When preparing for a hiking or camping trip, choosing the right apparel to bring is just as important as packing the right amount of supplies such as food and water. Whether or not you are comfortable in your clothing will affect your overall spirits and safety throughout the day/week.
It can be overwhelming and expensive when you’re trying to figure out how to outfit yourself for a hike. You want to be comfortable and safe without spending a ton of money. Read the following for some tips and tricks of the trek!
When choosing which items of clothing to sport on your next hike, definitely consider choosing synthetic materials over cotton. Synthetic clothing is better at absorbing sweat without becoming sticky or cumbersome. Some work-out pants that aren’t constricting with a tank top work just fine. For shorter hikes where the vegetation is cut back from the trails, I’ve hiked in shorts and a tank top in the warmer weather.
If rain and hail ensue, cotton clothing can become soaking wet and heavy and can even contribute to hypothermia. Synthetic clothing will not weigh you down as much and won’t create that chilling effect. Also make sure to pack a raincoat! Not only will it protect you from the rain but also the wind. Lunch stops at the top of peaks and mountains even in the heart of summer can get quite brisk. Packing a fleece is always a good idea too.
As a born and raised Seattleite, I would strongly recommend keeping your eye out for some rain pants next time you are at your local outdoor outlet store. Especially if you are camping and sitting still for any amount of time in the rain, rain pants are essential for keeping you warm.
Lastly, if it is sunny always bring sunglasses, hats and sunscreen. Hikes are usually at high elevations far above sea level meaning your exposure to the sun is even higher than usual. The worst sunburns I have ever experienced have been from hikes.
Running/tennis shoes and even hiking sandals (eg. Keens) work great for easy to moderate hikes. However, if you plan on hiking for long periods of time this summer or in the future, you may want to consider a studier shoe.
If you are aspiring to get some mileage under your belt this summer it might be time to invest in some hiking boots! Hiking boots not only support your ankle but also have stiff foot support and a reinforced leather or synthetic outer layer. Make sure to check for staple signs of quality: Waterproof outer layer, good stitched soles, and a Gore-Tex inner lining.
Believe it or not, hiking sandals such as Keens or Tevas can be a good choice for a casual hiker. Sandals are super light and allow your feet to breath in the summer heat. Hiking sandals also double as great water shoes for river crossings. Also make sure to consider some form of toe guard to protect your toes from rocks and roots along the trail.
General Notes About Where to Shop
As many of you probably know, the REI Flagship Store in Seattle is a great place to find any sort of outdoor equipment. You can also always check thrift stores such as Value Village and Goodwill as well as local garage sales. People in the Seattle area tend to donate a lot of their outdoor equipment, which is awesome!
– Sophie, SCA Intern