When you are planning a hiking trip, the last thing you want to think about is clothing. You are out in the middle of the woods reconvening with nature and staying fit, who cares what you are wearing. The answer… you. Don’t worry, you don’t need to look fashionable when you are out on the trail, but you do need to wear the proper clothing to make sure experience is a good one.
As with any other aspect of a trip, planning ahead is the most important. Where you are going and during what time of year is the most important information that you can bring when you decide on what to wear. For example, your clothing is going to differ significantly if you are hiking in the desert during the summer than if you are hiking in the woods during winter months. The first thing you should find out; what is the temperature going to be. The next thing; is there a chance of precipitation. No matter what weather you will be in, you are going to sweat. Hiking is challenging physical activity and no matter your physical level, you are going to be exerting yourself. You should avoid cotton directly up against your skin. Cotton will absorb your sweat, keeping it close to your skin and keeping you very uncomfortable (and possibly chafing). Companies, such as Underarmor make clothing special for sports which wick sweat away from your body, keeping you dry and happy. This is usually made out of lycra and is a much better option for your hiking trip. If you are hiking in cold weather, you should layer your clothing so that you can take a layer or two off as you get hot. A hat and gloves may be necessary depending on just how cold the weather will get. If you expect to experience rain while out on the trail, they make rain gear that folds up into a tiny little pouch that you can keep with you just in case. This will keep your clothing drier and you more comfortable.
Depending on where you are hiking, if there is a high threat of ticks or other dangerous insects, you may want to stick with long pants to protect your legs from bites. If you are out in the desert during the summer, long pants may not be feasible or necessary. Use your judgment and find out what you will be encountering before you ever head out on the trail.
Hiking boots are the most important part of your ensemble. Proper boots should fit snugly around your ankle however should be a size larger than your normal shoes. As you hike, your feet will swell, you need extra room to accommodate them. You should also be wearing a thick pair of hiking socks to protect your feet. An extra pair thrown in your pack is a great idea for longer hikes.
Lastly, if you wear nothing else (though I don’t suggest it) make sure to use your sunscreen. Looking like a lobster when you return home from your hiking trip may not be the best way to remember your excursion.
Sydney Garrison is an avid cyclist and sports enthusiast. She is also a partner in an online bike rack store.
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