When I was writing the book and on deadline, I hiked in all kinds of weather — snow, sleet, rain and in temperatures ranging from Arctic Blasts to Deep Jungle. (I made that last one up). The reason I hiked in all this crappy weather was because if you wait for the perfect idyllic hiking weather, you’ll hike about 5 days out of 365 and when your book is on deadline — you have to get it done the weather doesn’t matter!
So, back to hiking in the heat.
- Pack for your hike the night before and be ready to go in just s few minutes the next morning.
- Bring along lots of water. Whatever bottle or pack system works for you. Camelbak, Nalgene, Vapur, or Platypus. (The links to products are affiliate links. It doesn’t cost you extra to buy via these links but I get a small tiny microscopic percentage of the sale which helps me pay for fun things like hosting fees for this website. So, please do me a favor and purchase through my affiliate links. Thanks!)
- I also pack at least one disposable water bottle of water. I’m not a fan of these plastic bottles but I have ran into so many people in distress on the trail, I started carrying at least one, to be able to help someone out without giving them my expensive water bottle and…um…my water.
- Here is some insight on how much water you need (straight from my book): How much is enough? Well, one simple physiological fact should convince you to err on the side of excess when deciding how much water to pack: A hiker working hard in 90-degree heat needs approximately 10 quarts of fluid per day. That’s 2.5 gallons—12 large water bottles or 16 small ones. In other words, pack along one or two bottles even for short hikes.Some hikers and backpackers hit the trail prepared to purify water found along the route. This method, while less dangerous than drinking it untreated, comes with risks. Purifiers with ceramic filters are the safest. Many hikers pack along the slightly distasteful tetraglycine-hydroperiodide tablets to debug water (sold under the names Potable Aqua, Coughlan’s, and others).Probably the most common waterborne “bug” that hikers face is Giardia, which may not hit until one to four weeks after ingestion. It will have you living in the bathroom, passing noxious rotten-egg gas, vomiting, and shivering with chills. Other parasites to worry about include E. coli and Cryptosporidium, both of which are harder to kill than Giardia.For most people, the pleasures of hiking make carrying water a relatively minor price to pay to remain healthy. If you’re tempted to drink “found water,” do so only if you understand the risks involved. Better yet, hydrate prior to your hike, carry (and drink) 6 ounces of water for every mile you plan to hike, and hydrate after the hike.
- Get up early — so you have enough time to eat and get to your destination before the crack of dawn has even though about showing itself.*
- Dress in light water wicking clothing and the hiking shoes that work for you. In hot weather, I hike in a pair of Teva sandals or my Keen mesh hiking shoes (yes, these are also affiliate links. I appreciate your support!) depending on the trail and how many sharp rocks I may encounter.
- Eat breakfast, skip the caffeine, have an OJ, and drink lots of water.
- Tell your keepers where you are going to be and what trails you are hiking.
- When you arrive at your hiking destination — park where you think there will be shade and if there is no shade — don’t forget to put up your sun-shield in your car and cover your steering wheel with a beach towel. It’s going to be hot in there when you get back. ((I usually pack a cooler full of ice with a few extra Nalgene bottles full of crushed ice, that way when I get back I have some nice cold water to drink.))
- Make sure your vehicle is locked and any valuables are well hidden (BTW — you should leave the valuables at home).
- Start your hike.
- Stay hydrated through out the hike.
- Take it easy hiking. Don’t go running through the woods.
- Enjoy your hike and that icy cold water when you get back to your car!
- If you start to get hot, stop or at least slow down. Take a break in a cool shady spot. This includes plopping down in the middle of a creek and taking your shoes off and sticking your feet in the water!
- Hydrate and eat something with a little salt in it like some peanuts, pecans, pistachios, or walnuts and some sugar like M&Ms. Eat tiny amounts of your trail mix rather than eating a huge granola bar which will just sit there like a cinder block.
- If you start to feel dizzy, exhausted, extremely sleepy, or nauseous — you need immediate help — time to ring up the park rangers or your pals. Signs of heat exhaustion include:
- Profuse sweating
- Feelings of tiredness or fatigue
- Weakness in the body
- Muscle cramps
I have seen many bad decisions made on the trail because of dehydration and over-exertion. Don’t let this happen to you.
Hike early and get done before the big wallop of heat hits in the early afternoon hours. (Big wallop is a technical term, I just made up — you can use it to look super smart in front of all your friends. I give you permission that’s a $59 Value!)
* The crack on dawn occurs roughly one-half hour before the listed sunrise time. If you have great night vision or a really good flashlight and know the trail well, you could push this time a little further into the black and get hiking in the wee hours of the morning. NOAA (National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration) has an accurate sunrise/sunset calculator here.
Be Safe and Hike Happy — no one likes a ticked off hiker. 😉
Sign-up for me little ole newsletter by clicking below.