Hiking is a cool way to exercise, challenge your body, and connect with nature. Anyone can take a hike! Hiking doesn’t have to mean trekking on long, rugged trails for days at a time. Sometimes a simple day hike, or a casual hike, can be just as rewarding and satisfying as a more strenuous one. There are several important factors to consider when choosing your clothing for a casual hike. Read below to find out how to choose the best clothes to sport for your next casual hike.
Clothing safety depends on the environment in which you’re hiking. For example, if you’re hiking in an area with a Lyme disease outbreak, you may consider wearing long pants and long sleeves that are treated with insect repellent. Although you may want to wear more fitted or tight clothing on your hike, it’s important to consider wearing clothing that allows for adequate mobility and flexibility. Having more range of motion makes for a more enjoyable and doable hike.
Your Comfort Level
It’s recommended to wear comfortable clothing during your hike. Because of this, cotton may not be the best material for physical activities such as hiking. Sweating helps to maintain homeostasis or bodily self-regulation. In other words, sweating is your body’s way of regulating your temperature during exercise. Cotton retains water, so wearing cotton can keep you hot in warm temperatures and chilly in cold temperatures.
Instead, you should probably wear wicking materials such as Merino wool, polyester, or nylon. Wicking material draws moisture away from your skin, keeping you dry and comfortable!
Ever heard the phrase “that’s so last season”? Not only does this phrase apply to fleeting fashion trends, but it also, perhaps in a more literal way, applies to choosing clothes for hiking. Here are some things to consider when hiking in certain seasons
Spring and Autumn
These two seasons are grouped together because it’s important to layer up in these times of the year, which often have moderate and variable temperatures. Also, consider wearing hiking boots in these seasons instead of wearing sneakers or hiking sandals. You may encounter muddy trails due to snowmelt or rain, and the boots provide traction and support (and potential dryness if the boots are waterproof!). In addition, waterproof and windproof jackets can keep you comfortable in these wet and unpredictable seasons.
Summer hiking may allow for more flexible clothing choices. You may not have to layer up, but you could keep in my mind the potential threats to having any skin exposed. Wearing less clothing may make you more vulnerable to tick or snake bites, poisonous plants, etc. Although hiking sandals and sneakers are appropriate for most terrain, longer treks may still require hiking boots. Also, try to choose the best hiking shirts, bottoms, and hiking socks that are made from wicking material to keep your sweat from sticking to you. Lighter-colored clothing absorbs less heat and can keep your body cooler on those really hot summer days.
Some clothing even has an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating that will help protect skin against the sun’s damaging UV rays. Wide-brimmed hats or billed caps with attached sun capes can provide sun protection and keep your head dry. And while you’re at, throw on a cool pair of sunglasses to complete your summer hiking attire.
Hiking in the winter can be a challenge, but seeing the beauty of nature during this season may be worth it. The key to dressing for winter weather is to wear layers: a base layer made of wicking material, an insulating middle layer, and a waterproof and/or windproof outer layer. Hiking boots, warm wicking socks, winter gloves, and a warm winter hat are also essential to a comfortable and enjoyable winter hike.
Clothing Suggestions: What Should I Wear For Casual Hiking?
When considering each type of clothing, there are some factors such as materials and climate to consider.
For underwear, you might want to consider polyester, nylon, or Merino wool. In terms of socks, Merino wool socks could be helpful, particularly for keeping you warm and dry. However, just try to make sure the socks are taller than your hiking footwear.
The type of shirts you wear can vary. For instance, long-sleeve shirts might be better for cool weather conditions, while short-sleeve shirts could work well for warm weather conditions.
Next, in considering pants, some options to look at could be waterproof, quick-drying, or convertible pants, which can all be helpful when hiking in the elements. Fleece pants and long pants could be most effective for cold weather conditions, and shorts or capri pants could work best in warm weather. For general storage, cargo pants can aid in holding some of your items.
Jackets are important to layering and staying warm or dry. A polyester fleece material might suffice for the cold weather conditions in particular. You also might want to consider an insulated jacket, especially for a casual winter hike. A rain jacket is also important to bring, particularly if you know you are going to be hiking in the rain.
Lastly, for shoes, different types of shoes suit different occasions and climates. Some popular types of shoes for hiking include hiking boots, hiking sandals, water shoes, or sneakers. The shoe choice depends on the comfort you desire, environmental threats, weather conditions, and trail terrain. For instance, hiking boots could work best in rocky terrain or for climbing steep hills. Additionally, there are options available for every budget, such as hiking boots under $50 or $100 dollars.
No matter what you choose to wear, make sure your hiking attire is comfortable and appropriate for your casual hiking activities.
Stay safe and happy trails!
Written by Artesa Cox