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Essential Clothing for Hiking in Moderate Weather

by Kristi Leonard

When hiking in moderate weather, you'll want to wear clothing that is breathable and lightweight. You should also make sure that your shoes are comfortable so that your feet don't get sore during the hike. Choose clothing that will keep you warm without overheating. Clothing that helps you stay dry is important; should the temperature decrease or if your body is not working as hard (when walking downhill for example), your sweat-filled shirt may lead to your feeling cold.

  • Choose a lightweight t-shirt made of synthetic fabric like polyester or polypropylene, as these materials will keep moisture from your body, so that you stay dry.

  • Depending on the weather, you can add a light, insulated, water resistant jacket or a long-sleeved fleece. Pack the other in your backpack, just in case you need an additional layer.

  • Lightweight pants are another essential piece of clothing for hiking in moderate weather because they allow air flow around the legs as well as provide protection from insects and other wildlife if necessary.

Choosing the Right Footwear

The most important factor to consider when choosing your hiking boots is grip. You want a shoe that will keep you from slipping on wet rocks or ice, and prevent you from falling. Look for shoes with aggressive treads and sticky rubber soles. It is not necessary to purchase expensive boots for a moderate hike, but you do want to make sure you find shoes that give you the right kind of support. Outdoor Gear Lab had a nice write-up on how to choose hiking shoes.

With so many choices, it's hard to know if a hiking boot or shoe is better. Whichever you choose, buy the type that gives you the most support.--especially if you have weak ankles or feet that tend to swell up after long walks. Support comes from the sole of the shoe (which should be stiff) as well as its upper (which should be made of breathable material).

Layering Your Clothing

Layering your clothing is the best way to stay warm and comfortable while hiking in the event it gets cooler than the expected moderate temperatures or in the case of rain. The base layer should be made of a material that wicks moisture away from the skin, such as wool or synthetic fabrics. It should also be snug against the body so that it can keep heat in by trapping air next to the skin. The insulating layer should be made of a material that retains warmth when wet, such as fleece or pile fabrics (like down jackets). This is what you'll wear closest to your body and will protect you from wind chill when temperatures drop below freezing--it's important not to let cold air get through this layer! On hikes with Writers in the Wild, we should not run into freezing temps, but you never know. Finally, an outer shell protects against rain and snowfall while allowing some ventilation if things get too hot inside your jacket during warmer months (or vice versa).

Additional Hiking Gear

  • Sunglasses

  • Sunscreen

  • Hat

  • Bug spray

  • Backpack

  • Water bottle

  • First aid kit Writers in the Wild hikes are guided. Our guides are first aid certified and carry first aid kits.

Download this quick guide to what to wear hiking.

what to wear printable
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