It is common, especially for amateur hikers, to go on a hike only to regret their clothing decisions. So, what do hikers wear for a comfortable experience?
The clothes you wear to a hike are instrumental for your safety, comfort, and well-being. Hikes can be highly energy demanding, and you need to protect yourself from the surrounding external conditions as much as you can.
Not only are there certain elements that you want to put on while hiking, but there are also specific types of them that you should have with respect to the weather conditions of the hike. Proper underwear, top, bottom, jacket, socks, shoes, etc., are imminent for you to be able to have a good hiking experience.
I have listed all the basic elements of a proper hiking outfit as well as what aspects of them you need to consider according to the weather conditions.
Having an acute passion for hiking, I know a thing or two about what hikers need to have on during their adventures.
What To Wear While Hiking
Here is everything you need to have on while hiking as well as factors to keep in mind when buying each of the items.
There are a few things to consider when choosing the right underwear for hiking. The first is comfort. You want something that will feel good against your skin, especially in hot weather.
The second is moisture-wicking ability. You want underwear that will help keep you dry, both from sweat and from any rain or water you might encounter on the trail.
The third is durability. Hiking can be tough on clothes, so you want underwear that will stand up to some abuse. And finally, you want something that won't add too much bulk to your other clothing. With all that in mind, here are a few specific recommendations for the best types of underwear for hikers:
For men: boxer briefs made from synthetic materials like polyester or nylon. These will wick away moisture, dry quickly, and provide support without being too constricting.
For women: a sports bra or tank top made from synthetic materials. Again, you want something that will wick away moisture and dry quickly. A sports bra will also provide support for your breasts, which can be helpful on long hikes.
For both men and women: boxer shorts or briefs made from wool. Wool is an excellent material for hiking underwear because it's naturally moisture-wicking and has some anti-bacterial properties.
It's also very durable so it can stand up to a lot of wear and tear. The downside to wool is that it can be a bit bulky, so if you're looking for something light and airy, it might not be the best choice.
These are just a few general recommendations for the best hiking underwear. Ultimately, the best type of underwear for you is the one that feels most comfortable and provides the level of support and moisture-wicking you need. Experiment with different materials and styles until you find the perfect pair (or pairs) for your needs.
There are a few things to consider when choosing shirts for hiking. First, you want a shirt that will wick away sweat and keep you cool. A synthetic material like polyester is a good choice.
Secondly, you want a shirt that has some sun protection. A long-sleeved shirt with SPF built-in is ideal. Third, you want a shirt that won't chafe or irritate your skin. Soft material like merino wool is a good option.
Finally, you want a shirt that's comfortable and won't restrict your movement. A loose-fitting shirt is best. With these factors in mind, here are some of the best shirts for hikers:
- The North Face Women's Better Than Naked Long-Sleeve Shirt is made from a polyester/elastane blend that wicks away sweat and dries quickly. It has UPF 50 sun protection and Strategically placed seams to minimize chafing.
- The Patagonia Women's Capilene Cool Trail Shirt is made from a polyester/spandex blend that has excellent moisture-wicking properties. It also has UPF 50 sun protection and anti-odor technology.
- The Columbia Women's Silver Ridge Lite Long Sleeve Shirt is made from 100% polyester and has Omni-Wick technology to keep you cool and dry. It also has UPF 30 sun protection and roll-up sleeves for easy adjustability.
- The Mountain Hardwear Women's Wicked Lite Long Sleeve Shirt is made from a polyester/elastane blend that has excellent moisture-wicking properties. It also has UPF 50 sun protection and Rolled shoulders for easy movement.
These are just a few of the great shirts available for hikers. When choosing a shirt, make sure to consider the material, the fit, and the features to find one that's right for you.
There are a variety of pants and bottoms that hikers can wear, but there are some things to keep in mind when choosing the right pair. First, consider the fabric.
Pants made from synthetic materials like polyester or nylon will wick away sweat and moisture better than cotton or wool. This is especially important in hot weather or when hiking uphill. Second, think about the fit. Loose-fitting pants will be more comfortable to hike in, but they can also get caught on branches or undergrowth.
Conversely, too-tight pants can restrict your movement and be uncomfortable. Choose a pair that fits well in the waist and legs without being too tight or too loose. Finally, consider the features. Some pants have zip-off legs that can be converted into shorts, while others have built-in sun protection or insect repellent. Choose the features that will be most useful for your hike.
One of the most important things to consider when hiking is what kind of jacket to wear. The type of jacket you choose will depend on the climate and terrain you'll be hiking in. If you're hiking in warm weather, a lightweight shell or windbreaker may be all you need.
But if you're hiking in colder weather or in mountainous terrain, you'll need a more insulated jacket. Here are some tips to help you choose the right jacket for your next hike.
When choosing a jacket for hiking, it's important to consider the climate and terrain you'll be hiking in. If you're hiking in warm weather, a lightweight shell or windbreaker may be all you need. But if you're hiking in colder weather or in mountainous terrain, you'll need a more insulated jacket.
Down jackets are a good option for cold weather hiking, as they're extremely lightweight and packable. However, they don't provide much protection from the wind or rain. Synthetic insulation is a better choice for wet conditions, as it still retains some warmth even when wet.
Hardshell jackets are essential for hiking in mountainous terrain, as they provide the best protection from the elements. They're usually made from waterproof and breathable materials, which helps to keep you dry and comfortable in all kinds of weather.
So, when choosing a jacket for your next hike, be sure to consider the climate and terrain you'll be hiking in. A down jacket may be ideal for cold-weather hikes, but a synthetic jacket may be better in wet conditions. And if you're hiking in mountainous terrain, a hardshell jacket is a must.
There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing socks for hiking. First, they should be made of a breathable material like wool or synthetic fibers. This will help prevent blisters and keep your feet dry. Second, they should be snug but not too tight.
Third, they should offer some cushioning to protect your feet from the impact of walking on rough terrain. Fourth, make sure they have reinforced toes and heels to prevent wear and tear. Finally, choose a sock that reaches up to your calf to provide extra support and prevent chafing.
With so many different types of socks on the market, it can be tough to know which ones are best for hiking. But following these guidelines will help you find the perfect pair of socks for your next hike. And remember, always break in new socks before hitting the trail to avoid blisters and other discomforts.
Hiking is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors, but it's important to have the right footwear.
Your shoes should be comfortable and provide good support. They should also have a good grip, so you don't slip on wet or icy surfaces. If you are hiking in areas with lots of vegetation, you may want to choose shoes that are waterproof or have a water-resistant coating.
When trying on shoes, wear socks that you would normally hike in. Walk around the store to see how they feel. Make sure there's enough room in the toe area, so your toes don't feel cramped when walking downhill.
If you're planning to do a lot of hiking, it's a good idea to invest in a pair of hiking boots. They provide more support and stability than regular shoes, and they can help protect your feet from injuries.
When shopping for shoes, always keep in mind the type of terrain you'll be walking on. If you are hiking on uneven or rocky terrain, choose shoes that have good traction. If you plan to hike in wet conditions, look for shoes that have good drainage.
Most importantly, listen to your body. If your feet are starting to hurt, take a break and put on some comfortable socks and shoes.
When it comes to hats, hikers have a lot of options. But with so many choices, it can be tough to decide which one is right for you. Here are a few things to consider when selecting a hiking hat:
Protection from the elements: A good hiking hat will protect you from the sun, wind, and rain. Look for a hat with a wide brim that will keep your face and neck shielded from the harmful rays of the sun. And if you're hiking in an area that tends to be windy, choose a hat that will stay snug on your head even in gusty conditions.
Breathability: When you're out on the trail, you want a hat that will help keep you cool and comfortable. Look for a hat made from breathable materials like mesh or cotton. And if you tend to get hot when you hike, look for a hat with vents or holes to help keep your head cool.
Comfort: A good hiking hat should be comfortable to wear, even after hours on the trail. Look for a hat that fits snugly but not too tight, and make sure there are no rough edges or seams that could rub against your skin. And if you're hiking in warmer weather, look for a hat made from lightweight, breathable materials.
Style: Of course, you also want a hiking hat that looks good! Choose a style that matches your personal taste and the rest of your gear. And if you'll be hiking in a group, make sure to coordinate your hats, so you all look like a team.
Now that you know what to look for in a hiking hat, it's time to start shopping! Here are a few of our favorite hiking hats:
- The Classic Wool Hat: This timeless style will keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It's also water-resistant, so it's perfect for hikes in rainy or snowy conditions.
- The Wide-Brimmed Sun Hat: This type of hat is essential for hikes in sunny or hot weather. It will protect your face and neck from the sun's harmful rays. And if it has a UPF rating, it will also provide some protection from the sun's UV rays.
- The Breathable Mesh Hat: This hat is perfect for hot-weather hikes. It's made from a lightweight, breathable material that will help keep you cool. And it typically has a wide brim to protect your face and neck from the sun.
- The Fleece-Lined Hat: This type of hat is great for cold-weather hikes. It will keep your head warm while still allowing it to breathe. And if it has ear flaps, it will also provide extra protection from the cold.
- The Baseball Cap: This casual style is perfect for everyday hikes. It will protect your face and neck from the sun and can be easily adjusted to fit snugly on your head. Plus, it's a great way to show off your favorite team or outdoor brand.
- Now that you know which type of hiking hat is right for you, it's time to hit the trail! And don't forget to pack a few extras in case the weather changes or you lose your hat along the way.
When you hit the trail, the last thing you want to worry about is your sunglasses. But with so many different types and styles on the market, it can be hard to know which ones are best for hiking.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for sunglasses for your next hike:
- Look for sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection. This will help protect your eyes from the harmful rays of the sun.
- Choose a style that fits well and stays in place. Sunglasses that slip or fall off easily can be a distraction and a danger on the trail.
- Consider polarized lenses if you're hiking near water or in other reflective conditions. Polarized lenses eliminate glare, making it easier to see the terrain ahead.
- Think about the tint of the lenses. Darker tints may be better for very bright conditions, but lighter tints can actually improve contrast and make it easier to see in lower light levels.
- Make sure the sunglasses are comfortable to wear. You don't want them to be so tight that they give you a headache or so loose that they constantly slip down your nose.
With these factors in mind, you'll be able to find the perfect pair of sunglasses for your next hike. And once you have them, don't forget to take care of them! Clean the lenses regularly and store them in a case when you're not using them to help prolong their life.
BY THE SEASON
Spring and Fall
Assuming you'll be hiking in moderate weather, you'll want to dress in layers. That way, you can add or remove clothing as needed to regulate your body temperature. In general, it's best to err on the side of being too warm since it's easier to cool off than it is to warm up.
For the base layer, choose a fabric that wicks moisture away from your skin. Synthetic materials like polyester and nylon work well, or you can go with wool. Avoid cotton, as it doesn't do a good job of wicking moisture and can cause you to feel clammy.
For the middle layer, you'll want something that provides insulation. Fleece is a good option, or you can go with a down jacket if you're hiking in very cold weather.
For the outer layer, you'll need a waterproof and windproof jacket. Again, there are many different options to choose from. Just make sure that it's breathable, so you don't end up getting too sweaty.
In terms of pants, there are a few different choices. You could go with traditional hiking pants, which are usually made from nylon or another synthetic material.
These are lightweight and will dry quickly if they get wet. However, they don't provide a lot of warmth, so you might want to consider wearing them over a base layer of long underwear.
Another option is to wear convertible pants, which have removable legs so you can turn them into shorts when the weather gets warmer.
Finally, you'll need to choose the right footwear. Hiking boots are always a good choice, as they provide support and stability on uneven terrain. If you're hiking in very cold weather, you might want to consider getting a pair of insulated boots.
In terms of accessories, there are a few things you'll need to bring along. A hat is always a good idea, as it will protect your head from the sun (or snow). Sunglasses are also important for keeping the sun out of your eyes. And don't forget the sunscreen!
You might also want to bring along a small backpack or daypack to carry all your gear. Make sure to pack essentials like snacks, water, a map, and a first-aid kit.
By following these tips, you'll be sure to stay comfortable on your hike no matter what the weather is like.
One of the most important things to consider when hiking in summer is what to wear. The key is to dress in layers so that you can regulate your body temperature as the day progresses and the weather changes.
Start with a base layer made of a moisture-wicking material like polyester or wool. This will help keep you cool and dry by pulling sweat away from your skin.
Add an insulating layer on tops, such as a light fleece jacket or long-sleeved shirt. Finally, top it off with a waterproof and windproof outer layer like a rain jacket or windbreaker.
Wear lightweight, breathable pants like shorts or leggings. Again, moisture-wicking fabrics are a good choice as they’ll help keep you cool and dry. If you’re hiking in an area with long grass or brush, consider wearing long pants to protect your legs from scratches.
Accessories like a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen are also important to protect you from the sun’s harmful rays. And don’t forget to pack a pair of comfortable shoes or boots!
One of the most important things to consider when hiking in winter is what to wear. The key is to dress in layers so that you can adjust your clothing as needed to maintain a comfortable body temperature.
Start with a base layer of wool or synthetic material next to your skin, which will help wick away sweat and keep you warm even when wet. Add a middle layer of insulation, such as fleece, for extra warmth. Finally, top it off with a waterproof and windproof outer layer to protect against the elements.
Be sure to pay attention to your hands and feet, as they are especially susceptible to cold weather injuries. Wear gloves or mittens and socks that fit well and wick away moisture. If your feet get cold easily, consider wearing two pairs of socks.
Finally, don't forget to protect your head and face from the cold. A hat or hood will help keep you warm, and sunglasses or goggles will protect your eyes from the sun's glare off the snow.
Important Factors to Consider When Choosing Clothing For Hiking
One of the most important things to consider when choosing clothes for hiking is safety. There are a few key things to keep in mind when selecting clothing for your hike. First, consider the weather and terrain you will be hiking in.
Make sure to dress appropriately for the conditions. If you are hiking in cold weather, make sure to wear layers of clothing that will keep you warm. If you are hiking in hot weather, make sure to wear light, breathable fabrics that will help keep you cool.
Another thing to consider is the type of activities you will be doing on your hike. If you plan on doing any strenuous activity, like climbing or running, make sure to wear clothes that provide good support and allow your skin to breathe. Wear shoes that are comfortable and provide good traction.
Finally, consider your personal preferences. Choose clothes that you feel comfortable in and that you will be able to move easily in. Remember that you might get sweaty or dirty on your hike, so choose clothes that you don't mind getting dirty.
Your comfort level
One of the most important things to consider when choosing clothes for hiking is comfort. You want to be sure that you are comfortable in your clothing so that you can focus on enjoying the hike. There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing clothing for comfort while hiking:
- Fabric: Choose natural fabrics such as cotton or wool, which will allow your skin to breathe and won't cause irritation. Avoid synthetic materials which can trap heat and cause discomfort.
- Fit: Make sure that your clothing is not too tight or too loose. Clothing that is too tight can restrict movement and cause chafing, while clothing that is too loose can catch on branches and bushes.
- Layering: Wearing layers of clothing is a great way to regulate your body temperature and stay comfortable while hiking. Start with a base layer of light, breathable fabric next to your skin. Add additional layers as needed for warmth or protection from the elements.
Some of the best quality gear can be quite expensive, so it's important to consider what you'll use your clothing for. You can get lightweight hiking shirts with long sleeves and roll them up when it's time for warmth or go without.
For more versatility, consider convertible pants that zip off into shorts; they're perfect during hot weather since their lower legs don't get cooked by sunlight like other types of clothing do!
About THE AUTHOR
I’m a hiker, backpacker, and general outdoor enthusiast. I started hiking out of college while working for the National Forest Service, and have been hiking ever since. I’ve been solo hiking and leading hiking groups for two decades and have completed hundreds of small hikes and some majorones such as the Appalachian Train and the Pacific Crest Trail, and hiked on four continents. I’d love to share some of my insight with you.Read More About Peter Brooks