“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”- John Burroughs
Hiking is for peace of your mind and it makes you healthy. But if you are an experienced hiker then you have suffered chafing if not then you are the luckiest hiker on earth.
There’s nothing worse than chafing especially when you are enjoying nature on the hiking trail and loving the moment. Often thighs and butt called monkey-butt and baboon ass because of the agony you have to feel thereafter every step you take. There is some way to prevent chafing but first let’s talk about chafing-
What is Chafing?
Chafing is skin irritation resulted from a combination of skin and skin or skin and clothes. Sometimes heavy backpack and sweat also do the job. Not only by walking it can happen just rubbing wet or sweat soaked cloth in your face or body.
If you wear your heavy backpack for a long time then it will make a mark on the shoulder.
Literally, anything can cause chafing. Chafing can create a various problem on your skin like redness, irritation, and itching and it can cause bleeding and blistering and the wound can be deeper. In short hiking chafing maybe isn’t a big threat but in long hiking, it can be extremely painful.
Where is Chafing Most Common?
As we know chafing happens from the skin to skin contact and skin to cloth or skin to gear, so the chaffing can happen anywhere in the body. But the most common part are inner thighs, waist, wrists, the bottom of legs and ankles, toes and chest and back.
Ill-fitting clothing, poor fitting belts/pants, too-tightly worn watch, boot fit or excessive moisture is the reason for most of the chafing. If you know where and how chafing will happen, you can prevent it.
You can’t rub too much while hiking. Another part where chafing can happen because of sweating like butt cheeks and under armpits. Chafing can irritate your skin over time.
Tips on How to Prevent Chafing While Hiking
How to prevent chafing while hiking is one of the most common questions I find over different hiking and camping blog. From my personal experience and knowledge, I have come up with some easy and important tips to avoid chafing. Here are those:
A Thorough Body Clean Up
The most important step to prevent chafing is clean skin. When your body has dead skin it increases bacteria because of friction on the skin’s surface. Use soap and water to clean yourself and do that moment before the hiking.
Then, if you have hiking first aid box, then find the ointment or other items to clean the area better.
If you are planning to have hiked in the evening then do the shower moment before not in the morning.
Sometimes we have to shop before hiking and then there are packing and last moments preparation, do everything before the shower.
In the shower clean yourself and then make sure your body is dry because the wet body can create a problem. Bacteria build up easily so preparation is important.
Lubricate Your Body to Avoiding Chafing
After taking the shower another step is lubricating the body and it will grease up and help the body to eliminate friction.
If you are experienced then you know where you have to put lubricant and if you are not then put them on the place like inner thighs, waist, and back. A product like a vaseline and a body glide works perfectly but if you have to dry them first.
Apply whichever works best for you. Sometimes people use patches or tape to stop or reduce friction in some area.
Reduce Moisture with Powders
Talcum powder is used instead of moisturizer, its a basic chafing technique used by a hiker. The powder works better than a moisturizer, it controls sweat and oil. Even if you have an odor problem then it controls that better than lubricants.
Whenever you wear pant, try to use powder it helps your skin not to rub against itself. Powder helps absorbing moisturizer and that helps to prevent chafing.
But when you use powder to try to use something like anti-fungal drying powder and they have cooling and soothing is the skin. But If you are wearing shorts then using powder can be a little bit of embarrassing because of shinning effect.
Add a Barrier Layer
Sometimes staying clean and being dry is not enough, in the are where chafing happens some step need to take there. If you can create a barrier between skin and cloth that will give you protection against chafing.
Hiking Underwear works wonder in the inner thigh area but you probably use cotton underwear normally. In the office or daily life that’s the best thing to do but when you hiking cotton underwear soaks all of your sweat.
So choosing a polyester boxer will help and some underwear even under the label “moisture wicking” or “sweat wicking”. Buy them they are in theory wick the sweat away from the skin.
The best choice is maybe boxer briefs they hug you from a few inches down and they don’t bunch. This simple technique prevents chafing in that area.