First aid

How to Prevent Chafing at Camp

With all of the first aid information in the various Cub Scout and Boy Scout handbooks, I never come across much information about the one problem we see most frequently at summer camp. I am, of course, talking about chafing.

Here in the hot, humid Midwest, most leaders know that when they see a boy walking around camp with a funny gait, that a chafing problem has developed. Many young men are uncomfortable discussing the problem with a leader, so I always recommend that parents discuss prevention and treatment with their sons before they go to camp.

Prevention and Treatment of Chafing


Clothes which don’t fit correctly rub against your skin.

Dampness due to sweating or damp clothing exacerbates the problem.


Don’t spend the entire day in a damp swimsuit.

Change to dry clothes when the aquatics activities are over.

Wear some properly fitted boxer briefs.


Apply cornstarch or baby powder to the affected areas.

There are also commercial products which come in a stick form which can be applied.

A thin layer of petroleum jelly applied to the effected area can also help.

11 Responses to How to Prevent Chafing at Camp

  1. Marie July 3, 2010 at 8:50 AM #

    Since chaffing or gaulding is actually a fungus, one of the best preventives and treatments is washing the area really well with an anti-bacterial soap such as Dial.

  2. D Baker July 3, 2010 at 9:43 AM #

    Gold bond powder also works very well.

  3. Irene July 3, 2010 at 10:38 AM #

    Dry clothes and powder are good preventive measures. Vaseline Intensive care is a great overnight remedy.

  4. j webelo May 19, 2011 at 12:36 PM #

    What i figured out work well is Boudreaux’s Butt Paste it is a diaper rash cream and works great. Put it on thick and it will ease the pain and heal fast

  5. nnobles June 5, 2011 at 2:45 PM #

    If using Gold Bond make sure it is NOT the foot powder it will course an uncomfortable burning sensation.

    Desitin or Boudreaux’s Butt Paste are great but I would put it in a small “to go” container so that the scout doesn’t get made fun of and so that if it is lost it is no big deal.

    We keep both baby powder and Desitin in our pack first aid kit. It is one of the most used things in the kit.

  6. Dee Schartiger June 5, 2011 at 2:46 PM #

    We found a great powder that works wonders – it is called Monkey Butt Powder -sold here in Walmart, Our Camp medic has some in the med lodge to use!

  7. lela Hayward January 12, 2012 at 10:56 AM #

    When I was a girl back in Kansas, my mother would put a piece of alum in the men’s pocket to keep them dry and safe from gaulding. Does anyone have information on this subject???

    • cathy January 15, 2014 at 10:09 PM #

      yes it does work

    • Tammy March 24, 2014 at 12:37 AM #

      i just read that u can actually put it on the infected area too and it works

  8. Lou February 18, 2013 at 2:25 PM #

    I took several Webelos to camp one summer and they all had chafing. Our camp medic gave me Benedryl for them and it worked. I asked about the drowsiness and the medic said they are so busy they won’t even notice it and it worked within 30 minutes.

  9. Ellen March 22, 2015 at 9:12 PM #

    As an overweight person, I found that a roll-on antiperspirant applied to the probable affected area (usually the thighs) prevents chafing altogether. And almost everyone has antiperspirant in their backpacks. Try it!

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