Ways to Stay Cool While Hiking in the Heat!

Does Hot Weather Hiking sound horrible to you? The weather here in Wisconsin is HEATING UP! With the warmer weather, we are getting outside more! If you are anything like me, you HATE the heat! Yet, you love the outdoors and hiking! So here are some of my tips to stay cool when the temp rises!

REMINDER before you read on:

YOU DO NOT NEED TO SPEND hundreds or more on new clothing! Wear what you have!

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Hot weather hiking tips
photo by Molly Mandarich

1. Clothing is key to staying cool, happy, and comfortable!

When it comes to your clothing, the most important thing is to BE COMFORTABLE! Moisture-wicking clothing is best, as it keeps the moisture off of you and keeps you cool.

If you do not have moisture-wicking clothing, wear cotton over anything else! Yes, I know, you may read other blogs that tell you NOT to do this! But, cotton will be the most breathable and comfortable! You can also find hemp and linen clothing that is super cool!

Light colors are key! Do not go out wearing black or dark colors! This will only make you warmer!

When it comes to the bottom half of you:

You can 100% wear shorts if you are comfortable! But, know you may chafe! MegaBabe is GREAT to keep your legs happy!

I love to wear leggings, as it’s the most comfortable for me! My go to pair is from GirlfriendCollective. (use this link to save $10)

Don’t have leggings or shorts? I hiked in jeans for YEARS!

The right shoes are important!

We hike in hiking sandals for 90% of hour hikes! Especially when it’s HOT outside! We adore our Chacos and Tevas!

If you are in need of more ankle support, I suggest finding a good hiking boot! If you don’t know where to start, head to your nearest REI and consult them on your needs.

Also, remember if you cannot afford new things, you can wear what you have! I also hiked in trail running shoes for YEARS! Just make sure you have enough traction on the bottom!

2. The time of day matters!

One of the best tips for Hot Weather Hiking and staying cool is the time of day! Don’t go hiking in the middle of the day, when temps are usually at their highest! Go early in the morning or early evening! This way you can watch the sunrise or set! Worth it!

If you want to avoid the crowds, go at sunrise! You may have the whole park or trail to yourself!

3. Choose your trail wisely!

Know your activity level! If you are just starting out, try a simpler trail. You can always make your way to the harder ones.

OR, if you really want to try that harder trail, KNOW that you may not make it the whole way! It is ok to turn around and start again another day! No one hiked a mountain before training first!

4. Water is a must! More the better!

My biggest advice to staying cool on HOT days is to put ice in your water! If you have a water bladder in your back, pack it full of ice! With every drink you’ll be cooled down! No bladder, no problem! Freeze your water bottles 1/2 – 3/4 full and fill when you leave! While you hike it will melt!

BRING MORE THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED! Better safe than sorry!

Another great additive is some Liquid IV to your water! Not only do they taste good, but they help keep you hydrated by extending your water!

photo by Taelynn Christopher

5. Bring snacks!

Just like water, you need to eat while you hike! Salty snacks help replace what you lost in sweat! I like to bring peanut butter-flavored granola bars! Along with trail mix!

6. Take breaks!

Hiking is meant to be fun, don’t rush it! Take breaks as much as you need to! Hike at a pace that works for you! Let others who hike faster hike ahead! Take in the view as your body cools down and you catch your breath!

With each break, make sure to drink some water and eat a few bites of your snack! This is why I like trail mix, and you can keep it in your pocket, easy to reach!

If you are feeling short of breath or dizzy, SIT DOWN ASAP! These are signs of heatstroke and similar! Take it slow! More on this here from the American Hiking Society!

7. When the hike is over, change!

Change your clothes when you are back to your car! If you want, keep those clothes in a cooler with some ice packets! Putting on those dry clothes that are cooled down will feel AMAZING!

If you are near a lake or stream, bring a suit to change into, or jump in with your clothes! Nothing is better than ending a Hot Weather Hiking adventure with a dip in the water!

Changing your clothes will make it 100% more comfortable on your drive home!

Hot Weather Hiking Tips