Tips on how to stay safe while hiking in hot weather

Stef Zisovska
 

We are still struggling with extremely high temperatures, and the summer seems to last forever. Seeing dry plants and roads that shimmer in the distance makes us stay home and avoid doing any physical activity in the outdoors. Everyone’s looking for shade and a cold drink but you.

If you’re a type of person that will never give up hiking no matter what weather experts say, then this article is for you. You can still go hiking in hot weather though you need to be very careful and prepare yourself. Here are some useful tips that will help you avoid heat problems while being on a trail.

Here are some useful tips that will help you avoid heat problems while being on a trail.

Check the weather forecast

Always ask yourself – am I properly prepared and wearing the right gear for the conditions?

If you see a clear sky without clouds in the morning, don’t be naive to think it will stay like that the whole day. If the day is hot it’s not unlikely that you’ll get some downpours and thunderstorms later. The weather in the mountains is changeable, so check the forecast before leaving home and consult the park ranger on arrival.

Choose a good trail 

Choose a trail close to a river

If you decide to hike on a hot day, then you need to go for a trail that has at least few sections with shade. Also, focus on trails close to rivers and flowing waters because you can cool your head down at any time if necessary. A trail alongside flowing water is a smart choice also because you’ll always have drinking water available, of course after purifying it. For hot weather hikes always choose a low-elevation trail. High altitude means less oxygen and stronger UV rays.

Start early

Start early to take advantage of the coolest part of the day

On hot summer days, you are better off starting your hike very early in the morning and to finish it late in the afternoon. Remember a break between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. is highly recommended.

Wear layers and cover up

Wear layers of loose-fitting clothing to protect yourself from the sun

This one will maybe sound weird, but you need long sleeves and trousers for the hot weather hike. You should never expose your skin to the sun, instead choose loose-fitting clothes that will protect you from the sun and regulate your body temperature. People living in deserts always cover themselves with many layers, and they know what they’re doing.

Drink water

Drink plenty of water but take steps to purify it first

Our bodies need plenty of water during a hike, especially if the weather is hot. You need to drink approximately one liter of water per hour to make sure you stay well hydrated. Sip regularly instead of drinking the whole bottle at once.

Eat salty snacks

Choose snacks that will release energy slowly as well as providing electrolytes and protein

When we sweat, we lose electrolytes like potassium and sodium that regulate our energy levels. That’s why it’s important to replace the minerals the body loses, just as it’s important to replace all the water. Bring foods that have complex carbs like trail mix or energy bars. Avoid refined sugary drinks and candies.

Take a break

Take regular breaks ideally in the shade

Regular breaks are extremely needed when hiking in hot weather. It allows you to take off your boots and your sweaty socks, stretch your legs, and have a snack, as well as letting your body cool down and sweat to evaporate.

Heat stroke symptoms

If you start feeling nausea, muscle cramps, bad headache, dizziness, confusion, disorientation, and lack of sweating even when temperatures are high, you need to go in the shade and cool down your body immediately. These are the most common symptoms of a heat stroke that shouldn’t happen if you follow all of the above tips, but you never know.

It’s always safer to head out with friends

Never go on a hot weather hike alone, stay hydrated, and take regular breaks. Eat whenever you hungry and rest whenever you feel tired. You don’t need to force your body to set any hot-weather hiking records, just enjoy the trail. Good luck!

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