about is the pain beneath your feet. But if your boots are dry, they’ll fit better, reducing the likelihood of blisters.

What’s more, wet boots have a shorter lifespan. The materials boots are made of, especially leather, can degrade faster when constantly wet. Drying out your boots properly can not only keep your feet happy but also save you from shelling out for a new pair before you need to.

That’s not forgetting your performance. Imagine trying to maintain a good pace with heavy, water-logged boots. It’s like running with weights strapped to your feet – draining your energy faster than necessary. On the other hand, dry boots are lighter and allow for more agile movements, improving your overall rucking efficiency.

Quick Tips for Preventing Wet Boots

Now that you understand the perils of wet boots, let’s get into some practical remedies. Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some strategies you can employ to ensure your boots stay as dry as possible during your rucking sessions.

Firstly, proper footwear selection is crucial. Opt for boots that feature water-resistant or waterproof materials like synthetic nylon and Gore-Tex. Not only will these materials repel water from the outside, they also wick sweat away from the inside. Additionally, they’re often lighter than leather boots, giving you a dual advantage of dryness and agility during rucking.

Seam-sealing your boots and applying water-repellant sprays can also help with waterproofing. Take note that these treatments need to be re-done periodically for continued effectiveness.

Secondly, adjust your rucking route. If you know a particular trail gets muddy and wet after a rainfall, consider rucking on a different path. While the path less traveled may be more exciting, your feet will thank you for the drier route.

Thirdly, consider your sock selection. It might seem minor, but having the right pair of socks can significantly affect your boot’s dryness. Look for socks that are made of moisture-wicking materials like Merino wool or synthetic fibers. These types of materials can absorb and evaporate sweat, preventing your foot from becoming a mini sauna.

Lastly, ensure that you pack extra socks. Should you unexpectedly encounter a water hazard, having a fresh, dry pair to change into can be a game changer.

By investing in the right boot material, adjusting your route, choosing appropriate socks, and always keeping a spare pair, you can significantly reduce the chances of finding yourself with a pair of uncomfortably damp boots. Remember, staying dry while rucking not only preserves your boot’s lifespan, but it enhances your overall performance and experience too.

Method 1: Using Newspaper

Newspaper, a readily available and cost-effective tool, can help dry out your wet boots while you’re rucking. While not an innovative concept, this method still boasts effectiveness and is well worth considering when you find yourself with damp boots.

To start, you’ll need to remove as much moisture as possible from the boots. You can do this by turning them upside down and shaking out any excess water. Once that’s done, it’s time to stuff them. Grab some newspapers and crumple them into loose balls – there’s no need for precision here.

Next, put the newspaper balls inside your boots, making sure to reach all the way to the toe. You’ll want to pack them in fairly tight, but not to the point where the material of the boots is overstressed. Do remember to replace the newspaper every few hours, especially if your boots are extremely wet. By doing so, you also prevent the newspaper ink from staining the inside of your boots.

Investing in a broadsheet-sized paper can be helpful as it’d provide more absorbent material. Even local weekly papers can do the trick, so you won’t need to lug around large quantities of newspaper on your rucking adventures.

While this boot-drying method is efficient, it’s important to note that it’s more of a stop-gap measure. It might be wise to combine this with some other strategies for keeping your boots dry, including proper footwear selection and maintenance, or using moisture-wicking socks.

And remember, your boots won’t dry instantly with this method. Patience is key. Over time, newspaper will absorb moisture effectively and allow your boots to dry thoroughly. This practical solution could be your way out of damp boot discomfort while rucking.

Method 2: Stuffing with Dry Clothing

Another effective tactic for drying your boots while rucking revolves around utilizing your dry clothes. This approach works similarly to the newspaper trick but offers a more convenient alternative. When you’re on the move and don’t have access to a fresh stack of newspapers, dry clothes could be your savior.

Lightweight, dry garments such as bandanas, small towels, or even spare socks are prime choices for this method. It’s important to ensure these clothes are both clean and dry – damp or dirty cloth won’t help at all.

Start by griping the heel of your wet boot, flip it open as wide as possible, allowing you to properly insert your chosen dry clothing. Reach the deepest parts of the boot, similarly to how you would with newspaper.

Do remember that you need to update this stuffing method every few hours using fresh, dry cloth. Overnight drying should ideally involve an entirely new piece of clothing.

Next comes an unexpected part of this method that might raise a few eyebrows – Strategically placed rock salt. An age-old trick backed by science, rock salt is renowned for its absorbing module making it an ideal partner for your wet boots. Create a table salt pouch using your remaining dry cloth, place it amongst the stuffed clothing in the boot. Be careful about using too much salt, as it might leave white stains on darker colored boots.

This method is practical and you’ll experience positive results with repeated application. However, it does require a good supply of dry clothes – something ruckers usually don’t go overboard with it. If newspapers aren’t your pick and you’re okay trading off your dry clothes for dry boots, rest assured you’re on the right path. This might be your go-to method if you’re into long-distance rucking and don’t mind sparing a few clothes for your boots’ sake.

Looking at a broader perspective, this stuffing technique is but one part of a comprehensive plan for boot maintenance while rucking. There are other methods to explore too. Let’s move on to discussing these in the next few sections.

Method 3: Using Boot Dryers

Boot dryers can serve as a lifesaver when you’re out rucking, and wet boot woes are slowing you down. This nifty piece of equipment expedites the drying process, ensuring your boots are crisp and dry, ready for the next challenge.

Boot dryers work using warm air that’s gently blown into the boot, swiftly evaporating any moisture present. This aids in preventing the growth of harmful bacteria or fungi, leading to a more sanitary and comfortable rucking experience.

There are two types of boot dryers you might consider: electric boot dryers and forced air boot dryers.

Electric boot dryers are compact, portable, and can slip right into your bag. They dry the boots relatively slower, making them suitable if you have the luxury of time on your side.

On the other hand, forced air boot dryers offer quicker drying times. By using a high-power fan to circulate warm air through your boots, they can significantly reduce drying time. This is particularly beneficial when you’re on the move, and waiting for your boots to dry isn’t an option.

Here’s a brief comparison of the two:

Electric boot dryers


Forced air boot dryers


Slower drying time


Quicker drying time
Compact and portable


Larger and less portable

Remember, while boot dryers can seem costly at first, consider them a valuable investment in your rucking gear. Nothing can put a damper on your rucking spirit faster than having to trudge in wet, uncomfortable boots. With boot dryers, you’ll be able to manage wet boots effectively, preserving both the durability of your footwear and your overall rucking experience.

Let’s move onto other methods to keep your boots dry during rucking sessions. It’s essential to have multiple techniques up your sleeve, as certain conditions might necessitate different approaches.

Method 4: Using Boot Covers or Gaiters

The battle against wet boots during rucking doesn’t stop at boot selection, seam-sealing, or moisture-wicking socks. There’s another asset in your arsenal – boot covers or gaiters. In essence, these are your boots’ umbrellas during inclement weather conditions.

Gaiters are protective garments you wear over your boots or shoes. They are particularly known to keep debris, like small rocks or sand, out of your boots but they can also serve as excellent water barriers. On the other hand, boot covers are directly worn over the boots serving as an extra layer of waterproofing. They’re especially useful in soaking situations like crossing streams or wading in wet-grass areas during your rucking sessions.

Selecting the Right Gaiters or Boot Covers

Choosing the right gaiters or boot covers can be as crucial as choosing the right boots. Go for water-resistant or waterproof materials like Gore-Tex or nylon. Check the coverage – gaiters should cover your boot up to the top of your ankle at a minimum. For wet or snowy conditions, consider knee-high ones. Also, ensure the fit is right and they are comfortable to wear since discomfort can hamper your rucking experience.

Utilizing Your Gaiters or Boot Covers

Once you have got your gaiters or boot covers, understanding how to utilize them effectively is critical. If it’s drizzling or wet outside, you’d want to wear them before you start rucking. This ensures your boots and socks stay dry from the get-go. For boot covers, see that they’re completely covering your boots. For gaiters, make sure the bottom edge forms a tight seal around your boots to prevent water from entering. Above all, regular cleaning and maintenance of your boot covers or gaiters are crucial for their longevity and effectiveness.

Protection and prevention are keys to ensuring your rucking sessions are not hindered by wet boots. Making the most of boot covers or gaiters can most definitely play a big role in achieving this.

Method 5: Taking Advantage of Heat Sources

Harnessing the power of heat sources can be an efficient way to dry your boots when rucking. When done right, it’s a quick fix, with several options accessible to most outdoor enthusiasts.

Let’s unearth these nifty heat sources.

Campfires, stoves, or heaters are all viable options when you’re outdoors. But be cautious! Never put your boots directly into the fire or too close to it. Extreme heat can damage the material, resulting in cracks or, worse, complete deformation. A safe distance is keeping them close enough so they can soak up the warmth without getting scorched.

Your feet themselves are a potent heat source. In case of soaking boots during a hike, remove your socks, wring out as much water as you can, put the socks back on, then put the boots back on. Your body heat will help dry the socks and potentially reduce the moisture inside your boots. Remember to keep moving; physical activity promotes warmth.

Car heaters are another practical resource especially when you’re on the go. Those who take breaks while rucking and have access to their vehicle can make use of this handy feature. Place your boots near the car heating vents. Ensure the boots are not blocking the vents fully, and keep the heat on a moderate level to avoid damaging your boots.

Hotels and cabins, if on your route, are a no-brainer. Take your wet boots into your room and utilize the heating system. Placing your boots near (but not directly on) radiators, heating vents, or underfloor heating areas works magic.

Using heat sources demands proper safety measures and caution to prevent boot damage and potential fire hazards. It’s essential to classic mistakes like ignoring basic fire safety protocols or over exposing your boots to heat sources.

Now that you’ve delved into another method of preventing wet boot misery, do you want to explore more options? In the next section, we’ll introduce you to the “Boots Off Therapy”- a unique tactic employed by seasoned ruckers.


So, you’ve learned the ropes of keeping your boots dry while rucking. It’s not just about the right footwear, but also about smart techniques like seam-sealing, utilizing water-repellant sprays, and opting for moisture-wicking socks. You’ve also discovered the magic of boot dryers and how they can speed up the drying process. You’re now aware of how heat sources like campfires, stoves, heaters, and even car heaters can serve as your boot-drying allies on the trail. Remember, safety first when using these heat sources. Lastly, stay tuned for the “Boots Off Therapy” tactic, a secret weapon used by seasoned ruckers. Now, with all these tools in your rucking arsenal, you’re ready to hit the trail and keep those boots dry!

1. What strategies does the article suggest for preventing wet boots during rucking?

The article suggests several tactics, including proper footwear selection, seam-sealing boots, applying water-repellent sprays, and wearing moisture-wicking socks.

2. How can I expedite the drying process for my boots?

The use of boot dryers can significantly hasten the drying process. The article also suggests utilizing heat sources like campfires, stoves, heaters, and car heaters for quick drying while ensuring safety precautions.

3. Can I use any heat source for drying my boots?

Yes, you can use varying heat sources, such as campfires, stoves, heaters, and car heaters. However, the article suggests taking necessary safety measures to prevent accidents.

4. What is the “Boots Off Therapy” tactic?

The article briefly mentions the “Boots Off Therapy” tactic but does not discuss it in detail. It hints at an upcoming comprehensive introduction about this method used by seasoned ruckers.

5. Why are moisture-wicking socks recommended for rucking?

Moisture-wicking socks are recommended because they effectively absorb sweat and keep your feet dry while rucking, reducing the chances of getting wet boots.


More Posts

Maximizing Calorie Burn: How Many Calories are Used Rucking 26.2 Miles?

Explore ways to maximize calorie burn during a 26.2 mile ruck with this informative guide. Understand the impact of backpack weight, proper posture, pace, and interval rucking on your metabolism and endurance. Learn valuable tips for injury prevention, hydration, and nutrition to improve your overall rucking experience and wellness.

Send Us A Message