Under Corona arch: Woman hiking near Canyonlands, Moab
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Heat Wave-Tested: Hot Weather Hiking Gear to Keep You Cool

We went to the desert to test the best hot weather hiking gear for staying comfortable during a heat wave.

The best time for a desert adventure is not in the middle of a summer heat wave, but that's exactly when my husband and I planned our first trip to Moab. It's not because we enjoy feeling like human baked potatoes; we'd scheduled the trip over a month in advance, blissfully unaware of the scorching temperatures that were on their way.

Fortunately, we brought the right hot weather hiking gear to enjoy the beautiful scenery without getting beat by the heat. Our packing list included plenty of lightweight apparel, backpacks with built-in water bladders, good sunscreen, eye protection, and even an umbrella for portable shade.

After multiple 100-plus-degree days hiking and biking under the blazing desert sun, I can confidently recommend these seven products for safely adventuring in the dog days of summer.

1. A High-Volume Hydration Pack

Portait of a competitive, athletic millennial man drinking water from a hydration pack before running off road outdoors through the woods on a trail in the afternoon wearing sportswear.

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Being able to slurp water hands-free via a tube from your backpack is one of outdoor recreation's finest modern conveniences. Staying hydrated is perhaps the most important heat safety measure to stay on top of during hot-weather outings, and a hydration pack is an easy way to carry more than just a water bottle.

The best packs should include extra water bottle pockets on the outside or extra space in the main compartment to fill the bladder and squeeze in another drink or two. After all, the rule of thumb is to carry one liter of water for every two hours of hiking; but on hotter days, you're wise to carry more. Pro tip: Add plenty of ice cubes to your water bladder for peak refreshment.

We like:

2. Electrolyte Drink Mix

Cropped shot of a young man taking a break while out on a hike

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However you choose to play on sunny days, sweating is always part of the program. Because your body loses electrolytes through sweat, it's vital to supplement some of your water with electrolyte drinks or powders to replenish essential minerals like sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and others. Not only will this improve your athletic performance, it will greatly reduce your risk of getting heat stroke.

We like:

Osmo Active Hydration

Tailwind Active Hydration

3. Breathable, Sweat-Wicking Tops

Traveler Asian woman backpack adventure climbing on the mountain with gold sunlight. hike adventure concept.

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The best shirts for hot summer days are the ones that make you feel like you're not even wearing one. Look for lightweight performance fabrics that wick moisture, dry quickly, and offer ample ventilation. Nylon and polyester excel at this and are common materials in activewear, while cotton holds onto sweat and moisture, increasing body temperature as a result. Read clothing tags carefully and make sure the shirt will stay dry before you buy; on sweaty rides, runs, and climbs, you'll be happier for it.

We like:

Arc'teryx Norvan Tank

La Sportiva Dimension T-shirt

4. Sweat-Resistant Sunscreen

Person applying Utu Sunscreen onto their arm

Paige Triola for Wide Open Spaces

Whether skies are overcast or blue and clear, sunscreen is a must for outdoor activities—not only will it lower your chances of getting a painful sunburn, it also reduces your risk of skin cancer.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the best sunscreen is broad spectrum with an SPF 15 or higher and should be applied 30 minutes before going outdoors, as well as reapplied every two hours. Be sure your sunscreen features good water resistance, because sweating it off soon after hitting the trail won't do you much good.

We like:

Trail Tribe Outdoor Daily Defense Suncare

UTU Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Stiq

5. A Sun Hoodie

Author hiking in a canyon while wearing a burnt orange sun hoodie

Paige Triola for Wide Open Spaces

SPF-containing lotions, sticks, and sprays are all well and good, but they can feel filmy or sticky on skin and require frequent reapplication. The Skin Cancer Foundation maintains that clothing is the most effective form of sun protection, and a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of 50 or higher is the best way to go, as it blocks 98% of the sun's rays.

It seems counterintuitive to don long-sleeved outerwear on a hot day, but a sun hoodie can save your skin from harmful UV rays and, if made from the right material, won't overheat you. With a thin and breathable synthetic fabric, a lightweight sun hoodie lets the breeze waft through and wicks away sweat. Throw it on over a tank or sports bra during exposed hikes and avoid the burn.

We like:

The North Face Belay Sun Hoodie

6. Eye Protection

Author wearing CAMP sunglasses in front of an outdoor trail

Paige Triola for Wide Open Spaces

Squinting gets old fast when you're out on the trails in full sun. It's well known that regular exposure to ultraviolet rays can damage your eyes, so don't venture outside without a pair of sunglasses that feature 100% UVA/UVB protection. This dual protection ensures your eyes stay safe from both Ultraviolet A rays (which penetrate past your cornea, causing cataracts) and Ultraviolet B rays (which inflict damage primarily on your corneas, causing issues such as photokeratitis). To add extra shade to your shades, pair them with a trucker cap or sun hat.

We like:

CAMP Trail Sunglasses

Shwood Canby ACTV Sunglasses

7. Bonus: An Umbrella

Author walking down a trail with a sun umbrella held over their head

Paige Triola for Wide Open Spaces

For casual, low-key hikes where you don't need to have both hands free, carry an umbrella on the trail—it's like having your own traveling cloud to provide much-needed shade. It might feel a little silly at first, but when the sun is blazing, you'll be glad to have it. And there's no need to buy anything fancy; any umbrella will do the job, though one with promised UV protection ensures your skin stays safer, too.

We like:

Cuby UV Sun Umbrella

ProActive Sports Sun Tek Umbrella

READ MORE: 13 Hiking Essentials You Should Bring On Every Day Hike