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How to prevent chafing on the trail


Q. My troop just went on a weekend camp-out. After we climbed this big hill, I started chafing in my groin area. It itched so bad, it was really uncomfortable. My friends were making fun of me because I was adjusting my underwear all weekend. How do I prevent chafing?
— Chafed Chad, Belleville, Kan.

A. Ahhh, crotch rot! Don’t worry, Chad, you’re not alone. Even if your buddies don’t admit it, every guy has (or will have) problems with this. Chafing is often caused by poorly fitting clothes and/or sweating. So, wear a good pair of underwear that wicks sweat away from your body. Some guys prefer tight-fitting boxers that cover the inner thighs so there’s no skin-to-skin rubbing. High-quality underwear might seem expensive, but if you avoid chafing, it’s worth it.

Once on the trail, make sure to keep your body dry. Bring some baby powder with you. Just dump a handful into your palm then stick your hand in your pants and coat it all. Don’t skimp on the stuff. This powder will keep you dry and should soothe any chafing hot spots.

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25 Comments on How to prevent chafing on the trail

  1. Powder is the way to move forward.

  2. Kilts! Problem solved… 🙂

  3. Trail Toes. Only need to rub it on I’m trouble spots a couple times a day. Talc, baby powder, corn starch all only work for a short time. You need a moisture barrier and something to reduce friction. I’m a big guy and I use sport / tight boxer underwear and Trail Toes. Works great.

  4. Vaseline works for me.

  5. There’s a lot of great underwear options. I like wearing jockey style underwear when I hike, that helps keep the chafing in check for me. I’ve also used Gold Bond powder. It has a nice cooling effect and has anti-itch medicine in it as well. Taking care of hygiene and cleaning up after the number two is very important as well. Itchy bum is no fun when you hike either.

  6. South Florida // June 3, 2016 at 6:59 am // Reply

    For underwear I recommend those that are a bit long on the thigh like bike shorts, snug, that dry quickly. Another option is Under Armour. Gold Bond cream is a must in every troop first aid kit. One application applied overnight will fix most issues. These issues are all part of personal hygiene and become more of an issue as they get a bit older. Talk about it openly.

  7. An old Fox // June 2, 2016 at 11:05 pm // Reply

    A layer of calamine lotion in the affected areas will keep you cool also. Been using it for years.

  8. My troops backpacked the West Highland Way in Scotland last summer. I wore padded biking shorts. Best idea ever. 95 miles and no chafing whatsoever. I’ll never hike without them again.

  9. Deodorant works really well

  10. Beyond Badger // June 2, 2016 at 1:22 pm // Reply

    Strongly recommend anti-chaffing stick – Body Glide or Gold Bond anti friction stick. Goes on like a solid deodorant. It really works!

  11. We use Gold Bond Friction Defense. And we also always keep plenty of baby powder with us on summer outings!

  12. there is one product that works after trying them all.its gold bond anti friction defense stick..just google that in amazon,buy some and you will never use powders and cremes again.

  13. Smokyowl46 // June 2, 2016 at 10:37 am // Reply

    Zeabsorb is a combination antifungal and a fine powder which I have found works better than Gold Bond powder. The,fine powder coats,evenly and generally doesn’t clump. With the reduction of clumpiness it lasts longer – so less applications. This was recommended to me by my dermatologist.

  14. My runner friends all swear by Bodyglide for chafing.

  15. Lakotabuck // June 2, 2016 at 4:47 am // Reply

    I have been a runner for many years and used to battle this problem all of the time. I apply a coating of stick deodorant to the problem area before a run or hike and it prevents any issues.

  16. No creams or lotions. Just powder. Gold Bond or baby powder. Reapply as needed.

  17. Scouterbill // June 1, 2016 at 10:07 pm // Reply

    Compression or biker’s shorts are the answer for me. Wearing them allows the fabric to absorb the friction instead of skin. That and the good ol’ Monkey Butt Powder

  18. Oh ok, my friends are picking on me for adjusting my underwear so stuffing my hand down my pants and rubbing all over will really help. BTW try some New-Skin anti-chafing spray all three of my Eagle scouts say it is fantastic!

  19. Mr Jeepin-Paul // June 1, 2016 at 8:34 pm // Reply

    Body Glide works great… 100 miles in Philmont last year without a problem.

  20. grateful dave // June 1, 2016 at 8:15 pm // Reply

    Corn starch. Works s well or better than talc without the baby diaper smell.

  21. Udder Butter is another good product to prevent chafing.

  22. If you’re using baby powder, use corn starch instead of talcum.

    Of course, the quickest thing is to use Chapstick. Or any similar product. As soon as you feel the chafing start you can spread it and it will allow whatever is happening to survive the climbing/hiking, then you can do things like powder later.

  23. Eagle class of 1991 // May 30, 2016 at 7:36 am // Reply

    Use Zinc Oxide. It’s a cream found in products like Balmex. You can put it on the night before your hike, and then in the morning. It provides a layer of protection in your groin which prevents moisture from building up. That along with underweare and pants that breath will keep you in good shape.

  24. RunningGirl // May 20, 2016 at 3:23 pm // Reply

    Like other people on this thread said I Anti Monkey Butt it contains calamine and talc powder to keep my skin dry while I am doing all my physical activities. You can buy it at common drug stores like Walgreens or CVS, it really is an amazing product!

  25. Scouter Rob // May 19, 2016 at 6:12 am // Reply

    In hot weather make sure you wear pants that breath. I really like the rip-stop scout pants. You can unzip the legs to make shorts and keep cool when there is no underbrush.

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