When it comes to a hiking attire, there is no-one-size-fit-all hiking attire. The variables that tend to change your apparel needs are terrain, distance, temperature, and the duration of hike. It is crucial to find the right kind of clothing and footwear for your hike.
Hiking or an adventure camp is something we look forward to and get excited about. We take hiking personally and it requires lots of preparations, trial and error and putting together your curated list of hiking essentials.
If you are not properly prepared, an unforeseen weather change could ruin your trek and jeopardize your further planning. One thing you must not do is underestimating the weather conditions that await on the trail. For ensuring that your summer hiking goes as smooth as possible, opt for clothes that are a perfect blend of comfort and style.
What to wear hiking?
You cannot wait to hit the trails, right? Get going with the following checklist of the most basic hiking attire requirements.
Pants that are sturdy and comfortable
We all are no strangers to the fact that trails have many twists and turns. So, you need to move freely. Try opting for a flexible and moisture-wicking material that is best for your bottoms.
A moisture-wicking top
Before you start off with the trail/hike, study the weather conditions first. Most people opt for moisture-wicking material made of nylon, polyester, or merino.
A rain jackets
For protecting yourself from unprecedented weather conditions, i.e., rains, opt for a rain jacket.
Thanks to the proliferation of athleisure clothes, you can wear clothes that are stylish and comfortable at the same time. You need not compromise on your style.
What are the clothing strategies you should look out for?
There are certain unsaid rules you should abide by while going for a hike. Usually, trails tend to be steep and hence there are certain hacks you should follow while dressing up.
Some of the hacks/strategies are as follows:
Often, we do not prioritise layering when it comes to regular hang outs. However, it is important to lend some extra thoughts to your dressing-up techniques while going for a hike.
Each clothing later has a unique function. You will have to be a little malleable and add or subtract the clothing layers for adapting to the changing weather conditions. To start off, go for a moisture-wicking base layer that goes against your skin. After that, add an insulating mid layer and an outer shell, in most cases, a rain jacket, for preparing for any hike.
Choose polyester or wool base layers
Unlike cotton, these are the moisture-wicking materials which movie sweat off the skin. The cherry on the cake is that they dry fast. Thus, they are ideal for the base layers such as short and long sleeve tees and your innerwear.
Give fashion the second priority
No matter how good we look or how good our clothes look on us while hiking. If we feel miserable or feel uncomfortable, it will not be worth it at all!
Many brands are prioritising comfort and technical performance in addition to looks.
Anticipate the weather conditions
Weather forecasts are reliable, but you should not be dependent on them entirely. The shifts can change the weather and in some cases the conditions can be warmer, wetter or cooler than predicted.
Know your trail conditions
You should study the terrain properly before packing your clothing essentials. So, let’s say if you are hiking through bushy woodlands or forested areas, it is important to consider long sleeves, full pants or the clothes with built in repellent for keeping the ticks and mosquitoes at bay.
Understand the fabrics well
Any apparel that touches skin, wicking is the ability of a fabric to pull the moisture(sweat) away from your body and move it to the outer surface of that fabric. This helps it dry the fabric quickly. The sweat won’t get stuck inside and you won’t feel clammy or chilled at all.
If your clothing is efficient at insulating, then it is good at holding in the heat which your body produces. This helps you stay warm.
Waterproof and windproof
When your wind whisks away the heat your body produces, the outer shell keeps the elements from saturating your clothes with rain. Even if your jacket is wind resistant, it does not completely block away the rain and wind, they only offer moderate weather protection.
Your fabric should be breathable and should not feel heavy against your skin. This is an important quality for all your layers, and it also helps your wicking layer to dry out a lot more quickly. On the contrary if they are not breathable, you are more prone to sweating.
- Wool: Merino wool has fine fibres that makes the fabric soft, breathable and moisture-wicking.
- Nylon: This fabric is less expensive as compared to merino wool and excels at drying fast. However, it has a downside that the synthetics has the tendency to smell funky. Thus, some garments have anti-microbial treatment which neutralizes the bacteria that is responsible for causing the Odor.
- Fleece: Made from polyester, fleece jackets have an insulating layer and have thick fibres that protect you from wind.
- Cotton: This quintessential fabric soaks up the sweat. Thus, you end up staying wet.
It is very important to choose the right kind of footwear as nothing can ruin a hike quicker than blisters.
Many avid trekkers opt to wear hiking sandals as they are breathable, lightweight, offer support and have a snug strap system for holding the shoes securely to your feet.
If you plan to hike in muddy, dewy or rainy conditions, consider shoes with water-resistant features. Sturdy and comfortable shoes are an absolute must for challenging surfaces. One more feature of hiking or trail running shoes is that they have an added ankle support.
Wearing the proper hiking gear is important but protecting the environment is also important. Every product you use has an environmental and social footprint.
Extend the life of your gear, hiking footwear and apparel via repairs. Give pre-used materials a try by buying hiking clothes and gear from recycled materials.