There’s nothing quite like the glory of a gorgeous day out on the hiking trails, whether it be up mountains, through canyons or out in the desert. The trick is to ensure you’re properly prepared for the heat. This will not only make the hike more pleasant; it’ll stop it from becoming a life-threatening situation.
Check The Weather Forecast
A full, hourly weather forecast for the area that you’ll be hiking in is your best friend on a very hot day. Check when sunrise is and how quickly the temperature will rise. You can also see exactly when the hottest part of the day is likely to be. Then you can plan to either be resting, walking through a shady area or finished and home already.
Wear The Right Outfit
Hiking might not be a fashion parade, but the wearing the right clothing can make things a whole lot better. On a hot day, light colors are the best choice. Darks colors and black, especially, should be completely avoided as they trap the heat and will make your body even warmer. Lighter colors reflect heat instead.
Synthetic fabrics are often a lot more comfortable on hikes, whatever the weather. Nylons and polyesters will wick away the moisture as you sweat, keeping your skin feeling dry and keeping chafe at bay. These fabrics are also more often lightweight, and won’t make you feel like you’re constrained in the heat.
Modern-day hiking gear often comes with lots of great extras like little mesh vents in the clothing – specifically under the arms or around the knees. These can be great on a hot day because you can keep your body covered to protect it from the sun’s rays but still get some air flowing over your skin.
Bring The Right Refreshments
It should go without saying that you need to bring plenty of water, but let’s say it just in case. A hydration pack with a tube that clips onto the shoulder strap or to your waistband is ideal. Being able to take little sips of water on a regular basis will ensure you keep yourself properly hydrated throughout. When it gets really hot, you can also wet a bandana or buff and wrap that around your head and neck.
Then, you need something to replenish the electrolytes that you’ll be sweating out. These will help you to prevent cramping, dizziness and feeling nauseated – especially on a longer hike. Salty snacks are good, as long as they aren’t filled with too many simple carbohydrates. These are best to avoid as they burn up too quickly and won’t sustain you. Fruit, granola and trail mix are great snacks that are easy to eat while walking and will keep you going for longer.
Pack The Essentials
Walking in the heat leads to a lot of sweating. This can lead to chafe and blisters, which are both very uncomfortable. Make sure you have plasters and anti-chafe cream with you. Extra socks are also great for a quick change when you need to.