When I joined the Army I chose to be a grunt(MOS-11B), although with a 100/100 score on the ASVAB I was offered any MOS I wanted. They teach you a lot about living in different environments for weeks at a time, more than airborne, rangers, sniper, HALO, and even SF. Throughout all of that training and then deployment I never forgot the two most important things about being on bivouac - stay hydrated and take care of your feet. 
  Always carry a good stiff brush to clean the soles of your boots, wipe the rest of your boots with a cloth or something similar and sleep with your boots inside your sleeping bag. If you have the luxury of sleeping in a tent with a contiguous floor you can probably get away with putting them in a bag. It’s best to let them dry for a few hours every 24 hours if you can so you don’t get trench foot.

  I still sleep with them in my sleeping bag but with modern tents you’re more than likely to be safe leaving them anywhere in the tent.

  Sorry about the long post and of course these are just my opinions.

Thank you for your service

After having my boots and laces chewed by the rodents at Tubal Cain Mine, I now carry a large plastic bag. I knock my boots together, then put them in the bag and bring them inside the tent with me.

My advise would be to put your boots in a mosquito to keep spiders and critters out. But, a fox ran off with my brothers boot once, so maybe they need to be tied to a pole. 


I have found keeping them inside my tent, loosely placed in a grocery sack works for me. Keeps them dry and little critters from chewing holes in them...not a great surprise to wake up to on the morning!

I like to remove my 'Soul' insoles, put a dryer sheet inside my boots helps with odor. Apparently some critters like stinky boots but not fresh dryer sheets 🙂. If it's cold I put the insoles along with fresh socks in my sleeping bag to keep them warm. If I use a tent, my boots, pack and everything comes in with me - I don't have much.

I feel you Trail Runner614.  It only takes a poorly placed spider in a boot to ruin an otherwise spectacular day on the trail. 

I too keep my foot wear inside the 1.5 person tent I backpack with, along with my pack. Generally, the only thing I leave out over night would be kitchen gear, stove and perhaps fuel, no food reminisce of course.  Bear or cat country, right? Another quick way to ruin a trip is to attract a bear or cat. 

I have found evidence of small rodents and insects that have crawled inside the vestibule to investigate things I have left outside there. I once had a rodent naw at my shoelace, I’m guessing because of the sweets or jerky scent/flavor I had on my fingers?

Ultimately, when on a multi-day trip, I don’t wait for the wild or Mother Nature to surprise me, I hope I’ve done my due diligence to be prepared, so as to pass thru her beauty like I was never there.  

Good luck. Be safe. Stay healthy. Keep fresh. 


Unless I have a lot of extra room in the tent and the boots are clean - vestibule. I do cover the tops up to prevent anything from crawling in. Now if only I had a way to drying them out overnight.  Or avoid walking in deep snow, mud, water.


I'm with all the repliers who share that they shake out or clean up their boots as best they can and put them INSIDE the tent...neatly tucked in a corner or bagged (for the extra dirty times).  I do not want ANY critters in my boots...love them critters, but they have a perfectly acceptable outside habitat and I feel it's fair to keep them there!  LOL.

Over the years, I’ve had boots eaten or damaged by rodents, deer and mountain goats! I now store them in a waterproof nylon boot bag and put them in my tent. The bag is just to keep my tent reasonably clean. Most of the time I don’t even close the bag.