It's 3:30, you have a few miles go before you reach camp and the sun is at its worst. You've had enough of hiking for the day... Oh, and you're hungry... really hungry. Turn that to your advantage by following this simple backpacking tip.
Anyone who has stepped outside knows that the early afternoon sun is a killer. Sure, you could stumble through the hot heat to get in those last few miles, but then you'll be twice as tired and you'll still have to make dinner. Why not stop for dinner now and kill two birds with one stone?
Some parks suggest that bears can smell food odors from as far as three miles away... and they've been known to rip apart cars to get at a delicious morsel. So, why not stop and cook dinner a couple miles from camp to throw bears off your scent and sleep a bit easier in the back country?
By finding a shady spot at around three or four in the afternoon, taking an hour break and making dinner you not only beat the heat, but you keep food odors (and therefore animals) away from your campsite.
When we were on the John Muir Trail last summer, we found an early afternoon meal break not only helped keep bears away, but it provided a welcome rest from the long miles we had hiked. An hour later we were well fed, refreshed and the weather had cooled down. We didn't have to rush to camp there was no clean-up when we finally did reach our site, and we could just relax.
Have you tried this tip before? What's your favorite beat-the-heat backpacking tip?
Check out this video tip that I did on the John Muir Trail and get a sense for that oppressive California sun!
How to Beat the Heat & the Bears: A Thru-Hiking Tip
By Paul Osborn
May 12, 2014
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