Ten Tips for Warm Weather Hiking

10 Tips for Warm Weather HikingIt’s still spring here in Arkansas, but as any local knows, the Ozarks heat up well before summer arrives. May is a great month to go hiking, but you do have to keep a few things in mind when hiking in warm weather that you might not consider when hiking in cooler weather.

Here are ten tips for warm weather hiking.

Sun protection is important year-round, but since warm weather typically brings longer and more intense hours of sunlight, you should take extra measures to keep your skin safe. Long sleeves may seem counter intuitive with warm weather hiking, but they provide crucial protection. You should also wear sun screen, sunglasses, and a hat. Bring lip balm to soothe and prevent dry lips.

Water takes up a lot of space and can be quite heavy but it also keeps you alive. Do not skimp on water, and carry more water than you think you need. Bring a water filter for long hikes.

Learn how to identify poisonous plants. Long pants or tall socks can help, and sticking to trails rather than bushwhacking will reduce your contact with poisonous plants.

Guard yourself from insects. Avoid strong deodorants, cologne or perfume, sweet drinks and candy, which can lure bugs. Again, long sleeves and pants add extra protection and can prevent bites. Do not venture into the Ozarks in the spring or summer without equipping yourself with insect repellent.

Take it easy. Exerting energy in the sun will zap you. Take breaks and rest in the shade to avoid overexertion or heat exhaustion.

The food you can carry hiking in warm weather is much different than the food you can bring in cold weather. Avoid foods that can spoil or melt, and store food in a cool place in your pack – i.e. not the top compartment of your pack that’s baking in the sun all day long.

Clothing materials are important while spending time outdoors in the heat. Go for lightweight, breathable, and wicking materials such as synthetic blends or merino wool. Cotton shirts are OK on a hot day – they retain moisture and can pull heat from your body – just make sure you change clothing and let your cotton garments dry thoroughly at the end of the day.

Bandanas are great multipurpose items for hiking and camping. Wearing a damp bandana around your neck can help keep you cool.

Travel light. You need less gear and equipment during warm seasons than cool seasons. You can bring thinner sleeping bags, less insulation, and lighter shelters. The lighter your load, the less work you have to do, and the more comfortable your hike.

Avoid waterproof footwear. Waterproof hiking shoes or boots are great for keeping moisture out, but they also keep moisture in. They are far less breathable than non-waterproof footwear, and can get quite steamy in the heat. Opt for a lightweight, breathable, fast drying trail shoe rather than a big bulky boots, unless support trumps comfort for your hike.

We’ve been the place to go for outdoor equipment in Northwest Arkansas for more than 30 years! Stop by the store and see us for any of your hiking, camping, backpacking, or outdoor needs.

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