Staying Cool While Hot Weather Hiking

Tips to staying cooler while hiking in the heat.

It is very important that you use caution hiking in the heat to avoid heat related illnesses. If you are not careful, you could suffer from dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Your physical shape and hiking experience should also always be considered before heading out, especially in severe conditions. Hot weather hiking means more strain on your heart and lungs, so be aware of your limitations. Hiking is supposed to be fun and remember that you are responsible for your own safety out there. Before you start any hike, check the weather forecast. If it’s expected to be 110 degrees with 110% humidity, then you’d better seriously consider postponing the hike until things cool down. When it’s not extremely too hot to hike and you feel comfortable that you can head out, then use these tips to stay safe and enjoy the day:

-Cut back!

If you are attempting to do a “normal day” out on the trail in extreme heat, you are putting yourself at risk. If you do half of what you’d normally do, it’ll be as if you’ve done just as much in those high temperatures. I know that many of us hikers are so darn stubborn, but in extreme heat, we need to let our smarts take over. I admit that I love to push myself because I love a challenge, especially when it’s physical. Last month, I was on the Appalachian Trail, and I came upon a side trail that I decided to give a shot. It wasn’t part of my plan that day, but I just had to give it a try. Sure, it was exciting not knowing what was up ahead, but I never expected what I got! The trail was all climbs! Not only that, but the temperature hit 92 degrees and the sun was at its peak! This little side trail kicked my butt! After all that climbing, I knew it was time to say “enough” for the day. I had planned on a 3-4 hour hike, but I settled for 2 hours instead. On these types of days, you should cut back your time out there and also pick a less strenuous route. If you want to be out there for a longer time, at least pick a trail that is flatter than something you’d normally tackle.

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