What to Wear Hiking Depending on the Season?
Understanding what to wear hiking can not only enhance your comfort and mobility, but, most importantly, improve your enjoyment. For hikers, there is no such thing as bad weather, - but only inappropriate clothing.
So, when you are thinking about your style, it is worth putting some thought into the types of fabrics you are choosing when going hiking. When outdoors, wearing the wrong kind of clothes can lead to discomfort and even bigger issues.
At GetIntrepid, we are devoted to helping you enjoy your outdoor experience as much as possible. In this article, we are going to go through some do’s and don’ts and a guide for what to wear to go hiking.
Things to Consider When Deciding What to Wear Hiking
Firstly, when deciding what to wear while hiking, you must keep in mind these two big main factors :
Weather is the first thing that you must be concerned about. It is a good idea to do some research on the region where you are going to hike. Its weather will provides a good insight to know what to wear.
This way you can get some special clothing recommendation provided by the locals for that area. For example, if you are planning on hiking in thick, dark forest, we suggest to wear clothes with built-in insect repellents, long sleeves, and long pants. This is because of the increased population of mosquitoes, ticks, flies, and many others annoying 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 regular hike. This way, each clothing layer will have a specific role. You can then add or remove certain layers to adjust to changing conditions.
Always Layer According to the Weather
You should layer according to the weather and season:
- Winter conditions require more layering from top to bottom base layer.
- When layering for spring and summer conditions, you should focus on getting sweat away from the body effectively. You can do that by shielding yourself from the sun's rays and being prepared for unexpected temperature variations.
Wear Three Layers to Stay Comfortable
There are three layers you should wear, which include base layer, middle layer, and outer layer.
The Base Layer
You should invest in a good breathable nylon, polyester, or merino wool sports bra or underwear. For the base layer, as it is the closest to your skin, we suggest a merino wool fabric which 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. As such, wool underwear is always better.
The Middle Layer
For the middle layer, we often recommend fleece materials, but you can also add a puffer jacket to provide warmth for your body. You can also add thick wool or polyester long johns and snug up against your body. Finally you can add some nice water resistant nylon hiking pants. The middle layer, which is also an insulating layer, will keep you warm during really cold hikes.
The Outer Layer
The outer layer also commonly called the shell. It can protect you from the elements, as it often provides additional insulation.
The outer layer should be weather resistant and be able to stand up to wind, rain, and snow. This layer is mainly used for the protection from water and rain. You should really invest on good waterproof rain jackets and pants.
With the outer layer, you will be able to keep water from getting inside your clothes. Also you will still stay flexible enough to keep moving. You’ll be happy to have the third layer with you, as the water-resistant outer layer is always helpful to keep away the cold.
This great video by Kraig Adams is also incredibly interesting and useful if you want some great tips :)
Useful Tips for Preparing Your Hiking Outfit
Even before you set out on your hiking journey, it is important to properly prepare yourself and your clothing:
- Cut toenails. The nails of your feet must be properly cut, so that they won’t damage your toes.
- Choose wool socks. You must be wearing wool socks. It is also important to ensure that your socks are taller than your hiking boots. Otherwise, your ankles can rub, get irritated, and even begin to blister or bleed. Most hiking socks today come with a thin, medium, or dense hiking standard rank.
- Say “no” to tennis shoes. Avoid wearing tennis shoes for a hike, because they will not protect your feet from rocks and sharp objects on the trail, depending on the difficulty of the climb. It is important to invest in a pair of high-quality durable hiking sandals, shoes, or boots. This way, your feet will be safe, and you will have enough grip regardless of the temperature.
- Don’t forget sunscreen. If you want to wear hiking sandals, do remember to apply sunscreen on your feet. You will need to be careful about your surroundings so that you don’t cut or clip your foot.
- Avoid silk materials. Silk is not ideal for a strenuous hike. Treated silk is chemically modified to enhance wicking, and, as such, performs much better. We recommend avoiding wearing any silk fabric for a hike,-8 while it is soft and luxurious, the material is neither rugged nor odor resistant.
Choosing the Right Fabrics
You can choose among many fabric types for hiking. 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. When deciding what to wear hiking, avoid tight clothing, as it can cut 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.
- No cotton and denim. You should avoid cotton and denim when getting dressed for a hike, as both fabrics absorb water. These fabrics can weigh you down and may even lead to frostbite.
What to Wear Hiking in Every Season
Wearing the wrong kind of hiking clothes can lead to discomfort, and even put your life at risk in the worst cases. Clothing for hiking should differ, depending on the season we are 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.
- 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 - go for nylon or polyester instead of cotton.
- Shorts may be a good choice in the summer, but be careful with poisonous plants and insects. Also beware of getting any cut on your legs.
- In terms of foot wear, some people wear sandals to avoid sweat in hot temperatures. If you are going for sandals, don’t forget to apply sunscreen on your feet.
- If you don’t like wearing sandals, good-quality lightweight shoes are also an option.
What to Wear Hiking in Winter
You must follow the layer system, because layering is a necessary element when hiking in a cold region to keep you warm and dry. As mentioned previously, there are three layers to keep in mind: the base, the middle, and the outer layer. The base layer keeps you dry; the middle layer keeps you warm; and the outer layer keeps out the wind and water.
It would be great if you take extra layers into your pack, so that you can take them off and put them on when needed. You should avoid tight clothing in winter hiking, because it cuts off blood circulation, and you will be 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, a windbreaker, or a 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, of course, don’t forget to wear comfy wool or some synthetic blend socks to prevent blisters.
Accessories to Keep in Mind When Hiking in Winter
It is important to 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. So, in addition to your three layers, don’t forget to bring:
- A warm beanie, gloves, and a waterproof puffer jacket
- A buff to protect your nose and cheeks from the cold breeze and snow
- A neck warmer for colder regions
- A headband or a face mask to provide coverage for your ears
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 Fall or Spring
For spring and fall hiking, the temperature may change or fluctuate, so we recommend layering up in these weather conditions as well. Wear comfortable hiking shoes or boots. You should bring rain gear with you because the weather may change and you may need it.
Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to protect your skin from the sunlight. You can also wear stylish and comfortable sunglasses from GetIntrepid to protect your eyes. Whatever weather it may be, you should always wear sunscreen.
Other Hiking Accessories to Bring With You
• Gloves and Headwear
The hands are the first part of the body that gets really cold, - we all know of the uneasy feeling when your hands get too chilly.
So, be sure to pack some lightweight gloves if you are hiking in cold temperatures. For winter months, especially rainy conditions, insulated and waterproof gloves are best, and mittens are often warmer than gloves made of the same materials. To keep your ears warm too, bring along a warm fleece beanie.
Gaiters are special garments worn over the shoe and lower leg, which are used mostly as personal protective equipment. We would suggest wearing gaiters when circumstances make it appropriate, otherwise they could be unnecessary. Gaiters keep dust and dirt from your shoes, and some are waterproof and created specifically for rainy weather.
• 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.
• Sun Protection Accessories
You should protect yourself from the harmful UV rays coming from the sun, even if it is not sunny outside. It’s hard to believe, but you can even get sunburned in the extreme cold and freezing temperature of the Himalayas! Sunglasses, hats, caps, applying sunscreen, and also adding lightweight layers can protect you from getting sunburned.
• Hiking Poles
Hiking poles are an optional accessory, and the decision of using them would depend on the type of hiking track you want to cross. It is a good idea to carry a pole for additional balance when you are doing lengthy downhill hikes.
• 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, a solar power bank would be a true life saver. It is worth investing into this waterproof solar panel USB charger from GetIntrepid.
• Other Accessories
Other hiking essentials include ultra-light double layer tent, water proof tents, sleeping pads, emergency survival kit, a compass, and flashlights.
Find the Right Hiking Gear for Any Season with GetIntrepid
Without a doubt, choosing the right clothing for your journey is a crucial step to enjoying your hiking adventure to the fullest.
Whether you are wondering what to wear hiking in summer or winter, GetInterpid is your ultimate source of high-quality hiking gear and accessories. Shop now.