Once a while we all get a strange urge to run for the hills and find some semblance of peace in the lap of nature. Anyone who’s planning for a hiking trip has known the importance of having the right equipment and attire. You’ll be far away from civilization and all its comforts, completely at the mercy of nature. It’s best that you’re prepared for such an ordeal.
Don’t worry, we got you covered. So, before you dress up, take a moment to take these factors into consideration. Check out the “What to Wear on a Hike” guide below:
The best hiking clothes are made of synthetic material that soaks up the moisture and sweat, keeping you dry and warm. Opt for soft, lightweight and moisture-absorbing fabrics. Also, ensure that your clothes fit you well. Wearing too tight clothes would be suffocating and lose clothes will leave you cold.
Polyester and merino wool are smart choices for hikers who plan on traveling up higher, colder altitudes. Fleece jackets and nylon clothing are also pretty soft and breathable, great for long-term traveling.
Avoid cotton tees and denim as they get super itchy super quick. Cotton might seem like a good choice in the sweltering heat. But when the temperature drops, the fabric can be an absolute nightmare.
Choose a pair of trousers that fit you snugly and are not tight enough to hinder the free movement of your limbs. The hiking trails are often marked by sudden twists and turns. You’ll have to maneuver your way through rocks and boulders, branches and trees.
So, stretchy tights or yoga pants are a big NO. Also, avoid denim like plague on a hike. A pair of jeans provides no protection against the cold; it gets itchy with long-time usage and is cumbersome to clean.
If you’re hiking in warmer or more moderate weather conditions, a pair of shorts is a comfortable and convenient option. For starters, shorts give you greater freedom of movement and secondly they are cooler. Pants are suitable for the high-altitude trails.
The choice of attire depends on a lot of factors- the climatic conditions, the topography, and your stamina to name a few. A fleece jacket keeps you warm enough and also provides ample cushioning in case you’re hurt. Puffy insulates jackets are more suitable for warmer terrains. A weatherproof jacket is a boon for hikers- it keeps you dry when the weather turns sour.
You can never really predict the weather with absolute accuracy. What looks like a cloudless blue sky might suddenly give way to a heavy downpour. Pack a raincoat or trench-coat to avoid getting drenched to the bone and catching hypothermia.
Boots and Socks
We’re not hobbits, so obviously walking barefoot in the hills is not a good idea. Also, you cannot possibly think of hiking in your strappy heels or casual flip-flops! What you need is a good sturdy pair of boots that makes walking even the toughest of terrain seems like a piece of cake.
The footwear should be comfortable, breathable, and appropriate for the terrain you’re traveling in. Ensure that the shoes are the right fit. Too tight and you get blisters, a bit loose and it slips off your feet!
Never wear boots without socks- that’s a sure shot way of getting blisters and cuts. The socks need to be higher than your hiking boots. Keep a couple of extra pairs handy, in case the ones you’re wearing are soiled or wet.
The Right Underwear
You can wear the best hiking jackets and boots but it all accounts to nothing if your underwear is itchy and irritating. For men, boxers, briefs or boy shorts are ideal. Ladies can pack in their most comfortable panties (nothing fancy or lacy). Cotton is still is a no-no, find something that fits well, doesn’t chafe and is easy to clean.
Also, don’t carry racy lingerie. The good old push-up bra (without the plastic/metallic straps), a camisole and tank top are enough. Wearing additional innerwear over your undies provides further support and warmth. However, it is your personal choice. Some hikers find the innerwear uncomfortable as it bunches up inside your shirt.
The best way to dress up for a hike is to layer your clothes strategically. The layers namely, the first, middle and outer layer can be added or done away with depending on the trail you’re following. The first layer comprises of your underwear, inner shirt, and trousers. The middle layer is the fleece jacket or plaid that provides warmth and insulation against the chilly winds.
The top layer includes a rain jacket or a trench coat that protects you when the weather turns sour. Also, pack in some accessories like hats, gloves, socks, extra shorts and shirts for emergency situations.
Layering your clothes also provide support and cushioning to your bones. On the downside, wearing a lot of clothes adds on to your body weight and restricts free movement.
Other Tips to Remember
Here are some additional tips you should keep in mind:
• Wear long-sleeved shirts, full-length trousers, and hats if you’re walking through woodlands
• Avoid cotton, denim, and other itchy or thin fabrics
• Carry a bug spray, some sunscreen, and bandages to protect your skin
• Nylon or polyester clothes are considered best for hiking. Everything from your underwear to the shirts and weatherproof jackets should preferably be of lightweight, breathable fabric
• If it’s your first hike, avoid adding too many layers of clothes as it would only add to your weight and tire you out easily.
The Bottom Line
Wearing the right hiking outfit not only keep you comfortable during the trip but also gives you a chance to actually enjoy the strenuous outdoor adventure to the fullest. You don’t want to be sweaty, itchy and cold up in the mountains, do you? So, gear up, pack your bags and head outside- it’s a beautiful world out there!