One-day project: The Incubooter

Date:21 September 2013 Tags:, , ,

If you’re the ruddy-faced, outrageously healthy outdoors type, you have probably soaked your hiking boots at some point (perhaps while catching a trout with your bare hands), at which point you’ll discover that wet boots are not fun. The solution? Spare your toes by drying the boots with an arid box built from plywood and PVC. By William Gurstelle

Builder: William Gurstelle
Location: Minneapolis
Boots Dried: Sorel 1964 Pac T
Dry Time: 8 hours

Build the box:  
The boots dry on perforated PVC pipes that waft warm, gentle air supplied by a light bulb and a computer fan. Build the box out of plywood, deck screws, two light switches, a lamp holder, a lamp cord, a “rough service” 40-watt incandescent bulb (for safety, don’t use a higher wattage), a 12-volt DC computer fan, a length of 40 mm-diameter PVC pipe, and smooth PVC couplings and pipe end caps.

Start by boring paths for the pipes to run through the box top. Drill four holes in a 40 x 40 cm sheet of plywood. Paint it. Cut four 40 cm x 14 cm side walls, leaving two edges short to account for the plywood thickness. Measure the fan; saw a square hole in one side to fit it. Cut a hole in a different side for the light-switch box. Attach the lamp holder in the middle of the action. Use the screws to fasten the plywood sides into a square, but leave the top open. Seal the inner side joints with caulk.

Wire it up:
Mount the fan, light switches and lamp holder to the box sides. Wire the fan and 12-volt transformer to one light switch. Wire the lamp holder and AC power cord to the other. Add a bulb. Test the connections. Fasten the box top. Tilt the box if serious slush requires drainage into a pan.

Mount PVC Cut a 15 cm length of PVC for every boot you plan to dry. Drill several 12 mm and 20 mm airflow penetrations in each 15 cm pipe. Slip a smooth coupling over the pipe, leaving about 2,5 cm exposed.

Cap the opposite end and slide the open ends into holes in the box top. For drying a single pair of boots (as shown here), cut a pair of small, non-perforated PVC pieces that can be capped when not in use.

Dry boots:
Wet boots on the pipes dry adequately in hours. An overnight stay yields blissful, total desiccation.

While we’re on the subject of warm, dry footwear, check out the electrically heated Columbia Bugathermo Techlite boots – Hoth-grade galoshes with built-in rechargeable batteries to keep toes toasty in even the most extreme environments (we’re talking minus 31 degrees C here). And while you may never find yourself trekking the surface of some far-off frigid planet, you can be thankful, at least, for the obsolescence of the prior-generation tech: the disposable foot warmer.