The long, sunny days of summer create an ideal environment and make it the perfect time to go for a hike. Unlike the brisk winter months, you don’t have to worry about snow, cold temperatures or lack of daylight; rather, you can enjoy the sun on your face and the world in bloom around you. If you’re getting ready for a summer hiking trip, you need to be prepared with the right essentials for this time of year, which should include the following:
Water, Water, Water
This may seem like a no-brainer, but people tend to underestimate how much water they actually need to consume during the summer. According to Modern Hiker, your body should absorb at least one liter of water per hour and potentially more if you’re hiking in warm temperatures or at a high altitude.
While your body can absorb the loss of about a half liter of water every hour, you need to have at least this much on you before setting out on your journey. In fact, you may want to invest in a hydration bladder or water bottle backpack, because water will be the heaviest item you carry.
Be sure to continuously sip on your water instead of drinking big gulps a few times during the hike. By drinking slowly and frequently, you lessen the chance of becoming dehydrated. In fact, if you feel thirsty at any point during your hike, you may already be experiencing the effects of dehydration. In addition to bottles of water, you may want to bring a water filter or chlorine dioxide tablets in case you run out of these essentials or get stuck on the trail.
Water isn’t the only essential you’ll need to keep your body working during a summertime hike. Because you’re sweating more, your body is losing the key nutrients it needs to function. Sodium and potassium are some of the most common types of electrolytes you need during the summer to prevent cramps, dehydration and fatigue. While you can replace some of these with a sports drink like Gatorade, they tend to contain more sugar than electrolytes. Instead, pack powder supplements to add to your water as well as protein bars and peanut butter crackers for extra sustenance.
While the long daylight hours make it the best time of year to go for an extended hike, the summer sun can certainly be intense. This means you need to dress in light layers (if it gets cool in the morning or if you’re camping overnight), and you need to have a hat and sunglasses to protect your face, neck and eyes. And, yes, you need sunscreen — even if you don’t burn easily. Don’t forget to reapply it throughout the day to keep your skin covered and protected.
Transportation and Navigation
This is a great time of year to try out a new trail or go for a full-day or overnight hike. Research the best spots for the type of hike you’re looking for, and then plot out a course. If you need to go off-roading or through rough terrain to get there, make sure your car is up for the trip. Check your battery, fluids and tires before you leave to see if they need to be replaced or fixed. Then, buy a map that shows the trails in which you’ll be traveling, and find markers throughout your hike to make sure you know your location. It’s also a good idea to bring along a compass in case you get turned around and can’t get a cell signal.