Keeping your cool: Five tips for better Scouting in the heat

As temperatures climb to triple digits, it’s important for Scouts to remain prepared and safe as they set out on their next great summer adventure.

For a quick refresher on how to keep cool this summer, I checked with Bev Singel, a registered nurse and the BSA’s health consultant.

Here’s what she says:

1. Go with water.

Sports drinks are marketed heavily, with consumers getting the impression that these sugary liquids fuel all the best pro athletes.

For the rest of us, water is best. It has fewer calories (as in: zero) and does an excellent job keeping you hydrated.

Sports drinks should be used sparingly following only vigorous sporting activities.

2. Drink throughout your trek.

Don’t gulp your entire Camelbak at the start or end of your day. Drink water throughout the day.

Remember: If you’re thirsty, you may already be dehydrated.

3. Wear the right clothing.

It’s 100 degrees, and the sun is blazing. Conventional wisdom might be to go with a sleeveless shirt and shorts — maximizing your body’s ability to breathe, perhaps.

In truth, long-sleeved shirts that wick away sweat and shield the sun’s harmful rays will keep you cooler. A broad-brimmed hat will do a better job keeping the sun off than a baseball cap.

Dark colors attract the sun’s heat, so choose light-colored clothing. And remember your sunglasses!

4. Check the weather — and your route.

Get the latest weather forecast before you hit the trail.

Outdoor events in high temperatures need proper planning to make sure everyone stays healthy. Add in high humidity to those high temperatures, and your trek can be more difficult.

Check the route, paying close attention to shade and water sources. Carry adequate water and food for the duration, and acclimate to the area and weather conditions before beginning a strenuous trek.

5. Figure out how much water you’ll need.

Camelbak, the Official Hydration Sponsor of the BSA, developed a tool that may be able to help you determine how much water you’ll need for a given journey.

It factors in the activity’s temperature, intensity and duration.

Check it out here.