Actually, Kristian Jager Nykrog became so popular within the group because of his outdoor skills (and outgoing personality) that his team mates gave him a special mentioning the last night of the OAS.
When Kristian Jager Nykrog is not helping others to cope with wet feet and boots the 26 year old Dane is studying Outdoors, Culture and Nature Guiding at the Telemark University College in Norway. At the moment he’s writing his master thesis about socialisation to outdoor activities in Norway.
He’s also a freelance writer for the Danish outdoor/traveling magazine Opdag Verden.
Here’s Kristian’s top five tips for avoiding/coping with wet feet:
1) Don’t get wet feet! Do every thing possible for avoiding wet feet. Make sure your boots are waterproofed, don’t get to warm on your feet and keep your feet and boots out of wet stuff. This includes taking your feet/boots out of the snow as much as possible and brush of any excess snow. (At the trip I myself haden’t waxed my leather boots properly and therefore they leaked like a sinking ship!
2) Keep your feet warm! If you get wet feet make sure not to get to cold feet. Frostbite is dangerous and will come back and haunt you for the rest of your life. If your feet are wet and you fear they get to cold make sure they get warm again as fast as possible. Be aware of loosing the feeling in your toes and white spots on the skin.
Get wet boots and socks off and dry your feet. All the water in socks and boots drains good energy from your feet that you should use to avoid frostbite. Dry socks and a warm stomache/armpit from a friend will help your feet get warm.
Remember that socks, sleeping bags and other warm stuff only insulates. The heat need to come from you. So if your not warm the insulation will only keep the cold close to you! If you suspect you have a problem with frostbite then do not rub your skin to make it warm. It will only increase the damage!
3) Dry socks and boots! If your socks and boots are wet try to dry it. It is often hard to do when your on a trip and in worst circumstances you might have to cut the trip short and go home. But there is some small tips…
Socks can be dried during the day against the skin underneath you woollen garments, in the sleeping bag during night (Not recommended in down sleeping bags and on longer trips since the moist will build up inside the sleeping bag which will loose effect!)
Socks can also be dried on the outside of a 0,5 l. Nalgene bootle or similar filled with boiling water. The warm bootle can also be placed inside wet boots. The inner-sole of the boots can be dried in the same fashion as the socks. For the boots the most efficient is to dry them using a strong heat source for example a fire or a multifuel burner. But beware that you don’t melt or burn anything. In that case you will be worse off!
A good rule of thumb is to always dry your stuff at a distance from the heat source where you can safely hold your hands bare skin without being to warm. Then the plastic won’t melt… Just remember that the fire might change and get warmer. If you don’t want to go home early maybe you can spend one night in a cabin in the mountains and get your wet stuff dried up and then continue your trip.
4) Use the wet-suit principle! Wet-suits are made for helping you stay warm when in wet conditions. We can use that principle to help us when we have wet and cold feet and know its going to be hard to get them dry and warm. Wet suits help by keeping the same water close to our skin and awoiding surrounding cold water to get closer. Since we usually don’t bring wet suits socks on trips during winter we can improvice the same principle by keeping a plastic shopping bag between to pairs of socks in our boots. That way the plastic bag will work as a moist barrier and keep water out and in.
5) Help your friends! Pay attention to your friends when you are on a trip. Ask them if they are okay and help them as much as possible. You can often spot people who are cold or tired if they are really quite and standing still. It’s important in the winter to keep moving and stay warm. If you are tired and cold it’s really easy to just stand still and sink into despair. Help each other stay warm and enjoy your warm feet!