The best hiking clothes for every trip

Are you planning a hiking trip? If you are, then the chances are that you have already made a comprehensive list of what you need to pack. But while packing your gear, don’t forget to pack the right hiking clothes that will protect you from the harsh outdoors. So then, what should you wear while hiking? And what shouldn’t you wear while hiking? 

Your ideal set of hiking clothes should keep you comfortably insulated against unfavourable weather conditions. Temperature and humidity changes can occur during the day, and what started as a warm, humid day can turn into a dry, chilly night. Being unprepared for these conditions might cause discomfort and leave you feeling too tired to enjoy the rest of your trip correctly. 

Your hiking clothes also need to protect you from dirt, dust and any bugs that might be lurking around at night. They should be resistant to wear and tear and allow unhindered movement so that you can move around in them reasonably comfortably. 

The hiking clothes you have to pack should be decided primarily based on the climatic conditions of the place you intend to hike at. It is advisable to look at recent trends in the weather – such as peak temperatures during the day and the night, humidity levels, and the probability of rainfall. You should also learn about the types of bugs that may be present at that particular geographical location, so you can best prepare to stay protected from them. 

You should also be wary of overpacking and taking up valuable space, in addition to adding unnecessary weight to your backpack. It is always better to streamline and find a set of hiking efficient clothes, and adjustable according to any weather changes you might experience. Here are a few things you should keep in mind while deciding what clothes to pack. 

Layering :

Layers are your best friend while taking on the great outdoors. You can either wear all your layers at once when it gets colder or adjust them to provide enough ventilation to your body when it gets warmer. The trick is to find pieces of clothing that best complement each other and provide you with complete protection and comfort. 

Dirt is inevitable :

You should ideally pack hiking clothes that are resistant to wear and tear and can withstand the considerable amount of dirt that is guaranteed to accumulate during your trip. This also means that you should avoid packing multiples of the same piece of clothing to maintain cleanliness because while hiking, dirt is inevitable. 

Function over fashion:

Your hiking clothes don’t have to look the best, and it’s best to pack clothes that can be mixed and matched as per your changing needs throughout your trip. Your clothes should be compatible for layering and be as versatile as possible. The deciding factors should always be comfort and protection because you need to enjoy your trip to the fullest. 

What are your clothes made of? 

The material that your clothes are made of is as important as the purpose they serve. Due to constant exposure to moisture in the form of sweat or even rain, it is of utmost importance that your clothes dry as soon as possible. Hiking clothes made of materials that hold in moisture can cause rashes and hypothermia, which can put a dimmer on the rest of your trip. Synthetic fibres have a moisture-wicking tendency that makes them a perfect fit for hiking. They are highly durable and relatively inexpensive. However, they hold in a lot more odour than natural fibres, so they might start to smell a lot earlier. Natural fibres, especially wool, can keep you warm even when they are wet. The downside is that natural fibres are a lot more expensive and a lot less durable than synthetic fabrics. 

Ease of movement

Your hiking clothes should be somewhat stretchy and allow you to move around with ease. They should not restrict your movement in any way, at any stage of your trip. Avoid packing skin tight clothes and do not provide any ventilation, as they can cause loss of blood circulation. 

What should you wear on the first day? 

Your first-day outfit is the most important because it is what you will be wearing during the journey to your campsite and during the whole process of setting up your tent and mattress. You should wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty and provides enough airflow because you will most likely be doing a lot of physical activity. If it gets colder, you can always add another layer over your outfit, but always remember to dress down and wipe off any residual sweat before you go to bed to reduce the risk of hypothermia. 

 What should you wear to sleep? 

You can layer up or layer down depending on the weather conditions during your trip, but ensure that none of the clothes you wear to bed is wet, especially your socks, because you were likely sweating in them throughout your journey. Wet clothes will only get colder during the period of the night and rapidly bring down your body temperature, causing shivering and a disturbed sleep cycle. In addition to making you feel cold, wet clothes can also make your sleeping bag or camping mattress wet, and the insulation they provide will be rendered ineffective if they get wet. Make sure to pick a sleeping system and a set of clothes that supplement each other and keep you as warm and comfortable as possible throughout the night. 

 What should you wear during the day? 

It is best to change your layers as the day progresses to better adapt to changing weather conditions and the type of activity you plan to do. Your body temperature is bound to rise with an increase in activity, and you will need an ample amount of ventilation to keep you feeling comfortable and refreshed. Layers will also help you save time with changing. Silk and wool are the best choice materials for any skin contact fabrics, such as innerwear and your first layer. They help wick and dry sweat quickly and keep you from feeling sweaty or wet. This also enables you to move more freely and prevent chaffing. 

If the day is considerably warm, start with the basics – comfortable innerwear, a basic t-shirt and shorts or pants. If it gets colder towards the end of the day, you can always add a jacket or a windbreaker to help you warm up. 

Suppose the day is on the colder side, select contact fabrics that will keep you dry. Here too, silk and wool are your best option. Following this, you should add an insulating layer that will protect you from the harsh cold. A viable option here could be polyester fleeces that keep you warm but do not make you uncomfortably hot. 

Cold weather can also sometimes imply rainfall. If your campsite is experiencing rainfall, you want to add a layer that prevents the rain from making you wet and allows any sweat to escape. This layer can be jackets made of synthetic waterproof material, raincoats or goloshes. Avoid non – breathable fabrics such as PVC, which is waterproof but doesn’t allow sweat to evaporate. This can lead to your body overheating and will cause considerable discomfort. 

What additional accessories should you pack? 

In addition to your hiking clothes, it is best to bring a few accessories according to the weather. In the case of warm, sunny weather, pack a sun hat or a snapback cap to protect your face and eyes from the harsh sunlight. For colder weather, a pair of well-insulated gloves and a beanie or woollen scarf can go a long way in protecting your hands and neck from becoming uncomfortably cold. It would help if you also packed several pairs of socks, as it is best to change out sweaty socks to keep your feet from becoming too cold. In addition to this, you could also pack an umbrella if you’re expecting a substantial amount of rainfall. 

What other factors should you consider while packing? 

While your priority should be to pack hiking clothes that best suit the weather conditions, you should also consider other external factors like bugs, such as mosquitoes and ticks. This is why it is best to wear long-sleeved t-shirts and full – length pants even in sunny weather. In addition to keeping you safe from bug bites, they also make sure that your skin is not directly exposed to the sun. You should also apply a bug repellent and SPF generously to add an extra layer of protection. Also, pack a pair of sunglasses to keep your eyes shielded from the sun. Invest in a couple of high – quality hiking shoes that do not cause chafing or blistering on your feet. If you plan to get your feet wet in a creek or a beach, bring a pair of sandals and avoid using your hiking shoes in the water. 

Laundry on the go:

The hiking clothes you use as outer layers (jackets, scarves, beanies, etc.) can be used and reused, but any skin contact fabric that you have been sweating in all day can be washed on the go with water and mild soap. Remember not to use harsh detergents, as they will require considerably more water to be washed off thoroughly. Wring your washed clothes mildly, and set them to dry on a flat surface in a designated area of the tent where they will not be mistaken for dirty clothes. This will make it easier for you to determine which clothes can be reused and which clothes are dirty, especially while packing up. Once you return home from your trip, make sure to wash and sterilize all your hiking clothes to clean out any residual dirt or bacteria. 

What should you pack for your top layer? 

Long-Sleeved Shirt:

These shirts are a godsend, even in hot weather, because they protect your torso completely from the harsh weather conditions. If you are hiking in a warm/ hot location, pack a button-down desert shirt. They are made of light, tightly – woven fabric and protect you from the sun and mosquitoes without making you feel too hot or sweaty. Zip-neck shirts are made using stretchy fabric and provide insulation when layered over a shirt. They also come with short zippers that can be opened up if you want a bit of ventilation. 

The Nike Women’sWomen’s Dry Fit Element Half Zip Running Top:

This long-sleeved t-shirt is made of 88% polyester and 12% spandex to provide insulation while being moisture-wicking. It has a short, chest-length zipper. The collar goes up to mid-neck length to protect you from bug bites. The top has reflected elements integrated to reflect sunlight which falls on the fabric and protects the user from overheating. The reflective elements also provide increased visibility during low – light conditions. The top has a straight hemline with short slits up the side for ventilation. Buy the Nike Women’sWomen’s Dry Fit Element Half Zip Running Top here.  

Columbia’s Silver Ridge Lite:

This top is made of Omni – Wick fabric, which pulls moisture away from your body and ensures that sweat dries up faster. The fabric has a UPF rating of 40 and blocks UVA and UVB rays to help prevent sunburns and skin damage, even after prolonged exposure. It also has an antimicrobial treatment to prevent the generation of odour. There are vents on the back of the top to promote airflow. The sleeves have roll-up tabs, so you can roll up the sleeves if you want added ventilation. Buy the Columbia Silver Ridge Lite here.

Short-Sleeved Shirt:

Short-sleeved shirts are often lightweight and dry reasonably quickly and are made of synthetic or wool. They are the perfect addition to your hiking clothes for warmer weather to keep you feeling airy. Added sun protection might be needed to prevent sunburns and rashes entirely, and you might need to apply an ample amount of bug repellent.  

The Nike Men’s Legend Short Sleeve Tee:

This short-sleeved shirt is made of 100% polyester and has a flat – seam construction that minimizes chafing. It is lightweight, which makes it perfect for summertime. It has a Premium Dri – FIT fabrication that offers high-quality moisture-wicking and pulls sweat from your body to keep you dry. It also enables unhindered movement. Buy the Nike Men’sMen’s Legend Short Sleeve Tee here. 

Under Armour Women’sWomen’s Tech V-Neck Twist Short Sleeve T-Shirt:

This top has a loose cut and a more generous and relaxed fit. It is made of HeatGear fabric and wicks moisture and regulated body temperature. It is lightweight and has a four-way stretch construction to allow for unrestricted movement. The anti-odour technology prevents odour, so you are guaranteed to feel fresh all day long. Buy the Under Armour Women’sWomen’s Tech V – Neck Twist Short Sleeve T-Shirt here.

Tank tops:

Tank tops are the ideal hiking clothes for humid days or quick swims in a creek. However, you should remember to apply sunscreen and bug repellent generously. 

Vuori Tradewind Performance Tank Top:

This tank top has been made with a trademarked perforated mesh that provides ample ventilation while moisture-wicking and quick drying. It will ensure that the user is comfortable and agile throughout the day. It is made of 89% polyester and 11% spandex, which means it has an excellent resistance to wear and tear. Buy the Vuori Tradewind Performance Tank Top here.

Nike AeroSwift Running Vest:

The Nike AeroSwift technology guarantees exceptional mobility and is extremely lightweight. The breathable design and slim fit will keep you well ventilated from the start to the finish of your hike. It is made of 75% recycled polyester fibres and is moisture-wicking. The fabric at the neck and armholes is bonded to provide optimal coverage without increasing the vest’s weight. Buy the Nike AeroSwift Running Vest here. 

Synthetic jackets:

Synthetic jackets are essential to keep you warm during the night, which is why they should be a staple in your collection of hiking clothes. They are typically lightweight and can be packed compactly in your hiking backpack. They also provide an additional layer of protection in the case of rain or snow and will keep you from getting wet. 

Mountain Hardwear Men’s Ghost Whisperer 2 Hoody:

The Ghost Whisperer is a puffy jacket with 800 – fill RDS certified breathable Goose down. It is made of 100% recycled and ultralight shell fabric that is puncture-proof. It also has a DWR finish, meaning it will protect you from becoming wet. This jacket is extremely lightweight, at only 8 oz and can be packed easily. Buy the Mountain Hardwear Men’sMen’s Ghost Whisperer 2 Hoody here.

REI Co-Op Stormhenge 850 Down Jacket:

This puffy jacket has a 2 – layer Nylon shell featuring fully sealed edges for maximum protection in harsh weather conditions. It has 850 fill power Goose down and can be packed compactly. The jacket also has an insulated 3 – way hood for additional protection. It has four zippers, which can be opened and closed to regulate body heat as needed. Buy the REI Co-Op Stormhenge 850 Down Jacket here.

What should you pack for your bottom layer? 

Hiking pants:

Pack hiking pants that are lightweight and made of synthetic fibres or which have moisture-wicking properties. They should be resistant to wear and tear and provide enough protection from sunlight and bugs. 

North Face Men’s Convertible Hiking Exploration Outdoor Trouser –

These pants are perfect for hiking because they are made of synthetic microfibre fabric, which provides sun protection and favour moisture removal. The fabric is stretchable and lightweight. It is made of 95% Nylon and 5% Elastane. Buy the North Face Men’sMen’s Convertible Hiking Exploration Outdoor Trouser here.

REI Co-op Sahara Convertible Pants – Women’s:

REI’s Co-Op Sahara Convertible pants can be converted into shorts using a zipper. These pants are versatile and lightweight. The nylon blend fabric dries quickly and has a water-repelling finish. It has a UPF 50+ rating and provides considerable protection against the sun. Buy the REI Co-Op Sahara Convertible Pants here.

What hiking shoes should you pack? 

Hiking pants:

The ideal pair of hiking boots should be lightweight and provide extra support to your feet. Check for padded soles which are durable and resistant to moisture.  

Salomon XA Pro 3D V8 Trail – Running Shoes:

These hiking shoes are built to provide maximum comfort to your feet, even in the harshest of terrains. They are perfect for people with narrower feet but are also available in wide sizes for those who need them. These shoes have 3D chassis and EnergyCell midsoles, which provide added stability. Buy the Salomon XA Pro 3D V8 Trail running shoes here. 

Hedgehog Fastpack II WP Hiking Shoes:

The Hedgehog Fastpack comprises polyurethane-coated leather and synthetic nubuck uppers with abrasion-resistant mesh. It also has a DryVent waterproof membrane to keep your feet dry in any weather condition. These shoes also feature single-density EVA midsoles to provide your feet with the maximum level of comfort. Buy the Hedgehog Fastpack II WP Hiking Shoes

Bottom Line: 

The hiking clothes you pack should offer the maximum possible comfort and protection while being versatile enough to adapt to changes in the weather. Check the weather predictions for your hiking site, and pack only what you think is necessary. Invest in a good jacket and shoes because they offer maximum protection from the elements. Less is more, and you should pack hiking clothes that can be layered and streamlined to ensure that you have the best hiking experience possible. 

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