Hot Hiking Tips to Beat the Heat
June 27, 2022
The heat is on, but don’t toss your hiking boots back in the closet. As Grand Central Park residents know, you can take to the trails this summer as long as you follow a few guidelines. Here are some hot tips to keep you cool and comfortable.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate…
…and for good measure, hydrate some more. Start your hike fully hydrated by staying on top of your eight cups the day before the hike. Pack more water than you think you will need. You lose approximately 32 ounces of water for every hour you hike in the sun. Most hikers suggest sipping 16 ounces of water every hour.
Water isn’t the only thing you lose when you sweat. You lose sodium and potassium. These minerals give you energy and keep you from cramping. Bring salty snacks such as nuts and jerky with you. Pack electrolyte tablets or drink mixes and alternate with plain water.
Wear Cool Clothes
Just because it’s hot doesn’t mean you should be hiking in shorts and a t-shirt. Wear loose fitting, moisture wicking comfortable clothes. Avoid dark colors which trap heat. Clothes specifically designed for hiking have zippered air vents so your skin can breathe. Long-sleeved shirts and pants will protect you from the sun and ticks.
Don’t Forget to Accessorize
No, we aren’t talking earrings. Always wear a hat to protect your skin from UV rays. Sunglasses protect your eyes and the delicate skin around them. Bandanas aren’t just fashionable. You can soak them in water and wipe your face and neck with them for a quick cool down.
Slather on the Sunscreen
With all that clothing on, do you really need sunscreen? Yes. Sunscreen provides an extra layer of protection. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Reapply every two hours. More if you’ve been sweating.
Want to stay cool and enjoy a beautiful view? Plan to start your hike at sunrise. The temperature is cooler in the morning, the sun’s rays aren’t as strong and you’ll be finished in time to post photos on Instagram. If you prefer, hike in the evening. Again, the temperature will have dropped, and you can enjoy a spectacular Texas sunset.
Bring a Friend
Hiking is more fun with other people. It’s also safer. The two of you can remind each other to drink water, watch for signs of sunstroke and help in case of an emergency.
Heat Exhaustion vs. Heat Stroke
Do you know the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke? Heat exhaustion proceeds heat stroke. The symptoms are headache, dizziness, profuse sweating, clammy skin, shallow breathing and muscle cramps. If you experience any of these, you need to bring your body temperature down. Rest in the shade and sponge yourself with cool water. Then get yourself to someplace with air conditioning. The symptoms of heat stroke are absence of sweating, pulsing headache, hot or dry skin, high body temperature, nausea, vomiting, loss of consciousness or confusion. This is a life-threatening condition. Seek medical help if you are close to home, or a ranger station if you are not.