Hiking on a sunny day is a treat, especially in areas like Southern California with its collective beauty of nature and breathtaking cityscapes. Southern California and other places like Arizona experience many sunny days every year, so you can be certain that most days out on the trail will be a warm one. Keep in mind that sunny weather in can bring temperatures up to 100˚+. With heat waves in mind, hiking in hot weather takes some preparation and a number of essential items to ensure a safe and enjoyable adventure. To help you on your next hot weather hike, we have compiled a list of the best items to bring with you.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but one of the most common hiking injuries comes from dehydration. Making sure you have a bottle to store your cool water is the most important item to bring with you on your next sun filled hike.
Hydrate prior to your hike and top off your water container right before you start. Bring with you about 2 liters minimum, and expect to bring more if the hike is extra strenuous.
For something with flavor and additional electrolytes, also bring a sports drink. Hiking around in the sun will make you lose more electrolytes due to the extra sweating. A sports drink will replenish those electrolytes, but don’t bring it as a substitute for water.
The sun can do some damage to your skin, which means taking proper measures to fight UV rays is ideal. Prolonged exposure to the sun can cause sunburn, chapped lips, and skin cancer. The best way to protect from the sun are sunglasses, light colored clothing, sunscreen, and a brimmed hat. We recommend sunscreen that is 30 SPF and lip balm with SPF protection as well.
Snacks are a great way to refuel during your hot weather hike. Packing trail mix, a sandwich, or jerky can improve any hiking experience and keep you moving. One of the best feelings is reaching the peak of your hike and biting into a delicious sandwich!
Map or Directions
Although most hikes are pretty straightforward to follow, it is smart to take along a map. Most of our phones today have access to online map systems. Bring your smartphone or paper map with you on your hike to stay on trail with confidence.
First Aid Kit
The saying, “Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.”, should be taken to heart when being out in any type of wilderness. Even if it is a small first aid kit, it can be beneficial if any sort of injury were to take place. Having a designated hiking backpack with a first aid kit in it for every outing is a simple way to remember to bring one every time.
Bring a backpack or a hip pack with you when you go hiking. The pack you choose to bring will allow you to carry any sun protection, water, or snacks you decide to bring with you. If you have a hydration pack… that would be more ideal since it will allow you to carry your items and water in the pack with easy access to a sip of water.
Hot Weather Clothing
We don’t mean wear a swimsuit… there are different types of clothing that will keep you the coolest on a hot sunny day. Choosing light colors overall will reflect sun rays better than dark colors will. Also, wearing breathable and loose clothing will help you stay cool, since your body will regulate better with the help of the air that can pass through.
SPF rated clothing can be purchased, although it may be over the top. Socks are often an overlooked hiking item, but is one of the most important. Choosing a wool or synthetic blend fitted sock will help prevent blisters and keep your feet comfortable, which is the two important things you need to hike.
A hat and a bandanna are articles of clothing you shouldn’t forget. Both will create necessary shade for your body and can be dunked in water to keep your head cool.
Being out in nature means being able to tune out any distractions from everyday life, especially the smartphones we use on a daily basis. Despite this, having your cell phone on you is essential for your safety. You can use it to reference maps, as a flashlight if you stay out on the trail late, or to call for help.
Be sure to charge your device before your hike so you can have access to it in any given situation. But opt to silence it or even turn it off, that way you can enjoy what hiking is all about!
Keeping the trails clean and better than we found them is beneficial to everyone. Pay it forward by picking up any spotted trash and packing it out with a plastic bag or zip-lock bag. Other hikers and the environment will thank you.
All the items mentioned above may seem like overkill for any sort of short hike. But it is better to be safe than sorry, especially in the heat. Nature can be unpredictable at times and by having all the essential items, you can enjoy all the beauty with as little worry as possible. So pack up and head on out to one of the many sunny gorgeous hikes that the your city has to offer!