Gear Up for Adventure: Best Hiking Clothes for Active Outdoor Escapes

Base Layer

A moisture-wicking base layer is key for hiking. This layer sits closest to your skin and helps regulate temperature by wicking away sweat. For warm hikes, choose lightweight, breathable fabrics like polyester or merino wool. For cold weather, select base layers with insulation that will retain heat. Smartwool and Under Armour are top brands for versatile, comfortable hiking base layers.

Hiking Pants

Look for pants designed specifically for hiking with features like UPF protection, water resistance, ventilation, and stretch fabric. Popular options include convertible and roll-up hiking pants from Columbia, REI, and The North Face. Synthetic fabrics like nylon allow freedom of movement and dry quickly if wet. For protection from brush and insects, select hiking pants with a higher percentage of woven fabric spandex.

Hiking Socks

Good hiking socks provide cushioning and support while wicking away moisture. Look for snug mid- or crew-height socks with ample padding in high-impact areas. Wool and wool-synthetic blends regulate temperature and naturally resist odor. Smartwool, Darn Tough, and Thorlo offer durable hiking socks for all seasons. Carry an extra pair in case socks get wet crossing streams.

Hiking Shoes/Boots

Choose hiking footwear with sturdy construction, ankle support, and rugged outsoles to grip varied trail terrain. Waterproof boots with Gore-Tex are best for cold or wet hikes. For warmer weather on established trails, lightweight hiking shoes allow ventilation and flexibility. Renowned hiking shoe brands include Merrell, Salomon, and Oboz. Break in new hiking shoes before hitting the trail to prevent blisters.

Outerwear

Bring an insulated hiking jacket for colder mountains or mornings. Look for water and wind resistance paired with breathability. Fleece jackets or softshells work for warmer climates. Useful features include a hood, ventilation zips, and pockets. Outdoor Research, Marmot, and Arc’teryx offer technical yet stylish hiking jackets made to last.

Accessories

Round out your hiking outfit with accessories for sun protection and convenience. Packable wide-brimmed hats, Buff headwear, and sunglasses shield from harmful UV rays. Merino wool or synthetic hiking socks paired with gaiters keep debris out of boots and shoes. Outdoor Research and Sea to Summit make functional, packable gaiters. For extra storage, utilize lightweight hiking vests from brands like Osprey and REI Co-op.

Gearing up in the proper hiking apparel and footwear allows you to comfortably take on the trail ahead. With so many excellent clothing options available today, you can confidently trek through any environment. Use our top picks to outfit yourself for your next active outdoor adventure!

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