How to Choose the Best Hiking Clothes
The type of clothing and gear you choose are crucial when spending time outdoors. If you bring the wrong jacket or forget a key item, it could put a serious damper on your trip. Whether you’re planning a short hike, weekend trip, or backcountry camping, we have the lowdown on the best clothing and gear for a successful trip.
What to Consider
While “Explore More” or “Take a Hike” cotton clothing may sound like the perfect choice (especially for that Instagram shot for the perfect adventure post), they are actually not practical for outdoor activities. Cotton absorbs water without wicking it away. This will make you feel even sweatier on hot days, and chilly and wet on cold days.
When you’re hiking, backpacking, or camping you should focus on functionality over fashion.
Polyester, nylon, Merino wool, and other synthetic fibers are your best option. They are quick drying and wick sweat away from your skin, keeping you dry and comfortable so that you can really enjoy the outdoors (trust us).
It’s important to anticipate any weather conditions when planning your trip. Relying on the forecast alone may only get you so far. Be prepared for conditions to be hotter, colder, wetter, and even snowier than you predicted. Make sure you have the proper clothes and gear to protect you from any type of weather.
When choosing your clothing and gear, consider comfort, durability, weight, and of course, price. You may have to make compromises, so make sure you decide on your preferences, as well as your budget. Are you willing to sacrifice your budget for lightweight, or weight for durability?
What to Wear
Jackets are a must no matter what time of year or what type of weather conditions you’ll be in. There are hundreds of options, whether for spring/summer or harsh winter jackets. Do some research before you make your decision. Make sure to always pack a jacket in case of rain. Hard shell or waterproof are always great options for rain jackets. They block the rain and wind,but are roomy enough so you won’t get too hot when you sweat. If it’s really wet and muggy out, it wouldn’t hurt to pack a pair of rain pants too.
While shorts may seem like the right choice on hot days, pants may be the best option to protect your legs from dirt, stones, bugs and branches. You can invest in a pair of zip-off pants (preferred by most hikers) so that you don’t have to choose between shorts and pants. Make sure that your pants are durable to prevent tears, allow you to move freely, are water resistant, and have pockets for storage (hiking snacks are always a must).
Boots and Shoes
The shoes or boots you wear will depend on when, where, and the distance you will be hiking. For shorter hikes on well-defined trails, you can go with a pair of lightweight hiking shoes or even a pair of running shoes. For longer hikes on rugged terrain, you will want to invest in quality hiking boots. No matter what type of activity, your shoes must be durable. You can research the best backpacking boots and hiking shoes so you make the right choice for your activity level.
Socks and Gloves
Your socks should be thinner for warm weather, and thicker for colder weather. Your socks should always be taller than the shoes or boots you are wearing. Like your other clothing, you want your socks to be durable, breathable, quick-drying, and moisture-wicking. A good pair of Merino wool socks are a great option. Check out our Collection of Hiking Socks for the best brands and options. You can pack gloves based on your preference and the weather. Mittens are always warmer than gloves. Insulated and waterproof gloves are best for wet or very cold conditions.
Sun protection is an absolute MUST when you’re hiking. Always bring sunscreen whether it is very sunny or not. The level of sunscreen will be based on where you are hiking and the weather. You should also pack a brimmed hat to protect your head and neck. You can also bring a baseball cap; however, make sure to bring a neck gaiter or bandana to protect your neck.
Be prepared with the best hiking gear so you can Own this Journey!