Are you gearing up to go on your first hike of the season? If so, it’s important to make sure you’re dressed correctly for the occasion. What you wear hiking can make or break your experience, so it’s important to choose wisely. In this post, we’ll give you a rundown of what to wear hiking so that you can feel comfortable and safe on your next hike.
Key Fabric Properties For Hiking Clothing
Before we dive into each clothing item, it’s important to understand the key fabric properties you should look for when choosing your clothes. When you’re hiking, you’ll want clothes that are:
1. Waterproof And Windproof
Clothes that are both waterproof and windproof will keep you dry and comfortable in bad weather. Waterproof fabrics have a water-resistant coating that repels water, while windproof fabrics are usually made of tightly woven fibers that block out the wind.
You want your clothes to stop water and wind, but you also don’t want to feel like you’re wearing a plastic bag. That’s where breathability comes in. All waterproof fabrics have pores that allow some air and moisture vapor to pass through: the larger the pores, the more breathable the fabric.
A highly breathable fabric will keep you dry by allowing sweat to evaporate quickly, while a less breathable one will cause trapped sweat to make you feel wet and clammy. Breathable materials are commonly used for summer hiking clothes.
You’ll want clothes that can insulate your body heat to keep you warm in cold weather. There are two ways fabrics can do this: by being made of thick fibers or by having a thin layer of air trapped between the fabric and your skin. Fabrics made of thick fibers, like wool, are good at trapping heat, while those made of thin fibers, like polyester, are better at trapping air.
4. Lightweight And Packable
When you’re hiking, every ounce counts. That’s why it’s important to choose clothes that are lightweight and packable so that you can save space in your backpack. Look for clothes made of lightweight materials like nylon or polyester. And if you’re really looking to save space, look for clothes that pack down small, like those made with Gore-Tex® or other similar waterproof/breathable fabrics.
Even if you don’t think you’ll be getting wet on your hike, it’s always a good idea to have quick-drying clothes. That way, if you do get caught in a rainstorm or accidentally take a spill, your clothes will dry out quickly, so you don’t have to hike in wet, heavy clothing.
6. Sun Protection
If you’re hiking in sunny weather, it’s important to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Look for clothes with built-in sun protection, like UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) ratings. And don’t forget to pack sunscreen and a hat!
Now that you know the key fabric properties to look for, let’s take a look at some fabric choices for hiking clothes.
Cotton is a natural fiber that’s comfortable and breathable. But it’s not a great choice for hiking because it doesn’t insulate well, it absorbs sweat and holds onto moisture, and it dries slowly. So if you do choose cotton clothes for your hiking outfit, make sure to layer up and be prepared for sudden changes in weather.
Wool is a natural fiber that’s warm, breathable, and quick-drying. It’s also one of the best choices for hiking in cold weather because it insulates even when wet. The downside of wool is that it’s not as packable as synthetic fibers, and it can be more expensive.
3. Polyester/Nylon Clothing
Polyester and nylon are synthetic fibers that are lightweight, quick-drying, and packable. They’re also usually treated with water-resistant or waterproof coatings to make them more durable in bad weather. Polyester and nylon clothes are a good choice for most types of hiking.
Silk is a natural fiber that’s lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying. But it doesn’t insulate well, so it’s not the best choice for cold weather hiking. Silk is also more delicate than other fabrics, so it’s not as durable.
What To Wear Hiking
In this section, we’ll categorically break down the different clothing options you can wear while hiking.
Base Layer: Undergarment Options
While you’re in the wilderness, having proper undergarments is essential for both comfort and function. Below, we’ve put together a list of the best base layer options to keep you comfortable while you hike.
Your choice of underwear will largely depend on personal preference. For men, briefs and boxer briefs are good choices because they offer support without being too constricting. For women, sports bras and boy shorts are good options. And if you’re planning on doing any swimming while you’re hiking, consider bringing along a pair of swim briefs or a bikini.
When it comes to socks, there are two main types to choose from: hiking socks and running socks. Hiking socks are thicker and usually made of wool or synthetic materials, which makes them good at absorbing impact and insulating your feet. On the other hand, running socks are thinner and made of materials like cotton or polyester, making them better at wicking away moisture.
Running socks are a good choice if you’re hiking in warm weather. But if you’re hiking in cold weather or planning on doing any backpacking, hiking socks are a better option.
Head-to-Toe Clothing Options
In this section, we’ll go over all the clothing options you can wear from head to toe while hiking.
A hat is a must-have for any hike, whether it’s to protect your face from the sun or keep your head warm in cold weather. If you’re hiking in sunny weather, look for a hat with a wide brim to protect your face from the sun. And if you’re hiking in cold weather, look for a hat that covers your ears and is made of insulating materials like wool or fleece.
Choose a light shirt made of synthetic materials or cotton for warm weather hikes. And for cold weather hikes, choose a heavier shirt made of merino wool or synthetic materials. If you’re planning on doing any backpacking, consider bringing along a long-sleeved shirt to protect your arms from the sun and insects.
Zip-off pants are a good choice for warm weather hikes because they can be converted into shorts when the temperature rises. Asides from this, you should also consider quick-drying rain pants made from materials like nylon or polyester. And if you’re hiking in cold weather, look for pants made of insulating materials like wool or fleece.
Gloves are a must-have for cold weather hikes because they keep your hands warm. Look for gloves that are made of insulating materials like wool or fleece. And if you’re planning on doing any backpacking, consider bringing along a pair of fingerless gloves so you can still use your hands while wearing them.
Mid-Layer: Fleece And Puffy Jackets
The mid layer is vital for both function and style while hiking. This is the layer that will protect you from the elements, whether it be cold weather or rain. Fleece jackets and puffy jackets are both great options for a mid-layer.
Fleece jackets are a good choice for a mid-layer because they’re lightweight and can be easily packed away. They’re also good at insulating your body heat, making them ideal for winter hiking
If you’re in search of a rain jacket, this is probably your best bet. Puffy jackets are another good choice for a mid-layer, especially if you’re hiking in cold weather. They’re made of insulating materials like down or synthetic down, which makes them good at trapping your body heat. They’re also usually waterproof, which makes them ideal for hikes in rainy weather.
The outer layer is the final layer of clothing you’ll need to complete your hike-ready outfit. This is the layer that will protect you from the elements, whether it be rain, wind, or snow. Rain jackets and windbreakers are both great options for an outer layer.
Rain jackets are a must-have for any hike in rainy weather. They’re made of waterproof materials like nylon or Gore-Tex, which makes them good at keeping you dry. And they’re usually lightweight and can be easily packed away, making them ideal for hikes.
Windbreakers are another good choice for an outer layer, especially if you’re hiking in windy weather. These items are lightweight materials like nylon or polyester and are usually water-resistant, making them ideal for hikes in rainy weather.
Footwear: Hiking Shoe Options
The final piece of clothing you’ll need for your hike is a good pair of hiking shoes. Hiking boots and trail running shoes are both great options for hiking footwear.
Hiking boots are a good choice for hikes because they offer support and stability. They’re made of waterproof materials like leather or Gore-Tex – perfect materials for keeping your feet dry. And they usually have a higher ankle to provide support.
Trail Running Shoes
Trail running shoes are another good choice for hikes because they’re lightweight and offer excellent traction. They’re made of breathable materials like mesh and have a lower ankle, making them ideal for hiking in rocky terrain.
There you have it! Now you know what to wear hiking, no matter the weather. So get out there and start exploring!
Going On A Trip And Need An RV? Contact Us!
If you’re in need of an RV for your next hike, we’ve got you covered. We offer a wide variety of RVs that are perfect for any adventure. Contact us today and let us help you find the perfect RV for your next hike!