Hello! This Instructable is simply a tip for how you can use plastic grocery bags to keep your feet dry when you need to cross a river, muddy ground, or some other wet environment when you're enjoying the great outdoors.
Everybody should bring a couple plastic bags with them when they go camping or hiking as a matter of preparedness. If you find trash on the trail, you can put it in a bag without getting your hiking gear dirty. Dirty and wet clothes can similarly be separated from the rest of your gear. At the end of the day, these bags are easily recyclable. This guide shows you one more use for your plastic bag toolkit- your mileage may vary.
Perhaps you've put bags on your feet to cross a river before and they've fallen off or collapsed mid-use, getting your feet soaked in the process. Worse, if you put bags over your shoes, they are likely to slip on wet rocks and get you soaked AND injured. This technique is a super quick way to secure the bags on your feet with or without socks on so you can keep your hike going comfortably.
Disclaimer: Plastic bags are not clothing. They are not a breathable material, so your sweat will not have anywhere to evaporate and your feet will eventually get themselves wet. Plastic insulates, and you can get hot quickly wearing it (hence trash bags for weight loss and cold weather gear with plastic lining). Please do not wear plastic bags on your body for extended periods of time. This technique is meant to be used briefly when needed, not for an entire hike. And finally, if your bag has holes in it, it won't keep water out very well.
Step 1: Put Your Foot in a Grocery Bag and Don't Look Back
Get your toes up against one corner of the bag with room behind your heel. Leave it a little loose around the toes- flush, but not tight. You should still be able to push your finger between your toes.
Step 2: Pull the Farther Handle Toward Your Other Leg
You want to grab the handle furthest from you, the one by your toes. This will be mirrored on your other foot, so just remember to pull it toward the opposite leg.
Step 3: Pull the Handle Under Your Foot
Step 4: Pull the Handle Over Your Foot and Loop It Around Your Big Toe
Don't overdo it, you don't want to cut off blood circulation. It will stay over your toe easily.
Step 5: Tighten and Adjust As Desired
Pull up the plastic bag by your foot's arch. Pull the handle by your heel up to get a tighter seal. Tie it off with a knot if you have length left, and don't worry about it if you can't tie the knot. Just tuck the loose handle into itself. The important thing here is to form a decent seal against the water past your ankle. If you have thinner legs like mine, you'll want to tie a knot or otherwise secure the loose part of the bag so it doesn't slip off while you're walking in it.
Step 6: Ford That River, Trudge Through That Mud, and Remove the Bag
Here's the real test! Carry your shoes in your backpack or put them on over the bag. Putting them on will help keep the bag tighter and your feet drier, but obviously your shoes will get wet. This technique won't do anything in knee-deep water! It will get you through muddy ground and water up to your ankles.
Stay safe out there, folks. And remember, moving water is deceptively strong. A mere six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet!
If you can't see what's under the water, DO NOT STEP IN IT! Debris during floods can cause catastrophic injury. If you get knocked off your feet, you can find yourself pummeled by debris and trapped underwater with your foot snagged. Mother Nature doesn't play around.