One of the most strenuous parts of Marine Corps life and training has to be the long distance rucks. Covering a lot of miles with a lot of weight on your back might seem like a pretty straightforward proposition, but over time you start to figure out some things that can make an otherwise strenuous hike a little more enjoyable or at least, a little less likely to go wrong. causing you the kind of damaging injuries that can really make a week in the field feel more like a week in hell.
Although the workings of a long-distance hike are pretty simple (bring food, water, and proper emergency gear, then just put one foot in front of the other until you’re done ), there are some things you can do before you go or take the hike with you that will pay dividends throughout the bump and after, as your body recovers.
Use a dry deodorant to manage irritation
Despite everything I’ve worked for throughout my adult life, I’ve never really been able to get one of those “thigh gaps” that all the girls on Instagram keep talking about, and as such chafing in my groin and between my thighs has always been a concern on long distance hikes. The sweat suit, the seams of my pants, and my rubbing thunder thighs always conspire to leave my undercarriage raw, which quickly becomes a constant source of pain while I record the kilometers.
Even with spandex underwear and an industrial supply of baby powder, chafing can crop up and ruin your day, but you can ease a lot of that heartache (or, I guess, heartache). crotch) by rubbing your dry deodorant all over your body. affected area. The deodorant creates a water-resistant barrier that protects raw skin as you continue to ride. This trick has worked for me in the savannahs of Africa, the busy streets of Rome, and even the relentlessly wet Georgian woods. Remember that it must be a dry stick deodorant. Gel stuff just won’t do.
Wear a sharpie to keep an eye out for bites
Bites from spiders and other insects can be a real concern on the trail, and not necessarily for the reasons you think. You’re unlikely to be bitten by a spider with the kind of venomous punch to make you really sick, but even an otherwise harmless spider or insect bite can turn into big trouble in a field environment. . Bites create a high risk of infection, and not everyone reacts the same way to exposure to venoms, bacteria, or stingers. That’s why it’s imperative that you keep an eye out for any questionable bites you accumulate during your hike.
Use a marker to draw a circle around the outer perimeter of a bite when you notice it, then write down the time and day. As you hike, sporadically check the bite to see if the swollen red area extends beyond the original perimeter. Add circles with beats as you check to see if the bite continues to grow. If the bite grows rapidly beyond this first drawn perimeter, is bright or dark red, and feels warm and firm to the touch, seek medical attention for what may be a nasty infection. If you are having difficulty breathing, this is a strong sign that you may be experiencing anaphylactic shock due to an allergy, and you should immediate medical care.
Add moleskin to blister-prone areas on your feet before blisters form
If you’ve been backpacking, you’ll already be familiar with moleskin as a treatment for blisters, but most people don’t realize how handy moleskin can be for blisters. prevention as well as.
If you know you tend to get blisters in certain areas of your feet on long hikes (the back of the heel and the inside of the ball of the foot are two common hot spots, for example), don’t wait. than a blister form to use your moleskin. Instead, cut off a piece and apply it to the sore spots on your feet ahead of time, adding a protective pad between your boot’s friction points and your feet themselves.
It’s helpful to replace moleskin about as often as you replace your socks, to keep it from peeling off and bunching up on you (causing different hiking discomfort), but when done correctly you can escape even the longest hikes without blisters.