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We’ve already talked about getting your body trail-ready in a previous post but what about your gear?
To be perfectly honest, I probably won’t get much gear out in the next little while as we are slowly getting back into things with Huckleberry around (i.e. spring camping is NOT going to happen so the tent won’t come out yet) but our boots are out! Another bit of honesty: I don’t put much thought into when to put our 3-season hiking boots away and get our winter hiking boots out, it just sort of happens, so the state of our all-season hiking boots when they get shoved into the back of the closet can be a bit abysmal.
We finally retired our winter boots about a week ago and dug our hiking boots out from the depths and, well, they were quite muddy, smelly and pretty sad looking. I had my work cut out for me, that’s for sure.
This will be our 4th season with these Hi-Tec Altitude hiking boots and our spring cleaning routine is what keeps our feet happy to be in them. It takes a few days, so it is a good idea to get this done before you put your winter boots away, or in a stretch of rainy days when you won’t be out hiking anyways. And it is totally worth it! Believe me.
Here’s what you will need:
- tub or container that fits the boots
- baking soda
- scrub brush
- thin paintbrush to apply sealant
- water-proofing wax
The first step is to clean your boots, because you can’t seal and waterproof dirty boots! Below, you’ll find my cleaning routine that works for our leather boots. I’ve also used this routine to clean our Columbia Bugaboot Plus Omni Heat winter hiking boots (Buy them here: *Men’s & *Women’s). The best part about this cleaning routine is that there’s very little elbow grease required AND it deodorizes that stinky footwear at the same time, you’re welcome! Oh, and it’s eco-friendly and cheap, you’re welcome again!
Maman’s Easy-Peasy Solution for Clean Hiking Boots:
- knock off as much mud as you can before you start
- remove insoles and laces
- place insoles and laces into tub with water
- add vinegar and then baking soda
- swish insoles and laces around
- remove, rinse and set aside
- repeat steps 4-6 with boots, using a scrub brush (or a dog toothbrush, like us, ha ha!) to remove any remaining mud that didn’t bubble off
- use a rag to dry all parts as well as possible
- lay it all out on a towel and stuff the boots with newspaper, changing every 12 hours until dry
Once your boots are dry, you can seal them (if necessary) and waterproof them, in that order.
You can see above where I sealed my hiking boots on the toes two years ago. I used M Essentials AquaSeal and have not had to reapply any since then. You will want to purchase a product that works for your boots and follow the directions provided. We chose AquaSeal because we can use it on more than just our boots, and we love multi-purpose items.
I waterproof our boots once every Spring and our feet stay nice and dry throughout the year. I use NIKWAX Waterproofing Wax for Leather (*Buy it at LiveOutThere.com), which is designed for leather boots, and it works well for us. Again, you will want to find a product that works for your boots and follow the provided directions.
Then, you can put the insoles back in (or replace them, as I need to do this year), lace your boots up and hit the trail!