Choosing the right hiking attire is essential for a comfortable, enjoyable hike. Hiking attire should keep you warm, comfortable and protected from the elements. Numerous specialty hiking stores sell clothes specifically designed for comfort, easy movement and protection, whether you're planning a simple day hike at a local park or preparing for a weeks-long trek through the mountains.
The first point to consider when choosing hiking attire is the environment where you will be hiking. If you're planning a hike in an area you've never been to before, do some research before picking out your clothes and packing. Look up the local weather, both for the current season and for the specific days you'll be hiking there. If you're changing altitudes during your hike, plan for a temperature drop as you climb and include warmer clothing accordingly. Always prepare for the worst possible environmental possibilities, including rain and snow, on the day of your hike.
Type of Hike
The type of hike you're planning is another factor when planning your hiking attire. A day hike at a local nature reserve requires different gear than a week-long trek through the mountains. For multi-day hikes, consider how much clothing you'll need to bring to stay comfortable, possible temperature and altitude changes and the weight of the clothing you'll be adding to your pack. Even a single day hike can include temperature and weather changes, depending on your area. Layer your clothing so you can remove or add clothes in response to the changing environment.
Choose hiking attire made of the right fabrics. Blue jeans, for example, are great for working around the house, but limit your range of movement and become heavy and burdensome when wet, making them less than ideal for hiking. Nylon is both lightweight and insulating, and it dries quickly. A range of hiking clothes, from shorts to coats, are made of nylon. Silk is another lightweight fabric that dries quickly and provides insulation. When you're hiking in dry, warm areas, stick to cotton clothing that will allow air circulation and soak up sweat. "Wicking" material also quickly removes moisture and expels it to keep you dry.
The proper footwear is essential for a comfortable, enjoyable hike. Anyone who's walked for days with blisters knows the value of getting the right footwear for a hike. Footwear should fit well, and be comfortable, water resistant and capable of standing up to the rigors of your hike. Avoid open-toe shoes, inexpensive footwear that won't stand up to the elements, and sandals. Socks should offer insulation and comfort to protect against skin irritation and blisters.
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