Some travel gear isn’t very sexy, but can mean the difference between pleasure and pain. This is especially true when you spend hours or days hiking, your feet rubbing up against your hiking boots or shoes as you scale boulders and trip over roots.
I’ve been trying out a batch of blister care items from Spenco Medical over the past six months and when some of these samples run out, I’m buying more. They make a huge difference.
I ended up using one of them the first day I got them, walking the convention floor at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in January. For the second year in a row, I walked so much I rubbed a hole in the back of a pair of socks. Finding a replacement pair wasn’t hard at that sock-filled show, but the last thing I needed was an incapacitating blister on my heel. So I popped on an Aqua Heal patch in the spot that was getting sensitive and forgot all about it.
This Aqua Heal product’s tag line is “beyond a bandage” and it does indeed perform better than traditional gauze. It feels nice, first of all, with nothing dry against the sore spot. The clear hydrogel pad provides cooling pain relief and the moist wound healing should heal your wounds faster than dry bandages. You can leave this on for days and shower with it though as it seals around the edge and it’s latex-free if you’re sensitive to that.
On the other foot I placed a prevention patch so I could nip any potential problem in the bud: something from the Spenco 2nd Skin Blister Kit pack. This offers a variety of 13 dressings and 11 pressure pads meant to fit any any prevention spot. It did the trick not just at this convention, but on two subsequent hiking trips where I was going up and down mountains several days in a row. I came out of those trips blister-free.
This is a handy variety pack that work in a variety of situations, whether you just need something slick at a key friction point or you want to build in some padding to cushion a sensitive spot. Once you get them out of the box, they take up almost no room, so even if you’re not hauling a medical kit you can just pop these into your daypack.
Spenco also makes larger oval Blister Pads that treat a wider area. Maybe a chafed area from ziplining or a rope burn from rock climbing. These keep bacteria out and help your injury heal while staying in place for up to five days. These come in packs of five and you can get them at Amazon for $11.
Sure, these blister prevention and treatment options cost more than a package of Band-aids, but they’ll keep out dirt and bacteria better so you can heal faster and get on with your fun. If you’ve ever gotten a blister in the middle of a four-day hiking trip, you know you would have gladly spent a couple extra dollars to resolve the problem.