Summer is heading our way fast. Endless opportunities for epic adventures under the blistering sun are just around the corner. Before you pack up the bags for that next hike make, check out these helpful tips and tricks to make your summer hiking a safe and enjoyable experience for you and your whole crew!
Start Early to Beat The Heat
Start your hike in the early morning hours. There are some major advantages to hiking early versus late in the day. It will not only be cooler, but you will have plenty of daylight in case you hike slower than you anticipate or become lost. Also, wildlife is more active at this time so you have a greater chance of catching some action. During the summer months, plan to be at the trailhead just as the sun is rising.
Drink Plenty of Water
Drink plenty of water, especially if you’re hiking in the heat. I normally bring a hydration pack and an extra water bottle with me (see why below). When hiking in hot weather, freezing your water bottles is a game-changer idea. Fill your water bottle halfway with cold water and place it in the freezer overnight before heading out on your hike. This will keep the water colder for longer, and as a bonus, the cold water bottles will keep you cool! For hydration pack users, throw some ice in your bladder just before hitting the trail.
Hike Near Water
If possible, try to pick a hike near the water, especially if there isn’t much shade. If you’re hiking alongside a river, dip your hat, shirt, or bandana in the water and drape it over your body to keep cool as the water evaporates. Maybe even take a dip if it is a safe place for a swim!
Replenish Your Electrolytes
When you sweat, you don’t just lose water, but also electrolytes, and these need to be replenished. You can help keep your levels in check through a combination of sports drinks, electrolyte tablets, or salty snacks. I bring an extra water bottle along with me to drop my electrolyte supplement into, keeping my hydration bladder for clean, crisp water only. I use the Inertia 18 Hydration Pack for day hikes because I feel that it is a perfect size – not too big or overbearing, but large enough to fit all of my kit comfortably.
Dress For The Weather
It is best to wear loose and light clothing. Wearing light colors that reflect the sun’s rays rather than absorb them helps keep you cool. Look for shirts, shorts, and pants in white, tan, or khaki. Lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that breathes well will help your body regulate temperature. Check the labels to see if they are made with Nylon and/or polyester as these are great at helping to regulate body temperature.
It may seem counterintuitive to put on extra clothes or long sleeves in hot weather, but the added coverage can actually keep you cooler (and safer). A lightweight long-sleeve shirt protects your skin from harmful UV rays, as well creating a barrier between your skin and the sun. I reside in the scorching desert of AZ and normally wear a long sleeve, hooded tee for my summer adventures. I find that as the sweat gets wicked away from my body by the tee, it has a natural cooling effect.
Protect Your Head and Neck
Wearing a wide-brimmed hiking hat or cap protects your skin, head, and neck from harmful UV radiation and helps to regulate your temperature while providing shelter from light rain and wind. Choose light-colored hats that are made from moisture-wicking fabrics and have ventilation to allow heat to escape. You may want to consider bringing a multifunctional bandana or cooling towel. These can be very versatile pieces in your summer kit. As mentioned before, you can dip these in water and wrap them around your head or neck to help keep you cool.
As with anything in life, the more prepared you are going into something, the better the outcome. Using these tips and tricks combined with some common sense will have you ready to tackle all of the summer adventures headed your way!