Hiking is one of the best ways that you can stay healthy, stretch your legs, and give your mind a fresh new place to exist outside of your normal busy schedule. And, it’s also an activity that’s gaining a lot of popularity. So, if you’re one of the new faces being attracted to this amazing pastime, we welcome you with big open arms.
And, I would also like to help you out with an essential guide on how to dress for a hike. Weather can be pretty tricky to plan for when you’re going on a hike, so it’s very important that you have all the necessary equipment and clothing that you need so you’re prepared for any surprises along the way.
With that said, we hope that this article helps to answer any questions you have about hiking attire and that you feel fully confident in your ability to take on different terrain knowing that you are fully dressed to face anything on the trail.
Things to consider when you choose clothes for hiking
Looking good for the pictures you take during your hike is great, but you want to ensure that whatever you’re wearing also takes into account these essential factors:
The possible weather conditions and terrain that you’ll be hiking in will have a major impact on your clothing safety. Specific places require specific types of clothing so it’s important you are well aware of the weather and environmental conditions of the area where the trail is located.
If you’ll be hiking through the rain for example, then it is important that you go in a windproof rain jacket. This is just one example from a long list of potential environmental conditions that you could experience.
Check this beginner’s guide to hiking for a successful experience.
The level of comfort
You want to ensure that you stay as comfortable as possible throughout your hike and wearing clothes made of cotton is the best way to make yourself uncomfortable. Instead, opt for hiking clothes made of nylon, polyester, and merino wool.
The material you choose is just as important as the fitting of the cloth. Going for something very tight and fitted might limit your range of motion and give you a pretty difficult experience. Clothes for hiking should be chosen for comfort, flexibility, and with sustainability in mind if possible. Not just to look good.
Creating your outfits for hiking
Any experienced hiker would tell you that this item of clothing, which you might normally neglect, could have a huge impact on your experience. Wearing cotton underwear on a hike is possibly the worst choice you can make.
Much better-suited materials like nylon, merino wool, and polyester help to move moisture away from your body and prevent any uncomfortable wetness and chafing.
Bottoms or pants
No matter whether you prefer skirts, shorts, dresses, or pants, the most important factors that you should consider are the freedom of movement and how quickly the material dries.
You should also check for any potential environmental hazards that you would face on the trail as this could also help in determining what kind of bottoms you need to wear.
Simply put: do not wear cotton socks. The cotton thing might sound a bit repetitive but we want to ensure that you get the message.
Cotton absorbs sweat and it can make your feet stay wet throughout your hike which is something you do not want to experience. This can make your hike miserable and even cause painful blisters on your feet.
The kind of shoes that you wear during your hike should primarily depend on your personal preferences, the terrain of the trail, and the weather conditions that you’ll be facing. Although hiking boots might look ugly, they provide the needed ankle support and traction that will help make your hike much easier and smoother.
Some brands like Astral are really making an effort to deliver great design along with excellent performance. For waterproof, durable, and comfy footwear, check out their Pisgah boots. On the other hand, if you are after quick-draining and fast-drying outdoor shoes, Astral Rambler mountain sneakers could be exactly what you need.
Wicking is the most important factor you should consider when choosing a shirt for your hike. Whatever type you choose to wear, ensure that it wicks away sweat so you stay dry and comfortable throughout the hike.
The best materials to get are synthetic materials and merino wool.
The type of jacket you choose should be determined by the weather and season of the place that you’re hiking in. You should choose a jacket that can easily be packed in case you need to take it off during the hike.
Also, choose a jacket that is windproof and waterproof so that you can use it in any weather condition that you might face during your hike.
These can be worn no matter the season that you’re hiking in. If you need to keep your head dry while it rains, shield your face and neck from the sun, or even keep your head warm during the winter months, then you will need a hat.
Do not neglect the impact that hats could have on your hike, because they could be just as important as your hiking shoes. The hat you wear on a hike should be practical, durable, and also fashionable because you would want to take some stylish pictures while you’re in the middle of nature.
Hiking attire for different seasons
Efficient hiking prep includes checking the weather reports for the day you plan to go hiking as well as the previous and following days. This will help you get a good sense of the potential weather conditions and allow you to effectively prepare for any changes that might occur.
Each season requires a specific kind of clothing to keep you safe and happy during your hike.
- Winter: a T-shirt or long sleeve shirt, waterproof rain pants, Papa or fleas, sweat-wicking base layer, and waterproof shell. Basically, everything you need to enjoy the great outdoors during the coldest season!
- Summer: a tee shirt or tank top, pants or shorts, windbreaker, base layer.
- Fall or Spring: a T-shirt or long-sleeve shirt, pants or shorts, fleece pullover, and windbreaker.
How to dress for a hike in the winter
Honestly, we do not advise that you go hiking during the winter months unless you’re going to a place that is pretty warm all year round like Georgia, Tennessee, or Southern California. Or, if you really know what you are doing.
Hiking through snowy conditions can be very difficult and potentially dangerous especially if you are not very experienced. More than just having to tread through snow, you are going to have to carefully select your outfits for hiking in winter.
You will need to start with some sweat-wicking base layers that are well-fitted but still provide enough room and flexibility for you to move freely. Then you need an insulated middle layer like a puffer or fleece, before covering it all up with a weather-resistant and waterproof outer layer.
You can also come with some hats, warm socks, gloves, and even neck gaiters to ensure you are as warm as possible while hiking. We also recommend that you invest in some weather-resistant hiking boots to ensure your feet are warm and you have good traction on the cold, and potentially frozen trail.
How to dress for a hike in the summer
The most important things for you to consider are staying dry and cool, as well as potential environmental hazards around you. You must protect your legs along the trail so it’s best that you wear some pants, although they might start feeling a bit heavy in the sweltering heat of midday.
No matter the layers you choose, you should ensure that all the pieces of your outfit are made using sweat-wicking materials with lighter colors. You can also find outfits made with built-in UPF sun protection. Also, ensure that you pack some extra sunscreen and reapply it on your body every few hours during your hike.
It is also advised that you put on a hat with a wide brim so that your neck and face are shielded from the sun. It’s also a good idea for you to pack another dry T-shirt in your backpack so that you can change during the hike if you start sweating a lot. This will prevent chafing.
How to dress for a hike in the fall and spring
We have decided to put these two seasons together because they are usually quite similar. The weather conditions in both seasons tend to be pretty unpredictable, so you must have an adequate number of layers of clothing.
You can also guard against wind chill with a waterproof anorak. You can easily pack it into your backpack as it is quite light and can be very handy especially when the weather goes bad. You might also want to take along a brimmed hat to prevent the sun from getting into your eyes or on your face, or if the day is a bit chilly you can opt for some gloves or a warm beanie.
Taking a hike is a great experience for the body and the soul, and when you have the right hiking attire, you are set on the right track to having an amazing time. It can be a time of adventure or some time for you to just go somewhere new where you can get away from everything and refresh.
And now that your hiking clothes are sorted, you are ready to hit the trails all around the world and have a swell time surrounded by beautiful nature.
Check OutdoorAdept for more hiking and outdoor tips and hacks.