How to Hike in the Heat

Summer is here! And though it welcomes in all sorts of exciting outdoor activities, it also means higher temperatures which, if not prepared for, can wreak havoc on our bodies. Don’t worry though, we’ve got you covered. Proper preparation for exerting yourself in the heat should never be overlooked, so we’ve gathered the most effective techniques to make sure you have a great time AND stay healthy.

How to Dress for Hiking in the Heat

Don’t know how to dress for hiking in the heat? No problem! It’s easy to put together a hiking outfit for hot weather.

You want to aim for lightweight, clothing that’s made of moisture-wicking fabric. This allows for better air circulation and for your body to keep its temperature regulated. Bring a sun hat along to shade your head, ears, and neck. Keep in mind that dark colors attract heat and, unless you want to feel like you’re baking from the inside out, you should stick to lighter colors. If you are extra-sensitive to the sun, you should also consider fabrics that are UPF rated.

Sunglasses are another functional accessory to add to your hiking outfit for hot weather. Your eyes need protection from the sun just like the rest of your body, and skimping on the glasses can lead to eye damage in the future.

How to Choose the Right Gear for High Temps

Advancements in athletic technology have led to hiking gear that is lighter in weight, longer lasting, and more durable to help you stay comfortable through your hike.

Check out this list for hiking gear for hot weather:

  • Lightweight backpack
  • Hydration pack
  • Breathable, comfortable shoes
  • An Ice pack wrapped in a washcloth to keep cool

You’d be surprised at how far these items have come. Ice packs can now stay cool for hours on end, hydration packs come stock in some backpacks and can be folded up when empty to save space, and oh boy, the shoes. You can find shoes made out of extremely breathable material that still provides major protection. The right gear can not only make your hike easier, it can keep you safe.

How to Stay Hydrated In the Heat

If you know in advance that you are going hiking the following day and that it will be hot, it is best to start hydrating as soon as possible. Drinking water the day before gives your body a better chance at avoiding dehydration the next day.

The day of, drink plenty of water leading up to your hike, and make sure you have plenty of water packed, as you head out the door. There are a number of water reservoirs and bottles now on the market that will keep your water cool for over 12 hours. Remember to sip on your water throughout the hike. It’s better to drink it throughout the day instead of drinking it all at once.

Use Sunscreen

Sunscreen is crucial! Apply it before your hike and don’t forget to reapply it every 2 hours. Keep in mind that some sunscreens even advise you apply it more often. If you skip on the sunscreen, you risk not only the obvious burn, you risk sun poisoning.

Become Acquainted with the Hottest Times of the Day

It’s wise to know when the day is at its hottest as this can be the perfect time to schedule a break in the shade and rehydrate. As a general rule of thumb – it will be anywhere from 11 am to 3 pm. You can find more specific times for your area by checking a weather app.

Know the Warning Signs of Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion occurs when your body can’t cope with the heat. The signs to look for are as follows:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Increase in pulse
  • Feeling faint
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Feeling extremely fatigued
  • Nausea and/or headaches

If you, or someone with you, are experiencing any symptoms, it’s important to rest in the shade immediately.

Hiking during the summer is an amazing experience. Armed with the right tips, there’s isn’t much reason the heat should stop you. Just stay in the shade, stay hydrated, and be aware of how your body is responding. Other than that, enjoy the views and take some pictures!