The last thing you want while hiking in hot weather is to be uncomfortable due to being over- or underdressed. Fortunately, choosing the right clothing can make a huge difference and even enhance your outdoor experience. Here are some tips on what to wear to stay cool, comfortable and safe during a hot weather hike.
Choose your fabrics with care
When you’re out on a hike in hot weather, the best fabric to wear is one that’s light and breathable yet still fast-drying. Natural fabrics such as merino wool offer all of these qualities and more; however, nylon or polyester (which are usually more affordable) will do just fine too. Even though cotton is highly breathable, it isn’t recommended for outdoor activities because it doesn’t wick away sweat like other fabrics – instead absorbing moisture rather than transporting it away from your skin.
Apart from the fabric type, it might be wise to look into the fabric density as well. Even though synthetic products rarely advertise this trait, merino clothing most often indicates its “weight” – not referring to total heaviness but rather specifying the amount of merino in grams per square meter (for example 200 gsm).
When searching for the best merino base layers to wear during hot temperatures, look for garments with a lighter weight, preferably in the range of 100-170 gsm. The looser weave on these materials will ensure that your body heat and sweat are able to escape while allowing external air to flow through them. This creates a comfortable environment inside your clothing as you go about your day!
Wear light colors
To stay cool in the sun, choose clothes that are light-hued and reflect sunlight instead of absorbing it like darker colors. Look for garments such as shirts, shorts or pants in white, tan or khaki shades to beat the heat!
Choose clothes That Offer ventilation
Select togs that have ventilation zippers in the thigh, armpit, or other areas and make sure those are open so air can move around your body. With pants specifically, increasing airflow is as easy as unzipping the ankles or at least partially unbuttoning the front zipper – every bit helps!
When deciding what footwear to choose for a hike, the terrain beneath your feet should be taken into consideration – low-cut shoes will generally perform better than boots in this regard.
Despite the temptation to opt for vests or short-sleeved t-shirts when venturing out on a hike during hot weather, it’s wise to remember that added protection from long-sleeved shirts and pants is essential in shielding you against damaging UV rays.
Wear a hat
On especially sunny days, your sunhat is a clear necessity. Look for hats with wide brim coverage to protect the entirety of your face and neck area; better yet, if you are partial to baseball caps try tucking in a bandana beneath it for extra protection at your ears and nape!
As we prepare to take on a hiking journey in sweltering conditions, don’t forget that eye protection is just as important as skincare. No matter where your hike takes you, safeguarding our eyes is of the utmost importance since UV rays become increasingly more powerful with each 1000-foot gain in elevation.
When it comes to the most suitable glasses for hiking, the best option varies depending on your altitude and terrain. For hikes below the snowline or typical trails, category 3 lenses that block 80%-90% of visible light should suffice. However, if you’re planning a more rigorous excursion above the snow line or in glaciated areas, then opt for category 4 sunglasses blocking out over 90% of visible light. Additionally, when venturing into hot weather conditions during any hike consider wrap-around shades with side shields (leather patches) as they are effective at limiting glare from reflected off rugged landscapes.
Use UPF-rated clothing
The Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating system is used to assess the amount of UV radiation that can enter through various types of fabrics. If you’re looking for maximum protection, garments with a UPF rating of 30+ or 50+ will block out around 96% and 99% respectively. However, if your garment does not have this information on its label don’t worry! It’s beneficial to note that synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester provide more sun safety than those made from natural fibers.
Wear the right socks
Avoid cotton socks at all costs and opt for wool or synthetics instead. Make sure your socks fit properly; too-big ones can wrinkle, and those that are undersized may cause pressure points as well as sock slippage. To find out more about blister prevention and care, please refer to our in-depth article on the subject!
Hiking Accessories to Bring When Hiking In Hot Weather
- Water bladder or Water Bottle —To stay properly hydrated during your outdoor adventures, make sure you have a water bladder that can store at least 2L of liquid. Related article: The Best Way To Carry Water While Hiking
- Sunscreen — To ensure maximum protection from the sun, make sure your sunscreen has a minimum UPF rating of 50. Apply it before you get started and bring some with you to reapply throughout the day.
- Electrolytes — On hot days, we perspire in order to maintain a cool body temperature. Unfortunately, excessive sweat can result in significant loss of electrolytes – sodium , potassium and chloride – that are essential for the proper functioning of our bodies. Therefore, it is important to have some rehydration solutions on hand if you start feeling tired or dehydrated while out in the heat. Related article: Why Eat Salty Snacks While Hiking?
- First-aid kit — Even the most alert hikers are prone to accidents, so don’t gamble with your safety. Carry some essential first-aid items such as band-aids for blisters, tweezers for splinters and compression bandages in case of sprains. Taking these precautions can help you reduce risks while on a hike!
- Walking poles – With the help of walking poles, you can take the load off your legs and reduce energy expenditure in no time. That means you don’t have to work as hard – plus, that probably translates into less sweat!
Planning Tips for Hot-Weather Hiking
As you plan your successful hot weather hike, don’t forget to consider when and where you’ll be trekking. It can take up to two weeks for your body to adjust accordingly in extreme temperatures, so start off with a few slow hikes before ramping it up.
- Avoid the hottest time of day: If you want to stay cool, it’s best to embark on your hike during the cooler morning hours or wait until after 3 p.m. when temperatures begin dropping.
- Stay in the shade: For a more pleasant hiking experience, it is wise to select trails that are sheltered by trees or carved in deep canyons which provide relief from the scorching sun.
- Hike near water: If you’re seeking a cool respite and there isn’t much shade in sight, head to the beach or lakefront for an invigorating hike. Or, if you are on a riverbank trail, take advantage of Mother Nature’s gentle gift: dunk your hat or shirt into the water then allow it to dry as its evaporation helps keep your body temperature down.
- Pay attention to your body. If you experience symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, disorientation or excruciating headaches—don’t strain yourself. Find a well-shaded area to rest in and take your time cooling down.
- To ensure you stay properly hydrated on the trail, it’s essential to bring more water than what you think is necessary (0.5 liters per hour of hiking) or have a convenient water filtration device handy!
- To ensure proper hydration, it is important to pair your water consumption with electrolyte-rich salty snacks. This strategy will help you avoid the dangers of overhydrating and maintain a balanced diet.
- Applying sunscreen is a must, even if you don’t think your skin will burn.
- Know your boundaries and be ready to pause if you reach them.
Health Concerns for Hot-Weather Hiking
Sun-protection clothing is a great way to shield your skin from the sun, but don’t forget about sunscreen! It’s an absolute must when you’re out in the sun. To make sure that you get it right every time, read over directions on your bottle of sunscreen – typically they include basic instructions and helpful tips. Nevertheless, here are some key points: When you plan on being outdoors for more than two hours, make sure that your sunscreen is at least SPF 30. For optimal protection, apply the sunscreen 15 minutes before going outside and reapply it after one hour.
When hiking in hot weather, it’s essential to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Otherwise, dehydration can leave you feeling unwell and also increase your risk of developing heat-related illnesses such as cramps, exhaustion or even stroke!
Factors such as heat, humidity, intensity level, age group and body type all affect your individual sweat rate and therefore should be taken into consideration before embarking on any hike. As a general rule of thumb we suggest consuming around 0.5 liters of fluid each hour for moderate activities in average temperatures.As the temperature and physical exertion amplify, it is essential to incrementally increase your water intake. To exemplify, during strenuous hikes in a scorching environment you may need more than one liter of liquid per hour!
When out on the trails with your furry friends, ensure that they have enough water for their journey as well. In arid regions, bring sufficient fluid for both of you and a lightweight bowl to keep them hydrated along the way. Furthermore, don’t forget to pack boots or shoes for your pup when you’re out and about in the hot weather. The pavement can become too scorching for their little paws!
Just as dangerous as dehydration is hyponatremia, or overhydration. Hyponatremia is a dangerous condition in which the sodium levels in your blood are dramatically diminished, so much that it begins to impair cellular function.
The signs and symptoms of hyponatremia can seem a lot like dehydration, including exhaustion, migraines and nausea. Unfortunately, this causes many athletes to mistakenly drink more fluids in an effort to rehydrate – but this only worsens the condition.
To avoid overhydration, it is critical to keep track of your liquid intake. Stick to sipping a few swallows of water every 15-20 minutes and be sure not to drink more than you perspire.
Additionally, restoring salt balance by having sports drinks with electrolytes rather than pure H2O or snacking on salty food like pretzels may help counteract the effects caused by excess hydration. Salt tablets are another option worth considering as well.
Heat stroke is a major medical condition that occurs when the body has overheated, causing it to suddenly shut down. Heat stroke can quickly take over and requires immediate attention from healthcare professionals.
If you spot your hiking companion showing signs of heat exhaustion combined with changes in their mental state, be sure to watch out for certain telling indicators. A pounding headache, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, confusion, disorientation and uneasiness are all symptoms of a heat stroke.
Dealing with heat stroke requires immediate action to prevent serious injury or death. First, move the person out of direct sunlight and into a cool area if possible. Then, remove any excess clothing that may be causing additional heat buildup on the body’s surface. Provide fluids such as water or sports drinks for hydration and encourage them to drink in small sips every 15 minutes until their symptoms improve. To lower their body temperature further, use cold packs placed around the neck and armpits or apply damp cloths over areas of skin where veins are close to the surface (e.g., wrists). Seek medical assistance immediately if symptoms do not improve after taking these steps!
What Should I Avoid While Hiking in the Summer?
When exploring nature in the summer, it’s essential to steer clear of denim and cotton. These fabrics are notoriously heavy and can become unbearable quickly – so don’t risk it! To ensure a comfortable journey, opt for lightweight materials that will keep you cool throughout your hike.
What Temperatures Are Too Hot For Hiking?
With temperatures soaring above 90 degrees, reconsider your hike and find an air-conditioned activity instead. Not only would this be more comfortable, but also safer: heat cramps, exhaustion and even stroke could occur with strenuous physical activities in the intense heat. Prepare to beat the summer by choosing a cooler alternative!
What Should I Wear Hiking if I Sweat A Lot?
When you exercise or take a hike, don’t let sweat hold you back—choose lightweight and breathable garments that are loose-fitting. This type of clothing will keep your body temperature regulated while ensuring some degree of moisture control.
Should You Wear Black When Hiking?
During the winter months, wear black when you’re out on a hike to take advantage of its heat-absorbing properties. But in summertime, steer clear of darker shades such as black, brown and navy if you want to stay cool!
Should I Wear Pants for Hiking in Summer?
What you choose to wear is entirely up to you. Some hikers prefer wearing pants year-round, while others opt for shorts. Wearing pants will protect your skin against the sun’s rays and pesky insects, yet shorts can keep you much cooler in warmer temperatures. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference!