A clear sunny day can be very enjoyable and tempting. But the heat that comes along with it can be a nuisance for those wanting to go on a hike.
You feel the same, right?
There are a lot of us who love hiking but hate to do it in the hot weather. The hiking trails are challenging enough, and the scorching sun further adds to the unwanted difficulties. With the sweating and exhaustion, it is tough to stay motivated to move forward.
Fellow hikers, BELIEVE ME when I say, “Hiking in hot weather is completely doable and fun. You can enjoy the trail to the fullest without getting dragged down by the heat”. I have tried some tips and tricks on my hiking trip in hot weather and they completely work.
You can also make your hiking a memorable one – in a good way. Just make sure you follow the tips and tricks I have listed below.
- Start early
- Check the weather
- Wear light-colored clothes
- Wear multi-layered clothes
- Bring necessary extras
- Pack light
- Know the right trail
- Pack salty snacks
- Keep hydrated
- Take regular breaks
- Be wary of Heat Stroke
1. Start Early and Finish Late
Early mornings are very stimulating. You have a fresh mind, a fresh body, and revamped energy. And every morning is refreshing and invigorating.
Always start your hiking in the early mornings when the ground is not yet heated and the winds are still cool. It is advisable to take a rest in the mid-afternoon. Mid-afternoon is the hottest time of the day and it calls for a break.
So, take a break!
Continue further at dusk or night time when the heat has subsided. This technique will help you a lot in covering more distance with lesser exposure to the scorching sun.
2. Check the Weather
Always check the weather forecast before you set off on your hiking trail in the early mornings. Weather in the hills and mountain regions is very unpredictable. And as you know, adverse weather poses many risks for hikers.
“Mountains make their own weather”, so the saying goes. One moment, the sky is a clear and shining blue, and the next, clouds cover the sky surprising you with downpour and storms. This uncertainty in weather is a serious problem for a hiker.
So before heading out on the trail, always check the weather forecast and prepare yourself accordingly.
3. Wear Light-colored Clothes
We all know that clothes’ color can affect the heat level in the body to a great extent. Dark colors absorb the heat from the sun and retain it while light colors reflect the sun rays and keep you cool.
My simple piece of advice is – Always wear light colored clothes when you go hiking. White, khaki or any other light-colored clothing would do. Just DON’T dress-up in dark color.
4. Wear Multi-layered Clothes
It might do so because you are trying to escape the heat and I am making a point to wear multiple layers.
But know the science behind this.
Multiple clothes layers result in multiple air layers, which means more insulation of heat. This is the basic principle of insulation.
However, it is necessary that you wear loose-fitting clothes with long sleeves. It protects your skin from exposure to the sun rays and prevents sunburn and heat strokes.
5. Bring Necessary Extras
It is never harming to be extra careful with your trip. Carry an extra pair of hiking socks. Who knows you might stumble upon a ditch and ruin your first pair. Or it might even be soaked in sweat. Take a break in the midday and change your socks.
Other carry-ons can be a bug spray and sun protection lotion. They always come handy during hiking adventure.
6. Pack Light
Hot weather is one problem, and exhaustion is another. Heavy backpack will just add more to the problem.
Packing heavy is nothing but a hurdle on the trail. Plus it drains more energy out of you. You wouldn’t want to use your energy carrying a heavy backpack rather than reaching the destination now, do you? And that too on a scorching day!
Pack only what is necessary.
Light packing = Less exhaustion = Faster hiking
7. Know the Right Trail
Knowing the right trail doesn’t always mean going up a trail that leads you to your hiking destination. Especially if the hiking is in the hot season, you have to consider other factors.
Do a little research about the trial regarding the number of resting spots in the trail and trail with lower elevation. Also, try to find the trail which runs along or crosses running water like a river of a waterfall. This will give you a chance to refresh, cool down and also provide water to drink.
So you see, RIGHT TRAIL is not only about how to reach the destination but also HOW COMFORTABLY you reach the destination!
8. Pack Salty Snacks
Sweating is normal while hiking in hot weather. Of course many might be disgust by sweat but in a way, sweating is good. It helps detoxify and wash away the skin resins, takes off the heat from your body and cools you down.
But know that your bodily electrolytes are also being washed away along with the sweat. Electrolytes are important to keep the muscle-balance and keep them functioning. Too much sweating can cause excess loss of electrolytes. This might cause fatigue, dizziness and muscle spasm.
So it is best to replenish the loss of electrolyte with a few salty snack break once in every stop. This will re-pump your body with sodium and potassium. These minerals will regulate your energy levels.
Avoid sugary snacks. Though you might feel energized in the beginning, it will drain more water from your body and leave you energy-deficit.
9. Keep Hydrated
The key to successful hiking is staying hydrated throughout the trail. Especially in hot weather, you are bound to sweat more, causing more water loss resulting in dehydration.
On continuous hiking, your body loses about one liter of water. Dehydration can cause many problems like muscle spasm, breathlessness, dizziness and even collapsing. So keep taking a sip of water or other fluid frequently. In the wilderness and barren areas, finding water might be a problem. So before you start hiking, it is better to be prepared.
Pack more than you expect you would drink because hiking in hot weather can be very draining.
10. Take Regular Breaks
Don’t attempt hiking continuously for hours. Take a break every once in a while for drinking water, eating snacks and cooling down. Take deep breaths and sit or lay down for a few minutes. Take off your boots and air your feet and socks as well. This energizes and boosts you for furthering your hike.
This technique can affect your hiking performance a lot.
Follow the HRH cycle ( Hike – Rest – Hike).
11. Be Wary of Heat Stroke
Even if you follow all the tips and keep hydrated, sometimes, heat stroke can occur nonetheless. The continuous exposure to sun rays can cause your core body temperature to rise and cause a stroke.
General symptoms of heat stroke are:
- Pulsating Headache
- Muscle cramps
- Lack of sweating despite the blazing temperature
Watch out for these signs and symptoms.
If you or any of your hiking friends start experiencing any of these symptoms, it would be best to immediately stop walking and find some shade to rest. Drink water and relax for a while. If the symptoms persist, it would be better to call for help. Abandon the hiking.
After all – Life is the most important!
Hiking is a great way to explore and have an adventure. For me, it is more than that, it is a passion. It might be the same for many of you. And it would be a disgrace to abandon your passion owing to hot weather conditions, wouldn’t it?
Follow my simple tips and tricks, and you will easily withstand the challenge of hot weather and will be up for hiking in hot weather.