The clear skies and long, fresh daylight hours attract most hikers but these skies and long days can bake you in the heat. When the temperature rises, it gets tough to keep yourself motivated and calm.
You can still enjoy the beautiful outdoors in the same hot weather. You just need to take few precautions before heading out.
Don't let the weather stop you from making some beautiful memories.
Here are few tips for hiking in hot weather that you should know before heading out.
1. Check Weather
Don't just assume that you'd be fine on the trail. Hot weather comes with a lot of risks. It is important to check the weather forecast before planning a trip.
Humidity can be a sign of rainfall. Be prepared in advance.
Thunderstorms are also much more likely to occur when it's hot. Keep yourself safe in all situations. So, check the weather before going out.
2. Start Early or Finish Late
Another good way to avoid heat is to start your trip early in the morning or in the late afternoon or evening. Skip the midday heat, don't hike between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hike during the coolest time of day. Be an Early Bird or a Night Owl.
3. Choose Your Trail Wisely
Hiking in a shady forest is different from on an uncovered mountain pass. So, it's important to choose your trail wisely. Your trail should include shady sections where you can rest for few minutes.
Try to find a trail that runs along running water/river.
You can get drinking water easily
You'll be able to refresh yourself and cool down.
A trail at a lower height is preferred if the weather is going to be hot because a higher trail offers a lower amount of oxygen and stronger UV rays.
4. Light Apparel
In hot weather hiking, try to wear synthetic clothes as you'll definitely sweat a lot and moisture-wicking clothes can prevent irritation.
It is better that you wear long sleeve shirts, hiking pants, and fine quality boots. The more of your body you can shield from the sun, the happier you'll be.
Your boots should be made up of breathable fabric so wet feet won't represent a problem during your hike. Your clothes should be in loose-fitting as it will allow for better airflow, which keeps you cooler.
5. Keep Yourself Hydrated
Staying hydrated is the key to every successful outdoor adventure. This is particularly essential when you're hiking in hot weather.
Your body loses about one liter of water per hour on a regular hike. A challenging outing in hot weather can double that amount. Make sure you replenish, otherwise you'll get dehydrated during a hike in hot weather.
6. Eat Salty Snacks
A hot weather hike will result in copious sweating. As water is essential to restore your body fluid levels, it's equally important to restock the electrolytes lost through sweat. The most important ones are potassium and sodium. They play a major role in managing your energy levels.
Make sure to bring plenty of snacks that have complex carbs. Don't go for simple carbs like sugary drinks and candy. You can have energy bars or fruit as they are great sources of complex carbs.
7. Take Regular Breaks
Continuous hiking in hot weather is near to impossible. Your tired body needs few minutes to relax. Regular breaks also allow your body to cool down and sweat to evaporate.
Put your backpack down, lay down, and give your body some much-needed rest. Drink water and have some snacks to restock your energy that will keep you going for the next few hours.
You may also want to take off your hiking boots and airing your feet and sweaty socks.
8. Be Aware of Heat Stroke
Be aware of the symptoms of heat stroke. Listen to your body and it will tell you when you can push yourself and when it's time to coast. Eat when you're hungry, rest when you're feeling tired.
Common signs of heat stroke:
- Throbbing headache
- Muscle cramps
- Disorientation or confusion
- Lack of sweating, despite hot temperatures
If you feel any of the above-mentioned symptoms, immediately find shade and try to cool down as soon as possible.
9. Protect Your Skin
In such a hot weather, it is important that you take care of your skin.
Sunburns can damage your skin
They also affect body's ability to cool itself, thus increasing risks of dehydration.
Apply a sunscreen with an SPF 30+, 30 minutes before heading out. Put it underneath your clothes as well.
Wear a hat or head covering to ensure that your head and neck area does not get too hot. Apply plenty of sunscreen and UV-blocking sunglasses
"Better safe than sorry" is always a good motto to live by.
Always carry a cell phone and let others know where you will be hiking. In case you run into trouble for any reason you'll be able to make a call for immediate help. So, don't just sit back thinking how hot the weather will be. Plan, prepare well, and head out!
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By Bob Tom