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What To Wear On Your Next Hiking Trip

by TheSurvivor
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If you’re looking for a way to get away from your tightly packed schedule, to disconnect from the world of advanced technology, and to simply reconnect with nature, then hiking trip is the activity for you. The beauty in hiking trip lies in its simplicity. It requires next to no gear and costs you almost nothing. Just drive to the trailhead and set out into the wilderness! But clothing is a factor that requires some consideration when you’re planning a hiking trip. So, here are some tips and tricks that will help you navigate the variables of this low impact workout at a hiking trip in terms of clothing: 

Factors to Consider While Choosing Hiking Trip Clothing

What To Wear On Your Next Hiking Trip
Photo by: EXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHER

Location: The conditions of the trail you’re planning to hike in is important while choosing your articles of clothing. You’ll need more coverage if you’re going for an extended hike in a forest canopied by overhanging trees and significantly less coverage during summer. It’s best to wear long sleeves and pants if you’re in an area where insects reside. 

Comfort:

While there isn’t any particular dress code for hiking, you need to pay attention to your clothing to make sure you’re comfortable. You might be facing a slight drizzle or even a spike in the temperature. And during these unprecedented moments, the clothes you’re wearing will determine whether your journey will be a fulfilling one or not. 

The fit of the clothing is important too. Tight clothing limits your movement and causes you to feel restricted instead. On the other hand, a roomier outfit provides more flexibility and motion. The material has to be chosen carefully too. You don’t want cotton outfits if the temperature is warm. They absorb your sweat and the resulting experience is pretty abysmal. 

Versatility:

You can’t use the same outfit on every hike. Different terrains require a versatile range of clothing. The wrong hiking gear can lead to dehydration, overhydration, sunburns, and even sunstrokes. Some hiking outfits can be used on multiple terrains and in different seasons such as shirts with sleeves that can be rolled up or pants that can be folded into shorts. The price may be a tad steep. But the investment is usually worth it! 

You might be also interested in: Best Hiking & Trekking Shoes of 2020

Hiking Trip: Tips for Beginners 

What To Wear On Your Next Hiking Trip
Photo by: Ascent Xmedia

It’s hard to anticipate what changes the temperature might bring on the day of your hike. And if you’ve never visited your chosen destination before, you might come across some unexpected challenges! So it’s best to stay prepared. Here are some tips you should keep in mind:

Pick the right trail for a Hiking Trip

Don’t pick challenging spots on your first go. Hiking is more strenuous than walking. So even if you’re used to jogging or running for a couple of miles, start slow. There are ups and downs, prolonged ascend, and even unexpected traps set by nature. Once you’ve done this activity a couple of times, you can figure out which trails work best for you. 

Do some background research on your trail

Once you’ve chosen a trail, you need to familiarize yourself with it. It’s not too hard to find a map online and go through some tips and reviews. You can find the perfect spot for a break or look for hidden alcoves that provide a wonderful view. Online resources can also help you avoid wrong turns or dangerous paths! 

Look into the weather

You should always check the weather conditions before you head off to your hike. It’ll help you pack the right things and dress accordingly. Think there’s a slight possibility of rain? Carry waterproof clothing articles or even umbrellas. And if the predictions are worse, it’s time for a change of plans. 

You should always carry these essentials

You never know what you’ll come across when you’re in the great outdoors. So depending on the length of your trek, you need to keep a few things in hand- water, a navigation system, some food, sun protection, insulated clothing, and first aid supplies. You should also carry some matches and a tent if you’re planning a longer trek too. But whatever you pick, make sure it’s light! Go for travel-sized options rather than large items you found on sale. 

Wear the right clothes for Hiking Trip

You don’t want to wear clothes that easily chafe your skin or make you feel clammy. Dress comfortably! Polyester is the popular choice not only for wicking away moisture but also because it is affordable and easily available, as you can tell from the graph below. 

Bring layers of clothing so you can adjust according to the temperature. If you live in a colder climate, always carry an extra pair of gloves, and wear a good pair of socks and shoes! Blisters in the middle of a hike is an experience you’d best avoid. 

Reference: https://qz.com/414223/if-your-clothes-arent-already-made-out-of-plastic-they-will-be/

Appreciate and conserve nature

A hike is the best way to reconnect with nature. And you’ll undoubtedly stumble across a scene that you’ll want to be etched in your memory. So don’t ruin the experience for others. Pick up after yourself and leave no trace of your presence.

The Basic Articles of Your Hiking Trip Outfit

What To Wear On Your Next Hiking Trip
Photo by: Peopleimages

Underwear

Your underwear plays a huge role in your flexibility and comfort, so it’s vital for you to choose the right ones! As mentioned before, it’s best to stick to polyester or nylon materials rather than cotton ones. Otherwise, it may lead to chafing that won’t recover in a day or two. 

Baselayer 

The base layer top helps you regulate your body temperature. So you should look into choices that help wick away sweat and keep you dry. They come in a variety of sizes and designs – short-sleeved, long-sleeved, and even in protective UPF materials! 

Bottoms 

Everyone has one’s own preferences when it comes to bottoms. Some are comfortable in long pants while others prefer shorts. But what you need to keep in mind is that whatever you’re getting, make sure it dries quickly. The terrain is also an important factor here. If you’re going up a rocky trail, you’re susceptible to injuries, so it’s best to wear long pants. Shorts are preferable in flat plains and long summer days. 

Jackets 

Choosing this article of clothing is wholly dependent on the weather and season. You wouldn’t need to carry a jacket during summer but if your hiking zone is prone to light drizzles, it’s best to keep a waterproof jacket in hand. 

Boots 

It’s important to pick a pair of shoes that fits you comfortably. The market now offers a variety of styles. There are even sandals designed for hiking. But ultimately, it comes down to the weather conditions and the trail terrain. Different areas call for different types of shoes. You need stronger boots in rocky or hilly areas whereas you can get away with sandals on a flat plain. 

Socks

Just avoid cotton and you’re good to go. Cotton leads to blisters and bruises. Does anything more need to be said? 

Caps

Caps aren’t an absolute necessity but a nifty item to carry anyway. It protects your eyes and face from the blinding sun. It keeps your head warm from the harsh winter. Plus, they’re pretty fashionable. There’s one for every season! 

How to Layer Your Hiking Trip Clothes 

Photo by: RyanJLane

Each layer of your hiking outfit serves a specific purpose, so you have to pick them carefully. Here is the sequence you should try:

Underwear

You need to start with a comfortable synthetic or wool underwear. And since this the item of clothing remains closest to your skin, make sure it wicks and directs moisture away from your skin.

Baselayer

Depending on your personal preference and the season, the baselayer top can be of two types-

  1. T-shirts:

These are perfect for hikes around spring, summer, or fall. It’s usually more humid and they help you stay cool throughout the day. They also dry swiftly! Hiking veterans suggest wearing a polyester or wool technical tee during these times.

  1. Long-sleeved shirts:

The best fabric for these types of shirts is the kind that wicks and regulates the temperature. You can also find lightweight shirts made for the summer. Not only do they prevent you from getting sunburnt but they also subtly fend off mosquitos from your skin.

  1. Pullovers

Pullovers or jackets aren’t limited to the winter season only. Windproof or waterproof jackets come in handy in places prone to temperamental weather. Fleece, wool, synthetic or down pullovers help retain heat in colder climates. This is because once you’re hiking, these pullovers and jackets will help you trap all the heat you generated. 

Fabrics to Avoid for a Hiking Trip

You don’t want clothes that cause perspiration cling to your body. And you definitely don’t want your hiking outfit to chafe your skin. Your outfit should be moisture-wicking and quick drying. So here are two fabrics that you should avoid religiously when getting ready for a hike. These are blasphemous to regular hikers! 

Cotton

Cotton is comfortable, non-itchy, and breathable. So why shouldn’t you wear it during a hike? But cotton absorbs moisture and is poor at regulating temperature. So your clothes will get damp, you’ll be left uncomfortable and irritable, and you’ll be susceptible to colds! 

This means you need to avoid cotton underwear and socks too. Cotton also takes a long time to dry, so if you’re soaked, you’ll lose your body heat shortly afterward. The fabric also gets really heavy once it soaks in moisture. So you’ll be carrying around an unwanted, added weight to your entire hike.

Denim 

Jeans are durable and sturdy, not to mention fashionable. Have you ever seen anyone work out wearing jeans? Why not? Quick recap: Denim is cotton. So, wearing jeans in the form of pants or jackets is an awful idea for a hike. And they’re worse in rainy or cold weather. They’re also very stiff and limit your locomotion. 

Since it’s made of a thick cotton fabric, it can take up to hours to dry if it gets wet. And in a wet or cold climate, it can freeze up! So, you won’t just catch a cold, you might catch hypothermia too. And this is where the term ‘cotton kills’ originates from. Jeans made of 100% cotton? Say goodbye to it during a hike! 

Fabrics You Need for a Hiking Trip

Hiking is a fulfilling experience but can quickly turn sour without the right outfit. The wrong fabric can bring unnecessary troubles, starting from dehydration all the way to hypothermia. The hidden dangers of hiking can be easily avoided with the right clothes. So, here’s a list of fabrics you should gravitate towards:

Polyester 

Polyester is a common choice of fabric when it comes to hiking. The material is breathable and lightweight. You also won’t have to worry about it chafing your skin unless you have sensitive skin. Most polyester clothing are blended with other synthetic fabrics to deliver the best properties. Because of this, it works as a great base layer. Polyester clothing also comes at cheap prices. 

Merino Wool

This fabric defies all notions of wool being itchy or irritable. It comes from a breed of sheep renowned for its soft wool. And this is one of the most sought-after fabric in colder climates. It doesn’t weigh as much as woolen, Christmas sweaters do. You also don’t have to worry about stinking. The fabric may be lightweight but it insulates really well. And contrary to most wool clothing, it supports ventilation too! The only catch is that it comes with a steep price tag. 

Nylon 

The first synthetic fiber comes in third place because, despite its advantages, it does absorb a little moisture. Nylon is not oleophilic so it won’t carry any residual stench. The fabric is popular because of its durability and resistance. It’s also an ideal choice when you’re looking for windproof materials. 

Down 

Down jackets are popular in colder climates or mountainous terrains. They aren’t the best choice in wet areas but some of these overalls come with a waterproof layer. The best attribute of this fabric is its ability to seal in warmth. They’re also portable, so you can easily pack them inside your bag after use. 

Fleece

Fleece is perhaps the most breathable fabric in this list. But that also means that it can’t seal in warmth. That’s why this lightweight material always needs a shell layer along with it. The fabric is ideal in warm climates as it doesn’t absorb moisture and has insulating properties. 

Hiking Trip Outfits for Summer

Hiking in the summer is a great experience. But for those who aren’t used to the heat, it can get tiresome pretty quickly. The heat has many downsides too. And the danger of falling ill is always lurking around. This is why it’s important to keep note of the environmental hazards of your chosen trail and to wear the right articles of clothing. 

You have a plethora of choices for summer. Just stick to breathable, wickable clothes and you’re in the safe zone. Summer also means you can play around with your outfit. So, bring out the pretty, light colors that reflect heat and keep you cool on the unbearable days. 

Polyester, nylon, and fleece should be your ideal choice of fabric during this time. But if you’re on a tropical island and decided to give one of their trails a go, you should probably consider wearing a cotton shirt. The hydrophilic fabric is slow to dry and can actually help cool your body in the blistering heat. 

You’re also recommended to stick to hiking sandals in humid areas. A must-have item in your summer hiking trip is a cap; if you’re feeling fashionable, perhaps sunglasses too. An added layer of protection for your eyes and face is always appreciated by your body. 

Hiking Trip Outfits for Winter 

Hiking in winter is a whole new challenge. But you can easily tackle it with layers of clothing. It’s important for you to cover every inch of your skin. Follow the three-layer principle- you need a base layer to wick moisture, a mid layer to insulate and a shell layer to fend away the wind. The gist of the outfit is to stay warm without sweating. But the key to hiking in winter is to stay dry. Wet clothes on a cruel winter day will undoubtedly lead to frostbite and hypothermia. So, stay dry and don’t expose your skin. 

Your nose, cheeks, neck, ears, hands, and feet require special attention. So make sure you wear gloves, socks, and warm hats. Wear a scarf for an additional layer of protection. And if you’re trekking on snow, you should consider wearing waterproof boots. Another important thing you need to remember is to not wear clothes that are too tight. Circulation is important and anything interfering with that will be detrimental to your health. 

Conclusion 

Hiking is a therapeutic experience that can help create a relationship with nature and friends. But nature can be unpredictable and can change the environment within moments. So it’s best to be prepared beforehand. Let this article help you brace yourself against unfamiliar terrains, temperamental weather, and bitter climates. Let us know what you plan to wear on your next hiking trip!

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