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Going Outdoors? Here’s What to Wear to a Hike

In a hiker’s world, there is a saying, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothing.” What you choose to wear on a hike can make a huge difference in the quality of your experience. It could even save your life! Hiking is enjoyable because it enables us to conquer territories off the beaten path. As expected, these territories tend to have pretty unexpected weather patterns. You should always dress appropriately for a hike. Here is what to wear to a hike.

Proper underwear

Nobody ever thinks that this is important to consider before a hike but it is! Your underwear goes a long way to ensure that you are comfortable throughout. The layer that is closest to your body should absorb sweat and wick it away from your skin. For this reason, wear underwear that is made of nylon, polyester or merino wool. These materials wick sweat away from your body effectively and evenly. This prevents you from suffering through uncomfortable wetness throughout your hike. Cotton is a big NO-NO!

Your upper wear

This part of your hiking clothes should also wick sweat away from your body. Your back, chest, and armpits sweat most during the hike. Even if you are traversing the coldest peaks, you will still sweat buckets! Wear a top or a t-shirt that can absorb sweat away from your body. This keeps you warm by eliminating the chills.

Should you wear something with long or short sleeves? This depends on your hiking location. If you’re exploring sunny areas and would like to avoid sunburn on your arms, a long-sleeved top is ideal. Otherwise, a short-sleeved top or t-shirt is universally acceptable.


It is always a good idea to wear a sweater or fleece on top of your t-shirt, especially when traversing through cold destinations. Bear Grylls can conquer mountains in a vest but you aren’t a former SAS special operator, so exercise caution! Layering is of the utmost importance when hiking.

The base layer is your t-shirt or top. This is the clothing that’s closest to your body. As always, it should wick moisture away from your skin. The mid-layer is your sweater, fleece or hoodie. It traps air underneath and creates natural insulation. The shell is made of your jacket and raincoat. This layer serves a protective function. It keeps away the effects of extreme weather conditions.

Layering allows you to control your internal temperature by adding or removing clothing as you wish. It is a very important skill to apply while hiking.


Your choice of hiking footwear is of supreme importance. Your shoes not only provide comfort; they also contribute to your safety. The general rule of thumb is to wear waterproof hiking boots. They provide protection for your feet from the elements. Hiking boots also have great traction due to their deep treads. They will keep you from slipping and falling on your hiking trail.

There are sporty hiking boots made of woven polyester. They provide better ventilation while hiking. However, they are not waterproof. For this reason, the best type of footwear is leather hiking boots. They are waterproof and also protect your feet from the elements. Such boots also provide additional ankle support.


When debating what to wear to a hike, there are some accessories that you can wear to further protect yourself from the elements at all times. They include hats, scarves, gloves, polarized sunglasses and face masks. Some such as hats and gloves are generally advised to wear because they keep you warm in cold weather. Others depend on your personal desires. For example, you could wear sunglasses or choose to keep your peepers free! You could also wear a face mask or not. As far as accessories go when you are packing a hiking bag, anything other than the basics is up to you.

The choice of clothing while hiking is very important. Not only does it keep you comfortable, it can actually save your life. The tips above are instrumental for packing proper clothing in your hiking daypack. Embrace them so as to have a safe, enjoyable hike!

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