The definition of what is meant by hotter weather will vary depending on what your norm is where you live, and possibly where you might choose to walk when on holidays or travelling for work.
Wherever though, a change in clothing etc is often called upon as a result.
2. Wear lighter clothing
Lighter in terms of weight and colour.
In terms of weight, although an extra layer for covering up or adding if the temperature drops is still needed, you can leave the heavier fleeces of other seasons at home. You are also likely to be able to omit your waterproof trousers, though do consider where you are in the world. Rain is still possible, but you may feel that legs, if wearing shorts, dry quickly or light weight trousers can again be quick drying. I would still recommend a light waterproof jacket though as, especially in the hills, weather can be quick to change. Lighter weight clothes tend to make for easier movement too.
Lightly coloured clothes reflect the light and help you stay cooler.
There are differing views regarding short or long-sleeved tops and even leg coverings. For me, I tend to wear shorts and short sleeved, or sleeveless, tops/vest tops. Some advisors suggest that it’s better to cover up as much as possible, when walking for long periods in the sun, so long sleeves are recommended. I believe it is a personal choice.
Do take into consideration the type of paths you will be walking on, as warmer weather often brings overzealous hedgerows and
overgrown, often hidden, paths. You may want to protect your arms and legs.
There is so much choice now in the gear you can buy and wear so, over time, do invest in clothes that offer built-in UPF protection, are made of breathable material and wick moisture away from your skin. All of these will make your walking more enjoyable.
Including a hat will keep the sun off your head, face, and neck. Some people like visors which will provide shade around your eye area but do nothing to protect the rest of you. Baseball caps are not as good here as wide brimmed hats. Even on overcast days a hat is a good idea as it’s on days like these that we underestimate the power of the cloud hidden sun.
2. Don’t forget the sunscreen and your sunglasses
I know they are technically not pieces of clothing, but you do wear them. Together they will prevent sunburn, skin cancer and wrinkles.
It is best to first apply your sunscreen about 30 minutes before you set out, but it will also need topping up during the day as most only lasts for about 2 hours. Remember too that if you are sweating then you will be causing the sunscreen to dilute so apply more often.
Do choose a 30+ factor sunscreen and be aware that they have expiration dates. If you are using one that has expired it will not be helping you so get rid of it.
Even if the sun is hidden behind cloud, you can still get burnt. And please do not wait until you see your skin reddening to apply, that’s far too late.
Wear sunglasses that filter UVA and UVB, or are described as UV blocking sunglasses, to protect your eyes. If you are walking at altitude these will be especially useful as the sun is stronger the higher you go, though of course it doesn’t always feel like that.
I recommend a sunglasses cord or strap to keep your sunglasses safe around your neck. It is too easy when you stop, or when you take them off to read or take a photo etc, to leave them behind.
3. Breathable Footwear
It’s important to consider footwear too in hotter weather, as this is one of the biggest problem areas for walkers. You may not need heavy boots though, of course, you need to consider where you are walking. You will want to make sure that whatever you are wearing on your feet can regulate its temperature – boots, shoes and socks.
This may be the time to change to lighter walking shoes that are more like trainers, or even to opt for walking sandals. Lighter walking shoes are often made of mesh rather than leather and are cooler as well as drying faster when your feet sweat. I would advise that you try things out for yourself as you the individual need to be comfortable. Some people like to carry spare shoes/sandals so they can alternate.
I choose to wear lighter socks too and shorter ones, though again consider the terrain you are walking in. Many people carry extra socks so that they can freshen their feet removing sweaty damp socks and replacing them with dry. Again, it is up to you. If you get the chance, a lunch stop is a good time to do this and if there is water near by a paddle with help you to cool down and refresh feet, as well as giving your feet a break.
4. Check your Pack
Each season it is worth checking out your backpack as things you carry for one season may not be needed for another or vice versa. During the hotter weather spare gloves can probably be discarded but as we discussed earlier, room made for extra socks for instance.
Don’t, however, be tempted to take a smaller pack instead as you will still need an extra layer, that sunscreen, a hat and don’t forget the extra water that is so important when the weather is hotter.
4. Cooling Tips
There are a range of tips and tricks here to help you keep cool and they range from the very simple such as splashing your face and neck with cool water; soaking your hat at a water fountain or in a stream or river; wearing a buff or scarf to protect the back of your neck and also dampening these – the buff can also be worn over your head which can have an even stronger effect on the cooling process.
You can also dampen and freeze a bandana or washcloth and keep it in a zip lock bag with ice cubes, even carrying it in an insulated carrier in a backpack. Place it around your neck for a quick cool down.
If you wish, you can now also buy bandanas filled with water-absorbing polymer crystals that soak up water and help you remain cooler for a longer period of time. There are also cooling towels available. These nifty little items can be worn while in the heat walking, running and exercising. I suggest you google these as they are not something that I have tried so far.
The most important thing is to keep yourself safe in the heat and sun so that you enjoy your walks.
At One Million Women Walking we tend to organise our walking events in the spring and autumn, though we do still run monthly walks in the summer months. We do recommend and share with our walkers most of the things mentioned above as we want to make sure you look after yourself and enjoy the experience. Of course, even in choosing to walk in cooler times our climates and the weather can be unpredictable.
If you want to know about our walks and events do join our Inner Circle where you get the most up to date information. You can do that below.