Beat the Heat on the Trail: Five Ways to Stay Cool on Your Backpacking Trip
Backpacking is, without a doubt, a wonderful way to keep healthy and fit while also enjoying quality adventure and fun. It provides that connection to nature that us outdoor enthusiasts crave. The peace and calming effects nature provides can be so rejuvenating and inspiring. However, one needs to be prepared for each adventure as you enter into sometimes hostile terrain… far away from the comfort zone of home, workplace and the life we are all used to.
There are many potential obstacles that can be encountered, including inhospitable terrains, dangers of insect and animal attacks, inclement weather, fear of viral/bacterial attacks and lack of proper resting place.
As we enter the warmest time of year in the Northern Hemisphere, the challenge of staying hydrated and keeping your body temperature in check is also critical, in addition to the the above. We must give it the importance it deserves. And that's why we feel it so very important to take the time to look at five useful tips to aid in keeping cool while backpacking. It can make the difference between staying healthy or falling victim to dangerous conditions such as dehydration, exhaustion or even heat stroke.
An Early Start Can Cheat
During summer hikes, the sun in many backpacking destinations can be merciless and unrelenting. As the day progresses, searing heat can become quite difficult and might even reach unmanageable proportions. Hence you must develop strategies to cheat the heat. One way of doing so is to get started early in the day and cover as much distance as possible before the sun starts beating down heavily. This certainly will help you to stay reasonably cool, comfortable, and full of energy.
Look For A Hike That Is
If you are not a seasoned hiker, it would be better to look for hiking sites that are shaded and well covered by trees and other flora. If you look around and do some research you can come across numerous covered hiking and backpacking venues. The thick cover of plants and trees will help in absorbing considerable heat and you will be much safer compared to barren and uncovered rocky terrains.
Keep Your Water Cool and Drink Often
Yes, water is extremely important when you're on the trail. A couple options to consider are carrying your water bottle in an insulated pouch or inside your pack which can help ensure your water stays cool for a reasonably long period of time. Packs designed for carrying a water bladder are a convenient way to keep your water out of the heat and still have quick access for a cool drink. Plenty of cold water helps you in your endeavor to stay fresh and hydrated while combating the heat. Here is a great comparison table that looks at some of the best water bottles in 2021 for campers and hikers alike. It evaluates aspects such as weight, insulated options, taste, and durability.
The type of clothing you wear also has a role to play as far as staying cool and comfortable is concerned. You must try and look for breathable, loose-fitting shirts, pants and/or shorts that are of light colors that deflect heat. Plus now, they actually make clothing that protects you from UV radiation. A hat is indispensable. Reminder: Darker colors absorb heat and will increase your odds of wearing down in hot conditions.
If enough water is available, you can always soak your hat and other clothing to help cool you down (don't waste your drinking water for this).
When on a backpacking trip, you must understand the importance of traveling light. Each pound of additional gear puts strain on your body and you need to work that much harder to lug it around. This leads to more energy being consumed, more calories being burned and this also results in the body becoming warmer in the process.
One way to travel light is to include a Littlbug Junior or Senior stove for your next excursion. These stoves are engineered to be a lightweight, easy-to-pack solution for trips of any length to any destination. Quick and convenient, Littlbug Stoves present a great solution for any backpacking, hiking, or camping adventure.