Is Hydropel really as good as all the hype? I’m sure you’ve all read about it like I have and probably wondered if it’s really as good as everyone says it is, and more importantly, whether it’s worth $20 for a 2oz tube? That’s a lot of money even if it does last a long time.
There are entire forum threads (like this one on BPL.com) that discuss what the exact ingredients of Hydropel are and whether or not it’s possible to make your own at home. UL guru and author/illustrator, Mike Clelland, strongly endorses the product in his new book Ultralight Backpackin’ Tips and on his YouTube videos (which BTW are well worth taking the time to watch). With so much good press, forum debate, and general online hype you’d think it was the elixir of life – and for your feet it certainly seems to be.
There has been a lot of specific discussion on the differences between an alternative Brand called BodyGlide and Hydropel, most of which compares the BodyGlide anti-chafe solid stick product to the Hydropel lotion. The two are quite different in purpose and chemical composition. From what I’ve read, Hydropel is best suited for use on your feet and is especially effective at preventing your feet from getting blisters when they are wet for days at a time. BodyGlide works well to prevent chafing, and is best suited for underarms and “other” friction-prone places (use your imagination), but should only be used on your feet in a pinch.
However, there is another product made by BodyGlide that, as far as I know, isn’t as well known or talked about in comparison to Hydropel – but it should be. It’s called BodyGlide Liquified Powder and it is a very different product than the anti-chafe solid stick. It’s main active ingredient is dimethicone, which is a silicone-based substance that both reduces friction and acts as a moisture barrier. It’s also the main active ingredient of Hydropel. The two other active ingredients in BodyGlide LP are aluminum starch (to minimize greasiness) and a petrolatum base (or petroleum jelly). These just happen to also be the two other main ingredients in Hydropel. Correction: BodyGlide LP does not contain petroleum and is a non-greasy “dry” lubricant.
So, if a 1.6 fl oz tube of BodyGlide Liquified Powder only costs $8 at REI, why then does a 2.0 fl oz tube of Hydropel cost $20? Is the hype driving up the price or is Hydropel, with almost identical ingredients to BodyGlide LP, really a superior product? I guess time will tell…
In a few weeks I will be flying to California to make an ascent of Mt. Whitney, the tallest peak in the contiguous US. During the hike I’m going to do a side by side comparison of these two products by using Hydropel on one foot and BodyGlide LP on the other. My feet will be getting plenty of action over the course of the ascent and descent so I’m curious to see how this turns out. I’ll post the results here afterward.
Have you used Hydropel or BodyGlide Liquified Powder? If so, what has your experience been? Do you have any other foot/blister prevention tips and tricks you’d like to share?
Disclosure: The author owns these products and paid for them using their own funds.