What to Wear While Hiking in Four Seasons

Cold or rainy weather does not have to be the reason you cancel your upcoming hiking trip. With the proper hiking attire, visiting trails in the off-seasons or on soggier days may be the perfect way to enjoy less-crowded trails and see flora or fauna that you haven’t before. Here are some guidelines to dressing appropriately for all four seasons. 

The Joys of Hiking

Hiking is a wonderful way to enjoy nature while also receiving all of the health benefits of exercise and fresh air. Trails often lead to incredible views or even natural attractions, such as deep gorges or waterfalls

Unlike many other ways to get out and enjoy the great outdoors, hiking doesn’t require a major investment in equipment or even require that you go far from home. When you have the right clothing, hiking is even more fun. A sturdy pair of shoes and a smart outfit are all you need to get started.

Hiking Clothing: Practical Fashion for Every Season

The perfect hiking outfit will ensure you are prepared for the weather and the local terrain. Continue reading to find out what to wear in every season. 

What To Wear Hiking in Winter

The key to the perfect winter hiking outfit is layers, layers, layers. Starting with underwear and your base layer, look for insulating and moisture-wicking fabrics such as wool or synthetic materials designed to do the same. The next layer or layers should be warm as well, but easy to take off and put back on. While hiking in the winter, sweat is the enemy. The body heats up as it continues moving, so the goal is to stay warm without overheating throughout the entire hike. 

Finish the look with an outer layer that will keep out the wind and water or snow. And don’t forget about your extremities! A warm hat and gloves are a must, as well as moisture-wicking, non-cotton socks to keep your feet warm and your body comfortable. 

What To Wear Hiking in Spring

When it comes to hiking attire, spring can present a lot of choices. As it’s a cooler and rainier season, make sure to wear or bring a packable waterproof and windproof outer layer in case of showers. Similarly for wet conditions, waterproof hiking boots will keep your feet dry and warm on muddy trails. Next, a warm (but removable) long-sleeve middle layer and a good moisture-wicking base layer will give you the flexibility to make tweaks to your outfit as your body starts to heat up. 

While hiking in yoga pants may offer freedom of movement and nearly unparalleled comfort, unfortunately, they won’t protect you from rough terrain, thorny bushes, or other hazards. Breathable, quick-drying pants will help to ensure you don’t stay damp for long while also keeping you cool as temperatures start to heat up later in the day. Pick a hat to keep the sun at bay and also to keep your head warm. Some hikers even choose convertible pants that can zip off into shorts to accommodate the changing temperatures.

What To Wear Hiking in Fall

Hiking in the fall brings conditions that are a lot like spring. It is important to have a good wind- and waterproof layer in your pack to ensure you’re prepared for all possible conditions. Fall mornings often turn to warm afternoons, so consider a short-sleeved base layer. Paired with one or two more long-sleeved layers, you will have enough variation to keep your body temperature regulated even as the day’s temperatures may start to swing.  

As tempting as it may be, wearing denim is a bad idea while hiking in any weather. Cotton will keep you hotter in warm weather and colder in wet, chilly conditions. For late fall or at higher elevations, it would be wise to also have a fleece layer for insulation against cooler temperatures. More than just a fashion statement, a good hat is a great addition to your fall hiking clothes and will keep you warm and protected. 

What To Wear Hiking in Summer

Just because the temperatures are heating up doesn’t mean it’s time to wear as little as possible. Still, summer brings the opportunity for a lot of great hiking clothing. While shorts and a t-shirt may suffice for shorter hikes, consider breathable shirts and pants for protection against the sun’s UV rays for longer or exposed hikes. Remember, no cotton as a rule of thumb, if it can be avoided. 

Environmental concerns will also dictate what you wear on your feet. A supportive hiking sandal may be all you need to carry you away on a summer hike. Ticks, critters, and poisonous wildlife may all point to wearing closed-toed sneakers or even breathable hiking boots. And don’t forget your hat to keep the sun out of your face and off of your neck while you hike. That’s right — it’s always the right season to wear a hat! 

Hiking Through the Seasons

No matter what time of year it is, where you are will determine exactly how you need to dress to make sure attire doesn’t ruin the incredible experience of exploring trails old and new. 

From the summery deserts of the American southwest to the snowiest peaks of the Rocky Mountains, an RV rental from Cruise America can take you comfortably through each of the seasons with plenty of storage to handle all of your layers and options. 

Discover new and gorgeous hiking trails year round. Call or visit one of Cruise America’s many locations nationwide to set off in the perfect RV.