Summer is the perfect time for hiking and exploring the outdoors. You don’t have to worry about the snow, extreme rain, icy winds, etc. Most people also go with their family, as summers mean school breaks for kids and the whole family can have fun together.
Hiking is the best outdoor activity. It lightens your mood, and it’s a great form of exercise. But there are some dangers while hiking that you need to be aware of. Depending on your choice, whether you go to the mountains or wilderness for a hike and the weather, you need to take proper safety precautions.
Even though summer is a preferable time for hiking, there are still dangers of excessively hot weather you need to tackle. Here are five ways an occasional hiker or a newbie can stay safe during hiking this summer.
- Hike in Groups:
For hiking adventures, it’s preferable to go in groups or at least take one friend with you. If you are planning on hiking to a new trail, you should not do that alone since you will need someone in case of an emergency. Many unexpected situations can happen during a hike.
For example, during a hike in the wilderness, an animal attack can occur, or you can incur an injury, and if you don’t know how to treat it properly, it can turn into a serious infection. Thus, in case one person is in danger, there must be another to reach out for help.
Not only for hiking but during preparation, it’s better to have more people involved too. Everyone offers their unique suggestions, ideas, and experiences. Discuss with your travel partners the itinerary, how much hiking everyone can handle, the emergency plan, etc. If one of your friends has a degree in wilderness nursing, that will be a perfect scenario, as it enables one to know what to do in such emergency cases.
- Stay Hydrated:
Hiking during summers means sweating a lot. Your body needs adequate amounts of water to refuel, as the body loses essential fluids due to sweating. It’s of utmost importance to stay hydrated. During hiking, it’s common for people to suffer from hypothermia, headaches, and altitude sickness.
To avoid this, bring your water with you. Before going on the hike, do complete research about whether there are natural water resources during your trail if there will be spots to refill your water bottles, etc. For hyperactive outdoor activities, drinking approximately one-half liter to one liter of water per hour is suggested. Keep this in mind and carry enough water with you.
However, you can lighten your pack if there are natural water resources along the trail. Bring purification and disinfection materials. You can use a physical filter, a disinfecting tablet, or a liquid to purify the water you get from natural resources. Avoid drinking unpurified water at all costs; even if the lake water looks crystal clear, a human eye cannot see bacteria, so don’t drink it unless you have purified it. Also, bring high-energy snacks and food filled with essential carbohydrates and good fats to give you energy and keep you full longer.
- Dress Appropriately:
You should try to expose as little skin as possible. The wilderness and sun combination is not ideal for bare skin. There are chances of getting sunburn and bug bites. There are rocks, sticks, thorns, poison ivy, and whatnot out in the open. All these things harm your skin and can cause some severe infections. To protect yourself, it’s necessary to cover up.
You must opt for such fabrics that allow the air to pass through and make you feel comfortable in the hot weather. Light-colored breathable clothing is best. Light colors reflect the sun’s heat away. Wear full-sleeve shirts that are moisture-wicking. It’s also ideal to wear pants instead of shorts.
Some skin will still be showing, like wrists, neck, hands, etc. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful rays, especially if you are going to hike at altitude. Get a good shady hat and buy a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes.
It goes without saying how important the right choice of footwear is here. You need the perfect, most comfy, and appropriate hiking shoes or boots. Wear socks to protect your feet from getting rashes.
- Educate Yourself:
Before you go on a hike in summer, it’s necessary to know potential health threats someone might face and what to do in such a situation. During summer hikes, people get dehydrated, which can lead to serious problems like heat exhaustion and heat strokes. These are basic conditions you should know how to identify in the first place and then how to tackle.
The symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, pale skin, excessive sweating, tiredness, nausea, fainting, muscle cramps, and headache. If this is not managed, it can lead to fatal heat stroke. When someone suffers from heat exhaustion, place them under a shade and give them water to drink. Also, apply wet clothes to their skin to fasten the cooling process. Don’t resume your hike until the person fully recovers.
In case of a heat stroke, you must act swiftly. Its symptoms are increased heart rate, hot and red skin, disorientation, and dehydration. Call 911 to receive medical attention as soon as possible. If you can’t contact 911, send someone from the group to get help. Make the affected person sit under a shade or create one with an extra shirt, for example. Loosen their tight clothing. Make them drink water in small amounts; drinking too much water at once can lead to throwing up. Increase the cooling process by fanning and pouring water on them.
- Packing Right:
What you pack is what’s going to keep you safe. There are things other than food and water to pack. It’s suggested to pack these essential items: –
- Map and Compass: you might not be able to use your phone for navigation, as there might not be any service
- Extra Clothes: even if you check the weather, there is still a chance the weather might change unexpectedly
- Headlamp: helpful in dark
- First-Aid Kit: to handle injuries or cuts
- Multipurpose Tool or Knife: needed for emergency repairs
- Fire Starter or Matches: help in case you are lost or need fire to spend the night
- Shelter: pack a tarp in case you don’t make it before sunset and need cover for the night
Summer is a good time to go hiking with your friends and family. Just you guys, open blue skies, and nature surrounding you all. But safety comes first; keep your safety in mind to prep and trek better. These five summer hiking tips will keep you safe.