What To Wear On A Hike

The best thing about hiking is that it’s a fun activity that you can enjoy year-round. More often than not, the weather cooperates with beautiful sunny days and mild temperatures – but not always! Hiking in winter, summer, spring and fall can all bring their own challenges.

So what do you wear on a hike? There is no one-size fits all solution to the question of What To Wear On A Hike: it depends on the season, where you are hiking and what kind of hike you are doing.

In this article we will go over some general guidelines for dressing appropriately for different types of hikes during each season as well as what to wear on a specific kind of hike like strapping on snowshoes or walking through sand dunes.

Start With the Basics

Most of us have experienced a deluge of rain while hiking, and it’s no fun. If you’ve ever experienced the coldness that comes with getting soaked on a hike, you know the sinking sensation of your core temperature dropping to an alarming degree. You’re parched, but not really sure how to get some moisture into your body. And if you’re hiking in extreme heat where it’s just not possible to keep dry because it’ll be too uncomfortable or too dangerous, then imagine having to work out every day for the next few weeks so that your muscles don’t atrophy from lack of use caused by your inability to sweat.

In short: it’s important for us humans to stay appropriately hydrated at all times during outdoor activities, especially because our bodies are mostly water and we can only survive in balance with this liquid lost or gained through sweat and drink (and pee). The right clothing helps ensure that we’re staying healthy by keeping our temperature down and regulating sweating; this is critical when working out in extremes of heat or cold.

What follows is a guide on which layers are best for different types of weather-that is, layers that help keep you comfortable in varying temperatures – there will also be small sections about how each layer works as well as specific clothing options for different temperate zones; these are listed under their respective section titles below

Hiking Boots

If you’re planning to hike over rocky, uneven terrain, choose waterproof boots with a thick sole. In addition to protecting your feet from rocks and roots, this will also keep them warm and dry in the event of rain. As for the fit, don’t pick boots that are too tight or too loose—they should feel snug but not constrictive. A shoehorn is a useful tool for putting on new hiking boots without damaging them (or your skin).

Also consider how long it takes you to break in a new pair of hiking shoes when making your purchase. If the leather is stiff, you’ll need to go on several shorter hikes before wearing them for longer distances.


You can never underestimate the power of a good pair of socks. While you want to stay warm, you also need to make sure that your socks allow for proper shock absorption, as well as facilitate moisture wicking. If your socks are too tight, they could cut off circulation and cause blisters or other ailments on your feet. When deciding which socks are right for you, consider how much room there is in your shoe – some hikers bring extra pairs of thick wool or synthetic material socks as an additional layer beneath their thinner sock layer if they’re hiking in voluminous boots or shoes. Generally speaking, wool and synthetic materials tend to provide warmth without absorbing too much moisture from perspiration. Your thickest pairs should be worn during cold weather hikes – these will help keep you warm and dry when the weather is less than ideal. In general, lightweight wool or synthetic materials will have greater breathability than cotton options and will keep sweat from soaking into the shoe itself – this goes a long way toward preventing blisters and keeping feet healthy.

Base Layer

A base layer is a set of thin, long-sleeved tops and leggings that pull sweat away from your body and wick that moisture through the fabric. It should be comfortable against your skin without being tight or restrictive, and made of a lightweight breathable material. You don’t want to feel sweaty or overheated in it.

The best base layers are made from a natural fiber like wool or silk—not cotton—for several reasons. When you sweat, cotton absorbs that moisture, keeping it close to your body instead of pulling it away. That extra moisture can make you feel cold later on if you stop moving, which makes cotton an ill-advised choice for outdoor activities. Cotton also takes longer to dry than synthetic blends, making it susceptible to the growth of bacteria if worn for days on end without washing. This can cause distinctively pungent odors that shouldn’t be ignored!

On the other hand, merino wool is an excellent choice for a base layer because it is both quick drying and odor resistant (merino sheep have lanolin in their coats that resists mildew). It’s also naturally breathable and good at regulating temperature; Merino fibers are hollow and airy, so they keep heat inside but allow airflow through the garment so you won’t overheat when exerting yourself in warmer weather. And unlike synthetic fabrics such as polyester or acrylic blends , wool doesn’t degrade when exposed to ultraviolet light (a common problem with dark clothes), so regardless of how many times you wash them they will stay looking new even after years of use.


  • Hiking pants or loose fitting shorts are good options.
  • Hiking pants are generally made of a quick-drying material that is also water and wind resistant.
  • If you choose to wear shorts, make sure you have a pair of hiking socks to wear with them.


Let’s say you’re going to a park or hiking trail, and you want to wear a shirt that will be comfortable yet breathable while also wicking moisture away from your skin. Here are some options:

Long-sleeve shirt: The classic choice for hiking shirts (and many other situations). It offers more protection with the extra length, but is typically warmer than its short-sleeve counterpart. A cream-colored woven shirt works well, especially if you can pick one up locally because it doesn’t wrinkle easily.

Short-sleeve shirt: This is a popular option for hikers and gym goers because it breathes better than the long sleeve and still allows for decent sun protection. It may feel cooler on warm days, but it’s better than nothing at all. Try to get an undershirt with this style of shirt so you don’t have to compromise when it gets hot! If you really want some extra protection from the sun, try getting a long-sleeved sun shirt in addition to the short one.

Linen Shirt: This type of fabric has become increasingly popular among hikers over the past few years due to its superior moisture absorption and durability (notice I said “durability”). It also looks great when worn on its own or as an undershirt underneath longer shirts. For more versatility, try pairing this with shorts underneath so that you can change out into shorts when your legs start getting cold—or just because they’re too hot! When looking at linen shirts, keep in mind that they tend to wrinkle easily, which means they’ll probably end up wrinkled during your hike back home. Try ironing them flat before putting them back into their original packaging if necessary so they don’t look too bad upon arrival at home (it’s not ideal though).

Outer Layer

For the outer layer, you can try these options:

  • Waterproof jacket – If you are going on a rainy day, the best choice would be to get a waterproof jacket. With this jacket, you will be able to keep dry and warm throughout your hike and feel more comfortable. This type of jacket has a thicker material and it is made out of synthetic fibers, which means it will not only protect you from rain but also from wind.
  • Windproof jacket – This is another great option for an outer layer when hiking in bad weather conditions. It has been designed with breathable fabrics that will allow you to move freely while keeping yourself safe from any danger that might come your way during the hike. 3. Raincoat – If there is no chance of rain on your planned hiking trip, then wear a raincoat instead because this type of clothing can be worn over other layers without feeling too hot or cold when outdoors. You may also opt for waterproof pants if they’re needed; these pants come with zippers so they don’t restrict movement


Keep the following handy for any hike:

  • A hat. The sun can be quite damaging to your skin, and a good hiking hat will help protect you from harmful UV rays. It also helps keep sweat out of your eyes as you work up a hill, giving you better visibility so that nothing sneaks up on you. Think of it like an extra pair of wide-eyed sentries standing watch over your face.
  • Sunglasses. Let’s be honest: outdoor sunglasses are one of the coolest accessories around (no pun intended). They’ll protect your eyes from harmful UV rays—but they’re also just cool looking! Unless you wear them indoors (which is uncool), a respectable pair of sunglasses is one of life’s greatest pleasures and should not be taken for granted.
  • Sunscreen and lip balm with SPF protection. I don’t need to explain this one, do I? In fact, maybe put sunscreen on first, then go back and re-read the paragraph about accessories above, because if you’re outside without sunscreen or lip balm with SPF protection… uh… well… let’s just say that people in general have been very remiss in this regard throughout history—especially considering how long it took us to discover SPF!

The right clothing will help keep you comfortable and safe on your hike.

The right clothing will help keep you comfortable and safe on your hike. If the weather is cold, wear layers. You can take a sweater off if you get too warm but it’s hard to add clothes if you are too cold. Remove wet clothing at once and put dry garments on as soon as possible. Cotton absorbs moisture — wool retains heat even when wet. Pack an extra pair of socks in case one pair becomes wet during the hike (you should always have an extra pair of socks for safety reasons). And don’t forget to bring a rain jacket!

Hiking jackets are made from a variety of fabrics ranging from lightweight nylon to heavy-duty Gore-Tex® fabrics with water-resistant coatings. They are designed for different conditions — waterproof and breathable fabrics are best for rainy conditions, while insulating materials work better in cold weather. Remember: Layering is key no matter what the weather is like


Now that you’ve seen what to look for when dressing for a hike, you’re ready to get out there and enjoy the fresh air. Just remember: hiking is an activity that entails a lot of movement. You are likely going to sweat, so make sure you find clothing that will keep you cool. On top of this, if your hike is in the winter or if it goes into late afternoon and evening hours, bring extra layers with you in case it gets cold. Also take note of the weather forecast and adjust your outfit accordingly. It’s also important to wear comfortable shoes and socks, as these are two items that can ruin your day should they become uncomfortable or cause blisters or other injuries along the way. The main point here is to dress comfortably so that if any clothes feel too constricting or heavy, they don’t impede your movement during the hike.

Lastly, don’t forget to pack a first aid kit, some snacks and a refillable water bottle—all three will come in handy during your trek!

  • You should put your socks and boots on first so they can dry out while you walk, and avoid blisters.
  • You need to have a waterproof jacket to keep the rain off.
  • You need to layer up your clothes so you don’t sweat too much, but still stay warm.

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