To be completely honest if you want to go hiking you don’t really NEED any special clothing. If not having a perfect hiking outfit should stop you from going out there my advice would be just go!
You may wonder then – why so many people are on a mission to create their perfect hiking outfit?
Because having a proper hiking attire makes your trips so much more enjoyable, comfortable and safe.
Below I am presenting a set of hiking clothes I use in different combinations for 3 season hiking and backpacking. Depending on a conditions and trip length I would mix and match different pieces to get a perfect hiking outfit suiting my needs.
Hiking Outfit – Clothing for 3 Season Hiking and Backpacking
I wear Icebreaker Icebreaker BodyFit 200 Oasis Crew for majority of my hikes. Most of the time the temperatures aren’t too high to wear long sleeve merino shirt. I fell in love in merino wool and I’m its advocate. It’s an amazing piece of hiking attire – it perfectly regulates your body temperature and keeps you dry even when it’s wet. It’s also comfy and durable. I’m using the same shirt as a part of my sleeping outfit. The only thing that didn’t seem to be true about merino is that it’s not suppose to catch smells as fast as synthetics – that is definitely not the case ( at least for me ) This however is by no means a blocker and I would go for merino clothes any time.
I have two pieces of insulation clothing I go for depending on the weather conditions.
For warmer and not so windy days I choose The North Face Storm Shadow fleece jacket. It’s made of Pontetorto fabric which gives it great breathability while preserving relatively good insulation. It’s light and really breathes well. In a windy conditions however you get chilly as the structure of the fabrics lets all the air through.
When it comes to colder or windier conditions my go to insulation jacket is Arcteryx Atom LT Hoody. This jacket is filled with Coreloft which is lightweight, breathable and insulates perfectly. Additionally it’s water and wind resistant enough to keep you nice and cozy. The outer of the jacket is treated with DWR and it’s water repellent so in light, periodical rain it can serve as the outer layer. I have been using this jacket for over 3 years now and there is nothing bad I can say about it. You need to get one! ;)
My rain gear consists of two pieces of clothing – rain jacket and rain pants. Both of them are from Marmot PreCip series. Lightweight, highly packable and most important protecting from the rain very well. Typically I only take Marmot PreCip Pants on my multi day hikes and leave them at home for weekend or day hikes. The Marmot PreCip Jacket however is always in my pack as a part of my ten essentials. If you ever hiked in rain for a longer period of time you know that even despite the rain jacket you get wet. In warm weather it’s your sweat and in cooler weather it’s the condensation. That is why I primarily use rain jacket to keep myself warm not dry. That’s the truth about rain apparel – it won’t save you from getting wet but it will keep you warm.
I tend to use long hiking pants for most of my hikes. They keep the ticks and mosquitoes away and protect me against scratchy vegetation. I wear Milo Vino Lady – great pants made of Extendo/Extendo Ripstop fabrics. They have 5 pockets (one on a knee which is super useful) and high usage areas like bum, knees and ankles are made with ripstop fabrics for better longevity. Those pants are made by Polish company Milo and are very comfortable and durable – I put them through some hard testing and they did great.
A great alternative are Marmot PCT Softshell Pants – lightweight, water and wind resistant and breathable. Enough zippered pockets will keep your small necessities safe and the adjustable hem helps protecting your socks from getting wet. These pants are a great choice for high activity trips.
Proper underwear is essential for your hiking outfit – it regulates your body climate and ensures you stay dry and warm. Here I recommend choosing hiking underwear made of merino or synthetics. Personally I use synthetic underwear as it wicks away moisture very good and, when washed, it dries super fast.
My bra of choice is Under Armour Women’s Armour Mid Bra – it wicks sweat, is very comfortable and provides good support even for hiking. It’s been designed to be multi sport bra so it’s perfect for any outdoor activities.
As for the undies I tried many different ones and the winner is Patagonia Active Brief. These undies are just awesome – they don’t cut into my body, they dry fast and weigh almost nothing. Nice and stretchy material fits perfectly with your body and you hardly realize you’re wearing any undies ;) For me a go to panties for hiking.
No hiking outfit would be full without a pair (or two) of proper hiking socks. Choosing good socks is as important as choosing good shoes and backpack. Your feet takes a lot of abuse while hiking and providing them as much comfort as possible should be your #1 mission.
I usually wear SmartWool PhD Outdoor Light Crew Sock – they’re very well designed and provide support and cushioning in all the necessary places. They’re made of a mixture of merino wool and synthetic fibers which should keep the good features of merino and increase durability thanks to synthetic fibers. All I can say is that these socks are great, they fit perfectly, let your feet breath and they dry relatively fast. They always keep me warm even if they get wet. Cushioning is well designed and whatever you do they don’t move and stay “glued” to your feet so blisters have no chance.
I went through many pairs of hiking boots and shoes throughout the years – from Chiruca boots (which served me like ten years until the sole disintegrated) through Salomon and Berghaus boots to Merrell hiking shoes. Sometimes is has been a painful journey but I guess it’s hard to avoid that.
For the past 1,5 years I have been wearing La Sportiva Ultra Raptor and I must say it’s the best pair of hiking shoes I’ve had. They’re actually trail runners but they’re great for hiking as well. They’re lightweight and provide great support. Toe box is wide with enough space for your tootsies to wiggle. One of the best things about those shoes is the sole – it’s super sticky on almost any surface which gives you this safety feeling. The upper is made of breathable mesh so they’re not waterproof. That being said because of mesh construction they dry fast and additionally breath incomparably better than waterproof shoes.
When I’m doing multi day hikes and sleeping in my tent I always carry a separate set of sleeping clothes. The set consists of three pieces Icebreaker BodyFit 200 Oasis Crew as a top part, Icebreaker BodyFit 200 Oasis Leggings as bottom and Bridgedale Merino Trekker Socks. It’s nice to have something fresh and warm to put on when going to your sleeping bag. This merino pajamas combined with my down bag keep me nice and toasty to up to around 30F.
Hiking outfit – additional clothing
There are a couple of items I didn’t mention above as I only wear them in more “extreme” conditions.
Hot weather hiking apparel
When it’s really hot and temperatures reach around 75F I switch from long sleeve top and long trousers to their shorter versions. As a top I use an amazing TNF t-shirt Solid Flex Crew Lady – it’s VaporWick technology is simply mind blowing. This thing dries on you within minutes and wicks the moisture away like nothing else I’ve had. Amazing t-shirt.
As for the pants when temperatures are high I wear McKinley Otaki shorts with UPF 30 sun protection and antibacterial Polygiene technology preventing bad smells. These super light shorts are stretchy, comfortable and breath very well.
Cold weather hiking apparel
In winter when it’s cold you’re forced to make some adjustment to your hiking outfit to make sure you stay warm in low temperatures.
My main adjustment is to exchange my synthetic insulation jacket to down puffy from TNF Quince Pro Jacket Lady. This lightweight down jacket is extremely packable and at the same time it provides incredible amount of warmth. 800 fill high quality and hydrophobic goose down ensures you stay warm in low temperatures. The outer of the jacket is DWR treated and repels moisture. It’s an amazing piece of gear.
I hope the above list will help you in creating and figuring your perfect hiking outfit out.
What is your perfect hiking outfit? Do you have any questions about my set? Let me know in the comments, TWEET me or write me on FACEBOOK!
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