Tips for staying cool while backpacking in the Colorado heat this summer.
Are you thinking about taking a backpacking trip in Colorado during the summer? If so, make sure you do some research. Everyone in Colorado knows, climbing a 14er is a rite of passage. Hiking at that elevation can be tough (especially due to the lack of oxygen) but it has it’s perks. We have put together some helpful tips when planning a trip to backpack, camp or hike in Colorado this summer.
Do your research
It goes without saying that any trail you’ve considered hiking, someone else has already hiked it. Look it up, try and find something that is recent. Is there a bridge closure or fire in the area? What shoes worked and which pair didn’t. Is the river safe to cross all year? Research, plan and make your trip memorable for a good reason.
Check the weather
Before you go, and while you are there (if possible) check the weather forecast. It’s not always possible, so reading weather trends in the area can help you avoid an accident. If you are headed somewhere with a ranger station, always ask the rangers about the potential weather.
Wear the correct clothing
In addition to wearing the correct clothing, pack additional clothing in case the weather takes an unexpected turn. You can also consult with a ranger to make sure your clothing is adequate for the trek. Our recommendations are as follows:
- Cover your head, face and neck with a Bamboo Neck Gaiter from TransientCraft.com. This is the most versatile piece of cloth we bring with us. We recommend them to everyone we know.
- Put on some sunscreen!
- Wear a breathable, long sleeve shirt that is made for hiking.
- Bring Sunglasses – You’ll need them to keep the sun from bouncing off the glaciers and blinding you.
Follow the Water
No one wants to carry more water than they must on a long hike. Finding trails with an abundance of water in the Rockies can sometimes be tough. If you have done your research, then you may already know that Colorado is a very dry place. Drinking more water than you normally would at sea level is very important. If you know where an alpine lake may be, plan on resting there during the hottest part of the day to avoid over heating.
Go Higher, But not too high
It is much cooler at 9,000 ft (example) than that even of Denver, who is at 5,280 ft. When planning your hike / trip find a trail that maintains its elevation primarily between 7,000 and 12,000 ft. At 11,000-12,000 ft of elevation you will lose the tree line and enter into the alpine zone. With very little shade it is best trek these sections during the early morning or cool of the evening.