Wearing the right clothing materials would definitely add value to your hiking experience. You may end up saving a lot of money down the road. So let us dive into the basics and get you on that trail in comfort and style!
Table of Contents:
- What are the important factors when choosing hiking clothes?
- What are the basic essentials for hiking?
- What is the best underwear for hiking?
- What kind of shirt should I wear hiking?
- What pants should I wear hiking?
- What is the best jacket for hiking?
- What kind of socks are best for hiking?
- What kind of shoes are best for hiking?
- What is the best hat for hiking?
- How do I choose hiking gloves?
- How to dress for the weather in every season on a hike?
- What to wear hiking in the Spring and Fall season?
- How should I dress for a summer hike?
- What to wear hiking in the Winter?
Important Factors When Choosing Hiking Clothing
These are some of the factors you need to consider when shopping for hiking clothes:
Wearing the right hiking clothes is essential. The environment up in the mountains can fluctuate and you need to ensure that you have the right attire to adjust appropriately to the changing climate. Your hiking clothes must be made of synthetic materials that can keep you dry as you start to sweat more while on the hike. The clothing material must be soft, lightweight, and moisture-wicking.
While it may be tempting to wear hiking clothes made of cotton, this is not the best idea. Cotton may be comfortable but not for hiking, as it traps sweat and moisture. This means that you will stay wet, and wearing damp clothes will quickly give you the chills, especially as you head up the mountain and the temperature drops.
As mentioned, investing in moisture-wicking materials for your hiking clothes is important. Wicking materials move sweat away from the body—choose polyester, nylon, and merino wool. These materials will keep you comfortable throughout your hike.
Aside from the material, consider how the clothing fits. Instead of prioritising how you will look, you should first consider the comfort level of the clothing. Choose clothes with a looser fit that will provide you with more flexibility and comfort. Fortunately, with so many hiking clothing pieces to choose from, you will be able to find pieces that will provide you with comfort and look good at the same time.
Quality hiking gear is essential, but that also means you need to be willing to spend a bit more. With that, choose clothing pieces that are versatile, which means clothes that you can use for multiple purposes. Some of the best examples are lightweight hiking shirts with long sleeves that you can roll up and convertible pant legs that zip off into shorts
Now, let’s go down to the basics! Here are some of the basic clothing essentials you should get for your hiking expedition:
Did you know that your choice of underwear when going for a hike can make a huge difference in your level of comfort? That is why you need to choose the right pair to wear.
The first thing you need to know is to avoid cotton and choose breathable options that are made from a synthetic material, such as merino wool or polyester. As mentioned, these materials can wick moisture away from the skin and dry quickly.
There are various styles of underwear you can choose from. In this case, you only need to choose ones that are comfortable. However, keep in mind that the fit is also important, so make sure that it’s snug and fits you perfectly.
Last but not least, consider features such as tagless waistbands and flat seams. Another excellent feature is a comfortable waistband. The fly, for most men, is essential. However, there are some underwear that do not have an opening. So, if you prefer having a fly, make sure you choose an underwear that has this feature.
When it comes to choosing shirts, look for wicking materials, whether it’s a base layer or a short-sleeved shirt, the shirt needs to wick away sweat to keep you comfortable and dry. If you plan on being under the sun for the most part of the hike, the best shirt to wear is a long-sleeved one that is UPF-rated.
Cargo pants and shorts are popular types of bottoms because they provide additional storage to stash your things. Yoga pants and tights are also perfect for flexibility, but they are not the best to wear when you have to go through bushes and sandstones. When it is extremely cold, fleece pants are a nice mid-layer addition.
When choosing between pants or shorts, weigh the pros and cons. Shorts will give you ultimate freedom and they are definitely cooler than pants. A pair of shorts is perfect for a low-altitude summer hike. On the other hand, pants will keep you more protected from hazards and keep you warmer when the temperature drops as you gain elevation.
When choosing a jacket for your hike, consider the season and the weather. Make sure that it is packable, waterproof, and windproof. Polyester fleece jackets are best for colder conditions, while a rain jacket is, of course, best for soggy weather.
However, keep in mind that jackets that are water and wind-resistant do not entirely block rain and wind, which means they offer only moderate weather protection. Furthermore, jackets that are waterproof might not be windproof.
Jackets sporting “fleece” are typically made of polyester, which provides warmth, while finding a combination of polyester and nylon materials instead can keep you warm and protect you from both rain and wind.
Consider the height, cushioning, fabric, and fit when shopping for socks. Choose the right height by inspecting your footwear—the higher the cuffs are on your shoes, the taller you want the socks to be to protect your skin from rubbing directly against your footwear.
When it comes to the cushioning, this will depend on the type of hike and the weather you expect. Thicker socks may offer the best protection against debris and other elements on the trail, but they can cause your feet to sweat.
To find the right pair of socks, you may need to experiment to find the right balance of cushion and warmth that works for you. It is helpful to have a variety of socks to choose from.
Now, for the fabric, socks are rarely made from a single fabric, but instead, from a combination that offers the right balance of warmth, comfort, durability, and fast-drying. Wool is the most popular hiking sock material because it can regulate temperature to keep the feet from getting sweaty; at the same time, socks made from wool provide extra cushioning.
The fit of the socks is important as well—to know the right size, you need to know the size of your actual foot instead of your shoe size. Remember that people have bigger sizes in shoes, which can end up with you buying socks that are too large. If you do not know the size of your feet, you can stop by a shoe store to help you find your correct measurements.
When choosing a pair of hiking shoes, the most important factor is the fit. No matter how well a shoe is constructed, it will not function properly if it does not fit you well. To find the right fit, you need to understand feet, shoes, and the choices of shoes. Here are some of the factors you need to consider when choosing a pair of hiking shoes:
- Length from heel to toe
- Arch length
- Width of the foot
- Volume of the foot
Your personal preference is an important factor here, which is why you should also consider what you find most comfortable. Also, think about the weather condition and the trail terrain. If you are hiking on a flat trail, you can get away with comfy sneakers. However, if you know that there is elevated terrain that you have to go through, you will need to invest in a pair of hiking boots with ankle protection.
Hats are not only to protect you from the sun, but you should also have one on during the winter to keep your head warm. Choose the right hat depending on the season and the level of protection you need. If it is going to be a warm hike and in the middle of the day,find a hat that will keep your head protected from UV rays and at the same time, protect your neck and face, too. You will also find it helpful to find a hat that is breathable and can wick away moisture so that your head will stay cool all throughout the hike.
At GearTop, we offer different options for your personalized sun hat needs. The first one is theDiscoverer Series which comes with removable features and it will protect your face, ears, and neck from the harmful rays of the sun. It features a unique design that offers 360-degree protection with a wide brim, removable neck flaps, mesh face cover, and adjustable draw cords. It comes in four colors, too!
We also have theExplorer Series that will provide you maximum protection against bugs and dust. It features a removable mosquito net that is breathable and long to keep your face and neck protected. You can also adjust it to your size through a chin strap and an adjustable drawstring.
On the other hand, if you want to keep it simple and you will be hiking in cool weather, theNavigator Series will be a great choice. It will protect your face and head from the sun and heat, plus it features a mesh design that will let moisture and heat easily escape, keeping your head cool at all times.
You can check out all of our other sun hatshere!
Remember that the weather up in the mountains can be unpredictable, and keeping your head and eyes protected from the harmful rays of the sun or rainfall should be your priority.
There are many styles of gloves you can choose from today. However, it is essential you shop for fit and function. Gloves that are too loose means you will have extra space to warm up, which can lead to cold spots on extremely cold days. On the other hand, if the fit is too tight, it can cut off circulation to your fingers that will make your hands cold and numb much quicker.
Gloves should also provide you with the right grip, that will let you hold onto things securely, such as when you will use hiking poles. Moreover, gloves can protect your hands from getting blisters as you hold onto the poles. For mobile phones, you need a pair that is compatible with a touch screen, so you don’t have to take them off should you need to use your mobile phone. As much as possible, you shouldn’t take off your gloves to send a text or answer a call. Today, you can find hiking gloves that are touchscreen compatible and you do not need to remove them at all when you need to text, or you want to use your GPS. Check out ourselection of gloves here.
What To Wear According To The Season
You wouldn’t wear your sports attire to a fancy dinner date, in the same way you wouldn’t wear a formal attire or a dress to go on a hike. That would be disastrous! Well, here are some general tips for choosing the most appropriate outerwear by season:
Spring And Fall
The rule for layering your pieces of clothing is the same for both Spring and Fall. For your shoes, it is ideal to wear a pair of boots because this can provide more traction and support. Additionally, the shoes can keep the feet dry. Make sure you bring a packable waterproof and windproof jacket to keep you warm and dry during these unpredictable seasons. A hat is also always a must for protection from harmful UV rays - yes, you still need to protect yourself from the sun, even if it's not necessarily hot outside.
A long-sleeved hiking shirt followed by a short- or long-sleeved wicking base layer are necessary. You can also throw in a zip-up fleece jacket should the temperature get chilly. Don’t forget to wear a pair of light gloves as well, to protect your hands from the weather, blisters, and to give you excellent grip as you hold onto your hiking poles.
The good thing about the summer season is you do not have to worry about layering too much. However, when choosing hiking clothes for the season, be mindful of the environmental hazards you will be exposed to, such as ticks, snakes, and poisonous plants. You must also consider the terrain. Make sure to wear UV clothing to keep you protected from the harmful rays of the sun. Protect your head as well by wearing sun hats that can give you facial, as well as ear and neck protection. Our selection of sun hats provide different levels of protection and comfort levels that will suit every need.
Get pieces of breathable wicking clothing and stick to lighter colors because they can keep you cooler on hot days.
Hiking during the winter season is more challenging. During this season, it is important to layer up. Your base layer must have enough insulating properties, along with a middle layer, and lastly, a waterproof or windproof outer layer. Throw in a pair of hiking boots, warm socks, a beanie hat, and a pair of gloves for a comfortable winter hike.
Whether you are hiking for just a couple of hours or a day's hike, the most basic essential that most hikers tend to neglect is a hat, especially during summer. Stay protected from the harmful rays of the sun and what nature may throw at you, such as bugs and insects.
Check out ourDiscoverer Series Sun Hat, you will get 360 degrees protection with its removable flaps. If you want to step down a notch we got you covered.
Our Navigator Series Hats would be perfect for any outdoor enthusiast while making sure you get UPF 50+ protection all day. It’s even so stylish that you can use it as a daily hat as you go on with your daily routine. These hats come with UPF 50+ protection as well.