When hiking, it is obviously extremely important to get the right gear for your situation. Clothing that is waterproof, moisture wicking, and appropriate for the temperatures is essential, but many also want stylish hiking outfits. This piece will serve as your guide to stylish hiking, and show off some examples.
Factors While Choosing a Hiking Outfit.
The first step in this challenge is to consider the following factors when choosing your outfit.
The first factor to keep in mind is your safety. Your outfit must be able to prevent injury and protect you from the elements. It depends on the weather and temperature you expect to encounter out there as well.
For instance, waterproof outerwear is a must if there’s a possibility of rain, but an insulated one is more preferred to keep you warm if it’s going to be chilly during your hike.
Your Comfort Level
Don’t forget to consider your comfort level as well. We recommend wearing pieces made in a sweat-wicking material since they can keep you dry while enduring the most challenging trails. This is even more crucial for men who tend to sweat more than women.
Another element that most people forget is the weight of the actual garment itself. Don’t weigh yourself down! There are quality pieces out there that are both light yet well insulated.
We understand that it can get a little bit trickier, though, if you expect unpredictable weather and sudden dips of temperature.
The trick is to get lightweight pieces that you can easily style and layer on top of each other as needed.
We also recommend getting pieces in neutral and basic colors that can match any layering garment easily for a more put-together look. This also creates a more manly aesthetic for guys.
To prepare for harsher environments, we suggest preparing three layers of clothes. The first layer is the base layer, made of a sweat-wicking material that can provide comfort and prevent skin allergies. The second layer is the mid-layer, which should give adequate insulation. Finally, the final layer should be an outerwear piece dedicated to rain and wind protection.
Right Choice of Basics
A hiking wardrobe is as strong as its foundation: the basics. Here are the pieces that you should invest on for added comfort, style, and support:
When choosing the best underwear for hiking, it’s best to get one with a sweat-wicking and quick-drying material as well. You also want a pair without any irritating tags or seams. Seamless options are great, especially for women.
For men, we recommend boxer briefs, as they provide both support and comfort, especially against chafing which can be an issue when wearing briefs.
We prefer shirts that are fast-drying and odor-resistant. They simply provide more confidence during a long hike, especially when doing so with a group.
As mentioned, outerwear like jackets should provide insulation and protection from the elements. Keep in mind that water-resistance and water-proofing are different from each other. Water-resistant jackets are only suitable for light rain showers, while waterproof pieces are more preferred to wear during heavy rains.
There are three factors to keep in mind when choosing hiking socks. First, it must match the height of your chosen footwear to protect your skin from rubbing against the material of your shoes. Second, it must provide ample cushioning that can help improve your balance and stability, especially when carrying heavy hiking packs. Finally, it must fit you perfectly to prevent blisters and chafing.
Speaking of the right fit, this is probably the most important factor when choosing the right hiking shoes. This is the reason why we discourage buying hiking shoes online since you won’t be able to fit it before purchasing. Be sure to wear your hiking socks while shoe shopping as well.
As for the style, there are numerous shoe styles and cuts out there. The right choice depends a lot on the terrain. Men’s casual sneakers can be worn on beginner trails, for instance, that will not require a lot of balancing and navigating.
On the other hand, it is a must to wear hiking boots for less-forgiving trails that require more traction and support.
Finally, complete your look with the right accessories. The trick is to choose pieces that serve a practical purpose. Gloves and hats lend extra protection against the elements, while there are watches that can double as navigational tools.
Fashion Outfit by Season
Finally, let’s talk about how to style your hiking outfit according to the seasons.
Winter Hiking Outfits
The foundation of our winter hiking outfits always start with a warm top and thick hiking pants. You can then layer the ensemble with a thermal puffer jacket to ward off the chill. Finally, finish the outfit with a pair of hiking boots and a beanie.
Spring Hiking Outfits
For the spring season, use a lightweight non-cotton shirt and a pair of pants to protect your legs from the chill and rain. A lightweight hoodie will also keep you warm and dry for the occasional spring showers. Don’t forget to pack additional rain gear as needed and wear footwear that provides traction against slippery trails.
Summer Hiking Outfits
A lightweight top is enough for the summer. You can always layer another shirt, preferably a long-sleeved one, on top for those who live in the colder regions. A pair of shorts will keep your legs cool and comfortable. Any type of footwear that matches your ensemble will do the trick, but don’t forget to complete your outfit with a pair of sunglasses. Do remember that many locations around the globe can still have quite cold temperatures at altitude in the summer. Be prepared.
Jewelry may also be common in summer. We recommend avoiding most jewelry for hiking trips, but a women or men’s wedding ring is acceptable. Just remember to be safe with your valuable jewelry out in the wilderness.
Autumn Hiking Outfits
Finally, you can really go all-out in your layering when it comes to putting together an autumn hiking outfit. Thick and comfortable hiking pants are also necessary to provide more insulation. As an added tip, we tend to gravitate towards warmer colors to match the season.
There are really two crucial points to always keep in mind when styling a hiking outfit. You want to be dressed in an outfit that is comfortable, provides excellent sweat and odor management, and of course, something that will not hinder your mobility.
Next, you also need to prioritize protection and safety according to the weather and temperature that you expect to encounter out there. Layer your tops for added insulation during the colder months, or keep it light and flowy during the hotter seasons.
Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about