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Best ways to avoid it? mine only lasted 8 months
Mine usually last five or six years with 24/7 packing (my current one has been in service for one year, seven months and has one tiny pinhole between the shaft and the balls).
Here's what I do:
1) Wash it daily, with just a dab of soap. Don't use antibacterial, it makes the packer reek. I use a men's body wash because it's easy to handle, doesn't make the packer smell flowery, and doesn't irritate my skin, but anything you like that's not antibacterial will work.
2) Once it's washed, dab it completely dry with a clean hand towel. An older towel that's a little nobbly is best. That way it won't leave any fuzz.
3) Put a few teaspoons of cornstarch in a zip top bag and drop the dry packer in with it. Seal the bag and shake.
4) With dry hands, remove the packer from the bag and knock off any excess cornstarch. You may keep what's left in the bag to reuse on future days.
You should now have a clean, very lightly dusted packer that's no longer sticky. If it's sticky, you need more cornstarch. If it looks like it's been rolled in flour, you've got too much on. What you want is just enough cornstarch for the surface of the packer to be smooth, and not an iota more. You'll know when you have it right because the packer will feel skin-like in your hand, and no cornstarch will come off on your fingers if you touch it. It takes a little practice to get it perfect, but it's not hard.
Now for the other part of the equation... part of it depends on how you pack. If you pack with a harness, the packer is going to take a beating wherever the harness strap comes into contact with the packer. Packing in jeans without underwear will do the same thing (the inner crotch seam of the denim will absolutely chew the packer to pieces, over time). Doesn't mean you can't pack that way, but you will go through packers more quickly than if you use other ways.
There are a couple different ways to pack which will extend the life of your packer. Packing "loose" in briefs, boxer briefs or tight trunks are all good options. Basically, the more your underwear can hold the packer close against your body, the less the packer will move around, and the less it moves around, the less it gets torn up via friction.
Another option is to spend a little extra and buy underwear that has a "pocket" inside the front to hold your packer (these are designed for cis men to put their package in, which some men find more comfortable because it prevents chafing). There are several brands that offer these (Andrew Christian's "Show It" line is one, if you want to see what a useable pocket looks like), and that's my own personal solution. Be careful when you're looking for these options that you know what you're purchasing... many brands claim to have a pocket when what you actually get is a little extra fabric up front, which may or may not work in terms of holding the packer securely.
You can also sew your own pocket into the inside of any underwear you like (which would give you the option of boxers), but I'm happy with the ones I buy, because they're higher quality than anything I could afford to modify on my own.
I'm not saying any of these are "the best" way to pack, btw - the best way is whatever works for you. But these are a few things you could do that will dramatically extend the life of your packer.