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[pct-l] Blister Prevention

I've been doing some serious power hiking lately to further test out my 
ultralight gear. Everything is working great and I'm able to cover some serious 
miles per day, but I've run into one problem. Blisters! After I do about 20 
miles in a day I start to develop blisters on my heels. They start off very 
small but no matter how I treat them they increase dramatically in size if I 
continue to walk on them. This weekend I did a 26 1/2 mile day on the trail, 
camped for the night, and had to abandon my hike the next day just 5 1/2 miles 
further down the trail. This was because I was hobbling along at a snail's pace 
with huge heel blisters. The blistering seems to happen regardless of the 
footwear I'm using. It's happened with Vasque hiking boots and two different 
brands of running shoes. It happens if I wear thick socks, thin socks, or wool 
socks and liners. Anyone have any tips on how to avoid them?

BTW, my wife looked up blister treatment and blister prevention in some of the 
sports medicine books she owns. They all said pretty much the same thing and 
some of the prevention info seems to go against conventional backpacker wisdom. 
All the books recommend wearing the thinnest socks possible to prevent 
blisters. The thin socks do seem to help me somewhat. Prior to wearing them (I 
now wear very thin 100% nylon K-mart socks when hiking, changed frequently) I'd 
get blisters at around 15 miles instead of 20.

They also say to tape the area where blisters tend to appear with breathable 
medical or sports tape. This is supposed to prevent blistering and help toughen 
the skin in the area. Anyone tried that? I may do so on my next power hike, 
after these blisters heal!

Michael Connick
GA->ME on the Appalachian Trail in 98!

E-mail: Michael_Connick@clrmnt.com
Michael's Ultralight Backpacking Page:
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