The outdoor community is inundated with jargon, lingo, acronyms, and colloquialisms. While some terms are universally known and excepted, many are particular to specific organizations, regions, or groups of friends. I personally love learning and sharing different tips, tricks, terms, and gear loves. This week, we are focusing on one of my favorite… Vampire Socks!
While I can’t trace the exact origins of the term, I’m relatively confident that it came out of Camp Manito-wish YMCA in Northern Wisconsin (feel free to contest that claim). While the term Vampire Socks might be coined by CMY, people have undoubtedly been using the idea of Vampire Socks for a very long time. More generally, I’ve heard them referred to as “sleeping socks.”
Simply put, Vampire Socks are a cozy pair of socks that you always keep in your sleeping bag/quilt. Going to bed? Put them on. Wake up in the morning? Tuck them in your foot box and pack them up in your bag/quilt. This way they don’t get wet, they won’t get crusty, and you’ll always have a fresh pair of socks to spoil your sleepy feet. We call them Vampire Socks because these socks never see the light of day! They only come out at night.
Is it a little indulgent? Sure, but its a pretty low weight price to pay for happy and warm toes. On warm nights you’ll certainly want to keep your socks off (to allow your feet to air out), but on chilly nights, keeping your feet warm and dry can be an essential part of keeping your entire body warm. Vampire Socks are a must for winter camping.
Need some suggestions for great Vampire Socks? Hands-down my favorite are Possumdown Socks. Made out of possum fur (yup you guessed it), they are exceptionally warm and soft. You can hike in them as well, but they are a little delicate for real extended use. Other great options are the Trail Crew Socks by Peak to Plateau, and the Medium Weight Switchback socks by Cloudline.
In summary, here is how to go about using Vampire Socks:
- Buy a pair of warm socks.
- Pack them in the footbox of your bag/quilt.
- When you are going to sleep, put them on!
- When you wake up, take them off and put them back in the footbox of your bag/quilt.
- Repeat the next night!