Hiking is a great way to get in some amazing exercise while at the same time being in the great outdoors. It serves as a form of meditation as well as a sweat session. However, the day can quickly turn if you are not dressed appropriately. We are here to help you figure out what may be best for you to wear hiking in the summer.
What do you wear hiking? <<< We get this question all. the. time. Instead of replying to each person individually I figured I would do an official post so that it could live on forever. 😉
Since it’s summer right now, let’s talk about this scorching weather. To be honest with you, we typically avoid hiking in the summer in the south unless it happens to be a cooler, less humid day. We do most of our hiking in the fall, winter, and spring. However, we understand that this is the time of year that most people take trips so we’ll get started with what to wear when it’s burning up outside a.k.a. summer time! A winter hiking attire post will make an appearance in a few months.
A few quick dressing tips for hot weather:
- Wear clothing that allows for ventilation
- Wear thinner socks
- Avoid heavy base layers
We’ve been hiking for many, many years and we’ve basically worn the same things the whole time. While hiking gear and attire can be expensive, you will get many years of use out of quality items! We’ve purchased almost all of our hiking clothes on sale. Rarely do we ever pay full price for anything, instead we will buy last years design, wait for a sale, or buy gently used.
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Summer hiking clothes for women:
Below is a list of the items that I, Whitney, typically wear when hiking in warm weather.
Yep, you read that right – pants! I almost always wear pants while hiking, even if it’s hot outside because it helps avoid ticks and because I’m just OBSESSED with these pants.
Every time I post a hiking picture (usually on Instagram) I get a ton of questions about my hiking pants. They are prAna Monarch Convertible and I have them in every single color available (khaki, gray, black, and army green). Many people also ask what size I wear in these pants and that answer is a size 4. However, I bought them at different stores, at separate times but within the same few months and honestly, some colors are tighter than others even though they are the same size – just keep that in mind. I love them because they are breathable, movable, and flattering. As the name suggests they are convertible pants so you can remove the bottom and magic – you have longer shorts.
If we travel to a place that isn’t really known for ticks I will occasionally wear hiking shorts. I wore them most of our trip in Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park. The ones that I love are North Face. Just like the prAna pants, they are comfortable, breathable, and flattering.
Occasionally I will hike in running shorts or regular workout capris but it’s rare. I find that pants or shorts make specifically for hiking or other outdoor adventures provide a much better hiking experience.
Tops are the easy part for me! I just wear the same tanks that I wear to the gym which are a combination of Under Armour (like the one above), NIKE, and other various brands.
- Under Armour Horizon KTV Women’s Trail Running Shoes
- Salomon Ellipse GTX Hiking Shoe
- Asolo Attiva GTX (you could try the Asolo Atlantis GTX Boot or the Asolo Revert GV Boot)
I’ve suffered through multiple blisters and even lost a toenail due to not having the right shoe and/or shoe and sock combination.
I wear different shoes depending on the trail we are climbing. For most hikes in the south, I wear the Salomon Ellipse GTX Hiking Shoe. I’ve worn Salomon shoes for YEARS! I just recently bought the Under Armour Horizon KTV Trail Shoe and I like them so far but I don’t have as many miles on them as I do my Salomons.
If the hike is really rocky or the trail isn’t maintained very well I wear hiking boots since they have more ankle support. I love my Asolo Attive GTX. I’ve had these for years also. Since I don’t wear them all the time I don’t feel the need to buy new ones often. They are supportive but still breathable at the same time. I don’t think they sell the exact ones I have anymore but I’ve listed a few close options above.
Again, the shoe/sock combo is important. I typically wear Smartwool low cut socks if I am wearing my Salomons or Under Armour hiking shoes. I’ve been through many different brands and I like these the most since they are breathable!
When I wear my hiking boots (which come up higher than my regular hiking shoes), I wear higher socks. These are also Smartwool because of the breathable factor.
I have many different sports bras but most of them are either Champion brand or NIKE. I typically save the Champion ones for my gym workouts and wear the NIKE ones on the trail. I do this because I sweat A LOT so I feel like I get more wear out of them by wearing them for different purposes. Finding a sports bra that works best for you can be a challenge but it’s definitely not as hard as the right shoe/sock combo! 🙂
Okay, okay… I know you probably don’t want to wear a thong but trust me – you will love these! I used to wear compression shorts under my hiking pants but it just wasn’t working so I read up on some articles and tried out these Under Armour stretch thongs and I won’t wear anything else now!
I didn’t think I would ever be talking about “accessories” as I literally don’t own any for everyday use but I do use some when hiking. :
I always carry sunglasses (with a hard case that attaches onto my pack), and a hat (my favorite is the prAna Embroidered Trucker Cap… I have it in 3 colors). You could also use a wide-brimmed hat to help keep the sun off your face.
For short day hiking, I have a small Camelbak that is really only big enough to hold water and one snack. For longer day hikes I carry the Osprey Talon 22 Hiking Pack (mine is an older version).
Summer hiking clothes for men:
For all the men hikers out there, here’s your list! This is what Scott typically wears hiking in warm weather. I’ll have him describe why he likes these particular items.
Unlike Whitney, I always wear shorts in warm weather – sometimes even in cold weather! These prAna Zion shorts help keep me cool with the moisture-wicking properties, the stretchy material makes them fit perfectly, and the pockets are a plus! *See note below about compression pants.
I typically hike in the same shirts that I wear to the gym. I look for material that wicks away sweat and dries quickly.
If I’m hiking anywhere other than the “green tunnel” found here in the south and most of the east coast, I’ll wear long sleeves to protect my skin from the sun. These shirts are very light, cool and comfortable while also providing UPF 50.
These shoes are perfect for shorter, but difficult hikes or even longer hikes if the trail isn’t rough and rocky. I wore these on our 16-mile hike in the Grand Canyon down the South Kaibab and back up Bright Angel trails without any discomfort or support issues (the trail is in perfect condition).
Fortunately, I don’t have any knee, ankle or foot problems (knock on wood!), so these are my “go-to” shoes for most of our hikes.
These mid-height boots are much more supportive underfoot and easy on the ankles which make them perfect for longer (8 miles or more) hikes where the trail is fairly rocky or rough from tree roots. They’re actually pretty light given the extra support, so definitely wear these on all hikes if you suffer from bad knees, ankles or feet.
These Balega socks are my newest obsession. I’ve tried a lot of different socks over the years. These keep my feet dry and cool and, therefore, blister free. What I love most about these socks is how durable they are…I’ve had one pair for at least 3 years and they’re still going strong!
This may sound weird, but I wear Nike compression shorts under my shorts mainly to prevent the skin on my legs from rubbing together during the hike. I’ve made the mistake of wearing regular boxer briefs before on a hike and paid the price…don’t make my same mistake!
If it’s a bit cooler or we’re doing a trail with some underbrush, I’ll wear compression pants with shorts to repel insects or poisonous plants. These UA HeatGear pants wick moisture perfectly and will even keep you cool if you choose to wear them on warm hikes.
I’m obsessed with these sunglasses! The polarized lenses prevent glare and help provide contrast to help you see the trail better. They’re very light, sit comfortably on the bill of my hat and, best of all, extremely durable. I’ve accidentally dropped these sunglasses on boulders and the lenses have resisted scratches and held up perfectly. Sure, they’re a bit pricey, but the durability and quality of the polarized lenses make it a worthwhile investment!
Again, if you’re hiking outside the “green tunnel”, you need to get as much protection as possible from prolonged exposure to the sun. This hat definitely won’t rack up any style points, but I love the practicality of it – SolarShield UPF 50, built-in sweatband, adjustable drawcord to prevent it from blowing away in the wind (like the sustained gale force winds we experienced on the Chasm Lake Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park).
The Talon 22 is perfectly designed for all-day hikes, regardless of distance. It holds a hydration reservoir up to 100oz/3L and the back panel is perfect for keeping the pack off your body to help provide airflow and keep you dry.
The Atmos 50 is an awesome pack just like the Talon 22, but on a much bigger scale to give you the necessary space for all your gear on backpacking trips. The Anti-Gravity suspension system is very comfortable and handles the extra weight so well you almost don’t even notice it’s there! The shoulder straps and hip belt are very comfortable and work well to help you distribute the weight evenly across your shoulders, back, and hip. The top lid is removable if you’re a lightweight junkie and love to go on minimalist excursions.
Remember, you don’t have to buy everything all at once. It will take time to build your hiking and/or backpacking wardrobe. 😉 Look for things on sale at stores and join gear trade groups on Facebook to find bargains!
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