2. Wear sunscreen
Colorado’s high altitude makes it the perfect place to sunburn. This is because there is less atmosphere to protect from UV radiation. Follow these tips to best protect yourself from sun damage:
- Apply SPF 30+
Lather up sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. It’s usually best to apply the first layer of sunscreen about 30 minutes before heading outside. You’ll also need to reapply every hour or two if you’re out in the sun. For the best coverage, opt for sunscreen lotions instead of sprays. Don’t forget to put on sunscreen even in winter, especially if you go skiing.
- Avoid peak sun periods
Stay in the shade and try to avoid prolonged sun exposure, especially between 10am and 4pm when the sun’s rays are most intense.
- To wear a hat
Choose a wide-brimmed hat that provides adequate shade and protection from the sun. Although baseball caps are popular, they may not be the best option for protecting your head or face from sun damage. Instead, try opting for a sun hat, bucket hat, or other styles that offer more protection.
- Wear sunglasses
The sun can affect more than just your skin. That’s why it’s important to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from sun damage. Polarized sunglasses can reduce the effects of UV rays and help reduce glare throughout the day.
- Look for UPF clothing
UPF stands for “Ultraviolet Protection Factor” and is used to indicate how much UV radiation a fabric allows to reach your skin. When shopping for new hiking or outdoor gear, be sure to check the UPF rating and look for products rated UPF 30 or higher. These offer you the best protection from the sun. Additionally, it’s important to remember that fabric wetness, wear and tear, and laundering can reduce the effectiveness of UPF clothing over time.
3. Defeat the bugs
Common Colorado bugs include mosquitoes, bees, wasps, ticks, ants, spiders, and gnats. Luckily for us, this region is relatively safe for insect-borne diseases such as Lyme disease (tick-borne) and West Nile (mosquito-borne). However, stings and bites can still be itchy and annoying. If you want to get rid of the errors, you should follow the tips below:
- Avoid standing or stagnant water as it can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
- If possible, wear long sleeves and pants. Consider tucking your pants into your socks and your shirt into your pants to block potential insect entrances.
- Use an EPA-registered insect repellent. Most repellents are available in sprays, lotions, or wearable bracelets.
- Walk the middle of the trails and check your body for ticks when you get home, especially if you’ve spent time in grassy, bushy, or wooded areas.
4. Prepare for unpredictable weather
Check the weather forecast before you head outside, and remember that Colorado weather can change in an instant. The best way to prepare for abrupt weather changes is to take or pack layers when venturing outside, especially in the late afternoon. Be prepared for unexpected wind, rain or hail by bringing a windbreaker or rain jacket. If you’re worried about getting wet, opt for synthetic materials like polyester and nylon, which dry faster. Cotton-based clothing can retain moisture and leave you soaking wet at the end of the day.
5. Stay hydrated
High altitude can leave you feeling more dehydrated than usual. Make sure to drink a liter of water every two hours when engaging in outdoor physical activity. It’s also important to bring extra water if you plan to be outdoors with pets or other people. Cutting out caffeine (a diuretic) may also help you stay hydrated longer.