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zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman



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zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman
PostTue Jul 20, 2021 9:37 pm 
Hi all, over the last couple years I've occasionally developed what I believe is a friction burn on my lower back after a big day in the mountains. It usually happens when I sweat a lot and carry a lot of water. It happened again this past Friday and I had to cancel my weekend plans which is a BIG bummer during the heart of summer as I'm sure you all know.

It has happened both with my Osprey Talon daypack and Salomon Adv Skin running vest when carrying my 3l bladder. But usually doesn't occur with my Osprey Atmos backpacking bag. I suspect this might be because the Atmos bag has an inline frame which mostly prevents the pack from rubbing my back. It also doesn't occur when I use my Salomon vest without my hydration pack.

Here's a photo of what the burn might look like (Cropped to hide my mega-buttcrack)


It doesn't seem like much, but it's usually very tender for about 72 hours after it happens (Especially the evening after an activity). And then the skin becomes hard and the wound fades over the course of about 10 days. I've been having a hard time finding anecdotes on the internet about similar experiences and I've begun to wonder if it's related to me having Psoriasis. Although I do take Skyrizi which is a drug that pretty much prevents all skin reactions. So I'm inclined to doubt that.

I suspect it is occurring because my water bladder presses against my shirt. This normally isn't a big deal, but once my shirt gets saturated with sweat all bets are off (no cotton btw).

So my ask is, has anyone else experienced this? What steps have you taken to mitigate it? Are there running vests/light packs out there I could buy with an internal frame similar to a backpacking bag that separates the pack from your back? It's not just a bad fit is it?

I know I could just hike everywhere with my Atmos pack... but it's so convenient being able to run down a mountain after you've reached the summit. My Salomon vest fits like a dream and lets me carry 3+ liters of water....

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Bosterson
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PostWed Jul 21, 2021 10:06 am 
I have never had that happen or heard of that happening. If you think it's a friction burn, can you adjust the vest so that it doesn't move laterally on your back? (Though thinking of what Salomon Skins look like, they're like a full torso vest, so do they even have that kind of adjustment?) The thing with vests is that they're really light... and a couple liters of water isn't really that heavy in a bladder that is well supported in a well made vest... It's just hard to imagine a small amount of weight like that creating that much friction to cause skin injury.

What kind of shirt material are you wearing? Is it looser fitting or one of those tight neopreney athletic shirts that are all the rage now? You could also try a different brand of vest... I have an Ultimate Direction Mountain Vest and the back material on that series is this very sheer mesh - it seems like it would be weird directly against your skin, but on top of clothing it actually allows the vest to slide very easily, so there's minimal friction.

Also, looking at the pic - it looks like the irritated area is only at the bottom of your back, implying that maybe the vest is riding low or otherwise carrying poorly for you, causing all of its weight or a seam or something to concentrate pressure and friction in that spot. Is your vest too big, so that it doesn't ride high enough on your back? You also said this doesn't happen without the bladder - is the bladder too big for the vest or otherwise causing it to not fit or have a weird shape at the bottom?

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Follow the river until it turns to ice. Follow the ice until it turns to rock. Follow the rock until it turns to sky. Then we will be there.
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Tom
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PostWed Jul 21, 2021 5:07 pm 
I would try body glide assuming it's chafing.  Works well for that.

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Cyclopath
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Cyclopath
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PostThu Jul 22, 2021 1:07 pm 
I would start with Tom's suggestion. In the road cycling world I've heard a lot of people say they didn't need butt butter until they hit some magical age where their skin just won't tolerate it anymore.

Also, when I've broken skin, hydrocortisone works better than anything for me.

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zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman



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zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman
PostThu Jul 22, 2021 2:27 pm 
Thank you everyone for your responses!


Bosterson wrote:
can you adjust the vest so that it doesn't move laterally on your back?

I don't believe so. I was right on the cusp of sizing between L and XL when I purchased it and I opted for an L so it's possible it's just slightly too small for me. But the lacing system in the front makes it really easy to adjust for that by increasing the circumference and connection points of the pack.

Bosterson wrote:
What kind of shirt material are you wearing? Is it looser fitting or one of those tight neopreney athletic shirts that are all the rage now?

I usually bounce between two shirts. The first is a Minimalist Raglan by Pistol Lake which is 76% Polyester, 19% Tencel, and 5% Spandex. I'll be honest, I thought it was a wool/spandex blend until I looked it up just now based on how light it is and how fast it dries.

The second is 4 year old American Eagle Active shirt that isn't for sale anymore unfortunately, and it's my favorite athletic shirt. I've put several thousand miles of sweaty activities into this shirt and it doesn't have a single pill, still has it's form, and hasn't formed any wear spots at all. It's 88% Polyester, 12% Elastane.

I notice that the American Eagle Active shirt protects me more than the Pistol Lake shirt. It is a much thicker weave.  They both fit well though, however they do not fit tightly like you might expect with something like Under Armor.

Bosterson wrote:
is the bladder too big for the vest or otherwise causing it to not fit or have a weird shape at the bottom?

Yes it is, and I think this is the root of the problem. I was getting greedy because I HATE waiting around to filter water or, worse, running out. So I like to carry 1-2 liters more than I really need at any given time.

Tom wrote:
I would try body glide assuming it's chafing.  Works well for that.

Cyclopath wrote:
butt butter

I actually have been applying Chamois Butt'r to that area this year which has appeared to help a little. But it has always seemed to wear off after a few sweaty hours. I tried Body Glide for the first time yesterday and it did seem to stick around a little longer.

I've considered buying Leukotape, but the recent reviews on Amazon have a motif among them about causing severe skin reactions after a day or so of use. And, since I have sensitive skin, I'm pretty paranoid about that likely happening to me as well.

Cyclopath wrote:
Also, when I've broken skin, hydrocortisone works better than anything for me.

I actually have Clobetasol Propionate ointment for when plaque psoriasis spots occasionally pop up and did try using it the time before last I was burned (lol, it happens a lot. I'm planning to talk to my derm next time I see her). I, anecdotally thought it was improving the recovery rate. However, I decided to search Google Scholar for "corticosteroid burn" and other queries trying to find some studies on whether or not it's safe and recommended and I remember reading it can actually slow the recovery period by interfering with some sort of process.

I believe this is the article in question and that the full text was online as recently as two weeks ago, but I can't see it anymore.

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I did some experimenting yesterday before hitting Snoqualmie Mountain and decided to only carry 1l back there. And while I did still feel irritation, I think it was mostly because the skin wasn't fully healed yet from last Friday.

The first two photos here are demonstrating the vest carrying 3l and the second two are carrying 1l. Please ignore the earlobe hair. I guess 28 isn't as young as I thought it would be.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/MRVorY3hWNd93yUd6

To me, the way it fits on my body doesn't really appear to be much different. It does make it fit tighter when carrying 3l, of course, but mostly around my chest. In fact, when in a standing position, the vest does not actually make contact with the spot on my back that gets burned. Regardless of whether or not I'm carrying 3 liters or no bladder at all.

BUT, I think I might have an idea what the problem is. You know how there's usually a clip in your pack for the top of your bladder to keep it from crumpling down inside as it empties? I suspect Salomon wants you to hang their 1.5l bladder from the one included in the vest as well. And, while I can successfully fit a 3l bladder in the vest, it likely reaches further down towards the bottom of the pack than it would otherwise. So when it is full of water, it protrudes out of the bottom of the pack instead of into my upper lumbar area. Then when my shirt gets wet, and the bottom of the extra-long bladder rubs it, it slowly burns the skin.

I've purchased a 1.5l hydrapak so we'll see if that changes thing. I really want to get this solved because I'm off work for a MONTH after tomorrow and am going to be hiking every day I can.

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Cyclopath
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PostThu Jul 22, 2021 4:49 pm 
All of my favorite clothes are things I got on clearance because they were discontinued, I realized how awesome they are, and now I can't get another one.  You have that curse too, huh?

zimmertr, Malachai Constant
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Malachai Constant
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Malachai Constant
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PostThu Jul 22, 2021 6:48 pm 
Happened to us we got some high top trail running shoes by Montrail at a Bolder Boulder sale for $20. Loved them as light hiking shoes got more at Nordstromís Rack for a bit more. Next thing Columbia bought Montrail and stopped making them. mad.gif

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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