4 Tips for Hiking in the Heat

May 12, 2021

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4 Tips for Hiking in the Heat

Summer is a glorious time to head outdoors and immerse yourself in nature. However, the heat and intense sun exposure can lead to side effects that range from dizzying to downright dangerous. Before you hit the trail, keep these tips in mind and you’ll be prepared no matter how warm the day gets.

1. Use Layers to Stay Covered

Resist the temptation to wear less clothing when you go hiking on hot days. Wearing multiple layers with as much coverage as possible has several benefits.

Consider how insulation uses air pockets to trap air and maintain a certain temperature. When you wear more layers, you have more air pockets to keep you cool. Wearing long sleeves and other full-coverage items protects your skin from UV rays and insects, including ticks.

Accessories like hats and sunglasses also prevent sun damage. Even advanced hikers may not realize the added strain you put on your eyes when you walk in peak sun hours. Over time, direct sun exposure can result in issues like cataracts and eye cancer, as well as damage to the sensitive skin around your eyes. Use protective eye equipment and apply sunscreen regularly to keep your skin safe throughout the day.

2. Replenish Water and Electrolytes

Hiking in the heat will make you sweat. As you do, your body loses water and electrolytes, both of which are crucial to maintaining energy levels. If you go on an easy hike on a hot day, you could lose up to one liter of sweat each hour. If you’re a more advanced hiker or you’re taking a more challenging route, you could lose up to two liters each hour.

Regardless of how much you drink, your body will only absorb about half a liter per hour, so you’ll experience dehydration even if you drink a sufficient amount of water. Minimize the effects of dehydration by taking frequent sips instead of larger gulps and always pack more water than you think you’ll need for your planned activity.

As your body loses important electrolytes like sodium and potassium, you’ll feel less capable of hiking those last few miles. Power through with small, salty snacks with complex carbs. Energy bars and trail mixes are two great snacks to pack on your next hike.

3. Be Conscious of Weather Forecasts and Changes

Always check the weather in the days and hours leading up to your hike. Weather near mountains, especially when it’s humid, can change without giving you time to get back to the trailhead. Thunderstorms often crop up without warning, especially in the afternoons.

Being informed about inclement weather is just one perk of staying updated. You can also see how the temperature will progress throughout the day and plan your hike around the hottest hours.

Plan to finish your hike before 11 a.m. or start after 3 p.m. to avoid the midday heat. Between reducing your risk of being caught in a storm and hiking during less extreme parts of the day, taking a break from hiking in the afternoon makes your excursion a safer, more enjoyable experience.

4. Buy Reliable Gear From DutchWare

One of the most important tips we can share with you is to buy reliable gear and pack it efficiently so you’re prepared for every hike. Whether you’re interested in upgrading your hiking essentials or looking for the perfect hammock camping setup, DutchWare offers high-quality products designed to make your outdoor experience better than ever before. We know our customers have different interests, and we want to empower you to pursue them.

Contact DutchWare today for more information about our hiking gear to prepare for your next adventure!

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