A nice hike is a great way to enjoy the summer weather, especially after a cold winter and a rainy spring. With the summer weather, however, comes high temperatures that can sometimes make your hiking experience a little less enjoyable. Before you set out on your next summer hike, try some of these simple tips for staying cool.
Simple Tips to Stay Cool on a Summer Hike
When you’re hiking in the wilderness, you always need to keep a cool head on your shoulders – you never know what you’ll encounter on the trail. During the summer, keeping cool can sometimes be difficult but with the following tips, it can be a breeze:
- Stay hydrated. No matter what time of year you’re hiking, you should always keep plenty of water on you so you can stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before you set out for the day, during the hike, and when you take a break. You’ll know that you’re dehydrated if your urine is dark yellow.
- Wear layers. If you plan to hit the trail early in the morning, it might still be a little chilly. Wear light layers so you can take them off as needed to stay cool during the day. You should also avoid wearing too much cotton because if you sweat, it will absorb the moisture and stick to you.
- Don your sunglasses. When hiking during the summer, you need to protect yourself from the sun. Not only does this mean wearing sunscreen on any areas of exposed skin, but you should also wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. Make sure they offer 100% UV protection. You should also think about wearing a hat for added protection.
- Choose your trail carefully. When planning a summer hike, you should be practical about the location you choose. Temperatures will be cooler at higher altitudes, so keep this in mind when making your plan. Know that for every 1,000 feet of elevation you gain, the temperature will drop by about 3.5 degrees.
- Plan your day. In the heat of summer when high temperatures reach the 90s, you can expect early morning temperatures to be in the 70s – that is the best time to start your hike. Plan to take a lunch break at the hottest point in the day then enjoy the cooling temperatures in the evening – just don’t wait so long to stop that you miss setting up camp before nightfall.
- Bring a bandana. One simple way to keep cool on a hot hike is to bring a bandana with you to tie around your neck. Whenever you come across a pond or stream, dip it in the cool water then drape it over your shoulders or tie it around your neck. You can also use the water from your water bottle in a pinch.
- Eat small meals often. When hiking in the summer, you want to avoid eating large, heavy meals because they will only slow you down. The best thing you can do is eat smaller meals more often – have a small snack every few hours to keep your strength up without getting weighed down.
In addition to following the tips provided above, you should also exercise basic safety precaution when hiking in the heat of summer. It’s a good idea to always hike with a buddy, just in case something happens. If you feel that you are succumbing to heat stroke, find a shady place to rest and drink some water – don’t wait for things to get worse.