Recent Comments

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.

Ask the Gear Guy

Not sure which gear to buy? Need tips for maintaining your equipment? Click here to send in your questions for the Gear Guy. Selected questions will be answered here and in the printed magazine.

54 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.

  26. Petroleum jelly. Period.

    • I agree. I have run 10+ ultramarathons including 2 50 milers and it is all about finding the right shorts and using Vaseline. I am also an Eagle Scout and Army veteran. When hiking and camping basic stuff you can get away with using powders to stay dry. But if you are running or through hiking distances you gotta wear the right clothes and keep the gears oiled.

  27. Former Philmont Ranger // August 28, 2015 at 6:14 pm // Reply

    Remember to be “Bear Aware” when it comes to using these various remedies. Putting on scented items in the afternoon could create another problem

  28. Country life // August 28, 2015 at 4:57 pm // Reply

    Bag balm. Get it at tractor supply. Used for cow udders to prevent chafing and getting raw. Works great. A little goes a long way.

  29. Plenty of athletic undies that help protect thighs and groin. Trail Toes though works amazing for any friction spots, including thighs and groin area.

  30. I used all the things you all mentioned the best thing I found now is deodorant im a garbage man and this even works in the rain

  31. Gold Bond body glide (like a deodarnt stick) or Gold Bond powder (the spray is ex to use) is an excellent preventative. My Walmart carries both.

  32. For cheap easy use deodorant

    • Chem concerns // August 29, 2015 at 6:39 am // Reply

      Deodorants have extra chemicals that you probably don’t want in that area. With frequent use, they cause many people allergic rashes and they have to stop using or switch to “all natural” brands. I have seen the rash on armpits and believe me, you do not want it in the groin area!

    • Scouter Rob // May 19, 2016 at 6:09 am // Reply

      I wouldn’t put Gold Bond near your sensitive areas – it burns.

  33. Solo in Wisconsin // August 23, 2015 at 12:56 pm // Reply

    I pack Gold Bond in snack size baggies. Put your individual bags in one bag to prevent an accidental mess. This saves on weight and you can control your portions.

  34. I use Wicker’s boxer briefs purchased at Campmor and AntiMonkeybutt powder. Youth will wear the powder because of the funny name before the problem occurs. After it happens I use Boudreaux’s butt paste. Again the name helps the youth get over the fact that it is diaper rash ointment.

  35. WhoDoesntChafe // August 23, 2015 at 7:31 am // Reply

    Try A&D ointment too – it works wonders after the fact (after showering – at night) to protect, and heal, skin. It also, and VERY IMPORTANTLY, won’t burn when you apply it to skin that’s already chafed. Keep it in your pack easily accessible during the day and reapply as needed. It works wonders!

  36. Scoutmaster115 // August 23, 2015 at 12:47 am // Reply

    While the corn starch idea works, you do have to be careful to not use to much. Otherwise, with all the sweat, you just create a gooey, sticky mess. Basically, creating gravy.

  37. When all else fails and you don’t have anything else, use your deodorant…I have used the glide=on gel and it worked great!

  38. A&D ointment as found in infant supplies. TRUST ME it pays to carry some with you. Protects and heals the skin area. Put some on when you first get up to prevent it as well.

  39. Boudreaux’s butt paste..solves all sorts of problems..We use it at the beach for Beach me, sand can cause some serious pain….Boudreaux’s solves all those problems.

  40. Talc and corn starch function very different on the body. However, put a half-cup of either one in a cotton sock, fold over the opening and sew or safety pin it shut. Now you have a powder puff applicator that places just the right amount where you want it. Try both rubbing it on and patting the problem spots. Very effective.

  41. I suggest Anti Monkey Butt Powder. I get it at Tractor Supply.

  42. Thunder thighs // August 22, 2015 at 4:43 pm // Reply

    On a 10 miler I had some bad chaffing…I put moleskin on my thighs in order to finish the hike.

  43. chafed no more // June 6, 2015 at 12:44 am // Reply

    Powder is the way to go for me. I use Hüppo Powder Pocket. It is motion released and not messy.

  44. Girl Scout // August 1, 2014 at 6:55 pm // Reply

    Try washing.

    • Scouter B // May 17, 2016 at 9:36 pm // Reply

      can’t always wash on many hikes. that can sometimes make it worse. you still need to prevent then treat after the fact.

  45. BodyGlide, available in running stores, is a great product for preventing chafing, especially skin on skin rubbing. It’s gotten me through many hikes, long runs, and a few marathons.

  46. eagle7-25-10 // December 10, 2010 at 3:29 pm // Reply

    at Philmont i used some football boxers, not boxerbriefs, they were really comfortable and there was no chafing the entire 110 miles

  47. ASM_in_Texas // August 30, 2009 at 10:23 pm // Reply

    hey, we found that if you dont have powder, or stuff like that, check the grub box for some corn starch… when you rest, or finished the hike, at little dusting of corn starch can help dry your chafed area, but dont use to much…. stuff likes to clump up 🙂 Get the unscented corn starch based powder, or like “Chafed Camper 556” says, Gold Bond does well also… I always have a bottle of Gold Bond with me…

  48. Chafed Camper556 // August 9, 2009 at 5:45 am // Reply

    Gold Bond Medicated powder sometimes will soothe the chafing, but not as well as a cream or ointment from the rubbing of clothing on skin such as in a small skin burn.

  49. Two sizes too small boxer briefs578 // August 4, 2009 at 5:03 pm // Reply

    Every person is different when it comes to chafing after hiking up a large slope of a hill. Some people whose pant sizes are a waist size 28 will sometimes wear a boxer brief size 18 to distinguish their own clothes in the family laundry from older males in their family. If it is okay to use, some people use clotrimazole cream (foot cream) to soothe chafing if the chafing is a transfer of foot fungus to the groin area when putting on their clothes. Lotrimin AF Foot Cream (clotrimazole cream) can sometimes soothe chafing as well as Desinex foot powder better than baby powder to soothe chafing. Perfumed baby powder will really sting a reddened, eroded skin chafing from underwear which is two or three sizes too small for a person’s waist size.

  50. Chafless Tenderfoot // August 3, 2009 at 8:17 pm // Reply

    I use ua’s boxerjock, they work miracles

Leave a Reply

Please do not use your real name.