Are you one of those people (like us at Stio), who is already planning your next hike as soon as you get back to the trailhead? Before you hit the trails, it's important to make sure you have the right clothing to keep you comfortable during your adventure. In this guide, we'll walk you through the different types of clothing and gear you'll need for a day hike or overnight trip. From base layers to specialized hiking gear, practical accessories to tips for choosing the right clothing, we've got you covered.
If you want to make the most out of your hiking experience, you should consider investing in some hiking clothes. Here's a look at some of the essentials you'll need.
Base layers serve as the foundation of your hiking outfit, keeping you warm, dry, and comfortable. These pieces of clothing are typically made from moisture-wicking materials, such as merino wool or synthetic fabrics, and provide insulation while wicking away sweat. Base layers should be lightweight, comfortable, and quick-drying, as well as close-fitting but not restrictive.
When selecting base layer undergarments, opt for moisture-wicking materials and avoid cotton, as it traps moisture and can cause chafing. Choose undergarments with good support, ventilation, and seamless designs to prevent irritation.
Tip: Remember to pack extra base layers for longer hikes or multi-day adventures, as they can be washed and air-dried quickly to maintain freshness.
Choosing the right hiking pants or shorts is important for your overall comfort and mobility on the trail. Look for pants made from breathable, moisture-wicking materials that offer durability, protection, and freedom of movement. Hiking pants should have reinforced stitching, especially in areas prone to wear and tear, to ensure they last longer.
Pants with zip-off legs can be turned into shorts for added versatility, while shorts with built-in liners can offer increased comfort on hot days. It's important to consider the weather and terrain of your hike when selecting your pants or shorts. Colder weather may call for insulated pants, while loose-fitting shorts are more appropriate for hotter climates and summer hiking adventures.
When choosing a hiking shirt or top, comfort, moisture management, and sun protection are key things to consider. Hiking shirts should be made from quick-drying, moisture-wicking materials, such as polyester, nylon, or merino wool, and provide ample ventilation to keep you cool and dry.
Long-sleeve shirts offer better sun protection and can prevent scratches and bug bites, while short-sleeve shirts provide more breathability in hot environments. Look for shirts with flat seams, as this can reduce the risk of chafing from movement or backpacks. For added versatility, consider convertible shirts that feature roll-up sleeves or zip-off collars.
Depending on the climate, terrain, and duration of your hike, you may need to invest in specialized hiking gear to stay comfortable and protected throughout your journey. The following pieces of clothing can help improve your hiking experience:
Waterproof jackets are important for protecting you against rain, wind, and snow during your hike. Look for jackets with breathable materials, such as Gore-Tex or eVent, to prevent overheating while keeping you dry. An insulated jacket, on the other hand, can provide added warmth in colder climates. Insulated jackets typically come in two types: down, which offers better packability and warmth-to-weight ratio, and synthetic, which maintains its insulating properties even when wet.
Tip: Layering your outerwear with your base and mid-layers can help you adapt to changing weather conditions on your hike.
The right shoes or boots can make a big difference in your comfort and safety on the trail. For casual day hikes with well-established trails, low-cut hiking shoes may provide ample support and flexibility. However, for more challenging terrain and multi-day adventures, mid or high-cut boots can offer better ankle support, stability, and protection.
When shopping for hiking shoes or boots, look for models with waterproof membranes, such as Gore-Tex, and durable materials, like leather or nylon, to ensure lasting protection. Look for shoes with good traction and grippy soles to help navigate slippery surfaces.
Before you hit the trail for a long adventure, make sure you test out your hiking boots or hiking shoes. You want to put several miles in your new footwear to make sure they fit correctly and don't cause any hot spots on your next hike.
Last but not least, quality hiking socks can go a long way in preventing blisters and maintaining foot comfort. Look for socks made from moisture-wicking, quick-drying materials to help keep your feet dry. Avoid cotton socks that can trap moisture and lead to blisters. The best choice for hiking socks is to look for a natural fiber, like merino wool, or polyester or nylon. These materials keep your feet warm when wet, and work to pull moisture away from feet, helping to keep you dry and comfortable on your hike.
There are various cushioning options available in hiking socks, from lightweight to heavy, depending on your preferences and the type of environment you'll be hiking in. For added protection against abrasion, consider wearing a pair of liner socks under your hiking socks or pick crew or knee-high socks. You can also look for compression hiking socks that help aid in your recovery after a long day on the trail..
Remember, selecting the right hiking attire based on your specific needs and conditions will greatly enhance your overall experience on the trail. With the proper clothing choices, you can stay comfortable, protected, and focused as you navigate the great outdoors.
When planning a hike, it's essential to consider a variety of practical accessories that will significantly enhance your comfort and safety while navigating the great outdoors.
A good hat and pair of sunglasses will help protect your face and eyes from harmful UV rays. Broad-brimmed hats are highly recommended as they offer maximum coverage, shielding your face and neck from the sun. Look for hats that are comfortable, breathable, and designed specifically for outdoor use.
Sunglasses are equally important for outdoor enthusiasts who hike under intense sunlight. They shield your eyes from dangerous UV rays and reduce the glare. Pick sunglasses with 100% UV protection, polarized lenses, and a comfortable, secure fit to ensure they stay in place during physical activity.
Having a dependable pair of gloves can make all the difference when hiking in chilly or wet conditions. Opt for a pair that offers warmth, water resistance, and excellent grip. Some gloves even come with touchscreen-compatible fingertips for added convenience when using smartphones and GPS devices.
Gaiters, on the other hand, are essential for keeping your feet and lower legs dry and protected from debris. They attach to your boots, covering the tops of your shoes and extending up to your calves. This added layer of protection is highly beneficial when hiking in muddy or snowy conditions or on a trail that requires you to cross streams.
Neck gaiters and bandanas work as versatile accessories on the trail. Look for moisture-wicking materials like polyester or merino wool, which keep you dry and comfortable during physical exertion. In addition, these versatile pieces of gear can also serve as a makeshift hat, headband, or face covering, protecting you from the sun, wind, or dust.
Now that you know about essential hiking clothing and accessories, it's time to explore tips on choosing the best gear for your needs.
Selecting suitable fabrics and materials for your clothing and accessories is vital. Look for materials that are durable, lightweight, and easy to take care of. Synthetic fabrics such as polyester and nylon are a popular choice for moisture-wicking properties and durability.
Merino wool is another excellent material for hiking socks and base layers due to its moisture-wicking and temperature-regulating properties, while remaining soft and comfortable on the skin. Additionally, consider investing in waterproof and breathable fabrics, especially for your outer layers.
Comfort plays a significant role in selecting hiking gear. To avoid discomfort or even injuries, make sure that your clothing and accessories fit correctly. When trying on clothes, move around, and perform various body movements to simulate the type of activities you'll be undertaking on the trail.
Ensure that your hiking footwear fits well, providing proper support and cushioning while accommodating your preferred type of hiking socks. And make sure you take your footwear out for many test walks, to make sure they fit correctly, provide the right support, and there aren't hot spots that will impact your hike. Hats, gloves, and gaiters should be snug but not overly tight to avoid restricting blood flow or causing discomfort.
Proper care and maintenance of your hiking gear are crucial to its longevity and performance. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for washing and drying your clothing and accessories. Hand washing your gear, especially the delicate items, can help maintain their integrity and reduce wear and tear.
When storing hiking gear, keep it in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight, which can break down the fibers and compromise its functionality, especially items featuring UV protection. Regularly inspect your gear and repair or replace any damaged items to ensure optimal performance and avoid potential issues on the trail.
Whether you're a novice hiker or a seasoned adventurer, make sure to invest in the right gear, maintain it well, and above all, enjoy your time spent in nature.
Stio connects you with the outdoors through quality products infused with a mountain soul. Proudly operating from Jackson Hole, WY, we take inspiration from our natural surroundings and put it into every piece of apparel we make. From technical performance to aesthetics, Stio outfits you with exceptional products for unforgettable outdoor experiences.
Choosing the right clothing for hiking is important as it contributes to maintaining comfort and regulating body temperature. Your clothing should be breathable, moisture-wicking, and provide ample protection from the elements (sun, wind, rain, etc.). Layering is the key. Here are some general guidelines for selecting your hiking clothes:
Avoid wearing cotton as it absorbs moisture and takes a long time to dry, which can leave you feeling cold and damp during your hike.
Footwear plays a major role in hiking and can make or break your experience. Picking the right footwear is based on factors like terrain, hike duration, and weather conditions. The three main categories of hiking footwear are:
When choosing your shoes, make sure they fit well and provide enough support and traction. Break them in before heading out on a hike, as this can help reduce the risk of blisters.
Accessories can greatly enhance your overall hiking experience by providing added protection, functionality, and convenience. Below is a list of essential hiking accessories that you should consider:
Adapting your gear and accessories to the specific requirements of your trip will enhance both safety and comfort during your hike.
Before every hike, check the weather forecast and prepare your clothing and gear accordingly. Some factors to consider when dressing for different weather conditions are:
Adapting your clothing choices to the weather is key for maintaining comfort and safety while enjoying your hike.
Selecting the right gear is essential, but mistakes are common. Some of the frequent hiking gear-related errors include:
Taking the time to research and avoid common mistakes will better equip you for a successful hiking experience.