The Original Off-Road Vehicle

Feet Don't Fail Me Now

Let's face it...  your feet are one of your lifelines.  If you can't walk, your ability to survive many situations is severely compromised.  A character in Rawles' book Patriots describes using his "Shank's Mare" to hike home after he runs out of gas leaving the collapse.

My feet have been jacked up ever since Desert Storm some 20 years ago.  In the Marine Corps, we were issued some awful green wool socks that were rough and uncomfortable, so I took to wearing cotton socks.  For the ground war, we were in MOPP level 2 (charcoal suit and rubber overboots) for 5 or 6 straight days.  Not removing those overboots, combined with cotton socks, lead to rotten feet.  Fast forward a year, and I was a cop, wearing "tactical" boots, again with cotton socks, much of the time on hot summer asphalt.  For the past five years, I've been a suit guy, wearing dress shoes with polyester dress socks.  My feet have never really had time to heal, and I've been pretty lazy about taking care of them.

Before going to Pathfinder School the other week, I bought some Smartwool  lightweight outdoor socks.  This new breed of wool kept my feet cool, dry (due to the wicking action) and comfortable, despite tromping though the creek and 90+ degree days.  When I got home, my feet were actually in better shape than when I left.  I am a convert.

The other day, I went to REI and bought some store brand 65% wool dress socks, a pair in khaki and a pair in black, to wear to work.  They really work.  I'm going back this weekend to buy some more outdoor socks and a few more pair of each color dress socks.  I'm getting rid of all my cotton, polyester, and other socks.

About a year ago, I started hearing the phrase, "cotton kills."  I thought it was just hype, but I think it is really the truth, especially with socks.  You only get two feet, take care of them with the best materials that you can afford.

Poison Ivy Prevention 

I've always been very sensitive to poison ivy.  It seemed to jump out at me and spread everywhere if I just walked close to it.  I broke my arm in the cleanup from Hurricane Isabel and ended up with poison ivy under my temporary cast... not fun!  The past couple years, it hasn't seemed to really affect me much.  Maybe just a spot of it here and there.  I was pretty much expecting to get eaten up with it at Pathfinder school.  Dave's property has it everywhere.  But I only ended up with one tiny blister of it on one finger.  I got to thinking about what could be the cause of my new found immunity.

I think I've found it.  For the past few years, I've been taking Loratadine tablets for hay fever, and to help keep my nasal passages open while I sleep with my CPAP machine.  It is a non-drowsy antihistamine.  I've done a little research, and I've seen references to it as easing and shortening the effects of poison ivy, but I think that I've got a high level of it in my blood, and it has had a prophylactic affect.  It's the only rational thing I can come up with.  This is not medical advice, just my inexpert observations.  But if you are sensitive to poison ivy, it might be good to talk to your doctor about going on a Loratadine regimen, at least during the spring and summer if you will be out in the woods a lot.


  1. Hey there! I am just a bit north of you up in New Kent:) nice to meet you...anyway, gotta couple of comments, on the socks...I wear only cotton socks myself...wool, polyester, etc. kill my feet...so each individual needs to figure it out for themselves...also, wearing shoes that are supportive and not hard soles go a LONG LONG way to helping you stay on your feet. Those boots and dress shoes are killers, though I get the need for 'combat' type shoes, just not the cheap ones PLEASE!
    Also, the poison ivy, you may have built up a tolerance, some people do, some get it worse each time...JEWELWEED tincture should be in every preppers BOB and pantry...works like a charm...promise! but keep the lotradine handy...it works as an anti-histimine and that itch is a histamine response...plantain (or snake grass) can help there somewhat or even tea tree oil to stop the itching but jewelweed (the fresh plant munched up and juicy and then applied to the skin) or the tincture works.
    Just some thoughts.

  2. I had the same problem while in the Army and when we where in Desert Storm I had the same problem. I got foot rot so bad that I didn't think my feet would ever be the same. Since then I have worn a wool blend sock and it has gotten much beter. If I wear cotton inside a boot I will end up with very bad foot problems right away. Good advise. I really hate MOPP gear.

  3. Superb one. The great innovation is some what implemented with the ideology.

  4. Rev. Laura - thanks for the comments! I checked out your blog, it looks good, keep up the good work! Re: Jewel Weed, During the wild medicinals class at Pathfinder, we saw some. It was my first exposure to it. I've been looking for it around here, but none yet.

    BVDD - MOPP gear truly does suck! BTW, it went out in the mail today

  5. I got foot rot so bad that I didn't think my feet would ever be the same. Since then I have worn a wool blend sock and it has gotten much better.I got a good idea..and really superb..informative blog.


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