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Fast-drying boots

boots-200x148Q. I’m going to Northern Tier High Adventure Base this summer and need a pair of boots that can dry quickly. They need to be light, closed-toe, fast-drying and fast-draining, considering I might be walking in water. What’s the best choice?
— Ely-Bound Alex, Alpharetta, Ga.

A. Good question, Alex. I contacted Carl Boyles, director of program at Northern Tier. His recommendation: “Aqua socks, dive boots, athletic shoes or river rafting shoes do not work well in canoe country because of the rocky environment. Northern Tier recommends a ‘jungle’ or military-style boot, often called a combat boot. These boots not only drain water well, but they have excellent ankle support. And the soles of these boots also hold up well against the sharp rocks that make up the terrain here. Finally, it should be made in the USA — as we’ve found those made overseas don’t hold up.”

Northern Tier’s online trading post sells Jungle Boots from Wellco, a major supplier of the U.S. Army for $59.95 at

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14 Comments on Fast-drying boots

  1. Eagle musican // March 9, 2015 at 5:19 am // Reply

    Ok so I have wide feet and I can’t find good waterproof boots that don’t cost over $400 and mink oil don’t really help with keeping water out because I have tried it hundreds of times! Any help?

  2. Waterproof doesn’t mean that they don’t get wet inside. It just means that the water doesn’t seep through the fabric. Once wet inside the waterproofing helps keep the wet inside. They take forever to dry and it won’t happen at camp. Mucks, Ducks and hunters are great for what they were designed to do; schlogging through muck and goo.

  3. Our unit is ambitious, we wear aqua socks while in the canoe and often when landing the canoe but we also switch into over ankle hiking boots for the land portage. This gives everyone exactly what they need. With the little extra effort your feet aren’t sweating while in the boat yet you have all the stability and foot protection while on the portage. The BWCA is not the place to get lazy, It’s where you learn to slow down, be smart and put safety above all else. The aqua socks are also very nice when swimming in the BWCA because there are so many sharp rock and fish hooks at all sites.

  4. Order early as they run out often, and the knockoffs tear up quickly. Mine didn’t make it the whole week.

  5. hillbilly boy // June 1, 2012 at 7:01 pm // Reply

    does this include desert combat boots too?

    • The jungle boot is a better choice. They’re fabric topped with drain vents close to the sole. They are designed for wet climates. You don’t need to get the expensive Army issued model. My son got his at a sporting good store in the workboot section. Had them for years. However, you may want to consider a combination: aqua-sox or closed toe river sandal for on the water and a fabric topped light weight hiker for the portage.

  6. Combat Boots are the best they dry very quikly and will stay dry to an extent up to where the tounge starts of course but still is great. I tested mine at Vermont while hiking next to a stream. Combat Boots are great just make sure you get the right ones

  7. i went to northern tier for 2 weeks in 2009 and all i had were a pair of 5.10 runamucks. they worked perfectly and a whole lot better than the combat boots. almost everyone who had the combat boots in my group, also had some sort of problem with the boot. the runamucks have the rock climbing sticky rubber and have a half mesh upper that drains and drys super fast. actually that brings me to another point about northern tier which is dont expect to be dry because the air is so saturated with moisture already, nothing ever gets dry. it just gets less wet.

    • Just wondering how the 5.10’s worked for carrying canoes. We have been told you need ankle support at Northern Tier.

  8. If you are looking for dry boots, Muck boots are awesome. They don’t dry, because they never get wet!

  9. Walking Everywhere I may travel 447 // September 28, 2009 at 5:00 am // Reply

    Boots and shoes made out of canvas dry within about one-half hour after being really wet. For people who use canoes, the Jack Percell canvas shoe has a non-skid sole and canvas top which dries out really quick compared to cowhide hiking boots when on canoe trips. When in the canoe, use the canvas shoe on your feet in case of walking on the lake or river bottom and keep your cowhide hiking boots in two gallon ziplock plastic bags to keep the cowhide hiking boots dry. When on land, just change from the canvas shoe to the cowhide hiking boot. It shouldn’t require more than fifteen minutes to change your shoes to continue on your camping and canoe adventures.

  10. Mountain Hiker 177 // September 26, 2009 at 1:03 pm // Reply

    Actual cowhide leather hiking boots that requires periodic leather boot oil is the type of hiking boot that you should NOT have if you require “fast drying boots”. Most actual cowhide leather hiking boots when they get wet require several hours to several days to dry out when they really get wet. However, actual cowhide or white-tail deer hide boots are really good hiking boots for most hiking experiences. Actual cowhide or deerhide leather hiking boots will keep moisture and coldness close to a person’s foot if the actual cowhide hiking boot gets wet.

  11. i like colombia brand they r very reliable and waterproof

  12. yes, I tried the combat boots, but I don’t like how they aren’t waterproof. I’m going to Flood High Adventure Camp, and I think I’m going to bring WATERPROOF combat boots and draining water shoes for the canoe.

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