The Well-Outfitted Hot-Weather Hiker

Lips, Shades, Screens, and Packs

Mar 11, 2002
Outside Magazine

Watership Trading Co.'s Vineyard Haven Hat, Camelbak Sherpa, and Prana's Dri Force Crew

Oakely's Chainsaw and Eco-Mesh Pants

Lids, Shades, Screens
TravelSmith's mesh-sided, SPF-30 Sunblock Cap ($30) lets you affect the Larry of Arabia look; just detach (via Velcro) the dweeby cape when the sun lets up. Watership Trading Co.'s Vineyard Haven Hat ($50) is shady as a deck awning thanks to a broad foam brim that not only retains its shape after serious hat abuse, but floats, should you forget to snug its retention cord. The pliable nylon crown is treated to reject UV rays, and screened grommets let your noggin respire. Look like a rock star and protect your eyes while you're at it—the Spy Scoop HS ($80) is notably friendly in hot weather, with little anti-fog vents at the outside edges of the lenses and no-slip rubbery temples that cling to sweaty skulls. When you can't cover your skin, you need sunscreen; the American Academy of Dermatology recommends a minimum SPF of 15. UVB rays do the obvious damage (tanning and burning), but insidious UVA rays are equally dangerous, are present year-round, and require a broad-spectrum sunscreen. The most effective ingredient against UVA rays is Parsol 1789—approved by the FDA a few years ago and just now showing up in brand-name sunscreens. Good examples are Coppertone's waterproof SPF 30 Gel (6 ounces, $10) and Ocean Potion's Sport Potion SPF 30+ cream (6 ounces, $6).

I spent a summer week two years ago doing Death Valley day hikes in 120-plus temps. I just kept a constant draw on a 100-ounce CamelBak reservoir. Now they've introduced the CamelBak Sherpa ($130), a 1,740-cubic-inch daypack with a compression-molded-foam back panel that permits cooling airflow down the spine and insulates the reservoir. Another new touch: A shut-off prevents dreaded bite-valve dribbles between draws. Stay even cooler by going backless with the True North Load Monster ($89)—essentially an overgrown (1,340-cubic-inch) lumbar pack with shoulder straps for extra support. It'll hold a 70-ounce reservoir and two 1.5-quart water bottles. For shorter hikes or trail runs, The North Face's Backwater backless bag ($90) stows 500 cubic inches of miscellany and a 60-ounce reservoir. Tucked inside any hydration pack or daypack, the combo of a foam-covered Platypus Hydration Insulator 2 ($17) and Big Zip 2 Reservoir ($23) from Cascade Designs gives cold water a fighting chance: The reservoir's big Ziploc-style opening makes it easy to clean or clink in a tray of ice cubes.

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