Best Hiking Gear to Beat the Sun and Heat

Amy Hatch
Best Summer Hiking Gear Heat Hot Sun Desert High Elevation

When your hiking objectives include high-elevation mountain peaks or long desert crossings, sun exposure and heat exhaustion become very real threats. In these situations, keeping yourself cool and hydrated is the name of the game. Hikers employ a variety of tactics to beat the heat — waking up before sunrise for dawn patrols, or even hiking at night; plunging into every available waterhole; and so on. Additionally, a few choice pieces of gear can make all the difference in the success and enjoyment of your hike. Here are 6 trail tested recommendations for hiking gear to take on your next mercury-busting adventure. 

Purple Rain Hiking Skirt (or Kilt)

Best Summer Hiking Gear Heat Hot Sun Desert High Elevation

We're kicking out of the gates strong with the Purple Rain Hiking Skirt (or Kilt). Based on the 100+ glowing customer reviews on GGG for this skirt, it seems safe to say it's a summer favorite. The huge benefit of hiking skirts and kilts is AIRFLOW! It makes life on trail breezy. Purple Rain ups the ante even further with downright functional pockets on both sides of their hiking skirts, and a yoga-style waistband that sits oh so comfortably under a pack hipbelt.   

Sun Umbrella

Best Summer Hiking Gear Heat Hot Sun Desert High Elevation

With ultralight sun umbrella options
now available from a handful of reputable cottage brands, making your own shade has never been easier. Couple your favorite sun umbrella with a hands-free kit, and you’ll really be cruisin’ in style. Now a common sighting on the desert sections of the PCT and CDT, these umbrellas are as platinum as they look. One caution: be careful with them in wind and/or lightning.    

Legionnaire Hat by FRACTEL

Best Summer Hiking Gear Heat Hot Sun Desert High Elevation

An alternative to a sun umbrella is a full coverage sun hat, such as the Legionnaire Hat by FRACTEL. Prototyped in Australia, where the harshness of the sun’s rays is notorious, the Legionnaire Hat features breathable UPF+50 panels to cover your neck and ears. Soak this hat in cold water at every stream crossing, and you’ll soon be skipping down the trail. 

Sun Sleeves by éclipse

Best Summer Hiking Gear Heat Hot Sun Desert High Elevation

This is perhaps the most underrated piece of hiking gear, IMHO ; ) For the benefits provided, 2 ounces of worn, or carried, weight is almost negligible. In addition to protecting your skin from harmful UV rays, sun sleeves can also keep your arms warm on chilly mornings, and then keep you cool once the day heats up — éclipse even uses a special material with cooling properties! And, best of all, unlike a full sun shirt, you can take your sun sleeves on and off without taking off your pack, or even breaking stride! 

Armless Sunglasses by Ombraz

Best Summer Hiking Gear Heat Hot Sun Desert High Elevation

Weighing less than an ounce, and attaching to your face with a soft, polyester cord … even your sunglasses just got innovative! Ombraz polarized sunglasses are suprisingling comfortable to wear and also easy to keep track of — just dangle them around your neck when not in use. Ditching hinges and screws not only means less worn weight, but also a more durable pair of shades, as ready for your adventure as you are.  

Water Bottle Sleeve by Chicken Tramper Gear

Best Summer Hiking Gear Heat Hot Sun Desert High Elevation

Staying hydrated becomes crucial when temps heat up — and the easier your water is to access, the more likely you are to continuously drink. A GGG customer favorite, with 100+ five star reviews, the water bottle sleeve made by Chicken Tramper attaches to the shoulder strap of any backpack and is compatible with Smart water bottles. Snag a
Sawyer Squeeze water filter while you’re at it, add in some electrolytes, and you’ll be one helluva happy hydrated hiker! 

What other gear do you use and love for hiking when it’s hot out? 


Amy is the Co-Founder of GGG. When not tapping away at the keyboard, she can be found hiking obscure peaks in the Tetons. The thing about GGG that she loves most is the community. She'll be bopping around PCT Days next week. If you see her out there in the wild, say hello. She doesn't bite. Promise!

Trail talk

1 comment



I overheat easily. On hot days I bring a frogg toggs chilly pad or chilly mini and I hike near water sources so that I can refresh the cooling towel as needed.

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