A lot of things can go wrong on a mountain hunt but your feet cannot afford to endure blisters and injuries. Preparing and keeping your feet safe and comfortable throughout the hunt is imperative and it can be the difference between a nice hike up the mountain and a painful one. Luckily, keeping your feet in good shape is simple and only requires a few basic tasks.
Break in the Boots
If you are planning a hunt this year, start this process now. Brand new boots on a hunt are just asking for blisters. Always give new boots a break-in period and take them out on summer hikes to make sure they are going to fit and perform well. You don’t want to wait until you’re on the mountain to discover any problems.
The same goes for socks. Wear your hunting socks with the boots on at least a few summer hikes to make sure they fit and work well together. Don’t break them in and leave them idle for the last month or two before the hunt either. Wear the socks and the boots for a few weeks leading up to the hunt.
Dry and Clean Socks
Socks are easy to overlook but ensuring they are clean and dry makes a big difference on multi-day hunts. While breaking in boots during the summer, your socks are always fresh and clean. But on the mountain, you’ll be required to recycle them throughout the trip.
Always keep a fresh pair of socks ready in your daypack. A mid-day change out of wet and soggy socks at camp or on the mountain can feel great. Wet feet get cold easier and are much more prone to blisters. Packing along a fresh pair is easy and they will feel amazing when your feet are water logged and worn out.
When the day ends, wash your socks and hang them over the camp stove to dry. If you’re in a spike camp without heat, you can set them in the sun or hang them from your pack to dry. Alternatively, you can sleep with them at the bottom of your sleeping bag. However, ring out as much water as possible first. The moisture from your socks will naturally diffuse into your sleeping bag fill.
Don’t forget, it it must start with quality socks. Go with a high quality Merino wool or Merino-synthetic blend. Don’t even think about bringing your cotton gym socks. The best boots in the world will perform poorly if you wear cotton underneath. Great socks will perform well even after days of use.
Catch Hot Spots Early
Hot spots form when your skin is rubbing repeatedly against the boots or socks. If these are left untreated, blisters will form and your feet will suffer. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the hunt and forget to treat hot spots but it only requires a few minutes to cover the spot with a bandaid or blister pad. Always carry a few in your emergency kit and use them well ahead of the blister formation. We recommend the Compeed blister pads, which can be found at most pharmacies.
Wear Quality Gaiters
Gaiters are a nice addition for your feet because they help keep out moisture. They are especially useful in British Columbia because it’s a wet environment where rain and water from foliage will quickly work into your boots. Invest in a high quality pair that sheds water, making it possible to bushwhack without coming out soaked. The gaiters from most high-end hunting apparel companies will perform well.
For more information on gear for our hunts in northern British Columbia, please take a look at our Gear Page. Otherwise, explore the rest of our website to learn more about our guided hunts or contact us for details.