Backpackers: Are You Caring for Your Feet?

Sure, your legs, back and arms might be feeling the burn on your backpacking trips, but at the end of the day you really need to thank your feet. Without them, you wouldn't make it very far. And while some people think feet are "ew," we think they're totally hot and deserve to be cared for just as much as the rest of your body.

Take a look at these simple ways to keep your feet healthy and ready to put on more miles.

Stretch Your Calves

Tight calves and tight Achilles tendons can lead to foot problems. The tighter these muscles and tendons are, the harder your foot is hitting the trail with each step you take. Do your feet a favor and spend a few minutes stretching your calves on those long mileage days.

Tighten Your Laces

If you have a tendency to get blisters on the heel or back of your foot, a likely cause is loose shoes. One simple fix is to tighten your laces. The lock lacing technique outlined in this video can help prevent heel slippage. Other lacing techniques highlighted in the video can help reduce pressure on different parts of your feet and make your long hiking days more comfortable.

Keep Your Feet Warm

Once your feet get cold, it can be hard to get them back to their warm, happy place. When backpacking, your feet are most likely to get cold after they've gotten wet. To prevent feet from getting cold, it's good to get in the habit of taking your shoes and socks off as soon as you get into camp. Let your feet air dry for a bit, and then put on dry socks. If you need the protection of your wet shoes while doing basic camp chores, you can keep your feet dry by placing them in a plastic bag and then into your boot. Be sure to let your hiking shoes completely dry out before putting in more miles on the trail; wearing plastic bags while hiking isn't a solution.

Backpacker foot care

Clip Your Toenails

Yes, I know you clip your toenails. But remembering to clip them often can help prevent unnecessary pressure points and lost toenails. When you clip your toenails, make sure you clip them so they're square, not round, to help prevent ingrown toenails. You should also be careful not to clip them too short, as this is another ingrown toenail risk factor.

Take a look at this foot drying tip in action by hitting play on the video below.

What foot care advice would you add to this list?

posted by
Lauren Seidl
Blogger at Sierra Trading Post
Lauren enjoys hiking, camping, climbing and exploring the outdoors. She's always up for trying something new, especially if it involves getting outside. When Lauren isn't out finding adventures in her home state of Colorado, she can be found writing as Sierra Trading Post's blogger.
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