If you ever find yourself thinking “What should I wear for hiking?” we have some ideas to help you get started. Many factors will influence what you wear on a hike, including your ability level, the weather, and the trail conditions. There are different types of clothing you should wear for a hike based on these factors.
What Should I Wear For Hiking: Footwear
When hiking, you will want and need to protect your feet from getting hurt by the rocks and other dangers you might encounter during the hike. If you are going to be hiking at high altitudes, you might want to consider wearing hiking boots that provide support for your ankles. Try going to a store that specializes in selling outdoor clothing and trying on different kinds of hiking shoes or boots to seeing what is the most comfortable type for you.
Depending on the weather and the conditions of the place that you are going to be hiking at, sandals might be a good option for hiking. Hiking sandals are usually light enough for you to put in your backpack and pull out right before you start your hike. Also, if there is a river and you want to get your feet wet, these sandals may be helpful.
You could also consider purchasing a pair of water shoes or sandals, specifically. Be aware, however, sandals do not provide the protection that shoes provide. Also, if you do decide to go with sandals, it could be helpful to apply sunscreen to your feet; sunburned feet will make wearing shoes uncomfortable for the next several days.
Rain Jacket and Pants
It is always a good idea to have rain gear with you in case it starts to rain during your hike. Getting wet while you are hiking can make for a miserable hiking experience. Rain pants often come with zip-off features that allow you to zip them on and off.
For a rain jacket, it is important to find one that is waterproof and breathable. This means that it will protect you against the rain and wind while simultaneously allowing you to sweat without feeling like you are wearing a plastic bag.
A rain poncho is also a good option for a hike. Ponchos are lighter than rain jackets, and they can cover you and your backpack.
What Should I Wear For Hiking: Clothing
Tanks, Tees, Long-Sleeve Tops
If you are going on a short day hike with clear weather, you can wear a dry T-shirt, or perhaps a long-sleeve one to help protect you from the sun. Your clothing should also have excellent breathability and fit well. If you decide to go on your hike with a tank top, you might want to bring an extra top with you to prevent sunburns. Merino wool and polyester shirts could act as durable and moisture-wicking layers.
Depending on the weather, you may need thicker or thinner socks. Regardless, having socks taller than your footwear can prevent your feet from rubbing or getting hot spots or blisters. It is also a good idea to bring an extra pair in case you do get a blister, or you wade too deeply in a creek. Merino wool can be a comfortable and durable material. This helps ensure your socks may last your whole hiking excursion.
If you are going on a hike in the wintertime, you might want to have gloves or mittens with you that are insulated. Your extremities are going to keep the heat in, so above all, you must keep your fingers and toes warm.
Everyone has different ideas about what kind of pants are appropriate for a hike, but the most important thing is to make sure you have pants that are comfortable. After all, you will be walking on trails with turns, inclines, and declines. Some of the best types of hiking pants come from Patagonia, Columbia, Mountain Hardwear, and The North Face.
While it is important that you are able to move freely, think about maybe not wearing tights or yoga pants; these can be torn up by branches and boulders. Pants should be comfortable, but sturdy.
Hiking Shirts, Jackets, Skirts, and Shorts
Finding the best hiking shirts, shorts, and skirts can be difficult. There are many great options, though, whether you are going hiking on a hot, summer day or a cold, winter afternoon. For instance, you may want lightweight shorts or a lightweight skirt when it is hot out. Also keep in mind, having exposed legs with shorts or a skirt makes you more prone to sunburns, mosquito bites, and trail conditions. If you are hiking in an area that is not familiar to you, you should probably wear pants instead.
It could be helpful to bring a thin base layer in case the weather changes. It may also be a good idea to bring a light down jacket or heavier coat depending on the temperature.
There are many different types of hats to wear while hiking. For instance, if you are going to be hiking on a hot day, you might want to consider a wide-brimmed hat or a billed cap that comes with a sun cape. If it begins raining during your hike, a wide-brimmed hat can also keep the rain out of your eyes. Also, if it is going to be cold where you are hiking, you might consider wearing a comfortable, heavy hat that can keep you warm.
Depending on the conditions of your hike, you might want to consider bringing extra clothing such as a swimsuit, a towel, and gaiters.
Choosing clothing to wear on a hike can be stressful. However, the ideas mentioned such as selecting clothes based on the weather and the conditions of your destination, as well as your ability level could help make this process proceed smoothly. We hope that this information helps you choose the right clothing for your next hike. Happy hiking!
Written by Carmen Boneck