There’s something wonderful about snuggling down into your sleeping bag at the end of an active day on the track.
But for ages I used to struggle with cold feet keeping me awake. I’m talking numb, aching ice-blocks attached to the end of my legs, kind of cold. Even though the rest of me was warm, for some reason I just couldn’t get my tootsies to be toasty. After a few experiments and advice from friends I developed my ‘two-step’ (Sigh, I crack myself up) hot tips for cold feet:
I lost count of how many times I heard people telling me to just put some clean, dry socks on whilst getting into my bag. Nice idea, but it wasn’t until I started pre-warming my socks for an hour or so before bedtime that I found this idea to be even faintly useful.
During a particularly chilly Summer trip (Boxing Day to NYE) from Mt Bogong to Mt Feathertop in the Victorian Snowy Mountains, I developed my “socks on the boobs” technique as ably demonstrated by myself and Hiroko below. I simply popped the socks in there before dinner and by the time I came to get into bed, they were cosy and warm. Oh and yes, this was 2004 when Madonna was still in her Gaultier phase!
Hot Water Bottle
Apart from carrying a nice drop of red wine to enjoy with dinner, the trusty Nalgene style water bottle (which can also handle hot water) is perfect for making a hottie for your baggie. Simply boil the billy and after filling your bottle, pop it into a sock to prevent you burning your tender feet and then into the bottom of your sleeping bag. Oh and as the water cools down overnight, you don’t get cold water bottle shock!
I’ve even been known to use my sweaty damp socks from the daytime for this purpose as it dries the socks for the morning, particularly good if you’ve had any river crossings!
30 second triathlon
And I know I said two, but my third trick is to do a short burst of exercise before getting into your tent and bag. I reckon the best demonstration of this I’ve seen is on the Overland Track. It goes a little like this:
“Imagine you’re running a triathlon going as fast as you can; in 30 seconds and on the spot. First, 10 seconds of a swim (swinging your arms around your head in wild freestyle motion), then 10 seconds of cycling (really weird kinda jog motion), then 10 seconds of running on the spot.”Timmy [Overland Track Guide]
Do you have any tricks and tips for keeping your feet warm?