Hiking in summer can definitely be an amazing experience. It’s definitely really cool to enjoy the landscape of a nice trail, get to have long days/hours, clear and sunny skies when hiking… but it also demands to take some additional precautions so as to ensure your hiking adventure and specially your personal health remain safe at all times.
Let’s face it, for all of us avid outdoor person´s, we all still want to go hiking in summer. Lucky enough for all of you, that is possible but you need to be careful and prepare properly for your next outdoor adventure.
In this article we will provide you with some of the best tips to keep in mind when going out hiking in summer so that you have the best hiking experience.
1) Check The Weather
As a rule of thumb, always check out the weather first before you embark and decide to go hiking. The sky may look sunny and clear, but you gotta be aware that the mountains tend to have their ‘own weather’ which is typically quite unpredictable.
The last thing you want is to find yourself in a rain or thunderstorm which can be dangerous for your own personal safety. Therefore, it’s a good practice to check both with a reliable forecast and with a ranger too.
2) Choose Your Path Wisely
This is something that you definitely want to pay close attention to when hiking in summer. When choosing your path, we usually recommend considering three main factors:
Ideally you want to perform hikings on trails that contain some shadows to get some rest from the extreme hot weather and rays of the sun
Try to pick a trail that runs along some rivers or waterfalls (if possible) so you can get a chance to refresh yourself, and drink some water (if you have a water purifier).
Preferably you would like to avoid being on top peaks as you will end up being more exposed to the sun, you will have less oxygen and ultimately a stronger exposure to the UV rays.
3) Be Strategic On When To Hike
The prime time to hike during summer should be early during the day. You want to avoid at all costs hiking during 11am and 3pm as that tends to be when the temperature is at its peaks and also when the UV rays are more dangerous to be exposed to.
We know that a lot of people are not early birds, but when it comes to hiking in hot temperatures, ‘early bird gets the worm’.
If you really struggle to hike very early in the morning, an alternative is to do it late in the afternoon or during the evening. In all cases, skipping the midday is crucial to stay both healthy and safe!
4) Cover Up
Yep, you heard me right! Although this may seem counterintuitive, it’s strongly recommended to wear more clothes when you are hiking in hot weather. Loose-fitting long sleeves and hiking pants will be your ally here. Also, consider carrying along some good and professional UV-blocking sunglasses and of course a good chunk of sunscreen to block those dangerous UV rays.
In addition, you can consider wearing some hiking hat’s which are really useful for this type of adventure.
5) Drink Extra Water Or Liquids
Research shows that your body typically loses about one liter of water per hour on a standard hike. If you are exposed to hot temperatures you could even double that amount, hence staying hydrated at all times is absolutely crucial.
Always bring along more water than what you expect to drink as there is nothing worse than feeling dehydrated and not being able to do anything about it.
Bonus tip: Sipping regularly is actually better than drinking a big amount of water at once. Therefore, take it easy and sip often.
6) Salty Snacks
Sweating is kind of a given in hot temperatures whilst hiking. On the tip we described above, you would have tackled the dehydration item to balance your body fluid levels. Another important item to keep a close eye with is your balance of electrolytes. This basically determine part of the level of the energy of your body.
Never felt tired when exercising under a hot day? Typically that’s a direct message from your body telling you that both your sodium and potassium need a recharge ASAP.
In order to address this, make sure to bring plenty of salty snacks that are rich in complex carbs if possible. Avoid at all costs all the simple carbs such as sugars and candy as they will not help you at all in this scenario.
You can also bring along some fruits and energy bars which are also a great source of complex carbs.
Taking some regular mini breaks is also key to allow your muscles to recover a bit and cool down your body temperature. This is also a perfect occasion to enjoy your salty snacks.
8) Remember To Bring The Extras
It’s always good practice to bring an extra pair of hiking socks. When you are hiking in hot weather, sweat will generally create some blisters which can be quite painful and annoying.
It’s always a really good sensation to be able to exchange a sweaty pair of socks for a dry one.
Also, another extra to consider bringing is a good bug spray to avoid mainly the annoying mosquitos that may be around your hiking trail.
9) Pay Close Attention To Any Stroke Symptoms
Although this may sound a bit extreme, it’s important to keep it in mind and understand some common symptoms so you are well prepared in advance. Some of the most early common signs of a stroke are:
- Bad headache
- Feeling dizziness
- Disorientation or confusion
- Muscle cramps
- Lack of sweating despite of the hot weather
If by any chance you start experiencing any of the above symptoms, please get off the trail immediately and call 911 for assistance. “It’s always good to be safe than sorry”
Hiking is an increidble activity for both your body and mind. It´s always good to get out of our busy lives and schedules and experience a truly deep contact with ourselves and nature. When hiking in summer, you will just need to take some extra precautions but as long as you follow some of our tips you will be just fine.
We hope this article has been useful for your next hiking adventure in summer.