This summer we’ve seen a record-breaking heatwave in the southwest corner of the US with temperatures up to 113 degrees Fahrenheit, but what’s going to happen to you outside in these conditions? Well, you might just melt like all of those Arizona mailboxes. So don’t let the heat get the best of you!
While hiking might seem like the perfect activity to do on a sunny summer day (not in 113+ degrees Fahrenheit), the sun can actually cause intense heat, which can be painful or dangerous if you aren't careful. Managing the heat is paramount when you're trekking the day away. Here are our tips for hiking in hot weather.
First things first, when you are planning your hike, you should try to avoid the hottest time of day which is from noon to 3 pm. We recommend getting an early start and returning early afternoon (or before noon) or take a night hike to avoid these times altogether. If you do have to hike in the beating sun at the hottest time of day, you should plan most of your route in shade and hike near water for a breeze.
Pro Tip: You can also dip an article of clothing in the water and drape it over your neck to cool yourself off and prevent heat exhaustion.
Wearing loose, breathable clothing is a must to help regulate your body temperature and prevent it from getting too hot. Wearing light colors will reflect the sun’s rays rather than absorb them, which helps keep you cool. Materials like nylon, polyester, and even Merino wool are all great options that wick moisture away from your body to keep you cool. Some shirts, shorts, and pants that are designed for hiking also incorporate ventilation zones that you can unzip to improve airflow and cool yourself down. You should also be wearing socks made of wool or other synthetic, moisture-wicking fibers to prevent blisters.
Don't forget, you aren't tougher than the sun; UV protection is a must! Wear a hat and sunscreen, and bring some with you just in case.
Pro Tip: While some people may think wearing extra clothing may make you hotter in these conditions, it can also cool you off (if breathable) and give you some extra protection from UV rays.
Staying hydrated in the heat is extremely important in preventing heat exhaustion or a heat stroke. Try to drink a half-liter of water per hour as a starting point, and keep in mind that you may need more depending on the intensity of your hike. The best way to stay hydrated on longer hikes is to carry a hydration pack -- designed to make drinking water on the go easy and fast.
Shop our packs and find which are compatible with hydration reservoirs so you can hydrate on your hike.
Pro Tip: You can also pack a water mister to help you cool off too.
If you aren’t keeping hydrated, dehydration, as well as temperature and humidity, intensity level, age, body type and sweat rate, and the duration of your hike, are all things that could contribute to heat exhaustion. If you or another hiker are showing symptoms of heat exhaustion you need to treat it immediately.
- Heavy sweating
- Rapid pulse
How to Treat
- Get out of the heat and look for a spot in the shade to sit down and rest.
- Remove any excess clothing.
- Rehydrate and drink plenty of water. If you have electrolytes, use some of those too.
- Cool off by splashing some water on your face or dunk a piece of clothing in nearby water and drape it over your head.
A heat stroke is different from heat exhaustion because it occurs when your body literally overheats. It is a serious medical condition that often strikes fast and requires immediate medical attention. If you or someone are experiencing similar symptoms of exhaustion but with a change in mental status, you may be experiencing a heat stroke and must cool down, hydrate and seek immediate medical attention for further evaluation.