Chafing occurs as a result of repeated rubbing of bare skin with wet or sweaty clothing. It mostly happens in the thighs due to your pants, can also occur between a backpack and your shoulders, nude nipples, shirt, hip straps, and midsection, chafing in the groin area backside area of underwear.

The friction that occurs due to the clothing and skin’s constant motion results in painful redness, irritation, and itching; if the chaffing continues, it can lead to bleeding and even blisters. This article gives you the details on how to prevent chaffing while hiking.

What Helps Prevent Chafing

Chaffing can be unpleasant if it occurs, especially on your feet when hiking or other parts of the body. Follow the following tips to stop the chaffing;

Avoid Cotton Clothing

Cotton is excellent, lightweight, and breathable. If the cotton gets wet, it takes a long to dry again. The cotton soaks up every droplet of sweat that the body secretes, making it rub the skin. It’s, therefore, best to avoid cotton clothing and, more especially the underwear.

The seams of cotton underwear will stick to your skin, scrunch up between your thighs and rub your skin raw. It’s best to avoid underwear from these materials, modal, rayon, Tencel, lyocell, and bamboo. All the materials are wood fibers and behave the same as cotton material. This way is the best you can use to prevent chafing.

Choosing the Right Hiking Clothing

To prevent chaffing for ladies, avoid bikini or thong cuts and choose styles with a longer leg. Underwear with a long leg will protect the top of your thighs from friction.  On how to prevent chaffing for guys, they should stay away from loose-fitting boxers instead choose fitted jocks.

Check this too: How Should Hiking Boots Fit?

Use the Unisex Thigh Bands

Both men and women can use this with their underwear. These bands are perfect in the summer months; they will prevent rubbing, and you can use them with non-chafing hiking shorts. It’s still fair to wear the bands under loose-fitting hiking or climbing pants. They will prevent thigh chaffing from skin-to-skin fabric friction.

Stay Clean

Make sure you start your day before hiking as fresh and as clean as possible. Put on clean clothing, wipe off sweat and salt from the skin before resting. It will help if you also clean your clothes frequently.

Wear Well Fitting Clothes

Fitting clothes are necessary. Baggy clothes will wrinkle and later rub against your skin.  If the garments are too tight, they can also cause chaffing.  It’s best to avoid belts or tying your waist too tight; it will be uncomfortable for you and can cause chaffing. If the clothes are rubbing on your skin, add some extra padding.

Shoes are also crucial; ensure they are fitting. Loose-fitting shoes can damage your ankles, and when too tight, they cause friction and later blisters.

Go Seamless and Tagless

Have proper fitting clothes that don’t have seams or tags.  Clothes with seams will cause chaffing if you wear them during hiking.

Lubricate Your Skin

Use anti-chaffing lubricants like Body Glide, which is a mixture of Zinc oxide and antiperspirant. You need to apply the body glide before you rub the skin raw; otherwise, it will sting seriously. You can still use Vaseline to eliminate friction. Make sure you clean and dry your body first before applying.

Ensure you lubricate a lot in these areas if you take a long hike; inner thighs, waist back, and feet. There is still a lubricate for the feet you can use, the foot glide. You can even use powder to make your skin drier and prevent sweating. There are so many anti-chaffing powders you can use on the market to control sweating.

Stay Hydrated

The more water you drink, the less undiluted your sweat will be. You will dilute the salts in your sweat, and this reduces the chances of chaffing. Salt isn’t best for the skin as it makes it itchy.

Take Some Rest

Take brief breaks while hiking; it helps a lot in reducing chafing. If you feel some sign like slight itchiness or heat, they are the first signs of chafing. Take some rest for about 5minutes and allow the sweat to dry out, which will control chaffing. Remember to disinfect the chaffed region and apply lubrication every time you take a rest.

Why Does Chafing Occur While Hiking and Who Is Susceptible?

Chafing occurs as a result of some reasons;

  • Friction with skin or clothes
  • Humidity, warm weather, or sweat
  • Endurance sports like running and biking
  • Nursing; breastfeeding mothers can have chafed nipples
  • Ill-fitting clothes like bras, pants waistband
  • Walking around in a skirt without pants can make your thighs rub.
  • Diapers- the moisture from urine or feces and diaper can cause chafing.

If you are an exercise fanatic or overweight, you are more susceptible to skin chafing, the irritating and often painful result of skin rubbing against skin or garment. Chafing can occur anywhere on your body, though the thighs, groin, underarms, and nipples are particularly vulnerable.

You can practice some behavioral changes to prevent chafing as follows;

  • Taking a shower after resting
  • Applying soft bandages in areas prone to chafing like nipples, feet
  • Staying always dry

How to Heal Chafing Fast

Chafing heals fast if you stop the activity causing it. Other tips that can help in healing includes;

  • Taking a shower in warm and not hot water or use harsh soaps, scented lotions; these products makes the skin extremely dry and more prone to damage.
  • Patting the skin dry and not rubbing it.
  • Avoid products like hydrogen peroxide while cleaning the skin and iodine. Instead, use mild soap and water or saline solution.
  • Use ice to relieve pain and pat the skin dry after.
  • Applying restorative ointment before bedtime, such as Vaseline or A & D. Even baby’s diaper rash cream works.

Check this too: Best Hiking Shorts for Women

Does Chafing Go Away on its Own?

Chafing can clear its own but with exceptional care for the skin and avoid the activity that is causing it. To make the area heal, ensure you change to more comfortable clothes, pat your skin dry and apply petroleum jelly into the area affected. The healing can take place within a couple of days.

Be sure to leave the skin exposed overnight to air while you sleep. If you can’t stop the activity causing friction or blistering, use protective measures while doing the task. If your chafing won’t go away after some days and shows the following signs, you should see a doctor;

  • bleeding
  • discoloration
  • swelling
  • crust

The condition can break the skin’s protective barrier making it prone to germs and infection.


The best remedy for chafing is prevention. However, there are people prone to chafing even with the best prevention methods. In such a scenario, dry off the area, stop the activity that causes chafing and use lubrication products like petroleum jelly to soothe the skin. Your chafing will disappear within a couple of days.