How to Beat the Heat & the Bears: A Thru-Hiking Tip

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.

thru-hiking tips Enjoying a few minutes of shade on the John Muir Trail

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!

Team Sierra
posted by
Paul Osborn
Paul Osborn is an avid outdoor adventurer and frequently tweets about his trips. He's loved being outdoors since he was a kid and is always game to try something new. Currently, he's trying to instill a love for everything wild in his own kids. Paul's website, The Outdoor Adventure, encourages others to open their doors and get outside by giving them the tools and confidence necessary to do so. He did just that on the John Muir Trail in June 2013 with a group that included members of Sierra Trading Post's own social media team. Team Sierra bloggers receive promotional consideration from Sierra Trading Post.
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