Hiking In The Heat

Before you hit the trail this summer, consider the following simple 7 tips to avoid the dangers of hiking in the heat.

By Corey Hunt
Explore Ambassador

With kids out of school for summer break, most parents are looking for more ways to decrease screen time and increase the time their kids spend in the fresh air. Hiking in the summer can be a great way to accomplish both in one trip. But before you hit the trail this summer, consider the following simple 7 tips to avoid the dangers of hiking in the heat. 


Avoid The Hottest Part Of The Day

From noon to 3:00 p.m. is generally the hottest part of the day during the summer. Luckily, it’s usually light enough to begin hiking as early as sunrise, so set those alarm clocks early to wrap up the hike prior to lunchtime. Humidity can also make it feel hotter than it is, so choose a day when the humidity is lower.


Hike In The Shade Or Near A Source Of Water

Most mountain trails on the eastern half of the U.S. are littered with trees, so seeking shade here is not usually difficult. However, if you are hiking in the Rockies, you may have to be more selective of your trail in the summer. Also, don’t underestimate the power of jumping in a mountain stream to cool off. This is also a favorite summer activity of kids everywhere, and while the water evaporates from your clothes as you hike, it cools you down. 


Cover Up Or Wear Sunscreen

Loose-fitting, synthetic clothing can wick sweat from your body and help to cool you off during your hike. I personally like hiking in long sleeves so I don’t have to stop and reapply sunscreen, as well. Long sleeves will also keep the bugs off your skin. 


Bring Extra Socks And Moleskin

As you hike, your feet will sweat and can swell, which leads to blisters. If you feel like your shoes are tight or hurting, cut a piece of moleskin to fit the area before the blister forms. Also, changing socks frequently will help decrease the chance of blisters forming.


Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate 

It’s rare to drink too much water as you hike. Your body will be losing water due to sweat, and replenishing its supply is essential. Also, adding electrolytes to your water bottle will help balance your water-to-salt ratio on longer hikes or days when it’s especially humid. 


Use The Freezer To Your Advantage 

There are many different cooling apparatuses on the market today, from hats to scarfs, but soaking a bandana in water at home and freezing it can go a long way to cool you off while hiking. I have also seen people freeze their water bottles and hydration bladders so they have cold water the whole hike. 


Know When To Turn Back 

Acclimating to the heat is important and can take time. Dehydration and heat exhaustion can lead to serious health complications. Avoid both by always having more water than you need (or a water filter if you are hiking by a stream) and taking frequent breaks to cool down. 

Hiking is a great way to bring the whole family together, especially during downtime in the summer months. Plan ahead, stay cool and hydrate frequently for a more enjoyable hike this summer. 

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