Hiking is a fun and healthy hobby. But too much exposure to the sun causes heatstroke, dehydration, and skin cancer, among other heat-related illnesses.
Thus, when you’re going on a hike, you should always consider taking along ample protection from the heat. Even if it’s just going to be a cloudy day, the sun’s ultraviolet rays will still pierce through and damage your skin.
That said, here are four ways you can protect yourself from the sun while hiking.
Wear Sleeves and Pants
The obvious way of protecting yourself from heat exposure is to wear the right clothes. A windbreaker jacket, for example, covers your entire upper body, including your arms, and it offers good insulation so that you won’t suffer from heatstroke. Most windbreakers also have a hoodie that you can use to cover your head.
In scorching climates or difficult terrain with steep slopes, jackets and pants may encumber you. Generally, you want your knees to be unhindered (or be supported by a knee brace) so you can bend them easily.
Opting for shorts instead of pants can be more convenient, but that leaves your shins vulnerable. In that case, put on a pair of leg sleeves. That way, you’ll keep your knees free while protecting the rest of your legs from the sun.
This also applies to your arms as well. If you choose short-sleeved shirts rather than jackets to free up your elbow and shoulder joints, then wear arm sleeves.
Put on a Hat
Hats shield your head from direct sun exposure and protect your eyes from being blinded by the sun’s glare. Unlike hoodies, hats won’t obstruct your peripheral. They’re also convenient to have when it’s raining.
If you’re on the lookout for hats for your next hike, consider getting a hat made of carbon fiber. That’s right, the same material as that of sports cars. Carbon fiber creates a unique, sleek weave, and it’s sturdy, flexible, and lightweight—perfect for an adventure.
If you like to dress lightly, which is typical for quick hikes, you will still need adequate heat protection. A good alternative is to apply sunscreen on your body, especially on bare skin directly exposed to the sun.
Even if you’re wearing sleeves and a hat, your face is still left open. You may still get sunburned. Thus, rub some sunscreen on your face to prevent that from happening.
Oh, and if you’re a man and you think wearing sunscreen affects your manliness, then you need to reconsider your priorities. Health is more important than image.
Take an Umbrella
As a last resort, you can take an umbrella with you. Yes, there are hikers who carry one with them in case of rain and heat. Hiking with an umbrella is actually pretty common.
Umbrellas are an economical substitute for sunscreen, which can be pricey and can run out. Small ones are usually preferred as they’re handy and can be tucked in your pack when not in use or when you’re traversing a tight or challenging trail.
The risk of getting skin cancer from UV rays is real. Though heat protection is important during hikes, so is properly managing your pack.
Taking along too many items can encumber you, and a heavy burden will tire you out quickly, potentially making it dangerous to go on. Take only the right amount of sun protection, and get a good pack to carry all your gear.