Kate’s been avoiding the heat for years, living at the foot of the Snowy Mountains in Jindabyne. So who better to ask how to avoid the heat on a hot summer’s hike!


As someone who loves all things cold and snowy, hiking in the midst of summer may seem like my worst nightmare.

The suffocating heat and the inescapable glare of the sun has me dripping in sweat in mere minutes.

However, there are lots of things to love about summer hiking. For one, the summer wildflowers on show in Australia are absolutely incredible, especially in the alpine areas.



From November to January there are bursts of colours all across the Alps; purple waxy bluebells, yellow billy buttons, and white paper daisies litter the mountain landscapes. Not to mention, the beautiful waterfalls and swimming holes that are finally warm enough to go for a dip.

In all honesty, hiking in summer can actually be quite enjoyable, if you just know a few handy tricks, and have the right summer hiking gear to beat the scorching heat.

Dodge the Heat

Duh! The easiest way to beat the heat in summer is to avoid the hottest part of the day.

There are a few of ways of doing this; sunrise hikes are a perfect option, as the hike will be over and done with before the day heats up.



If you don’t want to get up at the crack of dawn, then try a sunset hike instead. The day quickly cools off in the evening, and those pesky flies die down, making an adventure much more pleasant.

Let’s not forget about those amazing pink and purple sunset and sunrise hues to enjoy.



On those days when you feel like you can’t escape the relentless heat at all, head out on a balmy full moon and go for a stroll at night. Just be sure to stay within your skill level, and don’t forget the headtorch!

Stay Close to Water

If your schedule only allows for a midday hike, and you’re set on hiking through those 30-something degree days, then stay close to water.



Think waterfalls, rivers, and canyon adventures. Not only is it always cooler near water sources, but it allows you to stay hydrated and drop in for a dip whenever you begin to overheat. Remember on these hot summer days, it’s not always about how far or long the hike is, sometimes it’s nice to just sit and enjoy the outdoors.

Once you’re ready to hike again, consider drenching a camping towel in water and wrapping that around your head or draped across the neck to cool down the next leg of your journey! The same applies to wetting hats, tees and whatever else you can think of.


Keep Hydrated

The combination of sun exposure, high temps, and exercise during summer make heat stroke a very real hazard.

Keeping hydrated is one of the most important methods to avoid heat stroke. We’re not just talking during the hike, but before and after as well.

On the eve before a summer hike, fill up a Nalgene bottle and pop it in the freezer overnight, chuck it in the car on your way out, and thank yourself later. When the walk is done, there’ll be perfectly chilled water for the drive home.

You may be tempted to throw in a couple of beers or head to the pub for a refreshing bevy after a big adventure, but keep in mind that alcohol is dehydrating, so try to limit yourself to just a single summit celebration drink. Try swapping out the beer for a hydralyte to help replenish fluid and electrolyte levels.


Let the Tent Breathe

Ever endured a night camping with not a breath of wind to cool you down and temps that refuse to drop?

While air-con is hard to come by out in the sticks, consider setting up your tent without the exterior rainfly.

You’ll keep the bugs out and still be able to pick up the slightest breeze and vent body-heat.


Why The Jatbula Trail is Perfect For Your First Multi-Day Hike, Amy Fairall, Sandy Pool, Nitmiluk National Park, tent, palms, lake, swimming hole

Features Editor Amy Fairall knows a thing or two about dodging heat up in Darwin | @amy.eloise

Slip, Slop, Slap

Whilst sunscreen is essential all year round, summertime calls for more diligent application.

Reapply every couple of hours, especially after swimming, to avoid sun burns and skin peeling as bad as Gold Member.

My top pick at the moment is Feel Good Inc’s Kakuda Plum Sunscreen Lotion.

In summer, I put it on just about every day as it smells divine, and is 50+ SPF. Just because I dress like hiker trash does not mean I need to smell like it!

Feel Good Inc. also make a 50+ SPF lip balm that lives in the hip pocket of my backpack to avoid sunburnt, cracked lips.


Don’t Forget the Bushmans

During summer the march flies are dreadful in the alpine areas, so much so that some people refuse to go hiking from December until February around here.

Avoiding blues and other dark coloured clothes will help deter the flies, but insect repellent will do an even better job.

Check out our Complete Guide To Insect Repellant Gear for the full rundown.


Insect Repellent Gear - Our Guide To Getting Them To Bug-Off

Not my feet… Thank god | Michael Lusk/Flickr

Look Out for Sun Baking Snakes

Snakes love relaxing in the sun by the water just as much as I do!

Don’t let that prevent you from hiking in Australia, just keep your wits about you on the trail and consider a pair of densely woven canvas gaiters.

Sea to Summit’s Spinifex Canvas ankle gaiters are a sturdy choice.

In your first aid kit, carry two bandages (compression not crepe) and brush up on your snake bite first aid management before heading out.


Eastern Brown Snake, Pseudonaja textilis Indiana Madden-Olle reptiles snakes

Eastern Brown Snake (Pseudonaja textilis) | @Indiana Madden-Olle

Dress Like an Explorer

Base Layer

I often harp on that ‘cotton kills’ in the winter, the same goes for summer.

Excess sweat leaves your cotton clothing damp, and if the weather changes for the worse, you’ll be teeth chattering and shivering away before you know it.

Instead, use sweat wicking fabrics, preferably natural fibres closest to the skin. It’ll also save everyone from the hiker stink.

Merino may sound like a warm, winter fabric, but lightweight blends are perfect in high temps and regulate air with superior breathability.

The Icebreaker Cool-lite Merino Sphere Short Sleeve is made from a Merino/Tencel ™ and comes in just about every colour. It’s the perfect layer to throw on under a hiking button up or as a standalone layer when it’s really cooking.


This also might sound counter intuitive, but long-sleeve, button up shirts are great to protect your skin from the sun and the march flies, whilst also keeping you cool.

Patagonia combine function with fashion with their new sun shirt colourways, there’s no need to dress like Nigel Thornbury anymore.

The Sun Stretch Long Sleeve Hiking shirt feels like absolute heaven; it’s made from an ultralight recycled nylon/polyester blend that’s quick drying, with plenty of stretch.

Make sure to stick to lighter colours to avoid absorbing excess heat from the sun’s rays.

Pants or shorts?

Some hikers swear by lightweight pants in summer to stay cool, but for me I prefer a good pair of hiking shorts.

No matter your preference, the Patagonia Quandary style has you covered, coming in a range of lengths to suit everyone; pant length, mid-thigh (7 inch), short shorts (5 inch), even a convertible short/pant combo.

The best part of the Quandary style, other than the reasonable price tag, is that they’re size inclusive, stocking from XXS (00) to a size XXL (20-22) in women’s.


To avoid that horrible neck burn, swap the cap for a wide brim hat, or legionnaires cap.



I rate the Akubra Traveller Hat, as it’s designed for those who tend to ‘mistreat’ their hats, with a fabric memory that allows it to fold away, and manipulate back into shape.

Alternatively, check out Australian brand, Wild Bear. They also sell some pretty handy ‘Hat Carry Clips’ to store brimmed hats on the outside of any backpack.

Neck Buffs

Yes, buffs are often used to keep you warm, but you can get ones made of CoolNet UV+ fabric that wicks away moisture and keeps your neck covered from the suns rays, while offering a ‘cooling effect’ as well.

Gotta protect ya neck!



It’s inevitable that a quick dip will occur at some point on the hike if you’re near a body of water.

Regardless of your swimwear choice (bathers or underwear), throw an empty dry bag in the backpack to store wet clothes for the hike home.



So there you have it!

Rising mercury shouldn’t mean you have to stay at home and abandon a hike. But, it does mean you need to be extra prepared out there.