Wearing appropriate clothing can enhance your comfort and mobility. Also wearing convenient and comfortable clothes for hiking can most of all improve your enjoyment. For hikers, there is no such thing as bad weather but only inappropriate clothing.
So when you are carefully choosing your style, you may better put some thought about the types of fabrics you are choosing when going hiking. On the outdoor, wearing the wrong kind of clothes can lead to discomfort and even way bigger issues. Let’s go through some do’s and don’ts and a guide for what to wear hiking.
How I can prepare and prevent to wear the ideal clothing
Firstly, when deciding what to wear while hiking, you must keep in mind these two big main factors :
This is the first thing that you must be concerned about. I usually do some research of the region where I am going to hike. Its weather provides a good insight to know what to wear.
This way we can get some special clothing recommendation provided by the locals for that area. If you are planning on hiking in thick, dark forest, we suggest you to wear clothes with insect repellents which are built-in, long sleeves, long pants. This is because of the increase of population of mosquitoes, ticks, flies, and many others pests.
You should check the weather forecast and then dress accordingly if you want to avoid being uncomfortable by wearing just a tank top in a cold, freezing weather.
You must always be dressed in layers even for a normal hike. This way, each clothing layer has a specific role. You then can add or remove certain layers to adjust to changing conditions. You should layer according to the weather. Winter conditions require more layering from top to bottom base layer. Layering for spring and summer conditions, you should focus on getting sweat away from the body effectively. You do that by shielding yourself from the sun's rays, and being prepared for unexpected temperature variations.
There are 3 layers which include base layer, middle layer, and outer layer. You should invest in a good breathable nylon, polyester, or merino wool bra or underwear. For the base layer, as it is the closest to your skin, we suggest a merino wool fabric so that it can keep away all the sweat and moisture from your body. If you wear cotton underwear, it may hang on to your sweat as you go, which can cause chafing in certain instances, therefore, we would suggest wool underwear.
Basically, for middle layer, I usually prefer a fleece but you can also add a puffer jacket to provide warmth for your body. You can also add think wool or polyester long johns and snug up against your body. You can also add on some nice water resistant nylon hiking pants. The middle layer which is also an insulating layer keeps you warm during really cold hikes.
Then comes the outer layer, also commonly called the shell. It can protect you from the elements, as it often provides additional insulation. It should be weather resistant and able to stand up to wind, rain, and snow. This layer is mainly for the protection from water and rain. You should really invest on some good water proof rain jackets and pants.
That will keep water from getting inside your clothes. Also you will still stay flexible enough to keep moving. You’ll be happy to have them with you. A water resistant outer layer is always helpful to keep away the cold. You should also wear good quality hiking boots. We suggest the tactical mountain waterproof boots from our store’s hiking collection.
This great video by Kraig Adams is also incredibly interesting and useful if you want some great tips :)
A few tips to think about when preparing your clothing
The nails of your feet must be properly cut so that they may not damage your toes. You must be wearing wool socks. It is also a must to have socks taller than your hiking boots. Your ankles can rub, get irritated and even begin to bleed or blister without it.
Most hiking socks now come with a thin, medium, or dense hiking standard rank.
I avoid wearing tennis shoes for a hike because your tennis shoes will not shield you from rocks and sharp objects on the trail, depending on the difficulty of the climb. So you must invest in a pair of durable hiking shoes, sandals, or boots. Your feet are secure this way, and you have grip regardless of the temperature.
If you want to wear hiking sandals, do remember to apply sunscreen on your feet. You need to be careful about your surroundings so that you may not get a cut and you don’t clip your foot.
Silk is not ideal for a strenuous hike. Treated silk performs better because it’s been chemically modified to enhance wicking. So I personally avoid wearing any silk fabric for a hike although silk is soft, and luxurious, but it is neither rugged nor odor resistant.
How do I choose the ideal fabrics
You can choose among many fabric types for hiking. I usually go on with a tank top and shorts but this must not be your choice. As hiking is a physical activity, you must definitely wear athletic clothing and instant-dry fabrics to keep yourself dry and be better suited for movement. Quick-dry fabric can wick away moisture. You should avoid tight clothing for hike as tight clothing cuts off circulation and you can more easily get frostbite.
There are many types of fabrics, best suited for hiking, which include:
• Wool : Merino wool has fine fibers that make it smooth, breathable, moisture-wicking, relatively easy to dry and not prone to odour retention. It regulates temperature, keeps you cool in hot weather, and keeps you warm in cool temperatures. I also prefer merino wool as it is 6 times stronger than cotton.
• Polyester / Nylon clothing : These synthetics excel at wicking moisture and drying quickly, and many clothing options use recycled materials that are more economical than merino wool. A propensity to smell funky is one downside of synthetics, which is why certain fabrics have an antimicrobial treatment to neutralize odor-causing bacteria.
• Fleece : It has insulation properties to keep you warm in the cold while keeping away moisture, so I would definitely suggest fleece fabric when going for a hike.
• You should avoid cotton and denim when getting dressed for a hike, as both fabrics absorb water. I personally avoid cotton because it can weigh you down and may also lead to frostbite.
How do I get the right hiking clothing for the right season
When hiking, wearing the wrong kind of clothes can lead to discomfort, and even put your life at risk in the worst cases. Clothing for hiking differs depending on the season we’re in.
What to wear hiking in summer
For summer hiking, your main concern is to wear something that will keep you cool and dry from the sweat. You should choose quick-dry shirts so that they may wick perspiration. Choose light colored shirts or tank tops as they don’t trap heat or attract sunlight. If you want protection form the sunlight, then you must wear full sleeves shirts and avoid tank tops or sleeveless tops. You shouldn’t wear cotton shirts and would prefer nylon or polyester instead of cotton.
For bottoms, I usually prefer shorts in summers but if you are choosing them as well, be careful form the poisonous plants and insects. Also beware from getting any cut on your legs. Regarding feet, some people wear sandals to avoid sweat in hot temperature.
You should apply sunscreen on your feet if you are going for sandals. Some good quality lightweight shoes are also an option if you don’t like to wear sandals as they are comfy and an excellent choice.
What to wear hiking in winter
You must prefer layers because layering is a necessary element when hiking in a cold region. Because indeed you need to keep yourself warm and dry. As we talked about layering, you can layer according to that. There are three layers; the base, the middle, and the outer layer. The base layer keeps you dry, keeps you warm in the middle layer, and keeps out the wind and water in the outer layer.
So make sure you're bundled up, particularly if you're winter hiking. This seasonal hiking can get you frostbite and you must take measures to prevent it. You should take a warm beanie, gloves, and waterproof puffer jackets along with you. You must also have a buff to protect your nose and cheeks from the cold breeze and snow. A neck warmer will also be of great help in colder region. A headband or a face mask can provide coverage for your ears.
It would be great if you take extra layers into your pack to switch, take off and put on when needed. You should avoid tight clothing in winter hiking because it cuts off blood circulation and you are more likely to get frostbite.
A wind and water resistant jacket or coat can be a final protective shell. This can be a down jacket, windbreaker, or heavier coat.
For your feet, you should wear some good quality and super warm winter boots. They will provide you insulation and will make your hike comfortable. And yes, don’t forget to wear comfy wool or some synthetic blend socks to prevent blisters.
It is said that it’s so much easier to stay warm than to get warm. You can maintain a comfortable temperature by dressing properly, which is much easier than trying to cover up after getting too cold.
What to wear hiking in spring or fall
For spring and fall hiking, the temperature may change or fluctuate, so I suggest layering up in these weather conditions as well. Wear comfortable hiking shoes or boots. You should bring a rain gear with you because the weather may change and you may need it, so they can be helpful.
I always forget about wearing sunscreen but you must not forget to apply it to protect your skin from the sunlight. You can also wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. Whatever weather it may be, you should always wear sunscreen.
Useful hiking accessories I may bring with me
• Gloves and headwear
The hands are the first part of the body that gets really cold. We all know of this uneasy feeling when they get too chilly. So be sure to pack a beanie and some lightweight gloves if you are hiking in cold temperatures. To keep your ears warm too, bring along a warm fleece beanie. For winter months, especially rainy conditions, insulated and waterproof gloves are best, and mittens are often warmer than gloves made of the same materials.
Gaiters are garments worn over the shoe and lower pants leg, and used primarily as personal protective equipment. We would suggest wearing gaiters when circumstances make it appropriate, otherwise they could be unnecessary. Some gaiters are also for rainy weather, being waterproof. Gaiters keep dust and dirt from your shoes. Gaiters can easily stick to your hiking boots or shoes.
• Sun protection accessories
You should protect yourself from the harmful UV rays coming from the sun even if it is not sunny. You must appropriate measures to protect from sun exposure. Sunglasses, hats, caps, applying sunscreen and also adding lightweight layers can protect you from getting sunburned. You won’t believe that we can even get sunburned in the extreme cold and freezing temperature of Himalayas! So you must prepare yourself to protect from getting burnt in every weather condition.
• Hiking poles
Hiking poles are an optional accessory. It depends on the type of hiking track you want to cross. I usually carry a pole when I am doing lengthy downhill hikes. If you want to take hiking poles with you that is a good decision then because they provide you balance.
• Solar power bank
You should buy a good solar power bank because taking an electronic device or a GPS device along with you on a hike is important and in case when the battery dies, they will be a life saver. This is one of the most interesting accessories for hiking, in my opinion.
• Other hiking essentials include ultra-light double layer tent, water proof tents, sleeping pads, emergency survival kit, a compass, and flashlights.
Whatever your plans may be, we really hope that you got some useful information in this post. We're glad if you're able to sort yourself the best options depending on your journey.