Dealing with hot weather when camping
Camping is always an amazing experience. The contact with nature, the sense of freedom, and that sensation of being just nature and us is something hard to recreate any other way.
But from time to time what began as a wonderful time might turn into a nightmare because of mother nature's desires, especially regarding weather.
A sunny, warm morning may become lethal during summertime when the temperature rises dramatically catching us in the middle of an excursion, unaware of how high-temperature peaks may be and without the proper knowledge to deal with such a situation, especially if we are camping where there's not too much cover.
In these cases, the major danger is dehydration, particularly if there's no easy access water source. Dehydration is a big risk to deal with not only because of its direct effects on the body but also because it blurs our mind, interferes with our basic skills, and probably will push us to wrong decision making, jeopardizing our safety.
That's why it's so important to avoid dehydration as much as possible, not only carrying enough water with us but also identifying water sources near our camping area as well on the maps along the planning route. This way, in case you run out of water, you will be aware of where to find it without wasting time.
Another risk to deal with during hot weather is sunburn. Most people don't think
about it, but being exposed for long periods to direct sunlight in a hot environment will lead to sunburns.
This condition is not only painful but also risky, particularly when the skin is so damaged that the sunburn achieves a second degree. In this situation, the problem is not only the pain but also the risk of infections and increased fluid losses as well.
A combination of both factors will exhaust our energy very quickly leading to a live or death situation very fast.
To minimize risk, it's important to know how to deal with extremely hot weather when camping, hiking, or hunting; otherwise what began as a pleasant experience might end very bad.
First thing to know is the weather forecast. This way you will be aware of what you probably will have to deal with and get ready for it.
Once you have information about the weather it's important to pack not only enough fresh water (and enough means at least the double of your daily needs), but also water potabilization systems in case you need to take water from nature.
If you choose chemical methods, get sure about the expiration date, and once again, take with you more than you usually need, just in case.
On the other hand, if you use mechanical systems it's important to verify that everything is working properly before beginning your trip.
When the water supply is assured, take a look at sunlight protection.
A sunblock cream is a good choice, particularly those with SPF 30 or higher, however, it's not enough to prevent sunburns, especially during long expositions. In such cases, it's important to count on a wing hat with neck protection, respirable, long sleeves shirts and some time of portable shelter to hide from the sun during maximum radiation exposition (between 11:30 am and 2:00 pm).
A shelter may be the difference between life and death during a very hot day, especially if there's not enough natural cover in the area.
Another important detail is planning your movements. Usually, it's not a good deal to move or work during the hottest hours of the day because your energy will be drained very fast and there's a real risk of fast dehydration, thus it's important to plan how you will proceed.
Most of the time the best decision is to move and work early in the morning and late afternoon when the temperature drops, resting and eating during the hottest hours of the day.
This way you prevent dehydration and save energy to keep going all along your trip.
It's important to know that if you have not been exposed to very high temperatures before, it's more likely to suffer the impact of such a critical situation, being important to count on an experienced guide and planning shorter excursions during the first days to allow acclimatization.
At the beginning it may be scary, but with proper knowledge and proceeding properly, you may enjoy a trip into nature during the hottest summer days without significant danger.