A few times I've been out walking or backpacking and have no moleskin with me. Sure enough, my boots start giving me blisters. How can I prevent or treat hotspots and blisters without using moleskin?

  • Do you have access to your first aid kit, or are you wondering how to manage the injury with no extra items?
    – Ryley
    Commented Jan 24, 2012 at 19:59
  • Typically if I'm out on a small day hike, I'll carry nothing other than water, snacks, and maybe a jacket. On longer trips, I'll carry a first-aid kit that has moleskin in it.
    – Pulsehead
    Commented Jan 24, 2012 at 20:04
  • That's a tough one then! I have a whole system for blisters that doesn't use moleskin, but you have to have athletic tape (or duct tape), lanolin, and lambs wool... So that answer defeats the point of your question I think :)
    – Ryley
    Commented Jan 24, 2012 at 20:06
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    I suggest you take a tiny amount (one or two blisters worth) of whatever you like to use for blisters, and leave it permanently in your day pack, jacket pocket, camera case, or the like. Then you will always have it no mtter what kind of walk you're on. Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 14:03
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    One option if you are on gentle terrain is to hike barefoot for a short distance. Then there is nothing for the blister to rub against, and it'll give your feet some time to dry out.
    – Andrew
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 20:51

4 Answers 4


The key is reducing friction. Duct tape can be a good preventative as long as you get it on before a blister forms. After the blister is there, it's harder to recommend as once you're ready to remove the duct tape, you might pull the blister along with it.

Other options are to make sure you're wearing dry non-cotton socks. If you find your feet sweat a lot while walking, make sure you have good moisture wicking socks or you change your socks as the moisture builds up. Rotating socks gives one pair a chance to dry out while wearing the other.

If you're in the middle of a hike and forming hotspots without any tape, extra socks or moleskin to help, you may have to just slow down. Take a break, take your boots and socks off and give everything some time to dry out. It may be all you need to get back to civilization without developing full blisters.

  • 3
    +1 for "before the blister forms". Best bet is to leave it on and let it wear off on its own, if possible, or exercise great care when removing.
    – D. Lambert
    Commented Jan 24, 2012 at 20:17
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    +1 for duct tape. It works better than moleskin for me.
    – xpda
    Commented Jan 24, 2012 at 21:18
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    Bonus tip: wrap duct-tape around your water bottle, or trekking pole, or pack-frame, or something that you always take with you... it will come in handy often.
    – Lost
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 1:54
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    You can put a piece of clean leaf under the duct tape where it touches the hot spot to help removing it without your skin.
    – Lorlin
    Commented Sep 3, 2012 at 15:43

The #1 remedy I use is good old fashioned Duct Tape.

I will usually put a large strip around the back of my ankle every morning before putting my socks on, just as a precaution. It sticks well and allows your boot and sock to rub around without rubbing directly on the skin, causing hotspots.


I would imagine you might not have compeed, if you don't have moleskin with you, but I just thought I'd mention it as a nice measure to prevent/treat blisters.
I would also recommend carrying less weight and using a lighter pair of shoes, instead of a heavy pair of boots. Those blisters are your feet's way of telling you something isn't working well in there.

  • Is that available in the US? Their website does not list the US.
    – Justin C
    Commented Feb 26, 2012 at 3:25
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    Bandaid sells the Compeed products in North America. It's not always obvious on the box, but the instructions refer to Compeed being printed on one of the pieces of paper you peel off. I think it's called Blister Block these days. Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 14:01

In such cases I try to tie my shoelaces differently, to change the way my foot sits in the shoe - if my ankle is too loose (thus the blisters), I would try to change that in case I cannot get any help. This is not a long term solution, especially if you tie your shoelaces too tight they may affect the blood circulation in your foot a bit.

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