Planning on hiking in the hot weather? Don't forget to stay safe! It's been a hotter September than usual in many areas, so it's easy to forget to stay safe (and cool!) Summer can be the best time to go hiking, but you have to be smart.
Follow these 10 tips for better hot weather hiking! Casey at ModernHiker put together the first 9 tips, but I added one of my own that I think you can't forget!
1. Start Early
The longer you wait, the hotter it gets! It's hottest between 11AM and 2PM; if you're past most of your elevation gain by that point, you'll have a better time.
2. Cover up exposed skin!
Long sleeves are your friend: loose-fitting clothes that cover your skin will actually keep you cooler and save you from sunburn. Remember to shield your eyes with some UV-blocking sunglasses and slather that sunscreen on every exposed part of your body. A wide brimmed hat can't hurt, either. The sun will be stronger in higher elevations and you'll burn faster--especially because you'll sweat any sunscreen off!
Bring more water than you think you need; you'll be losing almost 2L of water an hour if it's hot. Sip often, don't chug, because chugging can do the body more harm than good. If you feel thirsty, you're already dehydrated.
4. Stay Salty
Don't just drink water, but also try to rebalance your electrolytes. You'll need to replenish your sodium and potassium so you don't run out of energy. Complex carbs will do wonders for your stomach nd give you a longer energy boost than simply sugars. Trail mixes or GORP is great for this – and even better when paired with a starchy fruit like an apple. Alternatively, electrolyte mixes or tabs can do the trick.
5. Remember to Rest
Sit down and let your body relax. Let your sweat evaporate and your body cool down before continuing. It's not a marathon!
6. Don’t Forget the Extras
When hiking in hot weather, bring two pairs of socks. Your feet will sweat more than usual; so when you feel them getting damp, switch socks and tie your first pair to the outside of your bag to dry.
7. Know the Signs of Heat Stroke
This is WORST CASE SCENARIO but be prepared!
Yes. When your core body temperature gets too high, you run the risk of suffering from heat stroke – a potentially lethal condition.
The most common early signs are:
- Throbbing headache
- Muscle cramps
- Disorientation or confusion
- Lack of sweating, despite hot temperatures
If you or your hiking buddies experience this, sit down and cool down IMMEDIATELY! Plan to get off the trail and call 911 if necessary.
8. Check the Weather
High temperatures in humid areas can trigger sudden monsoons, so make sure to fully check the weather before heading out.
9. Pick the Right Trail
Check out a trail's SHADE, WATER and ELEVATION when choosing your hike, or you'll regret it no matter how much water you drink!
#10 (bonus tip from me!) Bring Bug Spray!
Bugs love a sweaty hiker; bring bug spray!!! You'll have a more enjoyable time if they're not on you while you hike.