What to Wear When Hiking
Are you looking for the right clothes to wear for your hiking expedition?
We've go you're covered. After you read this article, you'll know what to wear when hiking. I’m going to give you all the essential tips you'll need to make your next hike cozy, safe, and fun. Hiking is one of the exciting outdoor activities you can enjoy with careful planning. Otherwise, you ruin having a joyous and memorable adventure.
Hiking offers many benefits. It frees you from office politics. When you’re on the trails, the company’s meetings, dress code, deadlines, and aggrieved clients are out of your way. Again, you get away from the hustle and bustle of the urban lifestyle.
In the forest, you freshen up!
Despite the benefits, you still need to be cautious. Though you're out of the workplace, remember that you're entering a bigger one. Here, your boss is not the arrogant person tormenting you at work.
Instead, it's the earth’s owner, Mother Nature.
She has no preference for gender, color, race, education, culture, or social standing. Nature is just and fair, however, unpredictable. To hike without facing her wrath, you need to plan to avoid disasters. To equip you with the information on what to wear, I’ll focus on:
- The environmental factors
- The critical fabric types for hiking
- The fabric properties and quality
- The basic clothing types and layers
- The various seasons and what to wear
- The commandments for using hiking clothes
- And other essential hiking tips.
Before buying those fanciful hiking gear, let's plan.
Environmental Factors to Consider When Hiking:
The environment influences the choice of clothes to wear. Adhering to this ensures safety. People can choose to hike all–year round, but climate conditions aren't the same. Your choice of clothes must fit the season you're planning to hike—each season—winter, fall, spring, and summer-has suitable and unique hiking gear.
Your field trip would be terrible if you ignore this in your planning. For instance, it's advisable to go with hiking boots and waterproof jackets to keep safe during spring and fall. Again, you must consider the area. Is the area noted for a disease outbreak?
Or does it have widespread mosquitoes, ticks, bugs, and other harmful insects? To protect yourself from these vicious creatures, you must wear long sleeves and pants with treated insect repellent. Mother Nature can be fickle, so always plan against her fury.
It's also a good idea to carry a hiking or walking stick. There are many different style hiking sticks to select from. Different shapes, sizes and lengths. A proper walking stick is good to balance, distributing weight, moving brush, testing water depth and in some cases a walking stick can be used for protection against animals or humans. Some walking sticks even have survival gear built into them. Consider a good hiking or walking stick before you go on your hike.
What Are the Best Fabric Types for Hiking?
Hiking wears are many. They are made from several materials offering diverse effects. Choose with care because your life depends on them. Base your decision on safety, comfort, durability, and budget. Most hiking gears are made from the following fabrics:
- Merino Wool:
This is the star among the stars. Merino wool is the ultimate fabric for all seasons. It’s the best choice for any season. And it's finer and softer, with breathable and odor-resistant effects. Clothes made from this material are washable, dry quicker, and wrinkle-resistant. Merino fabric is moisture-wicking, making it a suitable choice for the base and outer layers.
- Polyester Fabric:
Unlike Merino wool, polyester is a synthetic fabric that isn’t costly. It’s a suitable material for making the base, mid, and outer layers of hiking gears. Polyester fabrics are durable, lighter, and dry faster. They are also good at wicking sweat—one requirement for hiking clothes.
- Fleece Fabric:
Besides Merino wool and polyester, fleece is another fabric you should consider. It’s one of the most versatile materials for making hiking clothing. Fleece fabric is cheaper, light, and breathable. It’s ideal for making the mid-layers. And an excellent insulator made from polyester.
- Silk Fabric:
We can’t talk of fabrics without citing the product from the silkworms. Silk is a natural material with unique qualities. It's more robust, attractive, and luster. Though durable, it's not suitable for tough hiking. This is because it has poor wicking ability. However, all isn’t lost with the silk fabric. When chemically treated, its moisture-wicking ability can be revived. It’s worth–noting that silk fabrics do not come cheap.
- Cotton Fabric:
In the fashion world, cotton stands tall among other durable fabrics. You may be among the millions who adore cotton clothing. Your fabric taste isn’t bad at all. However, they are less effective during hiking expeditions. They are poor insulators and moisture-wicking. Also, they aren’t ideal because they do not dry faster. If you can, avoid cotton gears.
What Are the Properties of Hiking Fabrics?
When selecting hiking fabrics, wicking is a must. Moisture-wicking is the ability to move sweat away from the skin during physical ability. It’s suitable for the base layers, meaning the clothes that touch the skin. Moisture-wicking fabric can also dry quickly. This prevents you from feeling sweaty or chilly while enjoying your fun moments.
Hiking fabrics should have insulating powers. This means the ability to keep the body warm at all times. Naturally, the body produces its heat. So a hiking fabric should be able to hold this heat for long. Insulating fabrics are ideal for making the mid-layers. Wool, fleece, and polyester are perfect examples.
The outer or shell layer of any hiking cloth should be waterproof. This property is the ability to prevent rain from soaking the garment. Most waterproof clothes can act as windproof. This is the ability for the gear to withstand terrible winds. Water and wind-proofing fabrics would protect you from drenching and colds.
Like humans, hiking garments must breathe. Thus, the fabric should move moisture from the inside to the outside. It's a reasonable requirement for the base layer. When moistures are taken away from the skin, it becomes dried and fresh. This prevents you from getting hypothermia. Merino wool is the ultimate fabric you need to enjoy this benefit.
Mobility is as crucial as the other qualities. To have fun hiking, your clothing choice should allow you to move at ease. Avoid going for garments that would restrict your movements. Some air–space between the layers is superb. Also, you can pick clothes with stretching ability.
- Sun Protection:
We can’t downplay the benefits of the sun. But it can be one of the biggest enemies to hikers. You risk having skin cancer when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays for long. Other sun-related diseases are well known. With these dangers in mind, pick clothing with an ultraviolet protection rating. The higher the rating, the better protection it would offer.
What Are the Basic Clothing Types for Hiking?
You can’t hit the trails with no suitable underwear. You’re at liberty to pick your favorite type. For instance, you can go for boxers, briefs, bikini briefs, etc. Ensure you have more than one. Your pick should wick moisture. It would keep you warm and comfortable. It’s advisable to avoid cotton. So you can count on wool or polyester in your underwear.
- Hiking Shirts:
A shirt is a valuable outfit to partner with you on your adventure. Depending on the weather, you can pick between a short–sleeve and a long–sleeve. For a warmer climate, a short–sleeve is best. And for cooler conditions, you’re good to opt for a long–sleeve. Don’t forget to choose moisture-wicking fabric for your shirts. It will keep you comfy and happy.
This goes out to the fun-loving ladies. Choose a sporting bra that fits your breast size. Your fabric choice should be breathable, anti-odor, and quick–drying. To tighten, avoid the temptation of picking a super tight one. A bra that offers medium support is just better.
- Hiking Pants:
Freedom of movement is critical when choosing to hike. So find something that would protect you from the sun, sharp objects, and insect bites. Further, your fabric choice should be lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking. Polyester and nylon are good examples. You shouldn’t ignore the length and thickness of your pants. They will give you the utmost protection.
- Hiking Jackets:
In all hiking voyages, ensure your jackets are part of the mission. Don’t discount lighter, waterproof, and windproof jackets. The weather would decide the type of jacket you should wear. For instance, when hiking in a cold and wet climate, a rain jacket is perfect. To be on the safest side, always choose a multipurpose jacket. It will help you face unexpected weather.
- Hiking Shoes:
It’s time to keep your traction in check. Select your shoe based on personal taste, terrain, and weather. Hiking boots and trail runners are great shoes. Hiking boots are sturdy; they are perfect for snowy and rocky landscapes. If that is your preference, then go with lightweight and comfortable boots that give room to your feet to breathe. Trail runners are also beneficial. They dry faster, provide superb traction, and keep the feet secure. In all, keep your size in mind.
A sock with a suitable fabric will protect your feet from wetness and, in time, painful blisters. So, go for quick-drying fabric like wool or synthetic. It's also a very good idea to have an extra pair of socks. You can choose a thick wool sock to keep your feet warm during chilly nights. Always keep clean–dry pairs of socks. And note, your sock must be taller than your boot.
- Hiking Hats:
Regardless of the season, you need a hat to protect you from the harsh climate. A suitable hat is breathable, quick to dry, and has a wide brim that shelters you off the sun’s intense rays. This protects your head and its essential parts—eyes, ears, nose, and neck. Your hat needs to be lighter.
You might be asking yourself, what are hiking Gaiters? Gaiters are vital accessories you can add to your list of hiking gears. They will protect your hiking footwear from rain, pebbles, debris, and insect invasion. With these potential threats out of your path, you can hike for long hours. Gaiters keep your feet more comfortable.
- Hiking Gloves:
To keep your hands warm and protected, lightweight gloves are your savior. They should come from synthetic or wool fabric. You can also look at mittens as they are warmer than gloves. For extra safety, both mittens and liner gloves can be layered together. Also, don't forget waterproof and insulated gloves. They are handy and essential to have.
- Hiking Sunglasses:
Sunglasses can be optional but essential. In a snow-covered landscape, this accessory will protect your sight. The potential to have headaches and snow blindness is high if you don’t protect your eyes. Practical hiking sunglasses have a side shield for protecting your vision.
This is another optional device. However, it can be part of your rain gears. An umbrella is a fantastic add-on to protect you from the rain and sun. It’s also beneficial when hiking in desert areas. Always use lightweight and wind–resistant umbrellas for convenient hiking.
The Various Seasons And What to Wear
- Spring Hiking:
Springtime is another term for spring. This unpredictable weather comes between winter and summer. Based on personal taste, you can wear a short or long–sleeve shirt. Convertible pants, fleece, and waterproof jackets should be part of your backpack. For the highest support and traction, use hiking boots or sneakers. Also, let your hat be in place to protect you from sunshine and rain.
- Summer Hiking:
Most people like hiking in the summer. Among the four seasons, it’s the warmest. It falls between spring and autumn (fall). It requires less layering as the weather is predictable. You can step out in any suitable hiking footwear. It can be a hiking sandal, sneaker, or boot.
Your hiking clothes, from head to toe, should be breathable and moisture-wicking. Don't forget the sun's protector—a wide-brimmed hat. During this period, you’re likely to face insects, reptiles, and poisonous plants. So, plan for these hazards.
- Hiking In the fall:
Fall or autumn is the period between summer and winter. During this season, temperatures are steadily reducing. The watchword here for hikers is layering. To shed off moisture from your skin, choose wool or synthetic fabric for your base clothing. Your mid-layers should be lightweight, warm, and breathable. For the outer shell, look for water and wind-proofing clothes. Wicking socks and durable hiking boots are your weapons against the weather.
- Hiking in the winter:
Winter comes between fall and spring. It’s the coldest season of the year. With lower temperatures, rainfall and snow are typical. Unlike summer, you need to appreciate layers when hiking during this time. The base layers must be made from wool or synthetic fabric.
They should have insulating and wicking abilities. The same goes for the mid-layers. The shell layer (outer layer) should be water and windproof. Pick sturdy hiking boots and a wicking pair of socks to match. Care for your hands and head with warm gloves and rounded hats.
The Commandments for Successful Hiking
- Predict the weather before stepping out
- Master the art of layering—base, mid, and outer
- Be inspired by function and not fashion
- Always decide on budget, quality, and comfort
- Consider blending fabric properties
- Avoid the temptation of picking a cotton hiking gear
- Always avoid the temptation of over packing
This in-depth article should help you on what to wear when hiking.
Nature offers the most remarkable cure in the world. It’s the center of healing. From spring to winter, you’ll gain different hiking experiences. While on the trails, learning becomes endless. Yet, the zeal to explore can lead to disasters. Yes, nature can be cruel with its unexpected events.
These can include violent winds, falling trees, chilly weather, and intense sun–bite. Others include disease outbreaks, insect–infections, and poisonous plants. Interestingly, with careful planning, you can reduce these threats.
Choosing the most suitable hiking clothes is a step in the right direction. Moisture-wicking, quick-drying, and breathable fabrics should be on top of your list. You should always aim for durability and comfort. More so, never forget your hiking accessories.
Finally, practice with different layers until you find the best fit. Pay serious attention to fabric, comfort, weight, fit, and budget. Follow these tips, and your next adventure would be the safest.