There is nothing like a good hike. They are energising, revitalising, and have a vast range of benefits for your mental health.
It doesn’t matter if it’s raining, at the moment it’s just you and the beauty of nature. Except when you get home and your boots are soaked through. Oops.
Newspaper, rice, fans, towels, all of these are fantastic ways to dry wet hiking boots overnight. There are plenty of great methods to help get your boots backs to normal so that you can get back on the trail the next day. No one should be kept from the wilds for long.
If you’re in a bit of a sticky situation, we have some fantastic tips and tricks to help you dry wet hiking boots. Stay awhile and try out some of these fantastic techniques.
Tips to Dry Wet Hiking Boots
Ready for our top tips to get those hiking boots dry? We have a few quick tips to help you get started before you move onto the six expert methods we have in the next section.
#1 Clean them First
Dirt on your boots can lead to permanent staining, so while they are wet take a moment to wipe off any mud and grime that’s on the outside.
You can use a damp clean cloth to do this, preferably microfibre as it is gentle on the boot material.
#2 Remove the Insole
If you have boots with removable insoles, make sure you take these out. This is because you can hang them to dry separately, which makes things more efficient in the long run. You will also find that air circulation within the actual boot is improved.
This helps to boost the overall drying time as there are no hidden wet spots as a result of the insoles still being inside the boots. Most walking boots have removable insoles, or at least top-quality pairs do.
#3 Take Out the Laces
It can be a bit of a fiddle and a hassle, but it really helps your boots to dry faster and more efficiently.
It also helps to ensure the laces dry faster. The air will also be able to reach areas of your boots that would normally be covered by the laces more effectively.
#4 Avoid Direct Heat
You should try to avoid direct heat as it is not good for the shape and longevity of your boots, but it is also an unsafe practice.
There is nothing wrong with turning up the heating or making a campfire for them to sit in the vicinity of, but direct contact with heat should be avoided.
7 Ways to Dry Wet Hiking Boots
Now that you have our starter tips for getting your boots nice and dry overnight, you can try out one (or more) of our six methods to ensure your boots are bone dry by the time you’re ready to head out the next day.
What I like most about these methods is the fact that most of them use the resources that are readily available to you in your home or outdoors – no need to faff around and head out for supplies, just open up the kitchen cupboard and get to work.
#1 Use Newspaper or Kitchen Roll
Stuffing your boots with either of these materials is the way to go. Use as much as you like, just ensure that it is wedged right into every corner so that it can soak up as much moisture as possible. Do make sure there is some looseness though so the water can be sucked up.
If you make it too tight, there won’t be anywhere for the water to go and you will find they don’t suck up as much as they could. You can tear holes in the newspaper before it sucks up the moisture to help make it more efficient.
After a few hours, you can also replace the newspaper or kitchen roll so that you can ensure as much moisture as possible is removed.
This video from Enwild does a great job detailing the steps you need to take in order to dry your hiking boots efficiently with newspaper.
#2 Use Rice in a Sock
So, for this method, you are going to need a bucket. Got no rice but have cat litter instead? Great, that can work in its place.
You will also need to grab a pair of socks and fill them with either cat litter or rice – whichever one works best for you.
Fill the bucket with about an inch of litter or rice and then place the boots inside. Once this is done, put the socks in the boots and then cover the bucket with a lid of your own creation.
If you like, you can change the litter/rice after a couple of hours for maximum efficiency.
#3 Use a Fan
This is both a safe and effective method for you to use when drying your boots, and the best option to use is a non-heated fan with a long stand. If you grab a wire and attach the boots to it, you can then use it to attach them to the exterior of the fan.
Place a towel under the boots so that any water droplets can be captured efficiently, and leave the fan running overnight where possible.
This way, you will wake up to boots that are nice and dry – ready for the adventures of the day ahead.
#4 Use a Towel
Remember that newspaper and kitchen roll method we mentioned a short while ago? Think of that, but you’re using a towel instead.
Once the shoes are nice and clean, take a towel and place two corners of one in each boot.
Next, take the remaining two edges and wrap them around the entirety of the boot. Leave the towel to soak up the moisture for a few minutes before repeating the process until they are dry. Did I mention it’s best to use old towels for this? No? Whoops…
#5 Place Them in a Dry Room
This goes hand in hand with all of the methods above. When using any of them, make sure you are in a dry (preferably warm) room.
If you are doing it in a cold and damp room or leaving them there overnight, there is NO POINT in trying any of these techniques.
If you leave them in the cold, you are going to end up with boots that stay wet and end up smelling pretty foul by the time you head down in the morning. Take my advice, keep it warm and dry.
#6 Use a Boot Dryer
This is actually a great gadget to have, especially if you are the kind of person (like me) who gets caught in the rain a lot.
All you have to do is push the pipe into the boot until it hits the toe and then switch it on. Leave it for an hour or two and you’ll come back to bone dry boots.
This Boot dryer is a winner, it’s under £30 so perfect for those not wanting to spend much on MORE gadgets and it really does work, on hiking boots, wellies, gloves and more. Take a look at the Renogy Boot Dryer.
You heard me right, and InnerBark Outdoors really highlights the best way to undertake this method in the accompanying video.
If you’re caught with wet boots out on a hike or camping trip and you won’t be home for the night, you can collect some rocks from a nearby river using your camping pot.
Fill the pot with water so that all the rocks are covered and place it over the lit camping stove.
Once the water is boiling, you know the rocks are hot and you can slip them into your hiking boots.
You can hold the rocks out of the water for a moment to get them to a safe temperature for your boots, but once you have filled the boots with hot rocks you’ll find they dry fast.
You can also fill your socks with hot rocks to dry both the boots and your socks efficiently, and you can repeat the process two or three times to get the best results.
Once you have got your hiking boots dry, why not keep them safe with a boot bag. I have created a place you can find all the best boots bags for your hiking boots.
Can you put Hiking boots in a tumble dryer?
Absolutely not, don’t put your hiking boots in a tumble dryer. Avoiding direct heat is key to drying them, and if you do this you can cause the boots and the soles to warp horribly – making them uncomfortable and potentially ruining them.
Can you put Hiking Boots in the Oven?
You can put your hiking boots in the oven to dry them, but you shouldn’t. Direct heat is not good for them while they dry.
If you insist on using the oven method, at least make sure they are on a very low heat so that you don’t cook and ruin the material (especially leather).
Now you know how to dry your hiking boots quickly, read here to learn how to dry your welly boots easily and quickly.
No matter which of these methods you use (or maybe you’ll try all of them) you are sure to wake up the next morning with boots that are back to their usual selves.
We know how important it is to get out and explore, and wet boots certainly aren’t going to hold you back.
Have you enjoyed the latest instalment in our series of guides to the great outdoors? If so, you should check out the rest of our pieces, written by masters of the craft so that you enjoy a safe, comfortable, and exciting experience when you head out into the forests and fields.
A seasoned camper and hiker, there is nothing he doesn’t know about the Great Outdoors. Hiking alone, with friends, or even little ones, he’s done it all. A trained survivalist, he gives Bear Grylls a run for his money.