How to Prevent Hiking Blisters Forever (Almost)
What is Leukotape?
Leukotape is an extremely sticky (they call it aggressive adhesion) rayon-backed rehabilitation tape with high tensile strength. It has a zinc oxide adhesive which means it will stay in place for several days. It can be hand-torn though using a small pair of scissors or knife can be helpful.
How do you use it?
Before I go on a backpacking trip, hunting trip, or backcountry ski trip, I apply it to all of my foot problem areas (heels, under big toe, main foot pad near big toe, etc.) on both feet, paying special attention to makes sure the edges are pushed down firmly. Why put it on before you even begin hiking? Well for starters you are trying to prevent blisters before they start! The tape moves with your skin and is super tough, enabling it to absorb the abrasion which would cause a blister in the first place. Secondly, if you put the tape over an existing blister it is too late! The tape is so sticky it will rip off a blister when removing it. Do yourself a favor and put it on first, before it's too late. The tape will stay on for multiple days (not even kidding). If you are into lightening your load - wrap a few yards on a Bic pen stem. Carrying the entire roll (15 yards!) is a bit overkill for most trips.
Leukotape is not a cure all however. While it does significantly reduce the risk of getting a blister, you may still get the rare blister in the field. What do you do then? Well, now it's time to use Moleskin. The Moleskin will be much more gentle on the blister than just using medical tape to cover the area. Want to keep the Moleskin in place? Use more of that Leukotape you have hanging out on that handy dandy Bic pen!
Still not convinced? Read this Amazon review:
"I am an avid backpacker. Unfortunately I am also very prone to blisters on my feet. The last 4 years I have tried everything to prevent and/or stop blisters. Last year on a 40 mile trip we took in the Wind Rivers I suffered the worst blisters of my life. I wore 2 pair of socks, I used Mole Skin, I used band aids, I wore my shoes every day for a year before the trip, I did everything I could think of. It was all useless. This year we planned an 80 Mile trip across the Uinta Mountains. I searched the internet for ways to assure that I would NOT get any blisters as that would be miserable on a tip this size. I ultimately went with Leukotape. I was skeptic at first because not many of the reviews were from backpackers, but after the first day i was hooked. I ended up almost completely wrapping my feet. After 5 days of hiking through water, snow, hail, sun and up to 13,000ft peaks, etc... the tape never came off. Honestly it hardly even moved on my skin at all. (it sticks like duck tape) the ONLY blister I got was on the very last day when we pushed 20 miles to make it out. It was on one of the few toes that I did not wrap. I was very very very pleased with how this turned out. The other guys in my party ended up using it and being very grateful I had brought it. I will never backpack without it again."
What's your favorite go-to remedy for blisters and hot spots? Leave us a comment below!
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