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Overcoming Chafe for LONG hikes????
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Patrick Craddock
(pcraddock) - F
Overcoming Chafe for LONG hikes???? on 12/09/2007 13:49:15 MST Print View

So, not a pleasant topic, but chafe's got me down. I'm getting in shape for a thru-hike next year and doing well. But what to do about chafe? The normal things for day hikes, like Glide or powders seem impractical if you're not showering daily. Spandex seems to help.

Anybody got some secrets?

John Haley
(Quoddy) - F

Locale: New York/Vermont Border
Re: Overcoming Chafe for LONG hikes???? on 12/09/2007 14:05:02 MST Print View

I found that for long hikes or thru's that wearing boxer type Under Armour worked great. For remaining areas I see many hikers using Glide, but the only product along that line that I've used is Hydropel, and that was only on my feet. So far I've yet to have a blister, even hiking for days in the rain.

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Overcoming Chafe for LONG hikes???? on 12/09/2007 14:14:54 MST Print View

I use Sportslick. Its multi-purpose since its atiseptic/antifungul. Just clean any cut/scrapes and coat with Sportslick- really good for scrapes. Works really well when walking in wet socks/shoes to fight prunefoot and trenchfoot.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
RE: "Overcoming Chafe for LONG Hikes" on 12/09/2007 15:35:59 MST Print View

You could always wait until you callus over....

But I use simple non-padded bike shorts myself. I wear normal shorts over the top.

I also have some knee-length Skins, but I find them too restrictive and actually hinder my performance when I am pushing myself to the max. They are fantastic for chafe prevention though.

I am on the lookout for a pair of non-padded bike shorts that breath really well and are a bit thinner-they do tend to make things alot hotter than they would be if you were just wearing shorts. If only they made some half lycra, half fishnet bikeshorts...


Locale: South West US
Re: Overcoming Chafe for LONG hikes???? on 12/09/2007 23:45:16 MST Print View

I had problems with chafe for a little while, but not anymore. I used several different solutions including spandex running shorts, body glide, going commando and finally a good pair of boxer briefs.

The spandex shorts worked out great for reducing chafe on my upper thighs however the snug fit just moved the chafe to the inside of my cheeks. Not very pleasant.

Body glide works great but can be a pain to apply if you need it often. It’s good to have for occasion and it helps even after you’re already chafed. I carry the .25 oz stick on all my trips.

I tried going commando one trip and this worked out reasonably well. The idea being that with fewer layers of clothes I wouldn’t sweat as much. You definitely need some body glide to make this work though.

A good pair of wicking boxer-briefs is the best solution for me so far. I use the patagucci active boxer brief. This one seems to ride a little higher in the crotch and so does a better job in absorbing moisture and hence, reducing chafes.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
RE: "Overcoming Chafe for LONG Hikes" on 12/10/2007 00:14:01 MST Print View

Another option, which I have used before (though more as a reaction to chaffing rather than prevention-would work either way) is to tape up the spot. I use a soft white mesh tape (can't remember what its called, but its also what the Australian Army dishes out to soldiers in copious quanitities to put over blister dressings to hold them down), which I cut into lengths of about 8 inches. It sticks pretty well, to body hair aswell-which can make it painful to remove-I do it in the shower, or you could wait for it to come off naturally, as you wouldn't get many showers on a long through hike. if you round the edges off, then the chances of it coming loose are reduced. Also, if you shave (or wax) the site first, you will reduce the chance of it sticking to any hair for a fair while.

FYI I normally get my chaffing on my thighs, pretty high, but not quite at the nether regions; not high enough for boxer briefs to cover it all effectively, unfortunately.

If your normal chaffing (not the spandex-induced but crack stuff) is more on your nether regions, things are probably a bit more complicated. Waxing for starters is alot more painful, and tape would be more difficult to apply, and remove.

I hate chaffing.

Another option again is to get skinnier and lose weight. I only started chaffing a couple of years ago after I started going to the gym and training with extreme pack weights-my body adapted of course and I think I've almost doubled the size of my legs since then. So they rub. Stick thin marathon runners might have less of a problem.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Overcoming Chafe for LONG hikes???? on 12/10/2007 02:00:48 MST Print View

> Anybody got some secrets?
Yeah, and very simple too.
You don't need hot water and soap, just a good rinse in the creek will do fine. On our 3 month trip in France I only got chafed once, after a couple of dry days, and that was solved by washing.


Joseph Jacaruso
(CaptainJac) - MLife

Locale: Southeast
Overcoming Chafe on 12/10/2007 06:06:22 MST Print View

I tried a lot of the solutions listed above but what works best for me are shorts. I wear LLBean tropic weight nylon shorts with a built in mesh liner. The legs are 6" in length and allow good air circulation to keep my dry in the hot weather. I hike anywhere from 12-20 mile days in the humid mountains of NC and in the past two plus years I have had no chafing.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
Chafe relief on 12/10/2007 11:27:17 MST Print View

The only thing that works for me is the all-way stretch boxer briefs, the ones without the seams down your butt. Smaller is better than larger as then there is fabric between all your parts. But the briefs have to extend a bit down your thigh to stop chafe lower down.

I just wear thin nylon running shorts, no liner, over the briefs. I also wear just a clean pair of unlined nylon running shorts at night, no underwear, and wash up before bed to remove salt and other gunk. This is partly because I am susceptible to Tinea (fungal crotch-rot), so drying out is very important.

The only problem is that it can be a bit hot. Better hot than agonizing chafe every step, though.

I tried Sportslick, and that helped, but did not solve the problem. I usually use both these days. Sportslick is mildly anti-fungal, so that helps.

mark henley
(flash582) - F
Muscular Thighs on 12/10/2007 13:03:05 MST Print View

I empathize with your nether region chaffing.

I have overly muscular thighs and have always had a problem with chaffing. I've used a number of different possible solutions, from spandex, body glide, sportslick, padded and unpadded bike shorts, loose boxers, tape, etc.

I've found that Sportslick and those types of lubricants work best on trips up to a week long ....

I have no idea on how you'd do on trips longer than that.

Anybody that has a solution would find us large of leg guys eternally greatful

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Muscular Thighs on 12/10/2007 13:59:28 MST Print View

If I were having chaffing problems, I would get a lycra short that went down past the chaffing area. If it's due to being overweight, losing weight might help.

As for the the groin fungal infections, I would treat the area and my feet with lamisil cream as directed on the label, upwards of two weeks even after the itch is gone. Most jock itch is caused by transfer of the fungus from the feet while putting on shorts, IIRC.

Edited by jshann on 12/10/2007 14:06:58 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Muscular Thighs on 12/10/2007 14:37:25 MST Print View

> Most jock itch is caused by transfer of the fungus from the feet while putting on shorts, IIRC.
Not at all true.
A lot of it is caused by the action of bacteria from your bowels on the skin around your backside. While your bowels are designed to handle the bacteria, your exterior skin is not, and it can cause severe 'nappy rash', just like with babies. This is why I recommend washing: to keep your backside clean.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Re: Muscular Thighs on 12/10/2007 15:30:07 MST Print View

Roger, there are at least three different things being discussed here that affect the groin, anus and/or upper thigh.

1. Irritant contact dermatitis (Diaper rash)- what Roger is talking about. Caused by bowel contents. Treat like diaper rash as Roger says. Prevent by better potty habits.

2. Tinea cruris (jock itch)- that is a fungal infection that Elliot gets. Caused by fungus amongus. Treat with lamisil cream (best I have ever seen). Prevent by ridding self of athletes feet, not using others towels, etc.

3. Friction dermatitis (chafing)- caused by two body parts rubbing together, possibly from being overweight or as Mark states, large leg muscles. Treat/prevent with clothing, creams, prayer, etc. to prevent skin breakdown which could cause secondary bacterial infection. Search web for all sorts of information.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Friction, fungus, etc on 12/10/2007 16:45:14 MST Print View

My body type is very close to that of a stick thin marathoner, and I have no problems with inner thigh irritation. My particular cross to bear is twixt the cheeks, and it is a first class bummer. I used to try an old folk medicine cure, corn starch. Fine for at night in a nice, warm bed after a nice, hot shower, but next to useless in the field. Washing provided temporary relief, but only temporary. I suspect it dried out sensitive tissues, but I'm not certain of that. Lately, I have been using Body Glide with very satisfactory results, but am about to give Sportslick a try just to see if there is any difference(possibly a fungus also involved?). Will repost in a few weeks. Good thread. I had no idea so many others were suffering in cyber silence all this time.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Friction, fungus, etc on 12/10/2007 18:37:23 MST Print View

Whoa..that between-the-cheeks friction would take a whole nother approach maybe. Your family physician may have some recommendations. Off the top of my head, if I had that issue, I'd try using

1. antiperspirant a week or two before my trip to the inner cheeks in an attempt to reduce the sweat output from the glands.
2. maybe LOOSER and THIN, WICKING undies (and not tight lycra shorts) that might lessen the pressing of the cheeks together. The looser undies may also allow more ventilation back there to keep things dry. I've heard of people cutting out a running short inner to wear as ultralight undies.
3. some sort of skin lubricant to reduce friction.

Ever heard of Boudreaux's Butt Paste? They have free samples at

Good Luck!

Edited by jshann on 12/10/2007 18:45:10 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: Muscular Thighs on 12/10/2007 21:43:52 MST Print View

Hi John

> three different things being discussed here that affect the groin, anus and/or upper thigh.
Ah so? OK, fair enough, and thanks for educating me.

> Diaper rash)- what Roger is talking about.

> Tinea cruris (jock itch)- that is a fungal infection
I had not thought of this as being in the same class, but fair enough. In this case treatment with an antifungal is obviously necessary, and I imagine no amount of Bodyglide would help?

> Friction dermatitis (chafing)- caused by two body parts rubbing together, possibly from being overweight
Um ... yeah, OK, I guess. I will bow out of that one as I have no experience there (being under 10 stone).

Hum - three quite different problems, but with similar symptoms. Tricky.

Richard Perlman
(montclair) - MLife

Locale: Metro NY
Re: Overcoming Chafe for LONG hikes???? on 12/12/2007 09:20:38 MST Print View

I get chafed only in the hot, humid summer months, never in the fall, winter or spring.

My solution is to wear boxer briefs. I got 'em at Campmor. I always buy black but now I see they only offer white.

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: Overcoming Chafe for LONG hikes???? on 12/12/2007 11:54:52 MST Print View

i have had chafing problems for a while. On a 16 day hike early this summer, i used cornstarch whenever it started acting up. It definitely provided relief until the chaffing problem went away after about 6 days. Mine was caused by perspiration, so i went commando with some very breathable gym shorts. i kept my hiking intensity under control too. that help reduce profuse sweating everywhere which helped w/ chafing, but also probably hydration and long term endurance. corn starch trick was told to me by an ex-army guy, and it worked well and was about free!

Laurence Beck
(beckla) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Neosporin on 12/12/2007 12:39:43 MST Print View

Rub a little neosporin (ie: triple anti-biotic cream) on your inner thighs and it acts as both a cure and a prevention. I was on a 12 day trip and was seriously suffering from chafing (so much I could hardly walk). I rubbed in a little neosporin and the problem was gone by morning. A little each morning keeps the skin perfectly clear all day even for a 15-20 mile backpacking day.

Andrew :-)
(terra) - F

Locale: Sydney, Australia.
Friction chafe on 12/12/2007 18:54:25 MST Print View

This could sound a bit silly but maybe the best thing for avoiding friction chafe may be to walk less distance but more often, so the skin can adapt in the lead-up to a long walk. In the same way that you can help avoid blisters on your feet, or build up callous on your hands from manual work?

A dermatologist may have more info as to skin type in this area and whether or not it will adapt like other skin areas.

It may be that preparing for long walks by doing a high number of shorter walks can help in this area. Just a thought?

Edited by terra on 12/12/2007 18:55:42 MST.