Long days and blue skies make summer hiking an absolute must for many of us. However, staying comfortable on warmer days requires a bit of knowledge. Unlike winter hiking, where we can always pull on extra layers, summer hiking requires us to think a little more cleverly about how to stay cool and sun-protected for the many hours on the trail. Below is a list of some of our favourite tips and gear to help you enjoy those days when the mercury is a little high.

Take advantage of the cooler morning

An easy way to stay cool on the trail is to make sure you’re getting up and on the trail as early as possible. This means that you will be avoiding the hottest parts of the day around the early afternoon. If you’re hiking overnight it means you will get to your campsite early and be able to enjoy the warm afternoon under some shady trees.

Icebreaker Cool-lite Range

Choosing to hike during the Australian summer means that you will inevitably be hiking on some scorching days. Whether it’s a short hike-in to your favourite swimming spot or hours on the trail, the material that you choose to wear will greatly affect your comfort. Icebreaker makes a range of Cool-Lite garments that offer great breathability on hot, summer days. Cool-Lite garments are blended with TENCEL™, a natural wood fibre that keeps the garment cool, ventilated and soft against the skin. The TENCEL™ is combined with high-quality merino wool to provide odour-resistance and additional breathability for those warmer days. Additionally, many of the Cool-Lite garments feature an eyelet mesh that maximises airflow.

Icebreaker Cool-lite Range


Wide-brimmed hats with ventilation

Wide-brimmed hats offer additional protection over a normal cap. They provide coverage for your face, ears and the back of your neck. Keeping the rays directly off these regions will help you to feel cooler in the hot sun. Further, you can choose a hat that breathes effectively in the heat. The Barmah Canvas Drover offers maximum airflow with its mesh sides, while the Mont Sun Hat is made of lightweight, sweat-wicking nylon and features three mesh side panels for enhanced breathability.

Barmah Drover Hat and Mont Sun Hat


Insulated bottles and frozen water bottles

Sipping on an ice-cold bottle in the wilderness as the sun beats down on you is an incredibly refreshing feeling. The Klean Kanteen insulated bottle keeps drinks cold for up to 50 hours. Alternatively, a popular way to keep your water cold is to freeze a bottle the night before your hike. This way the bottle melts across the day, providing you with ice-cold water. This technique is undoubtedly effective for when you’re on the trail for a day. However, using an insulated bottle allows you to get creative with your cold drinks on the trail. If you’d prefer an iced coffee or juice on your walk, you can’t go past an insulated bottle. Not only will insulated bottles keep your beverages cooler for longer, but their tough stainless steel exterior means you will get years of use out of them.

Photograph: Lachlan Gardiner

Backpacks with ventilated back-panels

One of the worst feelings on a hot hike is the feeling of your pack pressing into your sweaty back. The Osprey Stratos and Sirrus are examples of bags that offer fantastic ventilation for hot days. Their Airspeed™ Suspension back-panel uses a tensioned mesh material which directly contacts the back, while the remainder of the bag is suspended away from the user. This creates a channel between the user and the heavy nylon material of the main bag. This means air can flow freely across your back and keep you cool under the warm sun.

Osprey Stratus 24 Pack

Light, sweat-wicking socks

Excessive sweating under the summer sun can sometimes cause a world of problems in our shoes. Not only is this additional warmth unpleasant, but it can often lead to blistering. To keep your feet cool and dry it’s important to use a sock that will wick moisture away from the feet and dry quickly. Synthetic socks like the Injinji Trail 2.0 Crew sock offer superior breathability and moisture management with their unique blend of synthetic fibres. Further, the toe-sock design means sweat is wicked away from each toe to further stave off blistering. It is particularly important to avoid using socks that will retain moisture like cotton and bamboo. These materials hold onto moisture instead of allowing it to evaporate away.

Photograph: Lachlan Gardiner

Dip your layers in water

Accessories such as your hat, sweatbands or neck chutes can be dipped in water to provide cool relief on the trial. Not only does the cool water provide instant relief but as the water is evaporated away under the heat of the sun it provides an evaporative cooling effect. The Buff High UV Protection Headwear is a thin neck sock that can be easily soaked in a stream or with a water bottle then worn where you need the most cooling. It can be worn as a headband, wristband, scarf, mask and so on. The multifunctional accessory provides 95% UV protection and will continue to keep you cool as it dries and wicks moisture off your skin.

On those particularly hot days, it can often feel like your layers dry almost instantly after you have wet them. If you want to level-up your ability to keep your accessories cool the Cobber Body Cooling Neck Wrap may be perfect for you. These wraps contain polycrystals that expand to absorb and retain water. The principle is the same as wetting your hat however, the larger volume of water held by the polycrystals provides a longer and sustained evaporative cooling effect under the hot sun.

Injinji Socks, Klean Kanteen Waterbottle, Body Coolers, GoTravel Umbrella


Lightweight umbrella

A light-weight umbrella offers a UV protective canopy under the most exposed conditions. The Go Travel Umbrella comes in at a measly 178g meaning it won’t be a burdensome addition to your bag. With a bit of creativity, you can often affix your umbrella to your hiking bag for an easy, hands-free experience.

Lightweight, moisture-wicking long-sleeved shirts

It may seem counterintuitive but opting for a long sleeve can keep you cooler in hot weather. This is dependent on the materials used by the shirt. It’s ideal to use a lightweight, moisture-wicking shirt like the Royal Robbin Bug Barrier Expedition Shirt or the Icebreaker Cool-lite Sphere shirt. Their moisture-wicking ability allows the shirt to create an evaporative cooling effect by drawing sweat from the skin to the surface of the material to dry away. This effect is enhanced by using a shirt with a loose fit, which allows air to pass through the material and add to this cooling effect. It is best to choose light colours for your summer garments which will reflect more heat than darker garments. An added benefit of using a long sleeve shirt is that you may save on the sunscreen if you choose an option that offers UV protection while you’re out in the elements.

Royal Robbins Bug Barrier Expedition Shirt and Icebreaker Cool-lite Sphere Shirt


Staying cool on the trail can be a real challenge in summer. Not unlike how we pack additional layers for our colder trips, it’s important to consider what extra provisions we need to remain comfortable in the heat. While the gear might not be as simple as packing an extra fleece, there are certainly a few additional pieces of kit that can keep your cool and sun-safe.

Camping adventures are definitely the way to go this summer with international travel out of the question, so get out there and enjoy all the best things that the Australian summer has to offer! Tag Paddy Pallin in your pictures on Instagram, as we always love to see what you are up to.

#ExperienceIsEverything | #PaddyPallin

About The Author


Some 80 years ago, a young bushwalker's dissatisfaction with the limited and heavy bushwalking equipment available prompted him to design and make his own. Before long, word spread, and Paddy Pallin's lightweight, functional designs were soon in demand among fellow bushwalkers. From its early days the company has concentrated on supplying bushwalkers, travellers and adventurers with the highest quality and most advanced products and knowledge. Since 1930 the company has grown to become Australia's leading supplier of specialist outdoor and travel gear. The company, still owned by the Pallin family, now has thirteen stores throughout Australia as well as online, mail order and corporate sales divisions. We are using our vast wealth of knowledge, and experience, to build an online community where we can share our stories, reviews and tech tips to help you research and plan your next adventure.

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