Hot Weather Hiking Tips

This summer, I’ve had the opportunity to hike in both Florida and Washington. The two presented fairly different challenges: Florida is a swamp with no elevation but lots of dangerous critters, and Washington presented a mountain trail in conditions that can carry widely. Throw that in with the fact that I did both of those hikes without a stop at my own home to restock my bag, and I had to come up with kit that would do well in a wide range of climates. Today, I want to go through some of the major lessons that I learned in both of those hikes, and the long journey in between.

Bring More water

As a human being, you’re a fairly complex machine that needs air in the next two minutes, water in the next two days, and, depending on your body composition, calories in the next two weeks. Without any of those and you will expire. I’d advise against hiking if you think air will be the issue, but food and water are common to most hiking situations.

In terms of water, the bare, bare minimum is one gallon per person per day. I recommend doubling that for a variety of reasons. First, you might well get lost and need to stay overnight. Dehydration affects cognitive performance badly, and so staying hydrated will keep your brain running better. Second, other people seem to think hiking is a joke: I saw several people wearing flip-flops on mountain trails with several hundred-foot drops less than a meter from us. Such a fool might well end up injured and in need of water to compensate for the blood loss brought upon themselves from an injury.

I recommend that at least one of your water bottles is metal: they’re both more durable than plastics, but can also serve as a noisemaker when full of rocks, or, in a pinch, are reasonably good self-defense tools when full.

Leave a Comment