The dog days of summer bring the promise of cooler fall days right around the corner, but also a wave of hot and humid weather in the meantime. Summer hiking can be glorious with long daylight hours and abundant plant life, but it can also turn into a draining activity pretty quickly if you’re not prepared for the heat.

Well, never fear, Gossamer Gear family! We’re here to help you keep cool and keep hiking—even when it’s hot, hot, hot. Read on for five tips on preparing for a lovely, sunny summer hike.

1. Wear a Dress

Inspired by our very own brand ambassador and unofficial Goddess of the Smokies, Nancy East, I started hiking in dresses during the summer of 2020—and I’ve never looked back. Our brand ambassadors Heather “Anish” Anderson and Arlette “Apple Pie” Laan have also been seen rocking the hiking dress.

Hiking dresses allow for maximum air flow to keep you cool. They’re lightweight and flowy and just plain comfortable. LightHeart Gear makes my favorite hiking dress, as well as a hiking skirt that’s pretty popular with male hikers.

Not ready to embrace the dress? Even though I really think you should give it a try, there are other ways to choose clothing that will keep you cool. Focus on loose-fitting clothes with good ventilation that come in light colors. Many fabrics also have additional SPF protection, which can help protect you on those exposed ridgelines.

2. Take a Buff

Buffs are a fabulous way to keep cool while hiking. They’re easy to dip into a cool stream along the trail and then wrap around your neck or forehead to add some extra refreshment to your hot and sweaty self. It’s even more glorious if a little breeze picks up against the wet buff. A true slice of summer heaven!

Grab one of our colorful, custom-printed CoolNet Buffs for some extra style while keeping cool. BUFF® CoolNet UV+® Multifunctional Headwear is 95% recycled, and engineered with REPREVE® performance microfiber, HeiQ cooling technology, and Polygiene® odor control. It also has a 4-way, seamless, ultrastretch fabric construction that features UPF 50+ sun protection.

3. Sport a Stylish Hat

Have you heard that bucket hats are back in style? It’s about time, in our opinion. Not only are they stylish, but they offer 360 degrees of sun protection. Create your own little bucket of shade around your noggin and keep the summer sun out of your eyes by sporting a good hat while hiking.

As a bonus, in honor of this glorious fashion trend returning, we’ve released our own bucket hat that has an embroidered scorpion on it. You read that right. A scorpion. It’s pretty sick. Snag yours today!

4. Bring Your Umbrella

Umbrellas aren’t just for rainy days. They’re actually perfect for sunny days, too, especially if you’re trekking across the high desert or other exposed, hot areas.

The Gossamer Gear Liteflex hiking umbrella is a full-size trekking umbrella that weighs in at  just 6.6 ounces. This chrome dome is thru-hiker tested and approved, and lowers the feel of the sun up to 15 degrees. It’s also easy to attach to your pack with our hands-free umbrella clamp.

5. Stay Hydrated

It probably goes without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway—stay hydrated! While this is always a good rule to follow, it’s especially important when it’s hot out and you’re sweating a lot more than usual. 

Bring your Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter with you for easy filtering of refreshing, cold mountain streams along your hike. It also helps to throw an electrolyte powder or tablet into your water bottle to up your hydration levels.

Enjoy Carefree Summer Days on Trail By Taking Steps to Keep Cool

We know everyone likes to rave about spring and autumn hiking, and, we get it, those are beautiful times to be outside. However, long summer days should be cherished, and with the right preparation and gear, you can keep cool on the trail even when it’s steamy out.

August 16, 2021 — Korrin Bishop