Hiking in Hot Weather

It’s hot outside, but that’s not stopping hikers from hitting the trails. When the temperature climbs into the high 90s and beyond, even the most experienced hikers may start to question their decision to go out. With a little bit of know-how, though, hiking in hot weather can still be a fun and rewarding experience. Follow these tips to stay safe and comfortable on your next hike!

When to Go

Hike when it’s cooler. If you won’t have access to shade, or even if you will, consider starting your hike early in the morning or later in the evening when it’s cooler. This is especially helpful if your chosen trail is somewhere without many shaded areas. Get an early start so you’re finished before the midday heat.

Try night hiking! It’s a totally different experience and gives you access to a new perspective

Read: Hiking at Night

Where to Hike in Hot Weather

Choose Shade. Canyon, woods, a trail with shelters. If there’s no or little shade available at your chosen destination, try hiking with an umbrella. It can block the sun and keep you a little cooler than if you were in direct sunlight.

Water is Your Friend. Hikes near rivers, lakes, quarries, etc will let you cool off.

What to Wear Hiking in Hot Weather

When the temperature soars and the humidity is high, dressing for a hike can be challenging. You want to be comfortable, but you also don’t want to overheat. Here are some tips for what to wear hiking in hot weather.

Less isn’t always more. Long sleeves and pants can help keep you cool and protect your skin from UV rays. They can also help keep bug bites at bay.

When selecting your footwear, keep in mind that waterproof shoes or boots reduce breathability and can trap heat inside. It’s best to determine the trail and weather conditions and go as light and breathable as you can and still have the support and protection you need.

Loosen Up Looser fitting clothing is more breezy and allows your body to cool better by letting heat escape.

Use a Cooling Towel You can also use a water soaked bandana or neck gaiter tied or placed around your neck to help keep you cool

Fabric Type You definitely want a moisture wicking material when it’s hot.

Stay away from cotton Sweat and cotton= a wet, uncomfortable experience. Choosing clothing made from moisture wicking synthetics or merino wool will help you stay drier and more comfortable when you’re hiking in high temps. This goes for socks as well! Sweaty socks can lead to painful blisters and we all know how much those suck to deal with. It’s a good idea to bring a change of socks as well, just in case.

Protect Your Head Wear a hat

Staying Healthy in Hot Weather

Staying healthy in hot weather is important for hikers, especially during the summer. Hot weather can lead to heat exhaustion or even heat stroke if you’re not careful. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe and healthy during your hikes this summer.

Sun Protection is sooo important on hot, sunny days. Sunscreen and sunglasses will protect your eyes and skin from the relentless UV rays. You can also consider a hat or even umbrella to help create shade for yourself.

Dehydration If it’s extra hot, drink more water than you normally would to help stave off dehydration.

Overhydration Eat salty snacks to help keep your electrolyte levels where they should be. You can also use hydration tablets or electrolyte drinks for this.

Heat Cramps These can affect any muscle in your body, but they usually occur in the calves, arms, and stomach. If you experience heat cramping, you should rest in a cool area and drink water or electrolyte fluids. Heat cramps are a precursor to heat exhaustion.

Heat Exhaustion When your core temperature rises too high, you can suffer from heat exhaustion. This is your body’s way of telling you it’s not cooling itself effectively. Dressing appropriately and staying hydrated are two main ways you can help prevent heat exhaustion. If you experience the symptoms, you should stop and rest in a cooler area.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion

  • Clammy skin
  • Heavy sweating
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Fatigue
  • Weak, fast pulse
  • muscle cramps
  • Nausea

Heat Stroke The most serious of the 3 heat illnesses, results when your core temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher and is a medical emergency that warrants calling 911.

Signs of Heat Stroke

  • High body temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Seizures
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Flushed skin
  • Shallow, rapid breaths
  • Fast heart rate

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Hiking in hot weather