Once you have set your sight on a trekking and hiking trip, an essential part of preparation is to pick the right time. It is important to take advantage of the climate and any seasonal variations. But sometimes choosing the best camping time can be a little tricky. Specially, if you have less information, guide, and experience.
However, swapping messages in electronic forums or can help pinpoint trekking destinations with climates to suit. Also, you can get the understanding on weather and time by burying your nose for a few hours in guidebooks and tourist literature.
I have gone through a lot of trekking in different regions. And Now, I am going to write down some better time for hiking in a specific location and another factor you can follow for a better experience.
Choosing the Trekking and Camping Time: Understanding Area and Weather
It Always Depends on the Region You Want to Trek or Camp
Remember that summer in the Northern Hemisphere isn’t always the best trekking and camping season elsewhere in the world. Examples of variant prime camping times would be:
- October to November in Nepal.
- It is late November to March in New Zealand.
- May to September in northern Australia or December to March in the south.
- December to February in Kenya, and November to May in the Patagonian Andes.
Don’t religiously pin your hopes on exact seasons. You may get lucky with freak good weather just before or after the prime season. Or you may not. Apart from climate, keep in mind other seasonal factors. Such as prices, reservations, and crowds. If you are keen to see wildlife or plant life, you’ll need to make arrangements. So, your trip connects with such wonders as a blossoming desert in Australia or an exceptional frog hatch in Amazonia.
Health risks and annoyances can occur at certain times of the year as well: insect life, for instance, is notably more abundant in the summer. Terrain and climate can combine to shape transport timetables and, hence, provide or obstruct access to trailheads. Seasonal snowfall, landslides, and swollen rivers can close passes and roads for part of the year. Similarly, guides, porters, and pack animals may not be available during such times.
A basic knowledge of climatic determinants provides an introduction to the patterns and general types of climates. We will discuss about these in later.
Checking the Latitude of the Trekking and Camping Area
First, a quick definition: Latitude is the measurement, in degrees, of an angle formed by two lines-one drawn between the position of an object; anywhere on the earth’s surface and the center of the earth. And another drawn between the center of the earth and the nearest point on the equator.
Latitude is expressed in degrees north or south of the equator. Therefore, the equator lies at 0 degrees latitude.
- The North Pole is at 90 degrees north latitude
- The South Pole at 90 degrees south latitude
And the mainland United States between around 24 degrees north latitude (Key West, Florida). And 49 degrees north latitude (Boundary Waters, Minnesota).
In general, seasons are determined by latitude. This combined with the earth’s 2312-degree tilt in relation to its orbit around the sun. During the northern summer-June to September—the Northern Hemisphere, which includes North America, Europe, Asia, and northern Africa, is tilted toward the sun.
Southern Summer Time
In the southern summer-December to March-the Southern Hemisphere, which includes Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica, the South Pacific, southern Africa, and most of South America, is tilted toward the sun. Conversely, in their respective winter months, the Northern and Southern hemispheres are tilted away from the sun.
This tilt also explains why the polar regions experience the midnight sun and the polar night. During the summer months, these regions see the midnight sun at least 1 day per year. For example, at the Arctic Circle, which lies at 66/2 degrees north latitude, you can see the midnight sun on 1 day a year, the northern summer solstice (21 June).
The farther north you go, the more days of continuous daylight you have. At the North Pole, that daylight lasts six months, from the northern vernal equinox (21 March) to the northern autumnal equinox (21 September).
Conversely, in the winter months, the Arctic regions experience polar night; the Arctic Circle experiences 24 hours of darkness on the northern winter solstice (21 December) and the North Pole doesn’t see the sun from 21 September to 21 March
Camping Time in Antarctic Region
In the Antarctic region, the same thing happens, but the seasons are reversed. The tropical and equatorial regions, however, an experience roughly the same amount of daylight every day the year round, varying not more than around 2 hours from winter to summer.
The simple significance of all this is that the farther north you go in the Northern Hemisphere and the farther south you go in the Southern Hemisphere, the cooler it’s going to get. On the other hand, the closer you move toward the equator, the warmer it will become.
Check Out the Attitude for Selecting Hiking and Trekking Time
One of the few important questions that are raised over the internet is “How to acclimate to high altitude quickly?” To answer this, you will understand the Attitude first.
On a local scale, altitude is also a major determinant of both temperature and weather. As you go higher in the earth’s atmosphere, the molecules that make up the air become sparser and sparser. As a result, the air holds less and less heat and the temperature drops.
Attitude Position is Important for Knowing the Weather
You may take off from Miami International Airport in 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius), but once you’ve climbed to cruising altitude, the temperature may be -40 degrees Fahrenheit (-40 degrees Celsius) or colder.
The same is true in mountain regions. As a general rule, you lose 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit for every 1,000 feet (6.5 degrees Celsius for every 1,000 meters) you ascend. Although, this may be happening by a number of other factors-humidity, wind direction, the angle of the sun, and so on.
How Altitude Affects the Weather
Altitude affects the weather in several ways. During the day, the sun warms the air enclosed in valleys, thereby reducing its density and causing it to flow up the slopes toward the cooler air above. At night, the process is reversed as the air above becomes cooler and denser and flows downward into the valleys.
In the mountains, this relationship can become typically stormy when updrafts of warm, moisture-laden air rush toward the peaks in the morning and rapidly increase in density to build distinctive anvil-shaped cumulonimbus clouds by the afternoon. In the resulting climax, the clouds dump their moisture as rain or hail and release the electrical charge (accumulated from friction within the clouds) as lightning
Continental and Marine Effect for Camping, Trekking, and Hiking
Because water is more resistant than land to changes in temperature, large bodies of water-particularly oceans and seas. This provides a stabilizing effect on the climate. This marine effect causes coastal areas to experience a much milder and generally wetter-climate than inland areas. That is, summers are generally cooler and winters warmer than the latitude would otherwise suggest.
However, the susceptibility of large landmasses to temperature changes causes inland areas to experience the greatest temperature extremes on the planet. It isn’t surprising much. But, some of the hottest summer temperatures and harshest winter climates both occur in the interior of large continents.
The Example can be: Siberia, Central Asia, and Canada’s Prairie Provinces.
For example, on Kodiak Island, off the southern coast of Alaska, the summer temperature never rises much above 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius), whereas winter temperatures rarely drop below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit). In Fairbanks, however, which lies 350 miles inland, summer temperatures can soar to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius), and winter temperatures drop as low as -60 degrees Fahrenheit (-51 degrees Celsius).
This is also the mechanism that drives the monsoons around southern Asia and the Indian Ocean.
Important of Terrain Affecting Weather and Temperature
Terrain can also greatly affect temperatures and weather. And to find the right weather and time for camping you need to understand the terrain weather well.
Air generally cools and condenses as it rises (see “Altitude,” earlier). When this happens, clouds form and often result in rainfall. A range of mountains will often force air currents upward. If the air is moist enough, a bank of clouds may form along the mountain slopes, resulting in rain showers. In most parts of the world, these showers occur in the midafternoon.
A good example is along the Front Range of Colorado, where humid air moving across the Great Plains is forced upward, causing rain showers nearly every afternoon in the summer.
On the other hand, when moist air is forced over a mountain range and descends the other side, it heats up and dries out. You can also see it in Washington state in the northwestern United States, where moist air from the sea dumps its moisture on the western slopes of the Cascades.
As it continues moving eastward, it descends and heats up, creating dry conditions across eastern Washington.
Effect of Wind for Choosing Right Camping Season
Although all the other factors discussed in this section will have an effect on wind direction, the wind is caused quite simply by temperature differentiation. If the temperature increases, whether in a tiny localized cell or across an entire continental landmass, the heated air will rise, leaving an area of low air pressure at the surface. This semi-vacuum causes cooler air to pour in from surrounding areas, thus creating wind.
The differential heating of land and water is a major driver of wind. In the morning, after the sun causes the land to heat up, the breeze will flow inshore. In the evening, after the land has cooled down, the sea, which is more resistant to temperature changes, remains warmer and causes an offshore wind.
Effects Ocean Currents on Weather to Find the Right Camping Time
Ocean currents also have a direct effect on world climate. It is beyond the scope of this discussion to go into the several driving forces behind ocean currents. Suffice to say that they generally come in two varieties: warm and cold. Warm currents originate in tropical areas, and cold currents come from more northerly or southerly ocean areas.
The effects of warm currents are most pronounced when they carry warm tropical waters into high latitudes, resulting in the meeting of warm water and cold land. When air heated by the water moves onshore, the cooler air over the land causes it to condense and form rain. It also moderates the temperature in such areas.
Examples of the Effects
The best example is probably the Gulf Stream, which brings wet and extremely mild climates to much of western Europe. As a result, in northern Norway trees grow well north of the Arctic Circle. While at similar latitudes in northern Canada, the coasts are icebound for most of the year.
Cold currents have their most dramatic effects when they strike warm tropical or subtropical coastlines. The cold current causes moist maritime air to condense and drop most of its moisture at sea. When the dry, cold air over the current strikes the warm air over land, it causes all moisture over the land to condense into fog.
This results in extremely arid conditions. The Atacama Desert on the northern coast of Chile and the Namib Desert in southwestern Africa provide the best examples. To a lesser extent, a similar effect occurs along the coast of California,
Power of Humidity on Camping and Trekking Areas
Humidity, the moisture in the air, is responsible for putting the biting dampness in a cold day. And for causing the stifling, lethargy-inspiring sultriness that characterizes hot days in moist areas. In general, regions with low humidity are more comfortable than those with high humidity.
Humidity is always relative. That is, the amount of moisture in the air is measured as a percentage of the maximum amount of moisture the air could possibly hold at its current temperature. Thanks to condensation, hot air is capable of holding considerably more water than cold air (which explains why, on hot humid days, the moisture condenses around cold drinks).
Therefore, 100 percent humidity on a cold day represents much less actual moisture than 100 percent humidity on a hot day.