Summer is synonymous with the word «hike». The shining sun, flourishing forests, marvelous mountain peaks — unique places and untrodden pathways call to hit the road. All adventurers know to take particular precautions when hiking in hot weather. Nowadays, professional tourists, people with rich experience, can easily navigate the preparation for the journey.
The same cannot be said about those who, for the first time, independently decide to go to nature. For them, some recommendations will give the minimum of the most necessary knowledge on how to prepare for a summer trip.
The Dangers & Risks Of Hiking In Hot Weather
With the onset of summer, people resume long-awaited journeys to favorite natural places. The principal question for any tourist is the endangerment of hiking in baking weather. Before trekking, it is preferable to find out the weather conditions and carefully choose clothes and accessories.
Remember, there is no miraculous method to eliminate all the risks associated with hiking. But you can significantly reduce the hazard ratio if you prepare seriously.
High air temperature can suppress the body’s cooling mechanisms. It can commence to heatstroke, which is potentially fatal. It is essential to decrease the body temperature by submerging the person in the water to increase evaporative cooling in heatstroke. The person necessitates immediate treatment and must be taken to the hospital as quickly as possible.
Most of all, lack of salts is the reason for heat cramps. Various salts are lost during sweating. In the body, these microelements help «excess» water from cells, they are responsible for muscle contractions and energy supply, normalize acid-base balance and eliminate muscle cramps during dehydration. Sodium deficiency influences endurance:
- A person loses strength.
- It is difficult for the person to walk.
- Throughout a short-term rest, he does not have the opportunity to recover.
Heat exhaustion is a moderate condition, which is manifested by high body temperature. Symptoms encompass thirst, headache, weakness, momentary loss of consciousness, vomiting, and dizziness. It is frequently accompanied by dehydration and profuse sweating, sometimes tachycardia, and a sharp drop in blood pressure.
On scorching days, the body can lose a lot of water through sweating. Nowadays, hiking in hot weather will also accelerate the loss of body liquids. You can’t even notice how much you sweat in arid climates due to the high evaporation rates. And when you sweat, you are also losing necessary minerals from your system.
Proper hydration is critical to the health of organs in the body, including the brain:
- Dehydration can lead to weakened functioning of the brain, which then leads to confusion, impaired consciousness.
- Blood can also thicken with fluid loss, making the heart work harder.
- Consequently, you need to consume the residual amount of liquid before the journey.
You can drink plenty of water, but this may not prevent you from developing hyponatremia. It happens when tourists drink massive amounts of water without replenishing electrolytes. Hyponatremia is a potentially serious condition that can lead to seizures.
To prevent this from happening, you necessitate maintaining normal sodium, magnesium, and potassium levels. The solution to this problem is simple: a healthy lunch or a simple snack on the way will restore sodium levels in the bloodstream. Nuts and crackers are especially useful in these cases.
Sunburn is a dangerous inflammation of the surface layers of the skin resulting from exposure to ultraviolet radiation. A lot of people wear long sleeves for sun protection, but in reality, not all fabrics effectively block UV light. So, lightweight natural materials pass dangerous rays almost unhindered. The light, natural fabric is considered to be the best choice for a scorching day.
Tips & Tricks For Hiking In Hot Weather Safely
All tourism technology is nothing more than a safety technique. The primary method of securing it throughout camping is following the rules of trekking. The entire trip — the speed of movement, the mood in the group, and the quality of passing obstacles depends on ensuring the safety of the participants.
Wear The Right Kind Of Clothing
The best choice for hiking in hot weather is a T-shirt. It will not get stuffy in it, and the backpack’s straps will not irritate your shoulders. Trekking apparel manufacturers produce T-shirts made from technologically advanced materials that wick away excess moisture and provide much-needed ventilation.
In large sportswear stores, you will find a lot of inexpensive and high-quality alternatives:
- A must-have item of clothing is a windbreaker or wind jacket. These are lightweight waterproof and windproof jackets that protect you from light rain and other vagaries of the weather.
- To not freeze throughout the evening gatherings around the campfire, bring a warm jacket or sweatshirt.
- In scorching weather, you want to wear shorts. It is permissible, but remember that uncovered skin is a delicious morsel for insects, nettles, sedges, and thorny bushes.
When preparing for a summer journey, it is important to choose not only the appropriate equipment but also clothing. The choice depends primarily on the area where you plan to relax — whether it will be mountains with large temperature drops or plains with more stable weather, forests, steppes, river, sea coast, etc.
Wear Plenty Of Sunscreen
It’s very easy to get burned on a hike because the ultraviolet radiation does not disappear anywhere, and its intensity only increases due to the rarefied air and light reflected from snow and ice. Cloudy weather doesn’t help either — clouds for UV rays are not the biggest obstacle. Therefore, it is important to take sunscreen.
You should also apply sunscreen when hiking to prevent sunburns. Innovative products help to protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays, as a result of which premature aging, wrinkles, blemishes, and the development of skin cancer are prevented.
The timing of the journey is important. The early bird catches the worm! Everyone knows it’s better to start the trip as early as possible. Go hiking in hot weather in the morning, as temperatures can be several degrees colder at this time of day than during the whole journey. The afternoon sun is no longer baking so much, but it will still be much hotter in the evening than in the morning.
Make Sure You’ve Got Enough Water, But Don’t Overdo It
It’s advisable to drink clean water while hiking. It can be slightly salted or added with a little citric acid. Furthermore, it quenches thirst better this way. But it’s important to remember about balance! Overhydration is dangerous for travelers.
It occurs when more water enters the body than is excreted. The danger of overhydration lies in the fact that at the beginning, its symptoms are hardly noticeable, and the development occurs very quickly. Recognizing overhydration is difficult because each of us responds differently to problems with liquids balance. It means that different people will have different reactions of the body. Drinking saltwater or salt tablets will solve this problem.
In general, you shouldn’t drink a lot of water. It is best not to drink at all for the first two to three hours of the hike. Until the thirst is completely quenched, it is worth drinking only at a big halt. On the way, limit yourself to two or three sips.
Keep Your Salt Levels Balanced
The more water you drink, the harder it will be to sweat, and your thirst will not decrease. The feeling of thirst arises in a traveler not because of the loss of water that comes out of the body with sweat but because of the overflowing excretion of salts.
Conventional water contains much fewer salts. Therefore, to restore the disturbed salt balance, people would have to drink a lot. Having drunk in the morning, you do not require drinking until the lunch break in the afternoon. If it’s hard, then it’s better to endure the second half of the day — until the evening.
Get Wet Whenever You Can
Throughout the journey, you should not miss the chance to splash in the water:
- Water in a lake or river will cool the body.
- It will help you to relax for a while.
- Simply dipping your feet into cold water will have a positive effect on your overall well-being.
- It enables the body to regulate temperature, protecting against various heat-related diseases.
Don’t Ignore A Headache
Headaches should never be ignored on a hike. Symptoms from the central nervous system occur (headache, moderate disorientation) and quickly disappear at rest and when the body cools. Treatment includes:
- Physical rest.
- Removing excess outerwear and sports accessories.
- Moving the person to a location with low air temperatures.
Choose Your Trail Wisely
When going on a long walk, don’t be overly ambitious. A scorching day is not the best time to cover many kilometers or climb a mountain. If you intend to have a fantastic time, then lower your expectations. It is better to foresee all grandiose routes not for one day but for several.
A lot of things depend on the route. If the path is laid out carefully, with a small number of challenging tracks, then, in this case, hiking in hot weather promises to be comfortable, even if it rains. Suppose the route is challenging or, for example, far from settlements. In that case, this will affect the choice of equipment, calculation of food, etc. Perhaps someone in the group will even refuse to go because of the difficulty of the trail.