Backpacking in the heat can be difficult, and so planning in advance and ensuring that you have everything you need can help you from getting heat stroke or becoming too dehydrated. You need to stay safe in the heat, so follow these six tips to make sure you do so this summer.
One of the most important things to remember on a hot day is sunscreen. Without this, your skin will burn, and even if you do tan, this is still damaging your skin. Over time, too much sun exposure could lead to many problems, and we need to keep our skin safe and protected to prevent long-term damage. Always follow the instructions on the bottle regarding how often to apply. Wearing loose and long sleeves will also protect you from the sun, as well as from insect bites.
Keep Your Backpack Light
When backpacking, you need to only carry the essentials. Carrying too much in the heat will lead to over-exhaustion far too early. Your body needs energy to keep cool, so choose a light backpack and don’t overpack with things that you don’t need.
Backpacks also fit right in with our “One Trip Rule” for packing because they can ride on top of a rolling suitcase.
Hydration is essential when walking in the heat, so carrying enough water and keeping it cool means that you will be safe and hydrated throughout your day. Before you even set off for the day, you should be drinking water and setting off for your trip already hydrated, otherwise you will become dehydrated easily while walking in the sun. In extra hot weather, your body can lose a whopping one liter of water each hour through sweat. Sipping regularly means you are staying hydrated without filling yourself up on water.
Take regular rest breaks even if you don’t usually rest when backpacking. When you are in hotter conditions, you are more likely to get tired, so listen to what your body is telling you and take some rest in the shade if possible. Usually the recommended rest breaks are every two and a half hours. In hotter conditions, this should be adhered to, or breaks should be taken even more frequently. When taking a break, let your feet get some air too – this can do you the world of good and help to prevent athlete’s foot.
Choose the Proper Trail
If you are deciding to backpack in hot weather, it is more important than ever to choose a trail that is guided, and that other people will be walking on. The last thing that you want is to get lost in the heat and run out of water or food. A proper trail should also have plenty of areas which are shaded by trees, whereas going your own way may mean unsheltered areas for miles. Always know before you set off where any water points are too.
Check the Time
In the summer, hiking early means that you miss the hottest parts of the day. The hottest hours of the day are usually between 10 and 3 and so it’s best to use these hours to chill in the shade and then continue to hike after this time. If you have set off early, then you will be able to still get to a good camping spot before dark and prevent any heat exhaustion. When backpacking in the hot weather, you need a light sleeping bag which is also durable. Adventure Junkies have reviews of the best backpacking sleeping bag on their website.
Never miss out on sunscreen, always pack enough water, and know the water points on the trail you are heading down. Setting off early in the heat means you can rest during the hottest weather and when your body tells you.
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