The key to clothing on any hiking trip regardless of location or distance is LAYERS. Make sure that you have the proper layers so that you can easily add or remove during your hike to be the most comfortable.
That being said, there is not a specific must have list of what to wear hiking. Most of this is going to depend on where you are hiking and the weather. So do your research ahead of time to get an idea of the overall temperature and conditions so that you can plan accordingly.
If you’re just going on a short day hike, just get out there! Wear something comfortable that you can move in where you won’t be too hot or cold depending on where you are. For longer trips with more difficult trails or more unpredictable weather, here is my list of the clothes I like best to hike in:
While on my last backpacking trip the heels of my hiking boots literally fell off, so I’m searching for my next amazing pair. Thus far I’m using Lowa Ferrox GTX, which are working great! They’re VEGAN (no leather), waterproof, and breathable, which covers all of my needs.
If you don’t know where to start shopping for boots, read this guide on how to choose the best hiking boot for you.
I’m a fan of these light Smartwool socks. I’m pretty loyal to Smartwool as everything I’ve tried of theirs has always worked out great. I prefer these light socks since they keep your feet a bit cooler than other standard Smarwool socks.
Shorts or Legging
I almost always hike in leggings over shorts because I don’t like grass or branches other things rubbing against my lower legs. I’ve gotten poison oak one too many times as a kid that way. And there’s not much of a temperature difference, for me at least, between leggings and shorts. When it comes to leggings, I really like leggings with side pockets.
They’re fashionable and functional and have a wide variety of options that look super cute!
Not something I often use, but when you need then, you’ll be glad you have them! We used rain paints a lot when hiking in Iceland since it rained pretty much everyday and we weren’t about to miss out on the sights just because of some rain. I like these side zip rain pants since it makes it easier to get them on and off, especially when wet.
Tank top/ Tshirt
I usually just go with something out of my closet that’s comfortable, cute, and somewhat form fitting. But for long backpacking trips where it’s important for clothes to dry quickly and to keep you moisture free, go for a wicking shirt to keep moisture away from your body.
Long sleeve layer
I just like to use a regular thin long-sleeve shirt for this and then layer it over my tank-top if I get cold. It’s important that this shirt be made out of fast-trying materials, not things like cotton. Something similar to this long underwear top. But when on longer backpacking trips, then I go for a Smartwool zip up jacket instead.
Nothing keeps me warmer than a down jacket, especially once you start moving. But given my ethical stance on Earth awareness and animal products, it’s important to me to find jackets that are Responsible Down Standard certified, ensuring that the down does not come from any animals subjected to unnecessary harm such as force feeding or live plucking.
That’s why I go with Nano Lightweight Jacket By 32 Degrees. Its light enough that it’s not too hot when unzipped, but also nice and toasty when zipped. It’s also fairly form fitting and flattering and is slightly water resistant.
I use this much more often than rain pants. Stretch Anorak Waterproof Jacket By 32 Degrees. Comfortable, form fitting, and does a good job of keeping out water. I particularly like the stretch material so that you don’t feel confined when wearing it.
Underwear & Accessories
Since I’m fairly small chested and will double my swim suit top for this if bringing my swim suit along anyway. Whatever you find to be the most comfortable will work, just make sure it’s a quickly drying material. There are several good options available from REI.com
I generally use my regular underwear, but I can see how quick drying underwear would be handy.
Make sure to protect yourself from the sun!