The best knee brace I’ve found for hiking and backpacking is the Cho-Pat Knee Brace. I’ve used one when my knee bothers me from carrying too much weight and I have a few hiking buddies who swear by theirs. They wear two braces whenever they hike, one for each knee.
I’ve had knee problems in the past and lots of physical therapy, but I’ve found that strengthening my quadriceps and hamstrings has always resolved my symptoms. There’s no doubt that I have some patellar degeneration at my age and keeping up my leg strength helps resolve the pain issues.
The Cho-Pat knee brace makes it possible for me to hike without pain. The top strap eliminates the symptoms of ITB (Illio-Tibial Band Syndrom) that I have in my left knee (snapping tendon over the knee) by compressing my thigh muscle above the knee joint. The bottom strap helps align my quadriceps muscle with my patella better, lifting it, and reducing internal friction.
This photo shows a closeup of the Cho-Pat brace. It’s made out of Neoprene and encircles your leg fastening in front, using Velcro, which lets you adjust the tightness. After an hour or so, I simply forget that I’m wearing it. It doesn’t constrict my movement in any noticeable way and doesn’t get hot and sweaty.
So if you’re having knee pain while backpacking, which can be very difficult to localize and isolate, I recommend trying a Cho-Pat brace. It can provide your knee with more internal stability and keep you on the trail without further intervention.
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Any issues using them on both knees at the same time? I’m planning my AT thru-hike, and while I don’t have any specific/known injuries (although I’m 35 and do work on my feet), my knees can bug me, and while I’m doing yoga and strength training, I want to give my knees every chance to succeed… thoughts/advice?
No – you can definitely use them at the same time! I do however suggest you use trekking poles as well to take more pressure off your knees. The AT has lots of ups and downs!
My husband and I are both long distance walkers / hill / mountain hikers.
I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in all main joints and a few smaller, arthritis in my hands and all my fingers, plus I have lumbar discs that keep dislodging, tennis elbow in both arms and shoulder impingement. I’ve learnt to cope with all of it over time, but my right knee never stops with the nagging pain even after having tried numerous kinds of support on it and all the pain meds. My husband found this page and told me about it. I’m buying the Cho-Pat this afternoon.
Everything you’ve said made it sound exactly what i needed, but what clinched it for me was where you said “it didn’t get hot and sweaty” – If all goes as planned and this works well for me, I can book a long weekend away camping in the woods and hiking.
Once again, thanks for the great review.
I gave these a try, they work great along with hiking poles and physio. My muscles cramped before any knee pain, a first in a while!
Great review! Back in my younger youth, I had a serious skiing accident. The high point of that was being resuscitated 3 times so I could be here to share in this great site and, amazing hobby. The down side were the knee injuries which were too numerous to go into. Suffice it to say, I often find myself in need of brace support when hiking. Not that I can't hike but, it takes a great deal of pleasure from it so, a good brace can make all the difference. All the others I have tried are heavy and or hot though they did provide support. I am going to give this brace a shot as everything else I have learned from the section hiker, has not let me down so why should I not go forward with complete faith and confidence!!?? Thanks for more help…..I'll work on the Picasso style tan lines later!! LOL!
I will attest to the effectiveness of these knee braces. I wore one on each knee for 100 miles at Philmont and had zero pain. Just amazing. I don’t know how or why they work. Perhaps the gentleman who wrote this article is right in his analysis. Perhaps not. Personally, I don’t care. They are amazing and just work.