Hydropel vs. BodyGlide Liquified Powder

Hydropel vs. BodyGlide Liquified Powder

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.

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  • JJ_Mathes

    I’m not prone to getting blisters, I don’t know if it’s luck or I’m doing something right. So, I haven’t had the need to try Hydropel and at $18-20 per tube…mmmm not sure I would, and I wasn’t aware of the BodyGlide liquid powder. I have a friend that swears by petroleum jelly, store brand $2 or less, she never gets blisters either. 

    Last summer when I hiked from MA south to WV I hiked for 12 days in 97+ degree temps, my feet became extra hot and sweaty. So, every morning I applied stick deodorant to the heels, toes and bottoms and had no problems with blisters or hot spots…and no stinky socks and shoes…a bonus. 

    The expensive and/or name brand products may work for a lot of people, but with my experience less may be just as effective. The key is to experiment and see what works for you.

    BTW great thread.

  • JERMM

    I’m not prone to getting blisters, I don’t know if it’s luck or I’m doing something right. So, I haven’t had the need to try Hydropel and at $18-20 per tube…mmmm not sure I would, and I wasn’t aware of the BodyGlide liquid powder. I have a friend that swears by petroleum jelly, store brand $2 or less, she never gets blisters either. 

    Last summer when I hiked from MA south to WV I hiked for 12 days in 97+ degree temps, my feet became extra hot and sweaty. So, every morning I applied stick deodorant to the heels, toes and bottoms and had no problems with blisters or hot spots…and no stinky socks and shoes…a bonus. 

    The expensive and/or name brand products may work for a lot of people, but with my experience less may be just as effective. The key is to experiment and see what works for you.

    BTW great thread.

  • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

    Thanks JJ. I’m inclined to agree with you. A recent chat with Philip Werner (Sectionhiker) more or less confirmed what you’ve said. Some years ago he had written a post about Hydropel and how he was a convert (Hydropel: Move over Moleskin), but just this past week he’d said in a FB thread that Hydropel was definitely overrated and overpriced, adding that zinc oxide was just as good.

    I had some BodyGlide Liquified Powder from a present some time ago and have always been happy with the results – no blisters on any long hikes! But for some reason the debate does not want to go away. I figured my upcoming trip to Mt. Whitney would be a great way to test the two products side by side (even though I had to suck it up and buy some Hydropel to do it). I think I know what the outcome will be, but look forward to conducting the test :-)

    • mayhemchoas .

      (Body glide liquid)There Product changed recently so good luck out there. It sucks now!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Thanks JJ. I’m inclined to agree with you. A recent chat with Philip Werner (Sectionhiker) more or less confirmed what you’ve said. Some years ago he had written a post about Hydropel and how he was a convert (Hydropel: Move over Moleskin), but just this past week he’d said in a FB thread that Hydropel was definitely overrated and overpriced, adding that zinc oxide was just as good.

    I had some BodyGlide Liquified Powder from a present some time ago and have always been happy with the results – no blisters on any long hikes! But for some reason the debate does not want to go away. I figured my upcoming trip to Mt. Whitney would be a great way to test the two products side by side (even though I had to suck it up and buy some Hydropel to do it). I think I know what the outcome will be, but look forward to conducting the test :-)

  • James Conley

    Ex-Officio undershots did the trick for me for a particularly tricky spot.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      James, well done on discretely moving off of the foot topic to a more personal one. But I hear you and will check them out as we all have an issue with what you are describing. Thanks for the feedback :-)

  • James Conley

    Ex-Officio undershots did the trick for me for a particularly tricky spot.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    James, well done on discretely moving off of the foot topic to a more personal one. But I hear you and will check them out as we all have an issue with what you are describing. Thanks for the feedback :-)

  • baby giraffe

    FYI the BodyGlide Liquified Powder also comes in a package of 9 individual 4ml (0.135 fl oz) individual use packets for around $8. This would save weight over the tube but, of course, you could also make your own packets.

  • baby giraffe

    FYI the BodyGlide Liquified Powder also comes in a package of 9 individual 4ml (0.135 fl oz) individual use packets for around $8. This would save weight over the tube but, of course, you could also make your own packets.

  • outdoor experience review

    Can’t wait to hear your results….my hubby and I are going to hike a 14er next year and are starting our training.  I’m anxious to see which product you liked best for our future climb!  We’re flatlanders so any advice on climbing is much appreciated! 

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I don’t mean to be a spoiler for the updated post, but they both worked perfectly. I’d recommend buying the BodyGlide as it’s a fraction of the cost. I’ll post more details soon.

      Regarding advice for climbing, I had a terrible time with altitude sickness, and in the end had to give up the summit attempt 1,000ft short. Read up on acclimatization and plan extra days if necessary – the hard part is not knowing who it will effect. I’m a very active person and it kicked my butt!

      • outdoor experience review

        We’ve been out to Colorado several times.  I’ve had AMS a few times.  The last time we were on Trail Ridge road and I ended up seeing stars and getting tunnel vision so we stopped hiking and went back!  I’m hoping to spend a week out there and get well acclimated before we get to high!!  If I don’t make it, I’ll just have an excuse to go again! haha!

  • outdoor experience review

    Can’t wait to hear your results….my hubby and I are going to hike a 14er next year and are starting our training.  I’m anxious to see which product you liked best for our future climb!  We’re flatlanders so any advice on climbing is much appreciated! 

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I don’t mean to be a spoiler for the updated post, but they both worked perfectly. I’d recommend buying the BodyGlide as it’s a fraction of the cost. I’ll post more details soon.

    Regarding advice for climbing, I had a terrible time with altitude sickness, and in the end had to give up the summit attempt 1,000ft short. Read up on acclimatization and plan extra days if necessary – the hard part is not knowing who it will effect. I’m a very active person and it kicked my butt!

  • mountainsnow

    Thanks for the early beta. We are leaving for a multi day trip next weekend with several trail days, and hopefully a summit of Mt Whitney. It will be my first! I am very blister prone and wondered which one was better. I picked up the Body Glide at REI as I have not been able to find the Hydropel, so you have helped in my decision to keep it. 

    RE the AMS, we were very concerned about it (live at 200 ft rarely hike above 7k-8k) so we have obtained Diamox and also plan to spend several days at 10k-11k before going up to 14k. We are in our early-mid 60’s, so don’t have the stamina of you youngsters to do it in a day or two. We will be conservative and see how it goes.

    AMS can strike anyone no matter how conditioned and it is unpredictable who is affected. Sounds like you made the right decision. We have a friend who developed HAPE in Nepal and was airlifted out. He almost died.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I was getting really bad there toward 13,500ft in elevation. We only had one night at 10,000ft and it wasn’t enough for me. It was a really hard decision to make after traveling so far and getting so close, but the symptoms were VERY real and it could have been fatal to keep going.

      It will be there when I next make an attempt. At least this time I’ll know what to expect. Take your time, enjoy the magnificent scenery and be safe!!!

    • outdoor experience reveiw

      Your an inspiration!!  My husband and I are 42 and 38 and are starting to feel the “effects” of aging! It’s good to know that there are people out there in their mid 60s still going at the hiking and climbing!!  Thanks!! 

  • mountainsnow

    Thanks for the early beta. We are leaving for a multi day trip next weekend with several trail days, and hopefully a summit of Mt Whitney. It will be my first! I am very blister prone and wondered which one was better. I picked up the Body Glide at REI as I have not been able to find the Hydropel, so you have helped in my decision to keep it. 

    RE the AMS, we were very concerned about it (live at 200 ft rarely hike above 7k-8k) so we have obtained Diamox and also plan to spend several days at 10k-11k before going up to 14k. We are in our early-mid 60’s, so don’t have the stamina of you youngsters to do it in a day or two. We will be conservative and see how it goes.

    AMS can strike anyone no matter how conditioned and it is unpredictable who is affected. Sounds like you made the right decision. We have a friend who developed HAPE in Nepal and was airlifted out. He almost died.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I was getting really bad there toward 13,500ft in elevation. We only had one night at 10,000ft and it wasn’t enough for me. It was a really hard decision to make after traveling so far and getting so close, but the symptoms were VERY real and it could have been fatal to keep going.

    It will be there when I next make an attempt. At least this time I’ll know what to expect. Take your time, enjoy the magnificent scenery and be safe!!!

  • outdoor experience review

    We’ve been out to Colorado several times.  I’ve had AMS a few times.  The last time we were on Trail Ridge road and I ended up seeing stars and getting tunnel vision so we stopped hiking and went back!  I’m hoping to spend a week out there and get well acclimated before we get to high!!  If I don’t make it, I’ll just have an excuse to go again! haha!

  • outdoor experience reveiw

    Your an inspiration!!  My husband and I are 42 and 38 and are starting to feel the “effects” of aging! It’s good to know that there are people out there in their mid 60s still going at the hiking and climbing!!  Thanks!! 

  • mountain snow

    Thanks, but I don’t feel very inspirational. I am slower than I was 30-40 years ago, but I do love to hike and be in the outdoors. The trick is to keep moving. I really appreciate Brian’s Blog, which has inspired me to start reducing the weight I am carrying. His tips and information have been great and I am using several for our trip. I still need to get rid of the old school heavy backpack, maybe next year…

    While topping out on Whitney is a desire, just being in the Southern Sierras will be wonderful. The beautiful granite next to bubbling streams reflecting in the sun, wildflowers and animals to see and name, clouds to gaze at, the quiet to savor, the milky way at night, it is all magical for me. It takes me to a state of being that is light and carefree, with the responsibilities of daily life shed for a while.

    There is a saying that “The mountains will always be there,
    the trick is to make sure you are too.”  Brian has the right attitude for the long haul.  I look forward to reading Brian’s full trip report and learning more.

  • mountain snow

    Thanks, but I don’t feel very inspirational. I am slower than I was 30-40 years ago, but I do love to hike and be in the outdoors. The trick is to keep moving. I really appreciate Brian’s Blog, which has inspired me to start reducing the weight I am carrying. His tips and information have been great and I am using several for our trip. I still need to get rid of the old school heavy backpack, maybe next year…

    While topping out on Whitney is a desire, just being in the Southern Sierras will be wonderful. The beautiful granite next to bubbling streams reflecting in the sun, wildflowers and animals to see and name, clouds to gaze at, the quiet to savor, the milky way at night, it is all magical for me. It takes me to a state of being that is light and carefree, with the responsibilities of daily life shed for a while.

    There is a saying that “The mountains will always be there,
    the trick is to make sure you are too.”  Brian has the right attitude for the long haul.  I look forward to reading Brian’s full trip report and learning more.

  • Pmsrefugee

    i have done Whitney 3 times and have always done it in 3 days. I stay at the lake at the base of the 100 switchbacks on night 1. Day 2 I dayhike to summit and back to camp. Day 3 I hike out. much easier and helps getting acclimated too. Try to stay at the trailhead camp at Whitney Portal the first night to help with altitude too. Don’t forget you can get to Whitney the back way from Cottonwood Lakes which gives you a better chance of getting a permit into the Whitney Zone. The back way takes longer but is far less crowded and much more beautiful IMHO. 

    • mountain snow

      Since this is the BodyGlide LP thread, I will preface my story by saying I took some along, but was too chicken to try it and relied on good ol’ moleskin for blister prevention. I will try it on some local hikes where the consequences of blisters are not so great and report back.

      Regarding Mt Whitney, we went in via Horseshoe Meadows and Cottonwood Lakes trail. We spent two nights at South Fork Lake (around 11k) to acclimate and only had mild headaches for a couple of days which were relieved by ibuprofen. We camped for several nights at 10k to 11k so by the time we camped above Guitar Lake tarns we were well acclimated. Most of our issues were weather related, we were snowed on several times and had several cold thunderstorms. From above the tarns we broke trail in snow to the junction with MMWT, then hiked on snow to the summit and most of the way down to Trail Camp. We left the summit just ahead of another snow storm and it snowed on us most of the way down. The trail from Trail Crest on down was snow and ice, and footing was dicy. People behind us had to turn around and didn’t summit because of the weather. This was in mid September while still officially summer! I am really grateful we made it. We came prepared for the weather knowing it was more like a fall trip. So packs were heavy with full rain gear, extra warm clothes and food for 8 days, etc. The only item I wish I had taken was microspikes for the trip down. 
      We learned on this trip that we tolerate going up to 10k to 11k in a short time period, but we also took it easy on days 1 and 2.  We took Diamox along, but didn’t use it. We don’t know if we can push it to 14.5K in a couple of days, because it wasn’t that kind of trip. Others may react differently. AMS and the more serious HAPE and HACE do not discriminate based on age or conditioning. A few have the physiology to adapt quickly, and many do not. And some folks have found that a trip they tolerated one time with no AMS is not the same the next time. Some have postulated that susceptibility to AMS is influenced by dehydration, prior fatigue, lack of sleep, lack of food, etc. It is a very serious complication of going to altitude. In the last couple of weeks one person died on the MMWT due to HACE, and another was airlifted out, final status unknown. The Inyo Register has a recent article on all the SAR activity around Mt. Whitney and it is sobering. Anyone who attempts Mt Whitney should know the symptoms  and be watchful for both themselves and their hiking companions so that a trip can be terminated if necessary.

      It sounds like you have found the sweet spot for your trips and have been very successful. Congratulations on three summits, that is a great accomplishment. We want to come back next year with hopefully better weather. I am thinking about coming in from Onion Valley trailhead and heading south on the JMT with an exit to Whitney Portal. Maybe even a sunrise summit. The west side approach is definitely quieter and very beautiful, but someday I will try the east side approach from Whitney Portal. 

  • mountain snow

    Since this is the BodyGlide LP thread, I will preface my story by saying I took some along, but was too chicken to try it and relied on good ol’ moleskin for blister prevention. I will try it on some local hikes where the consequences of blisters are not so great and report back.

    Regarding Mt Whitney, we went in via Horseshoe Meadows and Cottonwood Lakes trail. We spent two nights at South Fork Lake (around 11k) to acclimate and only had mild headaches for a couple of days which were relieved by ibuprofen. We camped for several nights at 10k to 11k so by the time we camped above Guitar Lake tarns we were well acclimated. Most of our issues were weather related, we were snowed on several times and had several cold thunderstorms. From above the tarns we broke trail in snow to the junction with MMWT, then hiked on snow to the summit and most of the way down to Trail Camp. We left the summit just ahead of another snow storm and it snowed on us most of the way down. The trail from Trail Crest on down was snow and ice, and footing was dicy. People behind us had to turn around and didn’t summit because of the weather. This was in mid September while still officially summer! I am really grateful we made it. We came prepared for the weather knowing it was more like a fall trip. So packs were heavy with full rain gear, extra warm clothes and food for 8 days, etc. The only item I wish I had taken was microspikes for the trip down. 
    We learned on this trip that we tolerate going up to 10k to 11k in a short time period, but we also took it easy on days 1 and 2.  We took Diamox along, but didn’t use it. We don’t know if we can push it to 14.5K in a couple of days, because it wasn’t that kind of trip. Others may react differently. AMS and the more serious HAPE and HACE do not discriminate based on age or conditioning. A few have the physiology to adapt quickly, and many do not. And some folks have found that a trip they tolerated one time with no AMS is not the same the next time. Some have postulated that susceptibility to AMS is influenced by dehydration, prior fatigue, lack of sleep, lack of food, etc. It is a very serious complication of going to altitude. In the last couple of weeks one person died on the MMWT due to HACE, and another was airlifted out, final status unknown. The Inyo Register has a recent article on all the SAR activity around Mt. Whitney and it is sobering. Anyone who attempts Mt Whitney should know the symptoms  and be watchful for both themselves and their hiking companions so that a trip can be terminated if necessary.

    It sounds like you have found the sweet spot for your trips and have been very successful. Congratulations on three summits, that is a great accomplishment. We want to come back next year with hopefully better weather. I am thinking about coming in from Onion Valley trailhead and heading south on the JMT with an exit to Whitney Portal. Maybe even a sunrise summit. The west side approach is definitely quieter and very beautiful, but someday I will try the east side approach from Whitney Portal. 

  • Kathryn

    Brian- Thank you for bringing up our product! You’re right- it is not talked about or as well known as we wish! The stick balm can be used on your feet to help prevent the chafing and blisters but the Liquified Powder is much easier to get in between your toes! We wanted to clarify something- our product does not contain any petroleum! It is a “dry lubricant” containing talc.  Goes on like a cream but dries almost instantly into a barrier against friction and rubbing.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Wow, thanks Kathryn for keeping me honest. I swear I went over the inactive ingredients with a fine tooth comb several times, so I have no idea how I screwed up so badly.

      It even says right on the front of the tube “non greasy”. I apologize for the incorrect information being stated and will update the blog post above accordingly. On the upside, it’s great to see that you found my blog post.

      This also reminds me that I need to write a long-overdue update of my account using BodyGlide LP against Hydropel during my trip to Mt. Whitney. Can you guess what the results were?

  • Kathryn

    Brian- Thank you for bringing up our product! You’re right- it is not talked about or as well known as we wish! The stick balm can be used on your feet to help prevent the chafing and blisters but the Liquified Powder is much easier to get in between your toes! We wanted to clarify something- our product does not contain any petroleum! It is a “dry lubricant” containing talc.  Goes on like a cream but dries almost instantly into a barrier against friction and rubbing.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Wow, thanks Kathryn for keeping me honest. I swear I went over the inactive ingredients with a fine tooth comb several times, so I have no idea how I screwed up so badly.

    It even says right on the front of the tube “non greasy”. I apologize for the incorrect information being stated and will update the blog post above accordingly. On the upside, it’s great to see that you found my blog post.

    This also reminds me that I need to write a long-overdue update of my account using BodyGlide LP against Hydropel during my trip to Mt. Whitney. Can you guess what the results were?

  • Sandy

    Been running 100-milers for 6 years now and have never gotten a blister if I use good ole Desitin on my feet.  Try the original paste.  Works after running through streams, hours of rain, or hot temperatures.  And it’s a lot cheaper and easier to find.  Also brings back the memories of changing diapers!

  • Sandy

    Been running 100-milers for 6 years now and have never gotten a blister if I use good ole Desitin on my feet.  Try the original paste.  Works after running through streams, hours of rain, or hot temperatures.  And it’s a lot cheaper and easier to find.  Also brings back the memories of changing diapers!

  • http://www.hiking-blogs.net/ Hiking-Blogs

    So what was the outcome of your side by side comparison? I remember you getting altitude sickness, but were you able to conclude anything about the merits of Hydopel vs BodyGlide?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      It was recently brought to my attention that I did not report back on the results of my ‘Hydropel vs. BodyGlide Blister Challenge’ post from Aug 2011, just prior to my trip to Mt. Whitney – shout out and thanks to ‘dkramalc’ on the BPL forums for keeping me honest. Hydropel vs. BodyGlide LP | The Results!

  • http://www.hiking-blogs.net/ Hiking-Blogs

    So what was the outcome of your side by side comparison? I remember you getting altitude sickness, but were you able to conclude anything about the merits of Hydopel vs BodyGlide?

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    It was recently brought to my attention that I did not report back on the results of my ‘Hydropel vs. BodyGlide Blister Challenge’ post from Aug 2011, just prior to my trip to Mt. Whitney – shout out and thanks to ‘dkramalc’ on the BPL forums for keeping me honest. Hydropel vs. BodyGlide LP | The Results!

  • Cruzaussies

    What is the ingredients in the body glide liquid powder? Does it have perfume?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I don’t have it handy right now, did you try Googling it or looking at the links in the main blog post? As far as my nose tells me, there are no major perfumes used – it’s kinda bland.

  • Cruzaussies

    What is the ingredients in the body glide liquid powder? Does it have perfume?

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I don’t have it handy right now, did you try Googling it or looking at the links in the main blog post? As far as my nose tells me, there are no major perfumes used – it’s kinda bland.

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  • Mayhem

    Body Glide changed their formula recently & I for one think it sucks! It used to be great but now I will no longer buy that Crap!