Beat the Heat: 7 Safety Tips to Keep You Healthy, Happy, and Cool as a Cucumber

Don’t let this be you!













With 31 Days of Geocaching in full gear, we thought we would give you a few pointers on how to keep your cool in the midst of all the craziness.

Tip #1: Don’t hit that snooze alarm!

We love lazy weekend mornings as much as the next guy, but hiking days are not the days to roll over and hit the snooze button. Partner Programs Manager Annie Love (Username: Love) admits that she’s not the biggest morning fan but still says, “Getting on the trail before the temperatures rise will make for a more pleasant experience and help avoid factors like heat exhaustion, dehydration and loss of sodium from mass amounts of sweat!”

Tip #2: Bring lots (and we mean LOTS) of H20

A big hike is not the day to skimp on drinking your water.  Community Liaison to Engineering – as well as expert hiker and world-renowned geocacher – Jon Stanley (Username: Moun10Bike) gives us the lowdown: “Without water, your body will dehydrate, causing a loss in performance, dizziness, and possibly heat stroke. The general consensus is that hikers should carry about two liters of water on them, and drink about 1 pint (or 1/2 liter) every hour. The actual number will depend on the climate, level of exertion, and individual needs. Today there are many options for bottles or backpacks with water bladders that make it a snap to carry water and access it easily on the trail.”

Tip #3: Don’t forget your sunscreen and bug spray

Dude, bug bites and sunburns are not cool. Sunscreen is absolutely vital for a long day out on the trail. Excessive sun exposure speeds up dehydration and can result in sunburns, which can increase your risk of melanoma (skin cancer).  As for bug spray, Jon says it’s more of a personal choice whether or not you decide to use it. Annie, on the other hand, is not a fan of bugs, “OMG, bugs are annoying!  Do you want to enjoy the hike?  Be prepared for those little buggars!”

Tip#4: Shoes should be more than a fashion statement

You know what else isn’t cool? Getting a blister. Annie says, “Waterproof boots with good ankle support are the best for summer trails. It’s a good idea to buy a half size larger than you normally wear as your feet will swell when hiking. Having boots that fit properly with thick (wool is ideal) socks will help keep blisters away.” Jon says you can also help prevent blisters by wearing shoes that are already broken in. A long hike is not the place to test drive your new kicks!

Tip #5: Do your research

It’s hard to know how to gear up if you don’t know the trail conditions. Annie reminds us that there are great resources out there to help you get prepared. “Check to see if there are websites that offer information on the hike you’re going on, or buy a local hiking guide that includes trail information and directions. I like to check out websites that allow for hikers to leave their trip reports so I can be prepared for any current trail conditions (snow on the trail, trees down or other obstacles that might make a difference in how you plan for the hike).  Check on Geocaching.com to see if there is useful trail information in the description of the geocaches, or if recent finders provided useful information or pictures.”

Tip #6:  A smiley (or Souvenir) isn’t always worth it

Check yourself before you wreck yourself. We know that earning 31 Souvenirs in a row sounds totally awesome. But we also know that taking care of yourself (and your family, friends, and pets) should be the priority. If finding a geocache makes you feel unsafe or if keeping up the streak is taking too much away from other aspects of life, it’s okay to DNF that one. There will always be more opportunities to log a “Found it” or earn a Souvenir….so don’t sweat it too much!

baxter's new haircutjpg
Okay, this isn’t the original Old Yeller, but it is somebody’s Old Yeller. And Moun10Bike is being careful to take good care of him! (Note: Power bars are not approved for canine consumption by the American Veterinary Medical Association.)

Tip #7: Don’t forget your faithful geocaching companion Old Yeller

Your dog may like to eat hots dogs, but he sure doesn’t want to be one! Remember that your favorite geocaching companion is only “mammal” too. Brings lots of water, snacks, and love for your pet with you on the trail. Oh! And don’t forget the poop bags! No one want to FTF the little presents that your pet may decide to leave behind.

How do you keep healthy, happy, and cool as a cucumber while out on the geocaching trail? Share your tips in the comments below.

Paige Edmiston
Paige (ThePaigeTurner) is a Marketing Specialist at Geocaching HQ. She likes books.
  • Cash

    Take cover under shade every 1 hour for 5 minutes

  • technonut

    A hiking pole is an invaluable “3rd leg” when crossing streams using stepping stones. Also something to lean on and pant when climbing steep hills 🙂

  • Don Jag

    I agree that a hiking pole is essential. I also use it to tap logs, rocks etc. so if a rattlesnake is hiding, he’ll warn me. I never put my hands where I can’t see, so the stick comes in handy.

    Let’s be serious though, the massive majority is simply lifting lamp post skirts to get their daily souvenir.

  • Vicky Hallenbeck

    Me, too! At my age, I need the stability of that extra leg. A trekking pole works, too.

  • Vicky Hallenbeck

    When it’s really hot, I take my “chilly towel” (there are many different brands) which is soaked in water before I leave. I fold it and wear it around my neck like a bandana, but it’s big enough (33″ x 18″) to put completely over my head or around my shoulders, if necessary. It’s not wet, but just very cool and refreshing.

  • Wildlifelady

    We use a ski pole. You can get them at yard sales or thrift shops for $1 – sometimes free – then remove the little round part towards the bottom and you have the perfect walking stick. There are short ones and long ones. They are metal and most of them have a great leather strap for a hand hold. It has a sharp point on the bottom for digging in better and the sharp point becomes a great protector in case something wild charges at you.

  • Mr. Ollivander

    Avoid caffeine of any kind when it is hot. Don’t drink cold beverages either. If your hike is strenuous enough, water alone won’t take care of you. Take something to replace potassium. If not, you may begin to get muscle cramps. Sports drinks should be a part of the mix. I drink orange juice in the morning and juice when I come off the trail. There are other juices that work as well including mango and pineapple.

  • authorized users

    Can anyone suggest a good, quality, yet inexpensive, hiking pole? We were looking at telescoping poles and poles that have shocks. We want something that is easy to carry (telescoping preferably) and is stable enough to be used and relied on heavily.

  • authorized users

    We do our very best to avoid LPCs!! Though, sometimes an FTF is cause for a rogue LPC find…

  • technonut

    Just google “hiking pole review” and you will find what you are looking for.

  • authorized users

    #6 is VERY important!

    One more should be added to the list, too…

    #8 Always let someone else know where you are going
    When you are about to enter into the wilderness, let someone – or a few people – know where you are going. Let them know about how long you should be, and that they should consider sending out a search party if they haven’t heard from you within that time period.

  • authorized users

    We worry about reviews, since nowadays people get paid to write positive and negative reviews by the companies and by their competitors. We were hoping someone who has actually had experience with different poles would have suggestions. Will still do a Google search, as you recommend – thanks!

  • technonut

    Fair comment :). I use a combo pole – the brand name is useless to you as I am in Souht Africa and it is a house brand of Cape Union Mart. My pole is two section, non-shock, and has a combo handle – can be used as both as a walking stick and a trekking pole.

  • Dare2Geocache3

    I always carry the Ten Essentials (Google it) in my pack. And I’ve taken the Red Cross wilderness first aid class. In addition, I make a point to know the local flora and fauna, especially the ones that can cause problems. But Rule No. 1 for safety is always “Don’t hike alone!” Let’s be safe out there! 🙂