According to Wikipedia:
“Chafing refers to the irritation of skin caused by repetitive friction, usually generated through skin to skin contact of multiple body parts.”
Similarly to blisters, chafing is a painful experience and one to avoid. The common place where chafing occurs while hiking is at the inner thighs. The main culprit? Cotton inner wear. Cotton absorbs sweat and stays wet and stick to your skin. Bad choice, as it results to additional friction between your legs. Overtime, a burning sensation will begin and you will be walking like you have durians between your legs.
So What Now? Your inner thighs hurts and you realised that you have only packed cotton inner wear in your bag? The best solution: stop wearing them and go commando style. Apply some baby powder or deodorant on the problematic area to keep the skin dry. Changing into a fresh, dry pair of cotton inner wear will give you temporary relief but will be soaking wet from your sweat in no time. And when that happens, you are back to square one and the powder you have applied will be useless.
Then, what type of inner wear should we be wearing? I recommend inner wear made of synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon or any sports focused underwear that wicks away moisture. Best is to wear quick drying tights which are long enough to cover problematic areas. This is a saviour as the length will give additional protection from skin to skin contact. Seams and tag are known to cause problems so examine where they are located and ensures they are from problematic area.
Apart from clothing, another causes of chafing is salt residue left on the skin after sweat evaporates. The salt causes additional friction, irritation and adds on to the problem. Therefore, in situation where you can’t take a shower, it is a good idea to get a wet towel and do a body wipe, change into fresh clothing and rinse your sweaty clothes.
Other areas where chafing could occur while hiking are the armpit areas (from rubbing against backpack straps especially if you wear sleeveless clothing) and on the lower back (shirt rolls up and backpack rubs against lower back).