Choosing your hiking clothes
Hiking clothing choices begin with the type of hiking you intend to do. The seasons will definitely influence what to wear as will the length of your hike. Whatever garments you end up choosing they will need to be easy to wear, quick drying and able to assist in temperature control.
Your clothing item will need to be light enough to carry and will need to be sturdy and reliable. When making your hiking clothing choice, think about what conditions you are buying for. Do you need hiking clothing that is waterproof, may be a waterproof jacket or pants such as Marmot precip Nano Women's Waterproof Rain Jacket, or do you need hiking clothes more suited to provide warmth such as the Men's The North Face Half Dome Hoodie, or do you need hiking clothes that are light and easy? Long sleeved hiking shirts and long hiking pants will help in protecting you against sandflies, mosquitoes, marchflies, ticks and scratches from bushes. Either way a quality piece of hiking clothing will offer better protection and lasting durability.
Once you have your selected pieces, that is usually it, good quality products will last longer. Make sure it fits properly with plenty of room, it is functional and comfortable and possibly of good quality. Wild Earth has a range of hiking clothes and footwear that might be suitable.
Make sure your clothes are not too tight or too loose, or has bits and pieces that could get caught on rocks and tree branches. Hiking clothing that doesn't fit properly can turn a great time into a problem very quickly. Think about the weight and take the bare essentials.
Wilderness wear has a great range of outdoor clothing and could be worth checking out.
How to Layer Hiking Clothing
The North Face has a wide range of layering items, from base layer, mid layer and outer layering. Layering your hiking clothing is very important. You will need to be able to cool off and warm up depending on the climate and your own body heat. Layering your clothes provides comfort and protection and consists of 3 seperate layers. A base layer, a middle layer and an outer layer.
The base layer of your hiking clothing is the layer closest to the skin, and is sometimes called the thermal layer. The base layer helps to regulate body temperature, by controlling and removing moisture away from the body, this is called wicking. Materials that don’t trap moisture close to the body are usually the preferred choice, such as wool or synthetics. Cotton holds moisture in the garment and therefore keeps the body cold, not ideal in snowy, windy and cold conditions. Cotton could be used in your hiking clothing during the summer months when cooling the body down could be your goal when hiking. Woollen items also help in reducing odour. So, hiking T-shirts that have some wicking properties such as the XTM Merino Women's T-shirt and singlets can build your base layer. Thermal long pants such as the Wicking Thermal Pants would have to be very welcoming in those freezing windy conditions.
The middle layer of your hiking clothing is sometimes called the insulating layer. It is designed to trap in the body heat, and also needs to be able to breathe and wick. Fine fabrics such as wool, fleece or synthetic fabrics are ideal. Pull overs and sweaters make up the middle layer. The Women's prAna Lucia Sweater is a wool blend with a polyester back and could be a good choice with a long sleeved thermal t-shirt underneath. Having a hood on the sweater can come in very handy, and you don't have to pack it or carry it.
The outer layer of your hiking clothing is called the protection layer and is made up of the jacket. The hiking jacket needs to provide protection from the elements such as rain, wind and snow. A jacket that is lightweight made of nylon and has an interior lining that allow the air to pass through, is great, as it can breathe and it is also easy to carry. The Men's Patagonia Down Sweater Jacket could be a good suggestion for an outer layered item. It is made from feathers or down and nylon wadding, which is able to hold in body heat and is light to wear. It is suitable is most conditions. With down jackets you'll need to check the fill power and weight power. The higher the number the more down is used and therefore the more it will retain the heat and be warmer. A rating of 550 is mild and 800 is high.
If you need to buy a rain jacket, make sure it is big enough to go over all of your layers. Check that it is actually waterproof or water resilient and has venting. Cotsworld Outdoor can cover your outdoor needs with waterproof gear including jackets and pants.
Rain pants when hiking can come in very handy and they can provide alot of comfort to a wet and soggy hike. Not only do they keep your clothes dry, they are lightweight and also help with preventing hypothermia ie. Women's Marmot Precip Nano Waterproof Pants
Ultralight Backpacking Clothing & Rain Gear
Seasons influence your hiking clothes
Summer Hiking Clothes:
In the warmer weather a hiking t-shirt and hiking shorts and possibly a jacket could be enough. A pair of quick dry men's Men's Convertible Cargo pants with big pockets, with legs that can zip off and turn them into shorts, are really good and versatile. Hiking shirts that you can fold the sleeves up or down are also good. When hiking in warmer weather prepare for the heat not only from the climate, but also from your own body heat. As you start to move about and put in some effort, you will soon be warm enough for only a few items of hiking clothing. Such as: a good pair of shoes, socks, shorts or pants, a t-shirt or shirt, a light wind jacket and a hat. This is one of the reason layering is a good idea.
Winter Hiking Clothes
Hiking in cooler weather requires more heavier and stronger and generally better quality items such as a good pair of sturdy hiking shoes that are waterproof with gaiters. Don’t forget thick hiking socks that keep your feet warm and dry and protected preferably made from wool. Long pants such as women's Arcteryx Gamma LT Pants are lightweight, durable and have good stretch and they not only provide protection from the weather but also from the environment. A jacket suitable for the conditions is a must, as well as a thick pair of gloves or mittens. When the weather gets cold and windy a lot of people prefer to hike in more sheltered areas, such as wooded areas or valleys and caves. Be prepared for the unexpected, as it can get very cold very quickly, out in the open spaces when facing the elements head on.
Hiking Clothing whilst hiking in Nepal
Whilst I was hiking through Nepal, our hikes started very early in the morning and sometimes we finished in the dark. I would start the hike off with hiking cargo pants, long sleeve t-shirt, fleece pullover and a jacket, sometimes gloves and beanie. I had to be prepared for 4 seasons and we had all 4 seasons in one day. By the time I was 20 minutes into the trip I would start stripping down, until I had my pants rolled up, packed the jacket and jumper away, rolled the beanie up and tucked the gloves into my pockets. Then I would hike around a mountain and be directly facing the icy cold wind and rain. I would have to pull the legs of my pants down, put my jacket back on and my beanie and gloves, and continue on until the next part of the journey. I did this continuously through out the day and hike. So, that's why you need to be prepared for anything and have all that you need. I certainly did not want to be caught out, up in those mountains without my warm woollen clothes, especially at night.
Hiking Clothing include:
- pants, possibly cargo type with pockets, and zips that you can remove the lower legs and have shorts.
- shorts - lightweight and quick dry.
- t-shirts- short and long sleeve.
- thermal insulation layer items such as singlets.
- jackets- for the wind always and maybe one for the cold.
- socks- preferrably woollen socks.
- hats and beanies.
- leg gaiters.
- Rain pants if you intend to hike through wet areas.