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Trail Tales

Your Camp Shoe is Your Foot’s Best Friend

Molly Herber | Oboz Ambassador

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In an activity like backpacking where the weight you carry has a direct correlation to your happiness at the end of the day, carrying a set of camp shoes when you already have a great pair of boots on your feet might give you pause.

Why bother?

Because when you roll into camp on the day you stumble through six river crossings and your boots feel like they’ve tripled in weight, and the last thing you want is to keep your wet, sweaty, heavy, muddy boots on your feet a second longer than they have to be.

Enter, camp shoe.DSC 0962

Working hard while hiking. Photo by Kevin Wilson

I was first introduced to camp shoes while canoeing as a kid in northern Minnesota, then learned to bring them when I started backpacking. Changing into dry camp shoes became the signal that the big work was done for the day and it was time to relax and take care of our feet.tents

Home sweet home + dry feet.

The two main reasons to bring a camp shoe are foot care and foot comfort.

Foot CareIMG 1556

Letting wet boots and socks get some air. Photo by Molly Herber

Once camp is set up, I’ll usually spend a few minutes airing out my feet before putting on my dry socks and camp shoes. This is about more than how good it feels—it helps keep your feet healthier.

Dry feet are less susceptible to blisters and whatever gross things like to grow in warm, damp, dark environments like your shoe.

When the conditions are consistently wet and cold, you’re more susceptible to trench foot, a painful non-freezing cold injury. It’s unlikely you’ll get trench foot if your feet are warm and dry at least in the evenings and at night, and having dry shoes is an important part of that.

Since your feet are your only way in and out of there, taking care of them is a priority.

Foot Comfort

On a longer trip or one where you’re heading off trail, you might choose to wear a pretty sturdy boot. While that boot’s great while you’re hiking, it can start to feel heavy after a while, especially if it gets wet.

Changing into a shoe at the end of the day that’s lighter weight can give your feet and knees a break. This also gives your boots a chance to dry out —even if you didn’t walk through any puddles, they probably got sweaty as you hiked. 

Choosing the Right Camp ShoeIMG 1957

Resting for a moment. Photo by Molly Herber

There are pros and cons to anything you decide to pack in your backpack. In general, though, when you’re looking for a camp shoe, you want one that’s:

  • Lightweight
  • Packable
  • Supportive (so you can do things around camp like set up your tent or carry water, or even go on a day hike if the mood strikes you)

Oboz Campser

Oboz’s new Campster is a good balance of supportive and lightweight.

Ultralight die hards might scoff at the idea of a camp shoe. Let them.

In my opinion, a camp shoe is so helpful with foot care and foot comfort that it’s worth bringing.

Molly Herber is a NOLS instructor and writer who lives in Wyoming. She loves the smell of her backpack and does her best writing before 7:00 am. Find her work on the NOLS  Blog and follow her on Instagram @mgherber.



Molly Herber

Name: Molly Herber

Hometown: Lander, Wyoming

Where I’ve Been: I grew up in Minnesota and first got outside on summer trips to the Boundary Waters wilderness area. Exploring new ideas through school took me to Indiana and Spain, and exploring in the outdoors has taken me from my home base in Wyoming to the Wind River Range, North Cascades, Arizona desert, and many places in between. I now work as a writer and backpacking instructor for NOLS.

Why I Hike: Because taking those first steps in the early morning makes my whole body tingle

Where To Next? Explore more remote corners of my adopted home state, Wyoming

Find Me:

Instagram: @mgherber

Facebook: @roamingpeaktopeak


Blog(Personal): https://roamingpeaktopeak.word...

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