Summer's in full swing down here in Florida and that probably explains why I immediately break into a sweat after stepping outside. Whoever says It's not the heat, it's the humidity is full of full dooky. It's hot because of the heat when it's 95+ on average.
What's a guy to do when he wants to hike in Florida without passing out from the summer heat? I say suck it up and embrace the heat. Oh you want to have a more enjoyable time? Here are five tips to help you beat the heat on the trails this summer.
Dress the part
Like I just mentioned, I start sweating right when I set foot outside. Wearing clothes that wick sweat and dry quickly are a must in the summer heat. Your body will be able to regulate its core body temperature better and you'll be much more comfortable with drier clothes. Your hiking buddies and the bears would really appreciate it if you wear antimicrobial clothing as well.
Wide brimmed hats are really cool, too. Not only do they look super fashionable, but they do a stellar job of keeping the sun off your head, nose, ears, and sometimes even your neck.
Plan your hikes around the heat
The hottest part of the day is generally from 10:00 am-3:00 p m. Plan to wake up early to finish your hike before the heat of the day. Waking up before the roosters and starting to hike in the dark will do your soul some good. Don't get hung up on finishing right at 10:00 am, you'll be fine if you finish up a little after 10:00 am. The core principle is to cover most of your miles before the heat really sets in.
If sleeping through the day's more your cup of tea, start your hike after 3:00 pm when it starts to cool off. You might have to hike into the night, just be prepared with a headlamp.
I can't stress this one enough. Bring what you think you need and then bring more. The last thing you want to have happen is to run out of water and not whole heartedly know when or where the next water source is going to appear.
A little tip I've picked up is to add ice before you leave. It's so much nicer being able to sip on some cool water when it's scalding hot outside.
Know where you're hiking
Some of the worst hiking spots are in the wide open backcountry with no coverage from the sun. Pick a hike that you know offers a lot of shade or a hike that someone recommended to you because it has a lot of shade. Sure there might be some bushwhacking, but it's much better than being in direct sunlight.
Leaving the unnecessary "comfort" items at home will really help you cut out some weight. The more weight you're carrying, the more energy you'll exert. You want to exert the least amount of energy to stay fresh as long as possible and to help keep yourself from overheating.
Follow these five tips and you're sure to beat the heat on the trails this summer. Did I leave something out? Add to the list in the comment section!
Editor's Note: Justin is a regular contriutor to the Sierra Social hub as part of #TeamSierra. Learn more from this Florida adventurer on his blog: The Weekend Warrior.
Beat the Heat on the Trails: Tips for Hiking in Hot Weather
By Justin Fricke
July 08, 2014
Join the Conversation