Ask the Gear Guy

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


Comments about “Fast-drying boots”

  1. hillbilly boy says:

    does this include desert combat boots too?

  2. Big S says:

    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

  3. matt g says:

    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.

    • Anonymous says:

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

  4. GEAR MAN says:

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

  5. Walking Everywhere I may travel 447 says:

    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.

  6. Mountain Hiker 177 says:

    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.

  7. littlemike says:

    i like colombia brand they r very reliable and waterproof

  8. b says:

    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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