Summer is arguably the best time to hike your favorite trail- long days and the clear blue sky above. Paradoxically, your body thinks the opposite. The heat can bake you into a human muffin, scorching your skin, drying you out, and making you re-think every decision you ever made in life that lead to that moment.
But, hiking does not have to be torturous. You just need to keep a few things in mind to beat the heat, and, in that regard, we have you covered. Here are 9 tips that you should keep in mind while hiking in the heat:
1. Check the Weather:
Weather works mysteriously. The cloudless skies may turn grey during your hike. Check the weather reports before you head out to not get caught in an unfavorable situation. Remember, humidity equals chances of a downpour. High temperatures also invite thunderstorms.
2. Start Early:
11am to 3pm is the most unfavorable time to hike. The heat will make it really unpleasant. So, start your hike early in the morning or in the evening, if the trail is short. For longer trails, try to get your elevation gain over with before the midday heat rains down. Use the downtime to take a break and replenish your reserves.
3. Pack light:
Remember, extra weight means an extra expenditure of energy. Pack light carrying only the essentials.
The human body loses a liter of water every hour on a regular hike. Under the hot sun, the amount increases. So, make sure to pack enough water before heading out. Section Hiker recommends starting hydrating yourself a few days prior to the day of the hike. Keep sipping water at regular intervals keeping in mind that the body can only absorb only half a liter of water every hour. You can carry a water purification system and purification tablets apart from your hydration bladder if the trail offers freshwater.
Dehydration gives way to exhaustion and heat stroke which can prove to be fatal. So, remember to HYDRATE!
5. Cover to Protect from the Blaze:
The thought of stripping down to the bare minimum may cross your mind, but DO NOT! Wear more clothes while hiking in hot situations. Long sleeve shirts are your best buddies that will keep you protected. The only catch is that your clothes should be loosely fitted, and the fabric breathable. Wearing multiple layers of light fabric provides insulation. You can also wear a layer of synthetic clothes that will work to absorb moisture from all the sweating (you will, a lot) and prevent chafing.
You could also consider getting yourself a hiking outfit. Hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, and moisture absorbing socks are other things that you should consider to keep your hike from turning into a nightmare.
Here is a fun fact about sunburns you may not have known.
6. Balance the Electrolytes:
Sweating not only makes you lose water from your body but electrolytes as well. Potassium and sodium are the two most important electrolytes and are instrumental in replenishing your energy levels. Sports drinks, snacks with complex carbs, and electrolyte drink mixes are a great way of replenishing the lost electrolytes. Fruits and energy bars are a great source of electrolytes too.
Did you know that a shady place is 9-10 degrees cooler than out in the sun? So, choose a well-shaded to halt your hike. Pull off your boots, letting your feet breathe. Allow the sweat from your body to evaporate and lower the temperature. It is recommended to rest every 2 hours. Utilize this time to eat, drink, and allow your muscles to recover.
8. Pack Extras:
Extra pair of undergarments and socks will help you prevent chafing and blisters from the sweat-soaked clothes. Change them during your midday downtime. Bug spray should also be considered as a combination hot weather and sweat equals pestering bugs.
9. Know Your Limit:
The body may not be in the same plane as your objective. Do not push yourself too hard. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of heat stroke. If your partner or you feel dizzy, abandon the hike and seek medical assistance immediately!
Yogi and Suchna believe in taking the road less travelled and stumbling upon some hidden gems along the way! For over a decade, they’ve mapped their way across various continents, sniffed out unusual routes, discovered new flavours and stayed at quirky hostels. TheBackpackerCo is their expression of soul travel. You can catch up with them at TheBackpackerCo – Backpacking Through Western Europe.