06 November, 2020
If you have just purchased a new backpack and taken it out on the trail for its first use there are a few things you can do to help minimise chafing and sore spots.
1. Wear clothing that dries quickly. Cotton holds heaps of water and sitting on your skin will soften it up and make it more likely to soften. Nylon, polyester and wool blend clothing will wick moisture away from your body leaving it drier.
2. Wear clothing that has smoother or seamless seams, so there is less friction with straps and hipbelts to rub on. Some shorts and trousers have a micro chamois lining on the waist band to wick away moisture. Ensure shorts or pants sit flat against the skin with no bunching that will rub.
3. Anti-chafing cream can be used to protect the skin. Body Glide is a popular cream.
4. Ensure clothing does not ride up or down exposing the skin to rub directly on backpack belts and straps.
5. Make sure you do not overtighten the hipbelt causing excessive pressure on the hips and skin.
6. Start nice and light and work your way up to your trail weight. Don't load up your pack with too much gear for your first few walks. Take it nice and slow.
7. Allow time for your pack to break in - some hipbelts on expedition packs use heavier grade foams and plastics and will take time to shape to your hips. So do some shorter practice walks first before loading the pack up fully and going on longer walks.
If you have not walked with a pack on before your skin and muscles will take a while to adapt, so start small and go from there.