For years, I have been a die hard Moleskin fan for blister prevention. I carry a sheet of it in my emergency kit and use it now and then when I feel a hot spot coming on. But Moleskin sucks when you’re in a very wet environment like the Long Trail in Vermont. Those little Moleskin patches don’t stay in place when you have to ring your socks out multiple times per day because they are soaked with water or your boots are wet for days at a time. Plus when my boots get wet, different parts of my feet develop hot spots that don’t work well with moleskin, like the tops of my toes.
Different environments call for new solutions. So, on my last Long Trail hike, I tried out a blister prevention product called Hydropel that was recommended by Quoddy, my unofficial Long Trail mentor. Hydropel is an ointment that you rub onto your feet before you put your socks on. It is designed to repel the moisture that creations friction between your skin and your socks and boots.
Every morning I would rub it over the tops of my toes, the back of my heels, a hot spot on the arch of my right foot, and under my big toes. These are all of the places where I tend to get blisters or my skin just rubs off when my boots and socks stay wet all day.
Hydropel does not feel greasy when you apply it and your feet don’t slip around in your socks or your boots like they would if you used Vaseline or Crisco instead. But the stuff really works and I am a convert! I did not get one blister on my last outing, a 30 mile backpacking trip on the Long Trail, where my boots and socks were soaked for 2+ days.
Quoddy tells me that the Hydropel ointment is even more effective for him if he rubs it onto his feet at night before he goes to sleep because it takes a while to absorb into his skin. I’ll try the on my next outing. Hydropel can also be used to prevent thigh chafing like Bodyglide, or even to prevent monkey butt. I tested all of these applications on my last hike, but that’s probably more detail than you want.
Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.
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