The Ultimate Chaffing Guide

I don’t know about you fine readers, but I chafe. I also read a lot. I really like the forum WhiteBlaze where I got the idea to do this article. The post I’m posting about is also called the Ultimate Chaffing Guide, and was written in 2011 by a guy with a great handle, Tolkien. It covers some basic info and then goes into a little more depth around the different anti-microbial (I mean the stuff used to cleanse) things to use. If you want to read it, I recommend it.

I also chafe and in some pretty sensitive areas. especially on ling mile days. What first got it started was a hike through the Flowers Trail in the Roosevelt National Forest of Colorado. We (Josh, Aspen and I) had it planned out to take Hourglass trail up to FT 941, then that north to the Flowers trail to see the downed B-1 bomber. We got up to the junction of FT 941 and Flowers, about 12 miles, and then stopped for the night. The next day we had planned to walk another 10-12 miles to the junction of FT 855 and FT 1009. But because certain people didn’t want to stop and sleep on the ground again, we did the whole 18 miles that day. I was chaffing so bad I was bleeding.  It was a bad time. From there I decided that I needed to have a chaffing plan.

Not a good plan….

The first thing I do is make sure I hike in a pair of boxer briefs, this pair is my favorite, even though they are expensive. They have a great little pouch that keeps everything together and nothing gets stuck to anything. Also my thighs chafe from rubbing. Any good pair of boxer briefs will keep that from happening, but these don’t ride up in my experience. But I still chafe in another area, and it’s harder to take care of.

Morning of the first day.

On the morning of the first day I make sure to put some type of chafing balm on my problem area before I leave for the trail. I also clean the area first with hydrogen peroxide. Alcohol, or hand sanitizer will work as well but they burn. As Tolkien says, you shouldn’t use alcohol on any kids chaffing as they will probably react poorly.  Iodine also works but from what I hear burns even more than alcohol.

Mid- day:

You should check and make sure you aren’t getting red if you can see the chaffing part, if it is, and you can put leuko tape, or duct tape on it to stop the friction it might be worthwhile. I wouldn’t recommend it on any hairy parts though. Toes and such are fine for this though and it’s the reason I wrap part of my hiking pole in duct tape.

Before Bed:

This is when you should take the time to really care for your problem areas. Clean them thoroughly with either some Dr. Bronners Peppermint soap, or some baby wipes if there is no water. It doesn’t have to be peppermint soap but I really like the peppermint, it feels soothing in a stingy way. Then allow the area to dry and possibly treat it with some drying agent like Goldbond Powder.

Common Sense:

If something like your pack belt is chaffing you, and adjustment doesn’t work, put something between you and it. Spare pieces of Tyvek with duct tape securing it in place does this well.


If it’s chaffing:

1. Clean the area and maintain it.

2. Put a buffer layer between you and the item.

3. Wear proper clothing.

Foot Care 101

So I was reading Andrew Skurka today, and I got to thinking: he has made a great case for using mesh shoes, so I want to chip in my experience. I have never hiked in waterproof shoes or boots.
Yeah never. Yes even winter hikes. Now my feet have gotten cold, and the snow on top of the shoe melts and gets in the shoe. What I have found is that neoprene socks, and if necessary a vapor barrier are available in the winter and will keep you warm. (I found this out the hard way on a winter hike, we were post holing and my speedcross shoes wetted out. Then froze solid that night. Sometimes experience is the best teacher.) But this post isn’t about winter packing.
Soo feet can get nasty, and that is the crux of this rant.

Skurka has some pretty gross pics on his site, but just thinking about feet in the water and being wet all day can lead to some pretty traumatic images. So on this upcoming trek for the nine line foundation I’ll be taking a pretty normal (for me) approach.
Foot Care items for the Nineline Hike:
1 set of thin synthetic socks for daytime
1 set of thick wools for sleeping
1 – 2oz jar of Bonnie’s Balm climbing salve. Buy it here:

Ok my plan is pretty much to hike in the thin socks, then before I go to bed I’ll slather on the salve and switch to the thick wool socks. Then when I wake I’ll check my feet and put on more salve if I need to. 15 miles a day over 5 days is a lot for me, I find 10 miles a day pretty easy and 12-13 is still decently civil, so I want the extra protection of the balm because the last time I did 15 miles a day for more than 2 days I was hurting pretty bad. I really am looking forward to this hike though, a grueling as it sounds. I love the charity and the close personal help I’ve gotten over the last couple of weeks has been great. If you want to donate you sure can, please use my link here:
And if you already have you have my thanks!