"Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair."- Kahlil Gibran
Summer is here and the great outdoors are calling. Research shows that spending time in green space leads to significant health benefits including; decreased stress and anxiety, increased self-esteem and creativity, and help to eliminate fatigue. One of the best ways to enjoy the season is to head for the mountains and go on a hike. Your specific location and climate will dictate the exact gear you need, but here are six summer hiking essentials to always carry in your bag to ensure your day in nature is safe and enjoyable.
- Sun Protection: The sun on our bare skin feels so
- good, and it’s the most natural way to get Vitamin D. But without proper protection, you’re doomed for a painful sunburn. Here are a few ways to avoid overexposure and defend your vulnerable skin:
- Wear proper clothing: A long sleeve shirt and pants will shield your skin from UV radiation. Add a hat and polarized sunglasses to protect your neck, ears, face and eyes.
- Choose safe sunscreen: Apply a non-toxic sunscreen 15 minutes before sun exposure. SPF 15 is the minimum rating dermatologists recommend, however the FDA recommends that you reapply any sunscreen every two hours regardless of the SPF rating. Find a sunscreen that’s labeled “broad spectrum” which will shield skin from both UVB and UVA rays. Also beware that they higher you climb, the more intense the sunlight will be.
Start Early: Arrive to the trailhead around sunrise and try to avoid hiking when the sun's rays are at their strongest (10am-2pm). Take it as an opportunity to rest in the shade, or snack on a protein bar and rehydrate.
Note: If you’re going to rely on your phone, make sure you have plenty of battery and a back up way to charge it.
About the Author, Leslie Schipper Carvitto:
Leslie is a free-spirited, wanderlusting adventurer who has made proximity to nature a top priority. With an insatiable desire for travel, new experiences, and epic views, her time is spent hiking mountain ranges, photographing excursions, and documenting it on her blog Forever Stoked. Her creative work is a vibrant representation of her zest for life and gratitude for the miraculous human experience.