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Keeping Cool on Summertime Hikes

Updated: Jul 31, 2020

As women from a variety of geographic locations, our hottest summer temps vary, but our strategies for coping with them are probably pretty similar. We all know what a hot day on the trail looks like from an adventurous woman hiker perspective… Your shirt between your back and backpack is completely soaked, dust is collecting on your sunblock coated limbs, and every time you try to wipe the sweat that’s dripping from your hairline away it pools again in moments. Am I being dramatic?

These are the moments we live for, right? The rawness of the outdoors! There are ways to prepared for these warmer days to make them a little less draining. Here are 6 tips to help you embrace and enjoy those hot summer hikes ahead.

Wear a Hat

Confession: I own a light-weight full brim hat with a stampede string. If I lose some style points with y’all, that’s alright. Fashion is not my forte anyway. I’m all about functionality! Okay, so I look like a zookeeper when I come down the trail in the summer, but my neck and face are completely shaded from the sun and you guys… I am cool (in temperature).

Less Clothing Isn’t Always Better

A long-sleeve sun shirt can be such a lifesaver on sunny summer hikes. With your skin protected from the sun’s hot and damaging rays, you’ll feel so much cooler! Usually, I will wear my sun shirt with a lightweight buff, loose hiking pants, and my hat. No sunburns here, but I’ve definitely learned this one the hard way! Many bottles of Aloe later…

Material Matters

There’s a reason you don’t see many folks hiking in jeans! There’s certainly no dress code on the trail, but oof those things just don’t breathe. Instead of thick moisture collecting materials that will make you feel sticky and hot, go for something light, loose, and wicking. You'll feel way more comfortable and be able to enjoy your hike!

Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration is SO important. I know this isn’t the first time you’re hearing this! If you’re sweating up a storm, it’s important to drink extra water. When you become dehydrated, your core body temperature rises. On your summertime hikes plan to bring extra water, and make sure you and everyone in your group in drinking enough. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water the day before your hike too!

Know Your Limits

My favorite hiking temperature lies somewhere in the low 60’s. Even on a really difficult or exposed hike, the temp still feels comfortable! I stay away from full-day hikes if temps reach the mid 90’s. Even though it’s pretty rare to see temperatures like that where I live, I still keep that limit with myself. I'll spend the day on the river instead... It's all good! But that’s just my preference. We are all different and that’s what makes us such an awesome group! Know the temp that makes you truly uncomfortable and hold your ground on that limit. Your safety should always be first priority!

Choose Your Trail Wisely

Decisions. Decisions. Consider a nice tree-shaded trail following a stream rather than one that leaves you at the mercy of the sun. Leave those more exposed trails for a cooler day!

We want to hear from YOU! Where is the warmest place you’ve ever hiked? How did you cope? Let us know in the comments.

Emily is a freelance travel and outdoor recreation writer for hire. Samples of her published work can be found at

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