Here at home (TETON Sports headquarters), we’ve been enduring record-breaking heat. In honor of this rare occasion, we’ve compiled a list of beat-the-heat tips and tricks for the rest of the brave and determined campers in our adventuring community.
Staying hydrated while at camp, and especially while hiking, is imperative. If you doubt it for a minute, quickly search dehydrated hikers 2013. What might not be widely known is that water alone can actually slow the hydration process. It’s equally important to replenish your electrolytes so your body and absorb the water efficiently and restore the balance of fluid in your system. Well marketed sports drinks with added sugar and artificial flavorings are not suitable. It’s best to go with a low carb hydration product that can be purchased at most any outfitter. Or consider packing along a small bag of sea salt—not unlike your own personal deer lick for helping replace your much needed sodium, potassium, and other necessary minerals while out in the heat. This in tandem with water is a great combination for fluid replenishment.
Also, be hydrated before you hike. Don’t wait until you’re ready to set out and then load up on H2O. On the trail, a variety of insulated camel packs and water bottles offer choices for how to keep your water cool and refreshing. Carrying several water bottles at varying degrees of frozenness can also keep you in constant supply of refreshing fluids.
You can over hydrate, however there’s not much said about this condition because dehydration while camping or hiking is the much higher risk.
Find some shade to cool off in when it’s break time on the trail. Pitch your tent in some shade as well. If there’s no shade to be found—make some. Your hat can offer 360 degrees of relief from the sun for your neck and head.
And pop up canopies are a great addition to your campsite for cooking under/near or offering some relief from the sun to weary hikers back at camp.
When picking your hot-weather-hiking outfit, remember that lighter colors will reflect heat, keeping you cooler regardless of what they are made of. Short sleeves and shorts are cool, but offer less protection against thorns and insects. Light weight or vented long-sleeve shirts and pants offer greater protection and coolness; however, such specialized clothing isn’t cheap. And don’t forget the socks. You’ll want something breathable, and cotton is not always the best option. Whichever style route you choose, function should trump fashion!
Avoid Heat Exhaustion
Remember that the same wisdom that leads us to partner up for hikes is even more important in the heat. Heat exhaustion occurs when someone becomes dehydrated and/or desalinated (body salt loss); internal temperature rises, and unless steps are taken, heat stroke can occur. Be alert to feelings of confusion, headache, nausea, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, dark urine, or other sensations that suggest not all is right with you or your fellow adventurers. If heat exhaustion seems to be creeping up on you, take action:
– Get out of the sun
– Remove any excess clothing
– Fan off
– Moisten a scarf or rag and use as a cooling compress
Don’t wait for until heat stroke bangs on the door—be prepared and deal with it right away.
So remember—stay hydrated, know where to find shade or a means of making it, dress for the heat, and watch out for those pesky heat-related illnesses.
But most of all, Adventure On!