Friday, July 6, 2012

Summertime Hiking

When you choose your outdoor activities this summer, be sure to choose them wisely! The week of 100+ degree temperatures have brought almost all activities to a virtual standstill. What's worse is that the end is nowhere near in sight as we head forward into the vaunted "dog days" of summer. That being said. There are far too many of us who simply can't stay indoors regardless of the sweltering conditions! I know because I am one of those people. However, it does bear mentioning that caution is the name of the game.

Amazing Camping Scenery
Constant hydration, proper nutrition, great equipment, and great timing are all keys to enjoying the summertime weather without getting beaten down by the heat. The first of these keys refers to water, not Kool Aid, coffee, or alcohol! (Two out of the three I just mentioned are actually diuretics and will dehydrate you faster than not drinking anything at all!) The normal recommendation is roughly eight, eight-oz. glasses of water per day. Mind you these are under normal circumstances. If you are looking to do anything physical at all, outside, you should consider doubling that amount! This will help you replenish the fluids you lost! Remember the way your body cools itself - sweat evaporates from your skin giving you the feeling of being cooler. Therefore, the more you sweat, the more water you'll need!

Next, it is important to have proper nutrition if you are going to be outside. That means if you will be moving around or anything along those lines, you should definitely consider some carbohydrates! Last time I went hiking I forgot to carb load, and paid the price on the return hike back home. I felt like my energy level nosedived, and I completely hit a wall! Every step required maximum effort, because I forgot that water actually has zero nutritional value. Don't make the same mistake as me, and pay just as much attention to your food intake that you would your hydration.

>One thing I've learned from years as a camper/hiker/outdoors aficionado is that equipment matters. I found that the right pair of pants can save you from countless bruises, bug bites, and scrapes when you are hiking through some tough brush conditions. More importantly, great camping gear can save your life! In colder conditions, winds blowing through sub-par tent fabric can give you a very sleepless, uncomfortable night at best. However, in the worst case scenario you could contract hypothermia because your body would be unable to respond under sedate conditions.

Summertime hiking at it's finest!
I recently had the opportunity to try The North Face hiking pants during the first half of the summer hiking season. I've heard of The North Face pants before, but never really associated them with a company that specialized in anything more than cold-weather products. I was definitely surprised by the quality of these pants though! Not a scar, scratch, or bug bite on my legs after a 4 mile hike through some pretty dense underbrush! The best thing about these North Face hiking pants was the fact that though the material was durable and thick it also was insanely light. This made sure that I wasn't weighed down with pounds of excess fabric which is key considering the length of the hike!

Finally, I said timing was key. If you are going to be outside it is imperative to pick the right hours to enjoy yourself. Typically the hours of sunlight between 11:00 a.m. and 3 p.m. are strongest in intensity, and U.V. ratings. However, after some experience, I've concluded that during the "hotter months" anytime outside between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. can be physically exhausting and taxing. So, when you decide to put your amazing summertime hiking, or camping plans into action, keep that little tidbit of information in mind. It could really make the difference between an enjoyable experience, or something that you'll decided you'll never do again!

No comments:

Post a Comment