We’re in the dog days of summer here in the Northern Hemisphere and if where you live is anything like my home, it is hot, humid, and challenging to be outside at the moment. Of course, that won’t keep us inside for very long, it just means we have to be a bit smarter about how we approach our active adventures during the hotter months. To help out with that, Backpacker magazine has published some tips on how hike in the summer heat, offering up some good reminders to take care of ourselves on the trail.
Backpacker’s article is actually filled with some really useful information, even for those of us who think we have summer hiking all figured out. For instance, the story provides tips on how to properly acclimate to the heat, suggesting that much like climbing we should slowly get use to the change in temperature 10-14 days ahead of any planned long-distance hikes. The best way to do that, unsurprisingly, is to train in the hot conditions and even wear extra layers to help the body adapt.
Other useful tips include not just to stay hydrated, but how to do so effectively. Backpacker even suggests eating carbs as they convert to much-needed energy at a faster rate. Also, don’t be afraid to get wet when you can, as the water will help keep your body cooler and more comfortable. The article also reminds us to protect our skin, take breaks, and watch for the symptoms of heat stroke.
It is extremely easy to overlook the challenges that excess heat brings on, but it can be just as dangerous and deadly as extreme cold. Obviously we want to carry plenty of water with us on a hike, as well as food to keep our energy levels up. Sunscreen is a must if you’re going to be outdoors for any length of time, although clothing with built-in sun protection is an even better choice. Regular rest breaks will help the body to recover too, making it easier to cover all of those trail miles, even when things get hot.
Even though we’re well into July at this point, there are still more than two months of summer to go. If you’ve got some good hikes coming up on your schedule, be sure to give this article a look before hitting the trail. As I said, a lot of the information is stuff we probably already know, but there are some good tips and reminders nonetheless.
Read the entire story here.
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