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The ultimate guide to what to wear hiking in hot weather

If you’re hiking in hot weather this summer, knowing what to wear can be a challenge.

As the weather warms up, many of us are eager to get outdoors and explore the beauty around us while hiking. When temperatures soar, it’s important to be mindful of the clothing we wear and plan what to wear hiking in hot weather carefully.

When I went hiking to Mt Assiniboine on a backpacking trip, temperatures soared over 36ºC. To deal with the weather, we sought shelter during the hottest part of the day and continued our hike in the cooler evening hours.

Knowing how to dress appropriately for hiking in hot weather is important and can make or break your hike. 

This guide will provide tips on everything from base layers to the importance of UPF ratings for clothing and accessories. We’ll focus on the gear that will keep you cool and comfortable during your hot weather hikes.

I’ll also share my favorite outfit for hiking in hot weather and my tips for staying cool even when you’re sweating buckets! 

Overall, hiking in hot weather can be challenging, but with the right clothing and preparation, it can also be an incredibly rewarding experience. 

Lace up your boots, grab your gear, and hit the trails with confidence!

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Cooling off after a long hike in the sun!

The ultimate guide to what to wear hiking in hot weather

Below I’ve put together the ultimate hiking list for hot weather. When it comes to what to wear for hiking in hot weather I’ve had my experience of this, even though I’ve mostly hiked in Canada and the UK. 

Despite that, I’ve ended up hiking in temperatures exceeding 35C (90 F) and successfully avoided heat exhaustion or too much sunburn. 

My perfect hiking outfit for hot weather

When I’m choosing what to wear hiking in summer, these are my go-to items. I’ve more details about what to wear hiking in warm weather below. 

Sports bra & underwear

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taking a break after 15 km hiking in a heat wave!

I prefer to wear a sports bra or lightweight bralette when hiking no matter what the weather is.

Sports bras are better for hiking in hot weather since they have sweat-wicking properties but wearing a lightweight bralette like this one from Organic Basics is super comfortable and feels like it’s barely there. 

When it comes to underwear, I’ve recently leaned towards hiking in underwear from Lululemon that I was fortunate to get on sale so they weren’t quite as expensive It’s moisture wicking, doesn’t roll up or down and stays in place while you’re hiking too. 

Lululemon energy sports bra

The Lululemon energy sports bra is perfect when it comes to what to wear when hiking in hot weather due to its comfort and versatility.

The bra has optional, removable cups and is intended for medium-impact activities with slick and low-friction support.

It is sweat-wicking, has a four-way stretch, is breathable, and feels cool to the touch with added Lycra® fibre for stretch and shape retention.

Organic Basics black bralette

organic basics bra what to wear when hiking in hot weather

This bra is a great choice for hiking in hot weather due to its classic triangle shape with a soft elastic band and cut-out, adjustable straps, and slightly stretchy, unlined fabric made of eco-friendly TENCEL™ Lyocell and elastane.

TENCEL™ Lyocell is breathable, absorbent, and feels softer and lighter than cotton, making it perfect for outdoor activities like hiking. Plus, it is made in better working conditions with living wages and respect for the environment.

Lululemon underwear

lululemon underwear what to wear when hiking in hot weather

This underwear is designed to provide maximum comfort during physical activity, with chafe-resistant flat seams and a smooth waistband that won’t dig in. The material is naturally breathable, silky soft, sweat-wicking, and quick-drying, with four-way stretch and added Lycra® fibre for stretch and shape retention.

Shorts vs long pants for hiking in hot weather

hiking brothers creek west vancouver trail

​​When it comes to choosing between shorts and pants for hiking in hot weather, it really comes down to personal preference. 

Shorts are a popular choice for hikers going on a summer hike because they are lightweight, breathable, and easy to move in. However, some hikers dislike wearing shorts because they provide little protection from bugs, ticks, and the sun’s harmful rays.

Pants can be a better option for those who want more protection. They can protect your legs from sunburn, and dirt and some even have reinforced knees for added durability. They are also a good option for preventing ticks and other insect bites.

Look for lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking pants that won’t hold in heat, and make sure they have UPF sun protection. 

Ultimately, whether you choose shorts or pants for hiking in hot weather is up to you. You may even want to bring both on your hike, like wearing shorts on the trail and bringing along rain pants for protection if it gets windy, stormy, or cold. 

Whatever you decide, make sure your clothing is comfortable, breathable, and fits well, so you can focus on enjoying your hike.

Hiking shorts

To ensure comfort while hiking in hot weather, choose shorts that are breathable, lightweight, and moisture-wicking. A comfortable length is also important. 

On hot weather hiking trips I’ll wear shorts. I prefer bike shorts for hiking as they don’t roll up, are lightweight and (even if I’m sweating) don’t feel like they get too wet! 

I usually wear the 8” Lululemon bike shorts or my Old Navy dupes which are much cheaper but don’t last quite as long when you wear them regularly. 

I also have Patagonia baggies which I like for shorter walks and hikes in summer, but not for longer hikes as they tend to roll up over my thighs and can lead to chafing. They are super comfortable otherwise though, lightweight and quick-drying. 

I know many people love them for hiking, but they’re not quite right for long hikes on my body.

Lululemon bike shorts

The Wunder Train shorts are a great choice for hiking in hot weather. Made with Everlux™ fabric, they are breathable, sweat-wicking, and quick-drying.

The shorts have a supportive four-way stretch and a waistband drawcord to keep them in place. They also feature a hidden pocket in the waistband for storing small essentials while on the go.

Old Navy dupe

old navy bike shorts what to wear when hiking in hot weather

These PowerSoft workout shorts are perfect for hiking in the summer months! They feature light compression and a super smooth, peachy-soft feel. The elasticized waistband keeps them in place, while on-seam side pockets allow you to carry essentials.

Made with breathable, lightweight fabric that holds you in and allows for ultimate movement, these shorts also have moisture-wicking technology to keep you dry and comfortable.

The high-waisted design is perfect for hiking and the fitted style hits just above the knee.

Patagonia Baggies

patagonia baggies what to wear when hiking in hot weather

These Patagonia Baggies shorts are a must-have for any hot weather hike, made from recycled fishing nets to reduce ocean pollution.

Their relaxed fit, brushed elastic waistband and DWR finish make them perfect for water and land activities alike, while their mesh-lined pockets provide drainage for when you need to cool off in a stream or river.

With a 5″ inseam and a loose fit, these shorts provide ultimate comfort and are a great addition to any hiker’s wardrobe.

Hiking pants and hiking leggings

hiking mt assiniboine
This was hiking in 40 degrees, but when the sun went down I still wanted a long sleeve tshirt

When hiking in hot weather with pants, make sure to choose ones with a loose fit and a relaxed cut to allow for better air circulation. It’s also essential to select pants with breathable fabric and mesh ventilation to keep you comfortable and cool on the trail. 

With the right pair of hiking pants, you can stay protected and comfortable in hot weather while still enjoying your hike.

If I’m hiking at higher altitudes or through somewhere where I know there are a lot of bugs then I’ll take hiking pants or leggings for hiking.

For hiking pants, I love the Fjallraven pants that are super lightweight and breathable and have ventilation zips on the side in case you’re getting too hot. 

For leggings I’ll wear either some Lululemon or my Old Navy dupes – anything that’s highrise is what I’ll go for! 

Lululemon Wunder Under tights

These leggings are the ultimate choice for hiking in hot weather. Made with Everlux™ fabric, they are highly breathable, sweat-wicking, and quick-drying, making sure you stay cool and comfortable during your hike.

The waistband drawcord keeps them in place, while multiple pockets allow you to keep your essentials close at hand.

Old Navy dupes

Stay comfortable and cool on your next hike with these PowerSoft leggings. Made from lightweight compression interlock fabric with four-way stretch, these leggings sculpt your shape and hold you in without sacrificing mobility.

The breathable material is complemented by Go-Dry moisture-wicking technology, flat-lock seams, and a gusseted design for ultimate comfort.

Plus, with side pockets that fit your phone, these leggings are the perfect choice for hands-free hiking.

Fjallraven trekking pants

The Fjallraven trekking trousers are the perfect choice for women’s hiking pants for hot weather hiking. Made with a combination of stretch fabric and G-1000 Eco, these trousers provide flexibility and durability.

Featuring hip-to-knee and calf ventilation zippers, excess heat is released, while double-zipper sliders can be opened in both directions making them some of the best walking trousers for hot weather.

The curved fit of these trousers ensures comfort for long days on the trail, with ample storage options including hand and leg pockets with buttoned flaps.

The added knee pads opening and loops inside leg endings for straps or stirrups make these trousers even more versatile for a range of activities.

Women’s Kiwi Pro Eco Stretch Trousers

hiking trousers what to wear when hiking in hot weather

If you’re in the UK The Craghoppers Kiwi Pro Eco trousers are the best choice for cheap hiking pants in hot weather due to their exceptional comfort and protection. Made with stretchy, recycled materials and a plant-based water-repellent finish, these trousers offer easy-care, quick-drying fabric and enhanced freedom of movement.

They also feature NosiDefence to protect against insect bites, Solar Shield UPF40+ sun protection, and a removable belt for a customisable fit.

All these features make these trousers a great option for women’s hiking pants for hot weather. 

Shirts for hiking in hot weather

what to wear when hiking in hot weather

For what to wear hiking on a hot day on your upper half, it’s important to choose a shirt made from lightweight, breathable fabrics that wick moisture away from your skin.

Synthetic materials like polyester and nylon are good options because they dry quickly and don’t retain moisture, while natural materials like merino wool also offer good breathability and moisture-wicking properties.

When choosing a shirt for hiking in hot weather, look for features like UPF sun protection and mesh panels for added breathability. 

Short sleeves are a great option as they allow for ventilation, keeping you cool and reducing the amount of sweat you produce. You might also want to wear a tank top, which provides even greater breathability and keeps your arms free for better mobility.

When I’m going hiking in hot weather, I prefer to wear a short-sleeved t-shirt that I’d typically wear for running or other workouts. I get mine mostly from Old Navy but I also have others from thrift stores.

Some of the best short-sleeve t-shirts for hiking in hot weather are detailed below.

Berghaus Women’s Voyager Tech Tee

The Berghaus Women’s Voyager Tech Tee is the perfect top for hiking in hot weather. Its moisture-wicking and odour-resistant Argentium® technology keeps you fresh all day long, while the super stretch fabric and breathable crew neck ensure ultimate comfort.

This T-shirt is also MADEKIND™, making it an eco-friendly choice for the environmentally-conscious hiker. With its unbeatable performance, the Women’s Voyager Tech Tee is a must-have base layer for any tough hike.

Patagonia Capilene Cool Lightweight Shirt – Women’s

patagonia short sleeve what to wear when hiking in hot weather

The Patagonia Capilene Cool Lightweight shirt is the ideal choice for hiking in hot weather. It is made of 100% recycled polyester double knit, which is the brand’s lightest and fastest-drying technical fabric.

The miDori™ bioSoft ensures long-term softness and increases wicking speeds, while HeiQ® Pure odour control keeps you feeling fresh all day.

With set-in sleeves and a side vent for enhanced movement, and a slight drop tail for a stay-put fit, this shirt is perfect for high-exertion activities.

Plus, it’s Fair Trade Certified™ sewn.

Long-sleeve shirts

It’s also a good idea to take a shirt or other long-sleeve to layer up. If you’re starting early in the morning or are hiking into the evening it can be surprisingly cold. 

Wearing a long-sleeve top also gives you added sun protection and some have UPF ratings or mosquito-repellent fabrics. 

Patagonia long sleeve Capilene cool lightweight shirt

patagonia long sleeve what to wear when hiking in hot weather

The Patagonia Capilene Cool Long-Sleeved Shirts are the perfect long-sleeved tops for hiking in hot weather. The fabric is designed to wick away sweat and provide comfort in a range of temperatures.

The soft, cotton-like fabric is treated with HeiQ® Fresh durable odor control, making it ideal for extended outdoor activities.

Plus, the heathered fabric is made with 50% recycled content, and the striped fabric is made with 76% recycled content, making it a sustainable choice for environmentally-conscious hikers.

Tank tops

​​Other people among you may prefer tank tops which are the most light-weight option and offer the most ventilation since there’s not much to them. 

Patagonia Capilene Cool Trail Tank Top

patagonia tank top

The Patagonia Capilene Cool Trail tank top is one of the best hiking shirts for hot weather.

Made of a soft performance knit fabric that quickly wicks moisture and dries fast, this tank top feels like cotton but performs with the wicking efficiency of polyester.

The drop tail hem stays put under a harness or hip belt, and the comfortable self-fabric scoop neck won’t bind.

The tank top also has HeiQ® Fresh durable odor control and is Fair Trade Certified™ sewn.

Wear a hat

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Don’t forget about your head when picking what to wear hiking in the summer!

Wearing a hat is an important part of that protection. While a cap may provide some shade, a sun hat with a brim that goes all the way around is even better.

The best hats for hiking are those with a wide, 360-degree brim, which offers protection for your face, ears, neck, and head.

If you prefer a baseball cap, you can increase coverage by tucking a bandana under the back of the cap to add extra protection for your ears and neck.

In addition, when passing by streams, lakes and other water sources, you can put your hat in the water and then back on your head to provide some relief from the heat. 

hat what to wear when hiking in hot weather

The group I was hiking with on the Mount Assiniboine tail did this many a time since it was so hot during that trip! 

I personally prefer to wear a baseball cap but if you like a wide-brimmed cap then the Outdoor Research or Sunday’s Best are great options. 

Wide-brim hats with a UPF rating and vents are a great option to keep you cool and dry.

Remember your sunglasses

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Don’t forget about eye protection! It’s just as important as skin protection when it comes to hiking in hot weather. Even at lower altitudes, the sun’s UV rays can cause damage to your eyes. 

Make sure to choose a pair that is comfortable to wear while hiking, such as the lightweight and polarized Goodr sunglasses which are my favourites whether I’m hiking, running or just exploring a new city!

They stay put on your face, are comfortable and come in so many different colours too.

A buff or bandana

It’s important to pack a buff, bandana, or sun-protective neck gaiter when hiking in hot weather. 

These lightweight cloths can be dunked in water and worn around your neck or over your head to help cool the back of your neck while the water evaporates.

Some neck scarves even contain polymer crystals that retain moisture for longer periods of time, providing extended relief from the heat.

Wear good hiking socks

When it comes to hiking in hot weather, a good pair of socks is essential to keep your feet comfortable and prevent blisters. 

It’s important to avoid cotton socks as they can hold moisture, causing discomfort and blisters. 

Instead, choose socks made of wool or synthetic materials as they offer better padding and protection. 

The socks should also be lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking to keep your feet cool and dry.

It’s also important to make sure your socks fit well, avoiding wrinkles or pressure points that can lead to blisters.

Good quality socks can make all the difference on a long hike, keeping your feet happy and ready for the next adventure.

If I’m wearing hiking boots I’ll opt for longer hiking socks whereas I’ll typically wear running socks when wearing my trail running shoes for hiking in the summer. 

Good hiking shoes

Don’t forget about your footwear! Wearing heavy and stiff shoes can make your hike less pleasant and even lead to discomfort and blisters. It’s essential to wear lightweight shoes that allow your feet to breathe.

The type of hiking shoes you choose is a personal preference, whether you prefer trail runners, hiking shoes, or hiking boots. But regardless of your choice, make sure your shoes are breathable when hiking in hot weather.

For trails with more even terrain and solid surfaces, open-toe hiking sandals can be a great option.

However, keep in mind that they do not provide the same level of protection as hiking shoes or boots.

Always research the trail beforehand to determine if open-toe shoes are suitable, and be prepared in case of rainfall.

Remember, your feet will carry you through your entire hike, so make sure they’re comfortable and protected!

I wear my Keen Pyrenees hiking boots in winter, when I’m backpacking or where I know it’s going to be muddy, or have river crossing and my Saucony Peregrine trail runners during the summer. But really, it’s a personal preference. 

Pack a lot of water and carry a hydration pack

Having a hydration system with a sip tube that is super easy to access is a game-changer when it comes to staying hydrated while hiking. 

It’s important to drink water frequently, especially when hiking in hot weather.

I don’t know about you, but if I have to take my backpack off to get to my water bottle I drink a lot less water while hiking and regret it later on in the day and the next day when I realize how dehydrated I am. 

A general rule of thumb is to consume half a litre of water per hour of exercise in moderate temperatures, but when hiking in hot weather, you’ll need to drink even more water. It’s better to bring more water than you think you’ll need, just to be safe. 

Sports drinks or electrolyte supplements can also be helpful in maintaining hydration and replenishing salt levels.

I like to pack Nuun tablets when hiking in hot weather and drink at least 1 litre of water with at ablet in to help me replenish electrolytes lost while exercising. 

hydration bladder what to wear when hiking in hot weather

Hydration packs come in lots of different sizes, I’ll typically pack a 2-litre pack and another 1-litre bottle, this Hydropak Stow collapsible bottle is my current favorite if we’re going on an all-day hike in hot weather.

Water filter system

However, packing lots of water is very heavy and takes up space in your backpack.  To get around this I pack my Sawyer Squeeze so I can fill up my water while on the trail from lakes, rivers and streams and know that it’s safe for drinking. 

You can also take water purification tablets but these take a little bit of time to kick in. 

Bodyglide for chafing

One of my picks for the best hiking gear for hot weather is Body Glide!

When hiking in the summer, chafing can happen in all the worst places and can ruin your entire hiking experience. 

Even when you’ve got all the ‘right’ clothing, chafing can still happen especially when you start to sweat. 

I recommend packing body glide which can be applied to areas you’ve experienced chafing to give some extra lubrication and prevent the pain and discomfort.

I’ve used this exact brand on my trail running races before and it works so well.

Pack it all up in a lightweight backpack

Quercus Viewpoint best fall hikes in vancouver

Whether you’re going on a long or short hike, you’ll need a backpack to put your 10 essentials for hiking in (including first aid care, water, food, and additional weather layers).

While the weight of your gear may be lighter than it would be for hiking in winter, it’s important to have a sturdy pack with comfortable shoulder straps and plenty of pockets and pouches for storage and a water bladder. 

Look for packs with breathable mesh back panels to keep your back cool and comfortable on hot days. Remember to adjust your pack properly to distribute the weight evenly across your body and reduce strain on your back.

I switch between my Lowe Alpine Aeon backpack which I’ve had for about 7 years now and my Osprey backpack which is primarily for ski touring but works great for hiking too.

It’s important you go to a store to try on different backpacks as there will be different ones that fit you better. 

Sun cream 

When you’re hiking in hot weather, one of the most important things to pack in your daypack is sunscreen. Sun protection clothing is a great defence against the sun, but it’s not enough. 

Applying sunscreen to exposed skin is essential to prevent sunburn and skin damage. Here are some basics to keep in mind: choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher for hikes lasting longer than 2 hours, apply sunscreen liberally 15 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply after 40 or 80 minutes of swimming or sweating, immediately after towel drying, or at least every 2 hours.

Even if you’re wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, sunscreen is still essential for your face, neck, ears, and hands. Make sure to pack sunscreen in your daypack and reapply it every two hours. 

Currently, my favourite is Sun Bum. It’s reef-safe, biodegradable, and vegan. Their mineral sun cream uses zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as its active ingredients instead of oxybenzone. I also just think it smells really, really good.

Planning tips for hiking in hot weather

Planning for a hot weather hike involves more than just picking a trail and packing your gear. 

You also need to consider when and where you’ll be hiking, as well as how to acclimate yourself to the heat.

Below, I’ve shared my best tips for hiking in hot weather and provided recommendations for the right clothing and gear to wear on the trail. 

All of these tips and product recommendations are trail-tested so you can be confident in their effectiveness.

Avoid the hottest time of day

The hottest time of day during hot weather is usually between noon and 3 pm. It’s best to avoid hiking during this time by either starting your hike early in the morning and ending it by early afternoon, or by beginning your hike after 3 pm.

If you can’t avoid hiking during the warmest hours, plan your route so that you’ll be in the shade or near a body of water during that time. 

Remember, mornings and late afternoons are usually cooler than midday. It’s also important to consider the location of your hike, as temperatures and rainfall can vary significantly depending on the region.

Seek out shade

When hiking in hot weather, look for trails with wooded areas to provide shade, this could be the shade of trees or steep canyon walls. If you’re hiking in an open area, take advantage of any shade you come across by taking plenty of breaks. This will help keep you cool and prevent sunburn.

Go for a night hike

If you’re in a hot locale, hiking during the day can be uncomfortable or even unbearable. Consider hiking at night instead to escape the heat.

Take breaks as needed

In hot weather, it’s important to take more breaks than usual to stay hydrated and cool down. Listen to your body and take breaks as needed to avoid overheating or dehydration.

Be aware of your limits

Hiking in hot weather can be challenging and potentially dangerous. It’s crucial to know your limits and when to stop and turn back. Be aware of the signs of overheating, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, or heat strokes, and take action to prevent them.

Hike near water

If shade is limited, consider hiking near a body of water such as an ocean, large lake, or river. The cool breeze from the water can help you stay cool and comfortable on the trail. 

mt assiniboine hiking trip
Cooling off in glacial waters

When hiking next to a river, take advantage of the opportunity to cool down by dipping your hat, shirt, or bandana in the water and draping it on your body. 

As the water evaporates, it will provide a cooling effect to help regulate your body temperature.

Choose your fabrics with care

Selecting the right fabrics is crucial when choosing hot weather hiking gear.

The ideal fabric should be lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying. 

Natural materials

When it comes to selecting fabrics for hiking in hot weather, natural options like merino wool, bamboo, and silk are excellent choices, as they wick moisture away from the skin and dry quickly. However, synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester are also suitable and often more affordable.

Contrary to popular opinion, cotton can be okay for hiking in hot and dry conditions, as the moisture can feel good against your skin and evaporate to keep you cool. 

However, when wearing cotton in hot weather, it’s important to be mindful of the potential for chafing and discomfort caused by wet cotton against your skin. It’s also crucial to carry a change of clothes or opt for synthetics if there’s any chance of temperature drops in the evening.

Merino wool often favoured for winter base layers, is also an excellent option for hiking in hot weather. It dries faster than synthetic fabrics, and bamboo and silk are extremely lightweight, soft, and airy, making them ideal for hot weather hikes. I also find it doesn’t get as smelly as quickly as other materials when you’re doing multi-day hikes in summer.

Lightweight & breathable

When considering the fabric for hot weather hiking, it’s important to take into account its weight or density. Lighter fabrics have a looser weave that allows air to pass through from the outside and sweat to evaporate from the inside.

Lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that breathes well is also essential for regulating body temperature on hot weather hikes. Keep all layers as loose and breathable as possible as tight-fitting clothing can trap moisture and cause discomfort.

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Light-coloured clothing for hiking in hot weather

Another consideration is the colour of your hiking clothes for hot weather. Light colours like white, beige, tan, and olive green reflect the sun’s rays, while dark colours absorb them, making you feel hotter. By selecting light colored clothing, you’ll stay cooler and more comfortable on the trail.

Wearing light colours that reflect the sun’s rays rather than absorb them (as dark colours can) helps keep you cool. Look for shirts, shorts and pants in white, tan or khaki.

UPF rated clothing

While all clothing provides some level of sun protection, clothing with a UPF rating is guaranteed to provide more. And these shirts are some of the best shirts for hiking in hot weather.

UPF ratings typically range from 15 to 50+, with higher ratings providing more protection. If a garment doesn’t have a UPF rating, it’s important to remember that synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester offer better sun protection than natural fibres. 

Cover up

While it may seem counterintuitive to cover up in hot weather, adding extra clothing can actually provide necessary protection from UV rays, especially for people with sensitive skin (like me!). 

Opt for lightweight long-sleeved shirts, sun sleeves, and neck gaiters for effective protection. 

While vests or short-sleeved t-shirts may seem like the best option for hiking in hot weather, long-sleeved shirts and pants provide added coverage and necessary protection against the sun’s UV rays.

You should still pack layers

It’s also crucial to take plenty of layers for summer hiking to prepare for any changes in temperature. 

The summer heat can be unpredictable and in the mountains, it can still be surprisingly cool, so having multiple options to adjust your clothing can make a significant difference in your comfort level. 

Whether it’s shedding layers as the temperature rises or adding a layer as it cools down in the evening, being prepared for a range of temperatures is key to a successful hike.

mt assiniboine hike

Risks of hiking in hot weather


When hiking in hot weather, staying hydrated is crucial to prevent dehydration and other heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion or heat stroke. 

The amount of water you need to drink while hiking depends on various factors like temperature, humidity, age, intensity level, body type, and sweat rate. As a general recommendation, it’s suggested to drink half a litre of water per hour of moderate activity in moderate temperatures. 

However, you may need to increase your water intake as the temperature and intensity of your activity rise. 

For instance, strenuous hiking in high heat may require you to drink one litre or more per hour. 

Going on a hike date? Here’s what to wear on a hiking date but still look cool.


Overhydration, or hyponatremia, is a rare condition that mainly affects endurance athletes, but hikers should also be aware of it. 

The symptoms of hyponatremia are similar to dehydration, such as fatigue, headache, and nausea, causing some people to drink more water and exacerbating the issue. 

To prevent overhydration, monitor how much water you drink, drink a few gulps every 15-20 minutes, and try not to drink more than you sweat. 

Occasionally drinking a sports drink with electrolytes or eating a salty snack can help keep your salt levels balanced.

Heat Cramps

Another risk of hiking in heat is heat cramps.

These are painful muscle contractions that can occur suddenly during exercise in hot weather. To avoid heat cramps, ensure that you’re adequately hydrated. If you experience heat cramps, take a break in the shade and do some gentle stretching to try to alleviate the pain.

Heat-Related Illness: Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a common heat-related illness that can occur during hikes in hot weather. 

It happens when your body is unable to cope with the stress of heat, and it’s often accompanied by dehydration. 

Symptoms include heavy sweating, faintness or dizziness, nausea and a headache amongst others. If you think you might have heat exhaustion, you should get out of the heat and rest up, rehydrate with water and some electrolytes and cool off by splashing water on your face or head.

If you have a bandana or buff, dip it in cool water and put it back on your head or neck to stay cooler for a bit longer.  

How to prevent heat exhaustion

Here are some tips to help you prevent heat exhaustion while hiking in hot weather:

  • Take time to acclimate: You need to ease into hiking in hot weather. It can take 10 days to two weeks to acclimatise to hot weather, so be cautious and take it slow on your first few hikes of the season.
  • Stay hydrated: Make sure you’re drinking enough fluids. 0.5 litres per hour is a good starting point, but you may need more depending on the intensity of the hike.
  • Wear appropriate clothing: Choose lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that allows your body to regulate temperature and a sun hat that will shade your face and neck.
  • Rest in the shade: It’s always okay to take a break if you need a break. Take the time to find a shady spot rather than forcing yourself to continue under the hot sun.
  • Know what you’re capable of: Be honest about your level of fitness and choose hikes that complement that. If you’re unsure, start with shorter hikes and gradually increase your distance over time. Don’t opt for something beyond your comfort levels if the weather forecast shows very high temperatures. 

Heat stroke

Heat stroke is a severe condition that can develop quickly and requires medical attention. 

If you notice a hiking partner displaying symptoms of heat exhaustion along with a change in mental status, they may have heat stroke. 

Keep an eye out for the following signs: throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, confusion, disorientation, anxiety, and a high body temperature.

If you suspect someone has heat stroke you should cool them down by laying them in the shade, removing excess clothing, and using cool water or a fanning action to lower their body temperature. 

Get any hot hikers to drink water if they are alert enough to hold a water bottle. Finally, call for medical help and get them to a doctor. 

Prevention is key when it comes to heat stroke. Follow the same tips for preventing heat exhaustion, such as acclimating yourself to the heat before taking on strenuous hikes, staying hydrated, wearing appropriate clothing, and taking breaks in the shade when necessary. 

It’s also a good idea to consider taking a wilderness medicine course if you want to be better prepared to respond to medical emergencies outdoors. 

I took a medical course when I was living in Vancouver, and it’s such a useful thing to do every few years to keep your skills sharp and you and your friends safe.

FAQS about what to wear hiking in hot weather

What temperature is too hot for hiking?

There isn’t a specific temperature that is too hot for hiking, as it depends on various factors such as the humidity level, your physical fitness, and how long the hike is. 
However, when the temperature and humidity levels are high, it can be more challenging to stay hydrated and keep your body temperature regulated. 
Some hikers may choose to avoid hiking during the hottest parts of the day or during heat waves. 

What should I wear hiking on a hot day?

On a hot day, the best clothes for hiking in summer are breathable and moisture-wicking clothing. Choose lightweight and loose-fitting clothes that will allow air to flow and keep you cool. Shorts and a t-shirt are usually the best option, but if you prefer to wear pants, opt for lightweight and breathable ones.

Should you wear pants hiking in summer?

It’s a personal preference, but if you do decide to wear pants on a hot day, make sure they’re lightweight and breathable. Hiking pants made of synthetic materials or thin cotton are a good choice.

Are hiking boots good for hot weather?

Hiking boots are great for providing support and protection for your feet, but they may not be the best summer hiking clothes addition for hot weather. They can be heavy and make your feet sweat more, which can lead to blisters and discomfort.

What do you wear mountain hiking in the summer?

Mountain hiking in the summer requires careful consideration of both weather and terrain. For summer hiking clothing wear lightweight and breathable clothing that will wick moisture away from your body and bring layers for changing temperatures.

Hiking pants or shorts made of quick-drying material and a moisture-wicking t-shirt is a good choice.

Don’t forget a sun hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.

Depending on the terrain, consider wearing hiking shoes or boots with good traction and support.

Final thoughts on what to wear hiking when it’s hot

When hiking in hot weather, it’s important to wear clothing that will keep you cool and protected from the sun. When it comes to what to wear when hiking in the summer, don’t forget about creams and lotions to protect you from the sun’s rays. You’ll also want a sun hat, and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes. 

My preferred hiking clothes for summer are:

As important as picking the right summer hiking clothes is staying hydrated.

Staying hydrated is key, so consider packing a hydration bladder or water bottle, and remember to drink plenty of fluids throughout your hike. 

In case of emergencies, it’s important to bring a well-stocked first aid kit, and if you want to be prepared to respond to medical emergencies outdoors, consider taking a wilderness medicine course.

Last Updated on September 20, 2023 by Hannah

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