Getting cold feet is not a bad thing in the metaphorical sense. Recognizing this common warning sign prevents you from potentially fatal actions like leaping across a too-wide crevice, strolling on thin ice, irritating a sleeping bear or getting hitched to a crazy person.
Cold feet caused by water-filled boots is another story. At best it’s uncomfortable. At worst you lose toes and your friends start referring to you as “Stumpy.” You might think your boots are waterproof, but they’re probably not. Most leather hiking-boots are factory coated with a durable water-repellant, but this stuff is generally little more than a surface coat that quickly dissipates. Further, don’t think the Gore-Tex inner lining is going to save your tootsies. Gore-Tex can’t breathe if the outer shell of your boots is waterlogged, which means your feet can’t breathe, which means they will feel wet and turn into gangrous popsicles.
Luckily, there’s an incredibly simple waterproofing recipe that dates to the 18th century. It surpasses any commercial waterproofing gunk on the market.
–A small pot you don’t mind ruining
1: Acquire a few ounces of each ingredient. Avoid those with added scents or chemicals. I’ve nothing against 40-syllable additives or lavender-scented mutton tallow, but modern extras lessen the recipe’s water-dispelling properties.
Buy mutton tallow online (Amazon has it). That’s simpler than rendering sheep fat in your kitchen. As an aside, the “muttontallow.com” domain is still available at the time of this writing. Act quickly to take advantage of this ground-floor opportunity.
Beeswax is available online, and in health food stores. Neat’s-foot oil is also online, and in farm stores. The latter was originally made from boiled horse-hooves, which irritated horses mightily. Neat’s-foot is now either synthetic or derived from the cattle bones/hooves. I guess cows are too dumb to protest.
2: Put equal amounts of each ingredient in the pot you don’t mind ruining. Set the burner to low. Stir this mess until it’s smooth and melted together. It should be roughly the consistency of petroleum jelly.
3: Apply the mixture liberally to your boots while still warm. Cover every spot, work it in, and allow it to dry. Your boots will shed water like a hydrophobic duck.