For many, the backpacking season opens in March or April with the annual pilgrimage that many begin to make from Spring Mountain, Georgia to Katahdin in Maine, along the Appalachian Trail. Each year between 4000-5000 people attempt to make this hike, with about 25% completing the 2180-mile trek. To date there are 12,368 people who have completed the thru hike since the trail opened in 1936.
Not everyone that likes to hike or backpack is an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker. For many, hiking is single day activity or a few days in the woods backpacking with friends. Regardless of the way you like to enjoy the outdoors, whether day-hiking in the Pacific or scaling one peak in South America, there are common irritants along the way. Being prepared can be the difference between a positive memorable experience and a dreadful one.
The first place to begin is your gear. There are hundreds of websites that can help you choose a tent, clothes, hiking pools, cool accessories, backpack, and food. There are hundreds that will help you with your maps, GPS and boots. You can probably even find a number of apps for your smartphone that will measure your mileage and altitude. There are, however, a few things that many people do not take into consideration that we want to help you with.
The way you treat your skin matters when you are experiencing the great outdoors. Your body may not be used to carrying a backpack or wearing sweaty clothing as you hike for an extended period of time. You may find chaffing under your arms, between your thighs or on your shoulders. There are several ways to prevent this. Technical clothing that wicks away the moisture is an ideal place to start. As you make choices for your technical clothing, make sure it fits you correctly, as clothes that are too big often increase your chances at chafing. As good as the clothing technology is, it is not the prevent-all product. We encourage you to try anti-chaffing products that help prevent rash, chafe and blisters. Make sure the product you select is not petroleum based and is sweat resistant. Otherwise you reduce the effectiveness of prevention and reduce the life of your clothing.
Another bit of prevention that often goes a long way is hydration. It is critical to stay hydrated when you are outdoors. Carry plenty of water or water purification devices when you are hiking and backpacking. Your hydration is critical to a positive outing. One of the first places you will experience dryness is in your lips. Even when you are hydrated, often the wind and sun will dry your lips out. Select a high quality lip protection product that has SPF of at least 15.
Unfortunately, injuries occur with loose gravel, tripping over roots and cuts from underbrush. While serious gashes will require medical attention, the last thing you want is for a minor injury to become infected and ultimately require medical attention. We recommend you carry a first aid kit that includes antiseptic ointments and sterile bandages. You can use water to wash out your scrapes and cuts, but you want to treat the wounds quickly to promote healing and prevent scarring.
Be prepared for the outdoors. Climb to great heights and take care of your skin as you go!
We have products that can assist you to take care of your skin. We would be honored to have you try our Friction Zone, Lip Defender or First Aid kits. Check out these products and others at Brave Soldier.