How To Avoid Chilblains When Camping In Winter

How To Avoid Chilblains When Camping In Winter

Anyone who has ever experienced the discomfort of chilblains will be keen to avoid a repeat of them. Chilblains may be felt as an intense itching or burning sensation, and while they are usually quick to heal, there can be complications such as blistering or infection. With that in mind, here’s some tips to lower your risk of chilblains when you’re out winter camping.

Protect Your Feet

Keeping your feet warm and dry will go a long way towards preventing chilblains. First, ensure there are limited opportunities for wet to get into your footwear; gaiters are often a popular choice for campers. Wear more than one pair of socks, but only if it won’t restrict circulation or cause friction between your shoes/boots. And:

  • Take enough spare pairs of socks so if your socks get wet, you can change straightaway.
  • Choose non-synthetic socks consisting mainly of natural fibres like alpaca or merino for additional warmth.
  • Store wet/damp socks away from dry ones.

Ahead of your trip prepare your feet as best you can.  Using a warming foot balm, like Gehwol’s red foot balm, to aid the circulation can be helpful, and creams can help reduce friction, too. Or try massage to get the blood flowing to your limbs.

Dress Warmly

Preventing chilblains isn’t just about what you put on your feet: it’s about keeping your body warm all over. You’ll have heard this advice many times before, but layering really is the most effective way of staying cozy in the cold weather. For base layers, pick naturally warm, insulating materials, then a middle layer, and finally, an outer or shell layer that is both warm and practical.

The addition of a hat will assist in retaining your body heat. However, don’t neglect other clothing accessories. A good pair of gloves will keep your hands and  maintain dexterity. While a scarf can trap heat around your neck and upper body area.

Stack Up With Hot Meals

Keeping filled up with a steady supply of hot meals and drinks will warm your body all over, including your extremities. For foods that are believed to improve circulation, try spicy foods and herbs like cayenne, garlic and ginger. Fruits are also a good idea, especially ones that are rich in vitamins C

Keep a steady flow of hot drinks available to warm your hands against, but avoid extremes of temperatures. For drinks, staples like coffee and tea are ideal.  According to research, the caffeine in coffee and tea can increase blood flow, however, don't drink excessive amounts. Other ideas for hot drinks include fruit teas for their vitamin C content and spicy packet soups.

Pump Up Your Circulation

Do what you can do to pep up your circulation ahead of your camping trip. Exercise is one of the most obvious solutions but there are plenty more steps you can take. For instance, you can improve your diet by eating less fatty foods, and eating foods that are rich in vitamin E, which you’ll find in olive oil, nuts and seeds. And if you smoke, consider at least cutting down.

Choose Natural Materials For Better Insulation

Without a doubt, clothing made from natural materials will often give a better level of insulation. There are several materials you can choose from; however, merino and alpaca are among campers’ favorites. Specifically, alpaca is known for its superior levels of insulation, and its wicking capabilities will keep your body dry.

Keep On Moving

Whenever we’re in one position for too long, our circulation often becomes sluggish, leading to cold hands and feet. Cold limbs can also cause uncomfortable cramps. However, there is one simple solution to both these problems: Keep moving. Whether it’s a walk around the campsite, or some other form of light exercise, when you move around, you’ll boost circulation and hopefully lessen your chances of chilblains.


Chilblains are something you want to avoid and there are several steps you can take to limit your chances of developing them. Ensuring your feet are kept warm and dry, keeping your body filled with warm food and drink, and keeping on moving are just some of the things that you can do. However, don’t forget the role that dressing right plays, and always wear multiple layers made from natural fibers for added insulation.

Woop! Wear specializes in the sale of alpaca activewear clothing for outdoors lovers. To find out more about our range, to order an item, or to ask us a question, visit the Woop! Wear website today

Image: Photo by andrew welch on Unsplash