It’s important that sun protection when bushwalking / hiking is a high priority for everyone. No matter whether the sun is shining or it’s a cloudy day. Or if you’re at beach or hiking  3,000 metres above sea level.The warm sun on our skin elevates are endorphines, makes us feel happier and lifts our spirits. But it can be a dangerous too.

Sun Problems

Having intense or prolonged exposure to the sun can cause:

  • Sun Burn – radiation from the sun causes first or second degree burns. Can be extemely painful, especially on shoulders where pack straps rub.
  • Snow Blindness – a sunburn of the eyes. Can occur on snow, desert, water, or other bright ground cover.
  • Chapped Lips – which can swell and be very painful
  • Skin Cancer – extended exposure can destroy tissue and cause cancerous growths.
  • Wrinkly Leathery Skin – extended exposure dries and wrinkles the skin.

Sun Protection and Prevention

Sun protection when bushwalking / hiking is particularly important for kids. It’s imperative they are well protected.

  • Sunscreen – sun screen lotions protect skin from the sun’s rays. It’s important to reapply often during the day.
  • Sunglasses – glasses with 100% UV protection and that wrap around to temples.
  • Cclothing:
    • Wide-brimmed hat or hat with neck cape – protects head, face, and neck.
    • Light-coloured, light weight, long sleeve shirt – protects shoulders, arms, and back. Light color reflects back more heat and light weight allows perspiration to evaporate.
    • Long nylon pants – protects legs. Pants that you can zip off into shorts are a good idea.
  • Umbrella – sounds simple, but an umbrella can minimise the sun damage to your skin. It doesn’t replace applying sunscreen or wearing appropriate clothing.

Sun Tips

  • When applying sunscreen, don’t forget inside nose and ears and under chin can get sunburned on snow or bright ground
  • Being a high altitudes can ncrease sun damage potential.
  • Desert hiking requires special preparation for heat as well as sun. Have lots of sunscreen, water and protective clothing.
  • A hat that covers your neck and forehead. Some hats come with a detachable neckcape.
  • There are many different sunscreens with lots of numbers. SPF30 is fine. Anything higher isn’t necessarily offering more protection.
  • Remember, that clouds do not block UV rays from the sun.
  • A lip balm in your pocket is good for protecting your lips.
  • We know that fair skinned people often burn more quickly, but everyone should still practice safe sun protection practices.

We hope this has been helfpul in your planning. If you’d like to read an article on how to choose the best hat, click here.

You can read another post on ‘can you get sunburnt in winter’ here.