If you are a seasoned runner, hiker, tourist, or outdoor lover, you know blisters are very common when hiking. You get blisters when your feet get too hot, too cold, or due to friction. So you have to eliminate these three factors to prevent blisters from forming on your feet.
The most common blister prevention method is applying hydropel lubricant on your feet. This article will outline what hydropel is, what you can replace hydropel with, and other ways to prevent blisters.
Here’s what you can replace Hydropel lubricant with
You can replace hydropel lubricant with Body glide, RunGoo, Sportslick, Vaseline, Trislide, Udder Balm, and SportShield. These lubricants are sold in sports stores and available in tube or roll-on form. Some lubricants are derived from petroleum or contain plant waxes to prevent friction and chafing.
What is Hydropel?
Hydropel is a viscous and gooey lubricant used by hikers to avoid friction. Many hikers prefer hydropel because it protects your leg from chafing and is also a water repellant.
Its main properties are 30% dimethicone, inactive Petroleum Jelly, and Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate.
Therefore, hikers who have to cross streams during their hikes can be sure that their legs will not become wet.
Hydropel eliminates moisture and friction, which are the leading causes of blisters. You only need to apply it twice daily; it will not wear off when hiking.
Hydropel comes in a two-ounce bottle, which costs $13-$20, depending on where you purchase it. That price range is quite expensive, so you should use it sparingly to ensure it lasts longer.
How does lubricant prevent blisters when hiking?
When you apply a lubricant to your skin, it sits on it rather than seeping into it. The ingredients in the lubricants make it sit on the skin so that it can reduce friction and maceration.
Friction causes blisters, so instead of your feet rubbing against the socks or shoes, lubricants make the slide, reducing friction. Lubricants also prevent hot spots from forming, minimizing your chances of blisters.
Other lubricants, such as hydropel, have water-repellent ingredients. This means hikers can walk through muddy patches without worrying about their feet getting macerated.
However, according to research, too much lubrication can, in turn, cause blisters.
For example, some lubricants may reduce friction until there is no friction. Lack of friction causes you to keep sliding in your shoes because your feet are too slippery.
This could lead to muscle strains and ankle sprains because the muscles are overworking due to a lack of friction.
So ensure you only apply the lubricant in your trouble spots, not your whole foot. This is also called the target approach.
Hydropel replacement options
The closest substitute for hydropel is trail toes. It has the same properties as hydropel. It contains petrolatum, beeswax, aluminum starch, octenyl succinate, and dimethicone.
Although it has less dimethicone, an essential ingredient in hydropel, it is still a very close second to hydropel.
Like hydropel, a little goes a long way. It stays for hours without needing you to reapply again.
Train toes ointment reduces friction and shear, which aids in the elimination of blisters and chafing. It also repels water while keeping the underlying skin moist and flexible.
Other hydropel replacement options are;
- Body Glide is cheap and comes in roll-on form. You can apply it on your feet, between your toes, and thighs.
- Sport lubricants include Gurneygoo, Rungoo, SportShield, Trislide, and SportSlide.
- A&D ointment is thicker than jelly and is also a cheap alternative.
- Petroleum jelly is the cheapest of all the alternatives. However, it does not wash off easily and makes dirt stick on your socks, which may irritate your feet. A good example is vaseline.
- Aveeno skin relief ointment contains petrolatum but does not have dimethicone.
Hydropel vs Bodyglide
Here are the critical differences between hydropel and body glide
|Hydropel is very expensive compared to other types of lubricant. It costs up to $20.||Body glide is cheaper. It costs $10.|
|Hydropel contains dimethicone.||Body glide does not contain dimethicone.|
|Hydropel has water repellent properties which makes it superior to other lubricants.||Body glide does not have water-repellent properties.|
|Hydropel is available in tube form and only two ounces.||Body glide is available in roll-on form.|
|Hydropel is easier to apply.||Body glide is challenging to apply.|
4 other ways to avoid blisters
Apart from using lubricants, you can prevent blisters in the following ways;
Wear the best shoes for hiking
When going hiking, wear a good pair of hiking boots. If your shoes do not fit, friction occurs, causing blisters.
So ensure you go to your local outfitter store and measure your shoe size. Try and find which shoe fits best.
Different brands fit differently, so find the ideal shoe rather than a good shoe. Also, find a shoe with toe space so that when your toes swell when hiking, they can have room to expand.
Moisture is one of the factors that cause blisters. So any chance you get to relax on a hike, take off your shoes and let your feet and socks dry off.
Always carry an extra pair of socks whenever you are hiking. Ensure the socks are wool, not cotton. Cotton tends to take longer to dry than wool.
Also, most hikers roll their socks over their boots, creating a chimney effect. This helps air out your boots and eliminates heat and moisture.
If you are taking a hike in areas with no wet patches, ensure you wear shoes with a breathable material like mesh.
Meshed shoes also dry faster, which ensures your feet remain dry for longer. Waterproof shoes have no breathable membranes, so if you do not need them, do not wear them.
Also, try and adjust your laces when hiking. The laces might loosen during your hike, making your feet slip inside the shoes.
Your ankles and toes should not rub against your shoes, so tightening your laces ensures your foot does not slip inside your shoe, resulting in less friction.
Look out for hot spots
If you feel any hot spots coming up, use athletic tape, leukotape, or moleskin to stop them from turning into blisters. Athletic tape sticks even on wet skin.
You can replace hydropel with several things, e.g., body glide, vaseline, and other sports store lubricants. Lubricants reduce friction by eliminating hot spots on your feet. Also, hydropel has water-repellent properties, which eliminate moisture.
This is what makes it the most popular lubricant.
Hydropel is also more expensive than body glide, which makes body glide an economical alternative for backpackers on a budget.