If you are excited for your first ever hiking trip, the biggest dilemma you might face is What clothes to wear for hiking? Wearing proper hiking clothes is very important. It helps you to regulate your body temperature so that you can continue enjoying your adventure tension-free. Having the right equipment and proper gears are essential to carry out a successful expedition. Equally important is the right hiking clothes without which you will have a not-so-memorable experience.
Before you step out for your journey, go through this article carefully, and you will never have to worry again to take decisions on hiking attire.
- 1 Top 6 Tips For Hiking Clothes
- 2 Clothing Strategies That You Need To Follow Before Trekking
- 3 Fabric Properties
- 4 Basic Fabric Choices
- 5 Hiking Undergarment Options
- 6 Head-to-Toe Clothing Options
- 7 Mid Layer Clothing
- 8 Outer Layer Clothing
- 9 Environmental Considerations
Top 6 Tips For Hiking Clothes
Keep in mind these six tips before you buy your first hiking costume.
Materials Of Hiking Clothes
The synthetic material is used to manufacture the best hiking clothes. So, if you are thinking about What are the best clothes to hike in, then go for synthetic clothes without giving a second thought. The synthetic clothes keep you dry as soon as you start to work and sweat. Wearing soft clothes during hiking is an amateur decision because it tends to absorb sweat and moisture cooling down your body temperature.
Techwick is the best material that you can use for hiking as it can work both as a skin-tight base layer as well as a T-shirt. Besides keeping you dry, the synthetic materials help your body to breathe much more and keeps you comfortable. You can also consider merino wool which is no doubt a good material for hikers. It not only keeps away moisture but also prevents body odor. This not only suits the hikers during the winter season but can also be used during warm weather hikes as well.
Additionally, a question like “what to wear for hiking in winter?” may also come to your mind. This depends on the environment and the surroundings where you are hiking. You may wish to wear a short or long sleeve; it completely depends on the temperature around you and in what you will feel more comfortable. But make a note that short-sleeve shirts will leave your skin exposed to sunburns and skin tans. So, choose carefully keeping all these aspects in mind.
Pants And Shorts
Can you wear jeans on a hike? Remember that jeans are not suitable to wear for hiking. You must decide whether to wear hiking pants or shorts. If you wish to wear hiking shorts, then you must keep in mind that shorts are most suitable for low-altitude summer hikes. If you wish to go to some cool places, then it is not recommended to wear shorts.
Those pants must be worn that are made from nylon or spandex. These materials are long-lasting and should be worn where there is any drop in temperature or if there is heavy vegetation along the way. Wearing pants prevent direct contact of poison ivy or other allergenic plants with your skin of the legs. Moreover, it keeps the lower portion of your body warmer as you gain elevation.
Boots And Socks
Many renowned companies manufacture hiking boots and advertise them to be the best. Before you choose your boots, check each one of them and make sure that they are comfortable and appropriate for the weather conditions. Read user reviews and see the number of warranty years the company provides on their products.
If you are going to trek on wet and muddy places, then consider buying waterproof shoes that will keep your feet dry. If you are going to trek on rocky mountains and rough surfaces, then consider those boots that come with a higher ankle for an increase in support.
The quality of footwear is the second-most important thing after comfort. It is worthless to buy boots that will not fit into your feet appropriately and will increase sweating of your legs even though the product is expensive. So, getting a proper boot is equally important alongside buying hiking clothes and pants. Improper boots will leave your feet painful with blisters on them.
Along with the boots, you need to buy the right kind of socks. The best socks suitable for hiking are those that are made of wool or synthetic materials. They dry up fast and allow your toes enough space to breathe.
Rain is unpredictable and can come at any time of your hiking trip. So, do not leave a rain jacket lying at home and step out for trekking. The climate can change quickly, and therefore, the best option is to keep a raincoat with yourself. Keep a waterproof and breathable raincoat inside your bag. These raincoats use advanced technology to allow sweat and body moisture evaporate out from your body. Simultaneously, it also prevents the rain or any kind of precipitation from entering through the jacket.
Alternatively, you can use ponchos, but they are not quite as comfortable as the rain jackets and therefore not recommended for long hiking trips.
On a summer hike, it is obvious that you will want to keep off the sun’s heat from your face and protect yourself from the dangerous rays. Hats are the best option to consider in that case. Once again, go for those hats that are waterproof and keep your head cool by creating a breathing space inside. Also, see that it can prevent raindrops from falling on your face in case you come against a storm.
If you are going on a hike, remember that temperature will drop once you start gaining elevation. To protect your body from freezing, it will be smarter to use a three-layer system of clothing. In the next section, we shall explain in detail the protocols that you must follow to cover your body in a three-layer system and protect yourself from all kinds of harsh conditions that you may face.
Getting to wear the best hiking clothes can result in the difference between staying comfortable and getting wet or sweaty. So, in order to enjoy the best of trekking without any headache, make sure to wear the right attire for hiking.
Clothing Strategies That You Need To Follow Before Trekking
If you are thinking about what to bring on a short hike, then keep these five points on your mind.
Choose Layering: Consider a three-system layering for hiking in any places. These are the basic rules for layering that you must follow all the time. At the base, wear a light and moisture absorbing garment. Next, put on a medium-weight T-shirt to keep away cold or wind. Above it, wear a jacket to protect yourself from the rain or snowfall.
Predict Climatic Conditions: Climate is unpredictable, but that should not undermine you from predicting it. Be ready to encounter any kind of climatic conditions. Keep things in place before it becomes too late. If you see clouds gathering at the top, keep raincoat and jackets with yourself. If you find the weather hot and sunny, keep appropriate clothes for combating the same. However, it will be wiser to keep one set of each clothing with you before you begin the climb.
Do not concentrate on fashion: You are going hiking and not on a fashion show. So, choose your attire wisely.
Be concerned about durability and quality: Choose your gears wisely according to your preferences and the price corresponding to the product. Too much lightweight gears are a great option, but it can also empty your wallet at the same moment.
Get hold of quality hiking boots: Boots are an essential thing that you need during hiking. So, be careful while choosing them.
The fabric properties are essential because different layers must serve different purposes:
The base of the attire that touches your skin must possess the property of pulling the moisture from your body and transfer it to the outer layer of the attire so that it can dry up very quickly. This improves the comfort of your body while you continue the ascent.
Insulation is very critical in the mid layer and the only property to keep you warm. Many of us believe that clothing generates heat. But it is a wrong notion because heat is generated on your body from the insulation that the clothes provide. So, the more efficient your attire is for insulation, the more time it takes to hold on to the heat of your body.
Waterproof and Wind-resistance:
The outer layer is also important in keeping away rain and wind. As you ascend the mountains, the climate changes. So, if there is not much protection on the outer layer of your body, then you will become sick in no time. Choose a good jacket from the market, though, the chances are less that you will get such a jacket that will be waterproof as well as offer protection from winds. However, good quality waterproof jackets are observed to be windproof as well.
A three-layer attire also demands to be breathable. This ensures that the wicking layer evaporates easily and conveniently. If the layers are not able to breathe properly, then you can end up getting soaked in your own sweat which may result in catching a cold.
Your hiking clothes must protect you from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. So, check the ultraviolet protection factor(UPF) rating of any product before you buy it.
Basic Fabric Choices
Now, we will learn about the materials for popular fabric options and outdoor apparel.
Wool has become more and more advanced with time. Nowadays, an advanced version of them, known as Merino wools, are available in the market. This wool has advanced properties like fine fibers which make them breathable and moisture absorbent.
Polyester or nylon clothing is more budget-friendly than the Merino wool. These materials are excellent for drying fast and absorbing the body sweat. However, there is one disadvantage of using polyester. It tends to get smelly at times because it lacks antibacterial property to neutralize the odor-causing bacteria.
The fleece jackets are made from polyester, and they are very soft as well as have thick fibers which also have chemical properties.
The nylon jackets include raincoats which have a hard shell formation and consist of a puffy jacket. These synthetic forms have a special coating layer which shields you from the wind and rain.
Because the fabric cloths have a great absorbing property, therefore it is not ideal for a stressful hike. However, treated silk performs better after being chemically modified and this results in a better absorbing property. The softness of the silk and its luxurious feel are amazing and is at the same time, resistant to odor.
Cotton is not efficient at drying fast and efficiently but is very good at soaking up a sweat, thus cooling you down. So, if you are hiking in the summer, you can wear cotton clothes but they can feel sticky from the sweat. However, wearing cotton in cold areas can also result in hypothermia which becomes severe if proper medications are not taken on time.
Hiking Undergarment Options
An undergarment with a lot of absorption property is very important. So, consider wearing long underwears which can absorb a considerable amount of sweat and is essential for your next-to-skin layer.
Choosing underwear depends on your personal preference. So, whether you are wearing boxers, briefs, boy shorts or anything other than these, it wholly depends on your choice. Cotton is not the best option for your underwear because it can become sticky with excessive sweat. Go for a seamless design which is good for hiking.
Choose a pullover sports bra which has no clasps on it because the plastic or metal clasps have a tendency to dig into your skin resulting in painful pack straps.
A specially designed top which is weightless and adds warmth to your body on cool days. This top can work as an excellent alternative to a T-shirt on warm weather hikes.
Base Layer Bottoms:
This long underwear is available as weightless and consists of heavyweight fabrics. The weight is based on the anticipated temperature and on the factors like whether your body runs hot or cold. Remember that a crew-neck top has a more reasonable price. An expensive zip-neck lets you adjust yourself to the temperature even if it is hot or cold.
You can wear the bottoms under the shorts for protection from the sun and warmth. So, dress up these bottoms below the hiking pants or under the rain pants if the conditions demand so.
Having doubts about wearing long underwears? Then, it is completely dependent on you. Dress up in those clothes which are more comfortable for you. Many users have complained that undies tend to be a little uncomfortable and add warmth to your body which is unwelcomed.
Head-to-Toe Clothing Options
Whether you are searching for hiking clothes for women or hiking clothes for men, there are a few points that you must keep in mind. Remember that you always need to pack and keep ready a base layer, mid layer, and outer layer while on the trail.
All kinds of shirts are not suitable for hiking and for every climate. So, while a sweat absorbing short-sleeve T-shirt is suitable for warm weather, a long-sleeve top is appropriate for cool conditions. Also, keep one thing in mind that for a very hot day, try to dress up with a long-sleeve UPF-rated shirt and it should also have a flip-up cover for your neck protection.
Shorts and pants for men:
A common question that may come to your mind is “What pants to wear for hiking?”. Pant is necessary equipment for your hiking. Wearing inexpensive pants for hiking is not recommended because single wear and tear on your pants can result in contact between your skin and toxic elements. Most hikers choose zip-off pants because they do not have to choose between pants and shorts.
Some hiking shorts which have inner liners present give you the advantage of using it as a swimwear. Cargo pants and shorts are also preferred by the hikers because it can help them find places to stash things.
Yoga pants and tights:
Yoga pants are very flexible. If you are choosing to go with them, you can do so but you must also remember that they are not good for those conditions where you have to encounter a lot of sandstone or bushes.
Gloves and socks:
Your dress preference should reflect whether you are going for a winter hiking or summer hiking. However, as climates tend to be unpredictable, we recommend keeping both the sets available with you.
One rule that you must follow while wearing the socks is that they need to be taller than the hiking footwear. Another thing is that always keep a dry pair of socks in case you have to wade through the deep creeks and if blisters develop on your feet.
Gaiters are present on the top of a hiker’s boots which may seem like legwarmers. These are called gaiter’s that keep away the debris, rain, and ticks which may accumulate on your hiking boots.
Mid Layer Clothing
The mid layer clothing includes fleece and puffy jackets. This layer is credited with providing primary warmth. Whatever be the condition, you must take with yourself both a lightweight fleece jacket and a light puffy jacket that adjusts easily into your backpack.
On cold days, you may have to wear the fleece jacket while hiking. On a cool day, however, you may have to wait until and unless it is cold enough to wear the jackets. Fleece jackets come in the lightweight, midweight as well as heavyweight categories. Choose any one of them based on the forecast and the climatic conditions.
Fleece pants are an absolute necessity where the climate is cold. On many hikes, hikers choose long underwear bottoms as it offers enough leg warmth. So, you can use fleece pants when there is a severe cold.
If the conditions are not extreme, then a lightweight fleece jacket is sufficient. But keep a puffy jacket with yourself in case things get out of your hands. So, proper insulation inside the puffy jackets is a must. A low standard and less expensive puffy jacket may lose its warmth-retaining capacity in case the jacket gets wet. So, get a synthetic insulated jacket which is better in this regard. You will also find water-resistant jackets or hybrid jackets that bring together synthetic jacket along with water-resistant capability.
Outer Layer Clothing
We all know how fast climate changes occur. Even a cloudless sky in the morning can change into a stormy night with heavy rainfall. So, you cannot keep your rain jackets at home while stepping out for hiking. Furthermore, many hikers catch cold and ultimately hypothermia if they continue their ascent without wearing raincoats. To be on the safe side, you must bring with yourself a set of raincoat and waterproof pants that let your body breathe.
You can also use this clothing on chilly winter days and to protect yourself from windy or snowy nights. Do not forget to wear a hat during such extreme climatic conditions.
Not every hiking conditions are the same. So, every trek can come up with some kind of unique challenges. Do some research before you take the final decision on hiking. Look out for the locals, talk with them and see if they recommend you any special clothes or any other tips.
Special clothes include:
If you are hiking through such places where there are dark woodlands and deep forests, then you must choose bug-protective clothes. Protect yourself from ticks, mosquitoes, no-see-ums and black flies whose one bite can lead to severe consequences. So, consider wearing long sleeve T-shirts and long pants. Also, try to get those clothes which have insect repellent and bug-net clothing present.
Tall leather hiking boots:
Many people have a misconception that these boots are made for deep jungles, dark forests, swampy lands, and rocky mountains or hills only. However, it is not so and you can use them in deserts and dangerous terrains as well as they provide protection from poisonous insects of the desert.
At places where you have to go through a lot of snowfields and swampy lands as well as deep forests, you will need waterproof gaiters. These gaiters work well against the poisonous ticks and insects. Also, when the snow starts melting and a lot of post-holing occurs, gaiters are perfectly suitable for such conditions. You can also utilize the waterproof boots in place of waterproof gaiters.
Hope this article answers your question “What to bring for hiking?”