If you’re not equipped with the right gear and outfitted with the right clothing, your hiking trip will quickly become uncomfortable. As some hikers like to say, there’s no such thing as bad weather – only bad clothing. Proper quality, purpose-built hiking gear may cost more, but features superior quality fabrics, versatile design and functional features.
There’s also the fact that better quality gear lasts longer. You need clothes that will survive the outside elements. When you do the math, you’ll find that replacing cheap gear every few months ends up being significantly more expensive than investing in one good piece that will last a lifetime.
To help you with your next shopping trip, let’s take a look at the most important aspects of your hiking clothes and gear.
Your hiking boots should not only strike a good balance between being durable and comfortable, but should also be appropriate for the conditions of your next expedition. Wet, muddy trails will be easier to navigate if your boots have a protective layer that repels moisture, such as the popular GORE-TEX material.
Rocky trails with significant elevation changes are best approached with shoes that have higher tops, as this gives you the increased support you need. Be sure to check out this comprehensive guide to the best durable hiking boots that you can pick up today.
Don’t forget about your socks. A moisture-repellent material such as wool is ideal. For added comfort, opt for a thicker pair but keep in mind that moisture-repelling is important here as hiking boots aren’t as breathable as running shoes.
Synthetic materials reign supreme when it comes to hiking clothes. This is namely due to the way they handle moisture – something you’ll naturally be dealing with a lot when hiking. Soft, cotton-type materials may feel good on the skin, but they absorb moisture, leaving you feeling sweaty, smelly and uncomfortable.
There’s also the fact that they aren’t good at insulating heat. If you’re climbing up a mountain, you’ll need to carry whatever heat you absorbed from below and keep it with you as temperatures drop. On the other hand, base layers should be effective at dispersing heat in order to keep you cool.
Look for clothing that’s made of “tech” type materials such as GORE-TEX and TECHWICK. These usually have the water and heat-repelling properties you need on the base layer and the heat-insulating properties you need with an outer layer.
Essential Hiking Accessories
Certain accessories can greatly benefit your hiking experience. For example, a water purifier can save space and weight in your backpack, as you won’t have to carry a copious amount of water over long trips. A first-aid kit may very well save a fellow hiker’s life, or your own.
Consider the location and conditions of your trip when doing your shopping. If you can save weight and space in your backpack without compromising on safety or experience, by all means go for it. This is one situation where overpacking unnecessary items is simply going to ruin your trip, so focus on efficiency.
A good wide-brimmed hat will keep your face away from the harmful rays of the sun while also protecting your head from the rain. Go for water-repellent hats that feature a sufficient amount of ventilation. Sunglasses can do wonders for your eyes, eliminating strain and allowing you to see better when walking in the direction of the sun.
Once you have the essentials down, it’s all about choosing gear based on the above-mentioned factors. For example, your backpack should also be light and moisture-repellent. The same applies to your shorts, pants and rain gear.
Opt for maximum quality and functionality whenever possible. Your hiking experience will greatly benefit from your smart shopping decisions.