Mike's Danners on the Tuckup Trail
Mike's Danners'!  Ouch!
Blisters!

Why do you get them? What to do about them?

 

 

Back to Canyon Trails!

Backcountry Hiking!

 

 

 

 

Bill Keryan on the trail!
Bill Keryan wears lightweight hiking shoes, and travels with a light pack to prevent blisters.

Duct tape works well as a preventative to blisters much in the same way as mole skin!

 

Walking up trails, walking down trails, traversing a steep grade, cresting over a boulder, side stepping down a steep talus slope, jumping over an ice cold Bright Angel Creek. All of these movements can put an extraordinary amount of pressure on your feet. When feet are working this hard, they sweat. When they get wet from perspiration, chances are, blisters will form.

Before beginning any multi-day hike, make sure your boots are well broken in and tested. Use them a least on a few dayhikes to find out how your feet like them. On most of the trail in the Canyon, a light weight boot with ankle support such as Merrell will be fine, but off trail you'll need a heavier full leather boot.

How do you plan for blisters? What's more, how do you prevent blisters from adding to your hiking load?

Blisters are the product of boots that don't conform to your foot as it moves. Feet become susceptible to blisters, especially if they are wet.

The best way to keep feet dry is with synthetic blend wicking socks, like those made by Smartwool or Patagonia. Not only will feet stay dryer, they'll be warmer and more cushioned. (Hint: Socks wear out quickly. If you're concerned about keeping feet dry, get new socks to wear in high stress situations. Wear the trusty old ones around camp!)

Assuming that your favorite hiking boots are broken in and you're still prone to blisters, how can you best avoid them?

Knowing where your 'hot spots' are can help you avoid walking with a blister 'on board'. Taping the areas of your feet that are most prone to blistering with wide, smooth sided athletic tape (the same kind that climbers and runners use) will save you from rub spots. If you have a complicated foot, with bunions or other foot distortions, take special care to cover these with tape..., meaning, wrap them so that there are no wrinkles in the tape. Tape wrinkles can cause a blister or sore spot more easily than you would think. Try to sculpt the tape around your foot irregularities, using more than one layer to support the skin.

Got a blister? It hurts? Don't know what to do?

A blister needs to be:

  1. kept moist,
  2. sterile,
  3. anesthetized,
  4. protected from further friction.

There are a few products on the market that are intended to keep you walking with a blister on your foot:

A product, available at drugstores called Spenco Second Skin is a good blister healer to have in your pack. If cut larger than the area of your blister, it will retain moisture needed for healing and provide a sterile, comfortable cooling skin layer to help keep you going. Cover it with athletic tape and you're back on the trail. Another foot saver is Compeed; medicated pads that form a protective gel-cushion around the blister and promote healing by protecting the injured skin.

However you decide to protect your feet, remember, keep them dry and comfortable.


Official Guide to Hiking the Grand Canyon by Scott Thybony. Scott describes all of the trails in enough detail to make a fun hike! Good basic information for new Canyon Hikers.
Hiking the Grand Canyon (A Sierra Club Totebook) by John Annerino. This book has been around a while and John has hiked a lot. It's a great resource with mileage logs, trail descriptions, ratings, history, water caches, and just about everything else you need to know to overnight or spend a couple of weeks in the Canyon.
The Man Who Walked through Time by Colin Fletcher. This is not really a guide but an adventure book. Many of us have done this route now, but Colin had only Harvey Butchart for guidance! Recommended!
You can order Grand Canyon books and hiking guides from:
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This website is a photographic and descriptive resource of routes and climbs, not a hiking guide. By using this site the viewer releases the creator from any and all liability. Hiking/climbing is a potentially dangerous activity and requires proper equipment, skill, experience, preparedness and awareness at all times.

 

All contents of all pages   copywrite 1997 - 2002  by Mike Mahanay, All Rights Reserved

Do you have any off trail stories or descriptions you would like to add?

Do you have any questions, comments, or corrections? If so, drop me a  email at mike@grandcanyontreks.org