Wax it up!

Getting blisters anywhere on your feet could instantly turn a pleasant hike into a nightmare. If you’re 15 miles away from the nearest trailhead, you better hope you brought along your first-aid kit. While there are numerous articles out there on how to prevent and treat blisters, I found a simple solution that has served me well. And the solution that starts before your hike is…

Body Glide.

I first discovered this product earlier this year and it literally changed my life. Body Glide is an anti-chaffing (wax) product typically marketed towards triathletes or marathon runners but I found this product works just as well for hikers. All you need to do is generously rub the product to the bottom of your feet, on top, toes, etc. Its waxy substance will soon have your feet feeling baby smooth inside your socks. No more friction. What makes this product all that much greater is that it’s water resistant. Because the product is basically made of wax, it continues to work even when your socks or shoes gets wet.

An extra ounce of pack weight for no blisters?

It’s a deal.

Words of wisdom: When it comes to this item, it’s okay to be selfish. I don’t think you’d want your Body Glide being rubbed on someone else’s feet. Just saying.

Get a pedicure & manicure before backpacking

Yep.

You heard that correctly. 

Well…not in the sense of going to a nail salon to have them polished but to have your nails trimmed.

For those that have gone into the backcountry, we all know how difficult it is to remain hygienic. Everything from touching dirt, scrambling across boulders and even taking care of our “business” makes it difficult to wash our hands thoroughly. We’re left at the mercy of the amount of hand sanitizer we carry or the abundant water source that is nearby to wash our hands. But, there is one thing that everyone can do before heading out — trimming our fingernails short. 

While this alone won’t prevent you from getting sick, it’s definitely a good start and practice. Here’s 2 reasons why: 

  1. By keeping them short, you’ll be less prone to getting dirt and grime getting stuck under your nails.
  2. If you’re the group cook, you’ll want to make sure your nails are somewhat presentable Yea, I know. This sounds a bit high maintenance, but I always cringe when I see someone cooking with grime stuck under their nails, which is why I always keep a pair of nail clippers in my first-aid kit. 

And don’t forget your toenails! Keeping your toenails short could also help prevent them from being “banged” up against the front of your boots (if this is a consistent problem, you may need to get boots that fit properly). And believe me, after hours of repetitive banging, your toes are gonna be screaming at you. I ended up with 5 black toenails (eventually falling out) after forgetting to cut them short during my 2005 Los Angeles Marathon.

So the next time you’re headed out, make sure your nails are trimmed short.

Btw, this “manicure & pedicure” is doable from home.