Proven ways to prevent blisters while hiking and backpacking

The quickest way to turn an excellent hike or backpacking trip into a somber outing is to get a blister on your foot. While they come on slowly, once they arrive, it feels like a full-fledged assault on your foot. It’s why we’re talking about how to prevent blisters hiking today.

If you can minimize the chances of blisters as you hike or backpack, you’ll have a much more enjoyable experience!

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how to prevent blisters when hiking

A Quick Guide to Prevent Blisters Hiking

Wear properly fitting shoes

This is the most crucial step to prevent blisters when hiking. A shoe that fits well will decrease friction and create an environment where your foot stays in place and doesn’t rub. Now, it can sometimes take time to A) Find a shoe that fits and B) Find one that doesn’t rub.

The best way to figure this out is the try your shoes out in person before buying. I nearly always walk around the store, up the stairs, and try to emulate my hike as best I can so I know I’ll be blister free when I strap on my pack.

Top-tier hiking and backpacking shoes:

Steps to Keep your feet dry

Having wet feet is a surefire way to get a blister and much worse (though that would be an extreme situation). The longer your feet are wet, the softer they get, making it easier for cuts or blisters to form. If you do happen to soak your entire shoe, find a way to dry it out to prevent a more severe problem in the future.

blister free hiking tips

Use wool socks and liners to prevent blisters hiking

Moisture-wicking socks are a perfect hiking sock as they aim to keep your feet dry. I think the best on the market are wool socks, like Darn Tough or Smartwool. Wool drys fast, keeps your feet warm and is an unbelievable comfort inside your shoe.

Additionally, silk sock liners are an excellent way to prevent blisters hiking. These very light socks go on first, and then you put your regular wool socks over them.

Spend time hiking and walking to build up callouses

Sometimes, you can do everything right, and a blister still forms. This could be due to starting hiking or backpacking without doing many activities prior, and simply walking creates a blister. So how to prevent blisters hiking when you’re new to it?

Start walking, but build up slowly so your body is prepared for what you put it through. Over time, the bottoms of your feet will get tougher, creating a foundation where it’s harder to form a blister.

how to prevent blisters when hiking

What if I get a blister while hiking?

During the hike: Bring moleskin and first aid

If a blister does pop up on a hike, use moleskin or a bandaid to protect the area and decrease any future rubbing. Also, clean the area to ensure it doesn’t get infected as you continue hiking.

After the hike: Treat it to prevent blisters hiking

If you get a blister on a hike, treat it like any other wound and take the necessary health and safety steps to care for it properly. According to Mayo Clinic:

Wash your hands and the blister with soap and warm water.

Swab the blister with iodine.

Clean a sharp needle with rubbing alcohol.

Use the needle to prick the blister in several spots near the edge. Let the fluid drain, but leave the overlying skin in place.

Apply an ointment such as petroleum jelly to the blister and cover it with a nonstick gauze bandage. If a rash appears, stop using the ointment.

Follow-up care. Check the area every day for infection. After several days, use a tweezers and scissors sterilized with rubbing alcohol to cut away the dead skin. Apply more ointment and a bandage.

FAQ: Prevent Blisters Hiking the Trails

Why do I get blisters every time I hike?

Odds are, your shoes do not fit right, and they are rubbing in a way that makes your feet unhappy. I would suggest getting new shoes and seeing how that works out. Worst case, you take the shoes back and say that they didn’t fit well.

What is the best blister protection for hiking?

Well-fitting shoes and comfortable socks are the best combination for preventing blisters hiking. Most hikers don’t have issues if it’s a moderate in length hike and there’s no water crossing to get the feet wet.

Wrapping Up – Prevent Blisters Hiking

I hope this mini guide on how to prevent blisters hiking and backpacking can help save you some pain and keep you crushing miles! As you can see, they’re pretty easy, and anyone can take these simple steps to prevent blisters hiking.

Once you do, your hiking and backpacking experiences will improve exponentially!

Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.

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