Summer is Here! Hiking Tips in Hot Weather.

9 Tips for Hot Summer Hiking and Backpacking

You’re right when you think summer is the best time to go hiking. Long days, beautiful blue sky, nice weather – what else could you wish for.

But sun and warmth that we love so much can become a burden or even a problem when you set out on a hiking adventure. Soon you might be praying for rain or just a little cloud.

1. Protect yourself   


The most obvious protection from the heat is your hiking outfit. When hiking in hot weather make sure to wear synthetic clothing that wicks away the moisture. This will help your body regulate its temperature and reduce the risk of overheating. If possible wear clothes that have antimicrobial properties it will help you stay bug free. If you’re hiking in extreme heat consider wearing loose clothing with long sleeves – it will keep away the direct heat from your skin and reduce the risk of overheating. 

» When it’s hot and the sun just wants to eat alive you don’t forget to wear some kind of hat. Wide brim or neck protection are also a good idea to cover those small bits of unprotected skin like nose and neck.

» When hiking in the heat it’s very important to take care of your feet. They’re your main asset and their well being should always be your priority. Make sure you wear moisture wicking socks and bring another pair with you. Stopping, venting your feet and changing your socks will ensure your feet serves you well – this is one of the many things you can do to prevent blisters.

» Sunglasses is one of the most obvious things to bring along when planning backpacking or hiking in hot weather. Don’t forget to use them as your eyes can suffer greatly by being exposed to excess sunlight.

» Another thing to have and use is the sunscreen – apply it multiple times throughout the day on the body parts which uncovered. It is especially important for people with tattoos – protect your precious pieces of art as they suffer through exposure to sun. Additionally tattooed parts of your skin tend to heat up much faster due to applied color.

2. Watch the time and keep track of your heart rate 

samsung fit

In summer when days are long you have plenty of time for hiking the miles you planned. In hot weather conditions start your day as early as you can and hike before the true heat sets in. Hours between 10am and 3pm are typically the hottest ones so it is advisable to start early in the morning or wait them out and resume your hike in the late afternoon. You will still have enough sunlight to get to your camping spot and you will avoid heat exhaustion by hiking in the hottest time of the day.


Keep track of your heart rate by using your Fitbit, smartphone or watch, or the old fashioned way….

*****To check your pulse over your carotid artery, place your index and middle fingers on your neck to the side of your windpipe. When you feel your pulse, look at your watch and count the number of beats in 10 seconds. Multiply this number by 6 to get your heart rate per minute.


3. Stay hydrated 

Proper hydration is probably the most important thing you should remember when hiking in hot weather. If you know you will be walking in heat you should start hydrating yourself still at home. Make sure you set off to the trail properly hydrated.

Once on the trail make sure to carry enough water. In really hot conditions your body can sweat up to 1l of water per hour so keeping constant hydration is very important. Make sipping regularly your habit – it is much better for the body to absorb smaller portions of water regularly than big amounts once in a while. Sipping also ensures that you constantly deliver water to your body – remember if you feel thirsty it’s too late and your body is on its way towards dehydration.

Wherever you go makes sure you carry enough water and you know exactly where your water sources are along the trail.

4. Keep it light 

Make sure you only take the gear that is really necessary for a given hike you’re taking. Bringing excessive amount of gear or gear not suitable for a given hike will only increase the energy expense. And your body needs this energy to keep you moving and cool you down.

Don’t forget about the important essentials you should always carry but make sure your pack stays as light as possible.

5. Watch your electrolytes


While you’re sweating you’re losing not only water but also electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium) important to your body. That is why it is important to replenish them when hiking in hot weather. You can introduce them in a form of a salty trail mix, snacks with complex carbs or as a sport drink which you can easily dilute in your water. Just make sure you’re doing one of the above things and you’ll be good.  

I especially like the portability and taste of this Optimum Nutrition brand Aminos and Electrolytes powdered formula.

6. Rest regularly

Resting regularly is a general important thing every hiker should remember. In normal or cooler weather conditions it is advisable to rest every 2h for around 30 min. In hot weather conditions I would encourage you to use the above rule or to rest even more often. Hiking in the heat is very strenuous and it’s important to keep your body in good shape. Find yourself a shaded spot, sit down, cool down, drink water, take off your shoes and rest your feet. By doing so you’re making sure to stay fit and can continue your hike without any health issues.

7. Check the weather

Before setting off to the trail make sure you know your weather forecast. Even in summer weather in the mountains can be very unpredictable and you should know exactly what to expect and be prepared. Violent downpours are nothing uncommon and being caught by one of them without being prepared for it is no fun. Additionally knowing you max and min temperatures for day and night helps you prepare and plan what gear to take and optimise your pack contents.

8. Choose proper trail

If you know you’ll be hiking in hot weather try to choose a trail where there is some tree coverage or coverage of any other type. Constant exposure to the sun through the whole day will drain your strengths fast. Having parts of a trail running through forest or other shaded areas will give you a nice relief from the heat.

When choosing a trail for hot summer hiking it is important to know where your water sources are. Knowing this will allow you to plan the amount of water you should bring as well as give you opportunity to cool down.

9. Know your body

When hiking in hot weather it is very important to observe yourself and your companions. Everyone has their limits and sometimes you can misjudge your capabilities. Make sure you know how to recognize and respond to any signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Recognizing the signs and counteracting them might save some lives.

Some signs of heat exhaustion/heat stroke:

– Strong headache

– Dizziness

– Muscle cramps

– Nausea

– Disorientation or confusion

– Lack of sweating, despite hot temperatures

Never hesitate to call 911 if the situation is serious and requires professional help.

Summer is one of the best times to go hiking and we should all count at least couple of cool summer adventures this year. I hope that with the above guide you will stay safe and prepared for those days of hellish heat and you’ll successfully finish your hikes.


STAY COOL…..Keep hiking!