My Two-Sock System

Unless it's the winter or the deep shoulder season (early spring or late fall, for northern states), I just carry two pairs of socks. Here's why, and how.

In dry environments: If my feet rarely (if ever) get wet, I alternate between two identical "daytime" pairs of socks, wearing Pair A for the first half of the day and switching to Pair B for the second half. When I make the swap, I wash them (no soap, inside-out) and loop through my pack's compression straps to dry. By the time I hit camp, they're clean, dry, and perfect for sleeping. Then, either before going to bed or first thing in the morning, I wash Pair B so they're dry, clean and ready to use by midday.

In wet environments: I have one "daytime" pair of socks and a "sleeping" pair. The daytime pair gets wet, stays wet throughout the day, and then gets taken off wet at night. The sleeping pair is always dry, ensuring that my feet get at least eight hours of warm, dry, blissful recovery. Without this crucial rest period, there's no way my feet could handle the abuse that they do.

Why not carry more than two pairs, you ask? Because in prolonged wet conditions, it's impossible to keep your feet dry, and it's more productive to focus, instead, on keeping damp feet healthy.