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Reviews > Personal Hygiene > Toiletries > Badger Balm Foot Balm > Test Report by Rick Allnutt

 Badger Foot Balm
Test Series by Rick Allnutt

Initial Report - August 4, 2007

Field Report - November 28, 2007

Badger Foot Balm TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Rick Allnutt
EMAIL: rick@backpackgeartest.org
AGE: 54
LOCATION: Helotes, Texas
GENDER: male
HEIGHT: 6' 0" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 183 lb (83.00 kg)

Over the last several years, I have become an ultralight camper with a three-season base pack weight of about 8 lb (3.5 kg) and skin out weight of 17 lb (8 kg). I have completed many section hikes on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in all four seasons, and many trips to state parks, with a total mileage of about 1360 miles (2200 km). I am a gearhead, a hammock or tarp camper, and I do almost all my hiking in sandals. 

Trail Name: Risk

Risk's Ultralite Hiking Page: www.imrisk.com


INITIAL REPORT
August 4, 2007

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: W.S. Badger Company, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.badgerbalm.com/
MSRP:  US$9.00
Listed Weight: 2 oz (57 g)
Measured Weight (In tin container): 3.0 oz (85 g)

 INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Ever since I listened to an audio blog by the "Barefoot Sisters" about their long distance hiking on the Appalachian Trail - a majority of which they walked barefoot - I have been experimenting with a suggestion they made in the presentation. They highly recommended a foot salve made from half beeswax and half olive oil. I have used such a mixture with my sandal hiking whenever my foot calluses have gotten dry or thick. When I saw the description of this product, I hoped I would have a commercial product meeting all those needs.

I am sometimes concerned with how a product will do in hot summer hiking. Since moving to Texas, I have paid even more attention to problems that heat can cause for a product. For waxy/oily products, I am concerned about them melting and leaking into my pack. So I was interested when I came home and found the package for the foot balm. The box containing the balm had sat on my shaded porch at 95 degrees all day before I found it. The tin containing the product was on edge during this time, and I was pleased to find that the balm did not melt in the tin. It was still flat in the bottom of the tin when I opened the package.

The ingredients of the balm include: Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Castor Oil, Jojoba Oil, Natural Beeswax, and Essential Oils of Rosemary, Organic Peppermint, Organic Balsam Fir, Eucalyptus, Organic Tea Tree & Cardamom. It was that mixture of oils and beeswax that had me very interested in the product. 

The smell of the balm is very mild. It smells faintly of Christmas with the combination of peppermint and balsam fir. When I rubbed some of the balm on my fingers and then onto my feet, the product in the tin seemed a little oily at first, but once I had rubbed it on my skin, the oil was absorbed quickly into my callus and was not bothersome. It softened the feel of my foot callus and made it so that my socks slide across the callus easily instead of catching on rough skin.  

After applying the balm on my feet, I liked the feel of the footbed, but had no sensation of tingle or warmth from the balm. It was pleasant and relaxing to apply the balm.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The instructions say that this balm is for "tired, dry, rough, hard working, hard walking feet. ... this stuff works."   The instructions do say to "rub the balm in."

TRYING IT OUT

I went for a morning 3-mile walk in Fredrich Park near San Antonio, Texas, with my son. Temperature began at about 80 F (27 C) and rose to 88 F (31 C). The trail followed several creeks which were wet from the previous night's thunderstorm. I was wearing sandals with thick wool socks and had rubbed in the foot balm before the hike. I had no problem with the balm irritating my feet or causing any sensitivity. This gives me confidence that the foot balm can be carried as my primary foot treatment while I am hiking over the next couple months.  

SUMMARY

I like the smell of the foot balm much better than my home-made foot treatment. I like the fact that it does not melt easily in Texas heat. So I am very pleased at the prospect of this test. I thank the Badger and BackpackGearTest folks for letting me test the product. Please check back here in a couple months for my Field Report.


FIELD REPORT
November 28, 2007

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Overnight trips:

August 25 - Hill Country State Natural Area, Bandera, Texas.  Altitude about 1000 ft (300 m). The afternoon began at 97 F (36 C) and dropped to 78 F (26 C). It was a humid night with a midnight shower. The following day was cloudy and the temperature rose to 95 F (35 C). With the wet grass, I got my feet soaked as I did my morning walk. I walked 2 mi (3 km) to the camp site and 6 mi (10 km) the following day.

September 15 - Hill Country State Natural Area, Bandera, Texas.  Altitude about 1000 ft (300 m). The sunny afternoon began at 96 F (35 C) and dropped to 74 F (23 C). The night began clear with a bright moon. Later, after the moon set, the stars disappeared behind a layer of high cloud. The next day was partly cloudy and the temperature rose to 95 F (35 C). No one had cut the grass all season, or even used the backcountry site. The grass was nearly as tall as my tent and the song of the bugs rose from the grass as soon as the sun began to go down. This was the height of fire ant season, and I was stung several times, including one memorable incident in the middle of the night when I made a nature call in my bare feet. For this trip, I carried my pack while mountain biking to the campsite, just about croaking in the heat.  The next day, I explored most of the trails in the park on the bike. I wore heavy leather boots while biking in the heat. This resulted in my feet becoming quite wet, and I needed to change socks a couple times to keep the inside of my boots reasonably dry.  

October 13 - Lost Maples State Natural Area, Vanderpool, Texas. Altitude from 1800 - 2200 ft (550 - 670 m). For my one mi (2 km) walk to the camp site, the temperature was 85 F (29 C). The night was super clear and moonless. The temperature dropped to 65 F (18 C) and there was a bit of a breeze flapping the tent around beginning in the wee hours of the night. I carried my pack for 12 mi (20 km) of backpacking the next day. 

November 16 - Government Canyon State Natural Area, Helotes, Texas. Altitude about 1000 ft (300 m). The afternoon temperatures started about 80 F (27 C) and dropped to 50 F (10 C). The night began clear and windy.  The temperature dropped after the sun went down under the clear sky. About the time that I retired into my hammock, clouds were moving in. During the night, the temperature rose as did the humidity. It sprinkled on and off for the second half of the night.  The grass was very wet the next morning and I treated my feet to an all-over coating of the foot balm before setting out on my daytime hike of about 10 mi (16 km). 

Other than the overnight hikes mentioned above, I also used the Badger Foot Balm on about 15 lengthy day hikes across the summer. On some of these hikes I wore leather boots and coated my feet with Foot Balm. On other hikes I wore sandals and only coated the bottom of my feet with the balm.  My wife begged me to rub her feet with the balm more evenings than I can remember, and we both coated the soles of our feet dozens of times while reading and watching the television. 

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Rubbing Badger Foot Balm into the bottom of my feet is a pleasant way to end any day. I have sometimes used other home-grown mixtures of wax and oil on my feet, but the Badger formula smells much better than anything else I have used. It does not burn or tingle my skin. It does seem to help prevent the skin of my feet from becoming waterlogged and blistering. It also works as a lubricant when wearing sandals in preventing blisters. During the entire time that I used the Badger Foot Balm, I did not develop a single blister (a problem I have with shoes) or cracked callus (a problem that sometimes bothers me in sandals). 

I found that I could apply the balm to my feet even when they were sweaty. I often applied some of the balm on the top of my socks when I was treating my bare legs and I found that the foot balm had enough lemongrass oil in the mixture that it seemed to reduce chiggers and ticks even when I used only the Foot Balm (though on most trips I was also using the Badger Anti-Bug Balm).

The balm was physically quite stable in its tin in warm temperatures. It did not melt in air temperatures which reached 100 F (39 C).

I used the Foot Balm several times as an aid to reduce chafing between my legs. In this unadvertised use, it worked well. It was not irritating to sensitive skin, and kept my skin feeling well even when hot.

Though I used the Foot Balm for four months, often with daily applications, I only used up about half of the balm. This is an answer to foot protection that is worthy of carrying on long trails, like the AT, when running out of a critical supply can be a real problem.   

WHAT I REALLY LIKED

The Foot Balm keeps my feet comfortable when hiking in hot and wet weather. It helps my feet to keep smelling reasonable on long hot days in shoes. It goes on sweaty skin and sticks to the skin instead of washing away in sweat. I thank Badger and BackpackGearTest.org for selecting me for this interesting and rewarding test.



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