Let me teach you about the three sock system. When camping and backpacking for long extended periods of time a 3 sock system can be put into use. Almost all of us used the 3 sock system when we were on the NOLS Lightweight Rocky Mountain Backpacking trip.
When trying to keep pack weight at a minimum and comfort and safety at a maximum 3 pairs of socks seem to be the magic number.
The basic premise for three pairs of socks are:
1. Most of the time your hiking shoes will be wet (from stream crossings and not having the proper conditions to dry them out).
2. It makes no sense to put on dry socks when they will get wet inside your damp shoes.
3. It’s important to keep your feet dry for at least 8 hours a day to prevent trench foot.
4. It’s important for safety and comfort to have dry, warm feet when sleeping.
5. Wet socks will draw heat away from the body especially when moving less (i.e. while in camp).
3 socks system
1. the treasured sleeping socks (must be kept dry at all times)
2. camp socks (the socks that you change into when you get into camp
3. hiking socks (the socks that inevitably stay wet as you hike and cross streams)
When waking up change out of your sleeping socks and store them in the inside bottom of your sleeping bag. This is where they live. Change into your damp hiking socks before slipping on your damp hiking shoes. After a long day of hiking, change out of damp socks and put on dry camp socks. Dry camp socks should be used in conjunction with a method to maintain their dryness. Some campers have dedicated camp shoes or if you were trying to go lightweight like we were simple plastic bags can be slipped on the feet after dry socks to maintain a barrier between sock and wet shoe. Don fluffy sleep socks to warm up toes at night. Repeat daily.