What Should you Wear When Hiking?

Knowing what to wear when hiking can affect how you enjoy the great outdoors. There are appropriate attires for different kinds of activities and clothing for hiking should also be treated differently from your normal day-to-day apparel.

Hiking clothing is also subdivided into different types based on different weather conditions. The number of days for your hike can also affect your clothing choice.

Whether it’s your first time hiking or looking to improve your next hiking experience by choosing the right outfit, this article will help you in identifying what hiking clothes to wear.

Let’s go ahead and take a look at the hiking outfit that should help you have a better experience on your next hiking trip.

Basic Hiking Outfit

Basic Hiking Outfit

Whether it’s a day hike or a mountaineering expedition for several days, there are basic outfits for hiking that you should know of. Let’s go ahead and take a look at the outfits that you normally wear when you hike.

Hiking Shoes

This is the most used outfit during the hike and should be greatly considered before you start on any hike. Your hiking footwear should protect your feet from rocks, roots, and other sharp objects along the way.

Your shoes should also have an anti-slip feature that will prevent falls and be able to assist you on muddy terrains. Some shoes easily dry and are great especially if you’re in an area with a high chance of rainfall.

Hiking Shirts

For hiking shirts, it’s best to choose those that will quickly evaporate sweat. A lot of times, you’ll be hiding under the heat of the sun and it’s important to have a shirt that can keep you cool and comfortable.

A lot of brands incorporate moisture-wicking materials in their shirts to help hikers stay dry and comfortable even on long hikes. Hiking shirts with long sleeves are also available and these will protect you from the sun and insect bites.

Hiking Pants

Pants for hiking should be able to provide comfort and mobility. There are different styles of hiking pants in the market that offer different features.

Some have zippered legs that can easily convert the pants into shorts while others are made of quick-drying materials. Some also have cargo pockets where you can store your essentials while hiking.

Hiking Jackets

Jackets are important, especially on cold days or when you’re hiking in high altitudes. A lot of brands offer insulated jackets that are perfect for hikers.

Some even have a waterproof feature that will keep you dry during sudden rain showers. Down jackets are also available and these can be compressed into a small size, perfect for hikers who want to save space in their packs.

Hiking Socks

Aside from shoes, socks are also important in protecting your feet while hiking. There are different types of socks in the market that offer different features.

Some are made of moisture-wicking materials that will keep your feet dry even on long hikes. Some have to cushion to provide additional comfort and support.

Hiking hats

A lot of times, you’ll be exposed to the sun while hiking. To protect your head and face from the scorching heat of the sun, it’s better to bring a hiking hat.

There are different types of hiking hats available in the market. Some have a wide brim while others have a neck flap to provide additional protection from the sun.

Hiking gloves

Gloves are important, especially when you’re hiking in cold weather conditions. Gloves will protect your hands from the cold and will also help you grip slippery surfaces.

Some brands offer waterproof and windproof gloves that are perfect for hikers. Some have touchscreen-friendly materials on the fingertips, so you can still use your gadgets even while wearing gloves.

Hiking sunglasses

Sunglasses are important in protecting your eyes from the harmful UV rays of the sun. A lot of brands offer polarized lenses that will help reduce the glare from the sun.

Some sunglasses even have a wraparound design that will provide additional protection from the sun, wind, and debris.

Hiking backpack

Of course, you also need a backpack where you can store all your essentials while hiking. There are different types of backpacks available in the market. Some are designed for specific purposes while others can be used for different activities.

When choosing a backpack for hiking, it’s important to consider the size, capacity, and features that you need. Make sure to choose a backpack that will be comfortable to carry even on long hikes.

Hiking poles

Hiking poles are optional but these can assist you well especially on slippery terrains with nothing to hold on to. There are foldable lightweight hiking poles that do not take up much space and can be stored easily.

Hiking Clothing for Different Seasons

Hiking Clothing for Different Seasons

The list above is what comprised a basic hiking outfit. If you’re hiking trip is in countries with four seasons then you better check what season your hiking day falls into to be prepared with the proper clothing to use.

The following are clothing tips when you hike in different seasons:


Hiking in summer requires you to be cautious of the glaring sun and possible dehydration on the trail. You should always bring a hat and sunglasses for protection.

You also don’t need much layering during this season as the temperature is already warm and you can always just bring a lightweight jacket in case the weather changes or you’re hiking in high altitudes.

For your legs, you can either wear shorts or long pants. If you prefer long pants, make sure to choose those that are made of quick-drying and breathable materials.


The weather in autumn is a bit cool, so you need to bring additional layers. A fleece jacket or a windbreaker should be enough to keep you warm during your hike.

You can also bring a pair of long pants for added warmth and protection. Just like in summer, choose quick-drying and breathable materials to keep you comfortable during your hike.


Hiking in winter can be a bit challenging as the temperature can drop significantly, especially at high altitudes. For this season, it’s important to dress in layers.

You should start with a base layer made of moisture-wicking material. This will help keep you dry and comfortable even when you sweat.

For your middle layer, you can choose a fleece jacket or a down jacket. This will provide additional warmth and protection from the cold.

For your outer layer, you can choose a waterproof and windproof jacket. This will help keep you dry and protected from the elements.

You should also wear a pair of insulated pants to keep your legs warm. Again, choose quick-drying and breathable materials to keep you comfortable during your hike.


The weather in spring can be unpredictable. It can be cool in the morning and warm in the afternoon. For this reason, you can also employ the layering technique to be prepared for unexpected weather.

You can have a base layer and then an outer layer for possible rain or snow.

Hiking Outfit Tips

Hiking Outfit Tips

Here are some of the clothing tips when hiking:

  1. Consider your comfort level more than the design. Make sure that you are comfortable, less stress on the trail will have you focus more on the important things rather than your clothing.
  2. Your clothing should add safety and not put you in dangerous situations. You should use bright colors so that anyone can see you on the trail or in emergencies.
  3. Some weather forecasts can be off and it’s always best to be ready with your outfit. So be ready for any weather condition type.
  4. Layering is a good practice when hiking, this way you can take some clothes off if it gets too hot or put some on if it gets cold.
  5. Cotton clothing is not advised when hiking as this type of fabric soaks up moisture and sweat and takes a long time to dry. Choose quick-drying materials instead.

There you go, the outfit you need for hiking and some tips to help you on your walk with nature. You’re now ready to take on your next hike. Enjoy and stay safe!

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Article by Kyle

Digital nomad since 2010. I spend my time traveling around the world learning about new cultures and languages. I've lived in 4 continents and still have a lot left to explore!