Sun safety when hiking in springtime

April 22, 2016

Sun finally began to show up, and whatever its unquestionable merits, care must be taken. The damages it causes to the skin are well known, but still too largely ignored. And in the mountains, we need to be even more cautious.

Water reflects about 10% of UV rays, but fresh snow can reflect up to 85%. Skiers and hikers must consider this factor if they want to properly protect themselves, in order to prevent sunburns.

Elevation also plays a major role in UV radiation as it increases about 10% for every 1,000m of elevation gain. While it’s true that clouds reduce UV exposure, they do not completely eliminate the dangers associated with it.

To fully enjoy your day, without any fear, think of:

  • A good sunscreen: select a cream that is right for your skin type and that is powerful enough to provide adequate protection (SPF 30 or higher).
  • Sun protection clothing: yes, it’s a real thing! This type of clothes offers excellent protection with over 98% of UV light blocked, compared to 5% with regular clothes.
  • Drinking water: risks of sun stroke and heat stroke are real and serious. Remain hydrated during the hike is an effective way to fight it.

Nonetheless, sunlight has been proven to be beneficial for the health, and for the mood! Are you a fan of springtime hiking? Take a few precautions, and go for it!

Spring hiking: use sun protection
Image: Parcs régionaux - MRC Matawinie