Satmodo Blog

How to Prepare for a Hot Weather Hike

With the beautiful world we live in and so many new places to explore, hiking can be one of life’s simplest pleasures. There is nothing quite like getting in some good exercise while surrounded by the beauty of the great outdoors in the summertime. But a summer hike often means a sunny one, so it’s important to prepare accordingly for your hot weather hike. This will keep it safe and fun for everyone.

Hot weather doesn’t mean you need to take a hike hiatus. Here we’ll outline the best way to enjoy hikes during those months of the year when the weather gets its hottest, including:

  • when and where to go,
  • what to wear,
  • what to bring, and
  • how to keep yourself healthy and safe during an extra sunny hike.

Hot Weather Hike Prep: When and Where to Go

Seasoned hikers know that choosing a hike wisely based on weather predictions is important. But for a new hiker, it might not be as obvious that not all hikes are created equal in hot weather. Not only that, but someone might suggest a late-morning hike not considering that the heat could be a safety concern. Fortunately, there is a right place and time to get your hike on during those hot days.

What time of day is best for a hike?

First, taking into consideration where you’re hiking is important. Not all areas heat up, in the same way, each day, so it’s important to have a good idea of how long you have each morning before the coolness wears off. If you’re not hiking near where you live and aren’t familiar with the area, be sure to check weather reports prior to heading out for your hike.

Go early: Generally, heading out for a hike during the earlier morning hours is your best bet for finishing before the sun gets too hot to bear.

Go late: Not a morning person? It’s still best to skip the lunchtime hike. Depending on the length of your hike, setting out closer to 4 pm will allow you to enjoy your hike with less heat. If it’s summertime, this will still allow you to get in a few-hour hike before the sun sets. Plus, you’ll still be home in time for dinner.

Where should you hike on a hot day?

Though starting early or starting late can help you avoid the hottest weather, you still might find yourself hiking during some hot weather. Knowing where to hike can help.

Find a shady trail: When planning your hike, look for trails with a hefty amount of shade. By doing so, you will skip a lot of direct exposure from the sun.

Hike near water: If you have the opportunity to hike near a large lake or ocean, the breeze can help cut the heat. If there is a river nearby, being able to dip your toes in or wet part of your clothing will help cool you down, as well.

Hot Weather Hike Prep: What to Wear

Be smart by appropriately packing for your hot weather hike. By getting all your necessary clothing and gear set out the night before, you’ll ensure that you’re prepared for any hot weather. You definitely don’t want to forget any of these hot weather hiking necessities.

Plan to wear the following clothing items:

  • Light colored, breathable clothing – A tank top and short shorts might sound desirable on a hot day. But remember that these will leave more skin exposed to the sun. Choosing a light-colored moisture-wicking t-shirt is a good choice. Longer shorts designed for hiking in a nylon fabric or similar are recommended. Be sure they fit well and won’t chafe which can happen when the sun makes you sweat. Some clothing even offers extra sun-protection with ratings upwards of UPF 15. If you plan to hike a lot on hot, sunny days, look for these types of clothing.
  • Hat – Don’t skip the hat on a bright, sunny day. The best choice is one that offers the most shade, such as one with a wide brim that wraps around protecting both the face and neck.
  • Bandana or Gaiter – Often worn in cold weather by skiiers, a bandana can offer good sun protection when it’s hot, too. Getting it wet while you wear it will keep you cooler.
  • Non-Cotton Socks – Cotton socks on a hot day are a sure way to get blisters and cut your hike short. Avoid this by choosing wool or synthetic fiber socks that fit just right.

Hot Weather Hike Prep: What to Bring

After you’ve planned and laid out your hiking outfit, it’s time to gather all of the gear you’ll need. The great thing about hiking is that you don’t really need to bring a lot of extras – which is one of the things that makes it so popular. But on hot day, especially, there are a few things you don’t want to find yourself without.

  • Hydration Pack – You might think a water bottle will do, and on a cool day it might suffice. But when it starts to warm up, you’ll need a lot more water than 1 bottle can carry. Hydration packs are easy to carry with the water easily accessible so that you won’t forget to drink up.
  • Sunblock – Be sure you apply your sunblock of SPF 30 or higher before you set out. Then reapply every 2 hours, or every hour if you are sweating.
  • Spray Bottle – If you have room, bring a small spray bottle to spray yourself down from time-to-time to keep cool.
  • Snacks – Be sure to bring snacks that will stay fresh throughout your hike. Trail mix, dried fruit and granola bars are easy choices. And don’t forget to bring extra just in case you’re out longer than you planned.
  • Satellite Phone – A satellite phone is an important item to have on a hike that is often overlooked. Assuming you won’t get lost or be in an area without proper phone service is not good planning. It’s always best to keep safe by being ready for anything that might come your way. Hiking on a hot day presents an extra risk, so having a satellite phone so you can always stay connected is important.

How to Stay Safe

Preparing for your hot weather hike with appropriate clothing and gear is the first step in ensuring a safe and fun hike. Being aware of the risks before you head out is the next part of staying safe. Sunburn, dehydration, and heat-related illness are the most common health concerns you need to be mindful of on a hot-weather hike.

  • Sunburn – The best way to avoid sunburn is by wearing the suggested clothing above and applying sunblock at the appropriate intervals as we outlined. Choosing sun-protection clothing is an excellent defense as well, but sunblock is number one.
  • Dehydration – For hot weather hiking, it is strongly recommended that you wear a hydration pack. Even if you don’t think you’ll need all of the water it can hold, fill it up anyway. You never know when you might need extra water or when you might be out longer than planned. Start out your hike hydrated and then be consistent in drinking water throughout the hike. Strenuous hiking in high heat can require drinking as much as 1 Liter per hour. Drinking a sports drink mid-hike can keep your sodium levels regulated as well.
  • Heat-Related Illnesses – Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are all concerns related to hot weather hiking. Though rare, they can happen quicker than you’d think if you don’t take precautions. Heat cramps are not usually serious but can be uncomfortable. If you feel them, stop and take a rest until they subside. And be sure to drink enough water. However, if you experience any of the following heat illness signs, you need to hydrate, find shade and end your hike as soon as possible. Signs of these illnesses can include:
    • excessive sweating
    • nausea
    • headache
    • rapid pulse
    • dizziness
    • disorientation
    • anxiety
    • Elevated body temperature

This is where having a satellite phone can literally be a lifesaver. If you are in the middle of a hike and you or a fellow hiker are experiencing these symptoms, you don’t have time to waste. By having a satellite phone, you will ensure you can call for help. Phones like Iridium, Globalstar, Inmarsat, and Thuraya work in remote areas where cell phone use is often impossible.

Hiking is an inexpensive way to enjoy a beautiful day and take in all nature has to offer. Make sure your hot weather hiking experience stays enjoyable by following all these great tips.


 

 

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