Summertime is here, which means it’s the perfect time to go on hikes! But what should you wear when it’s hot outside? In this blog post, I’ll share some tips on what to wear when hiking in hot weather. Stay cool and comfortable on your next hike by following these tips!
What Do You Wear to Hike in Hot Weather?
I know what you’re thinking… “Layers in the summer? It’s hot af.” But hear me out. Layers can actually help you stay cooler, drier, and more comfortable when it’s hotter than you-know-where outside.
Base Layer You’ll definitely want this layer to be moisture wicking. Your base layer can be just your undies and sports bra or a moisture wicking tank under your t-shirt. Even in hot weather a base layer can play a big role in keeping you cooler, comfier, and chafe free.
Mid Layer You’ll probably want this layer to be moisture wicking as well. These can be tanks, tees, or even long sleeved to add some protection from the sun. Some shirts geared toward outdoor sports have underarm vents to let excess heat escape.
Outer Layer I don’t usually wear an outer layer for hiking in hot weather unless the temps drop at night or it rains, but I always take one with me. A fleece or a light wind-blocking jacket is what I normally go for.
Fabrics and Design
Moisture Wicking Synthetics like polyester or nylon are considered moisture wicking. Some natural fabrics like bamboo or wool are also moisture wicking. Whether synthetic or natural, moisture wicking fabric helps you dry and comfortable by eliminating sweat just sitting on your skin.
Benefits of Moisture Wicking Clothing
- Keeps you cooler in summer, helps keep you warmer in winter
- Can help prevent bacteria growth by reducing the hot/humid environment needed for growth
- Easy to care for
- Helps reduce or prevent chafing
Light Colors Help reflect the heat away from you. When picking your clothing, opt for the lighter color choices to help reflect
Loose Fit Breezy clothing allows airflow which can have a cooling effect. Tight or body-snug clothing can trap heat and make you feel even hotter.
UPF Rated Clothing UPF or Ultra-Violet Protection Factor rated clothing are great for doing double duty in summer heat. If you get UPF clothing in a wicking material (generally they are wicking but I’ve come across a few that are not), you’ll benefit from both sweat and sun protection.
Two of my favorite UPF shirts for women are the Columbia Omni-Shade UPF 50 and the PFG Tidal Tee II. They also have a version for men, which is the PFG Terminal Tackle UPF 50 shirt. Both are available with the Amazon Try Before You Buy, which allows you to try the clothing for 7 days and only pay for what you decide to keep. If you decide you don’t like it, returns are free and easy with the resealable box and prepaid label provided.
Zip off Hiking pants with a zippered knee area let you change from pants to shorts or capris if you feel like it.
Miscellaneous Clothing and Gear for Hot Weather Hiking
Socks Wearing the right socks will help prevent blisters and provide support for tired feet while hiking in hot weather. Bringing along an extra pair of moisture wicking socks to change into mid hike provides a feeling like no other.
Darn Tough, Bombas, and Injinji socks are popular, but any sock that marked for sports or athletic use will probably work just fine.
Hiking Shoes or Boots In hot weather, less can be more when it comes to your footwear. Sandals made for hiking allow airflow and support, but before you choose sandals, make sure your terrain is appropriate for them.
If sandals aren’t an option for you, keep these tips in mind when searching for hot weather footwear
- Gortex is amazing, but it’s sooo hot. The same magic that allows for waterproof footwear also traps heat inside making for hot and sweaty hike.
- Trail runners or other supportive, light weight shoes are generally more airy and cool than boots
- Sometimes the terrain requires maximum support that a shoe just can’t provide. If you’re going to need boots, look for boots that have a lot of breathability and airflow
Hat Make your own shade and keep the sun off your face, head, and neck with a brimmed hat.
Sunglasses Protect your eyes with sunglasses rated for UV protection
Buff or Bandana These can be used in so many ways. For hiking in hot weather, they can:
- Provide sun protection
- Act as a sweat band or towel
- Be a cooling towel. Just soak with water and put on your head or neck
Hot Weather Hiking Clothes for Women
Boody Bamboo Underwear I feel like these run a tiny bit small, so if your size fits you perfectly, I would size up one.
Hot Weather Hiking Clothes for Men
Runderwear Men’s Underwear– Marketed at marathon runners, but also great for hiking!
Should You Wear Pants or Shorts When Hiking?
When hiking, the most important factor to consider is comfort. You want to be wearing clothes that will allow you to move freely and that won’t cause you to overheat. So if you feel more comfortable in pants, then go ahead and wear them. If you’re more comfortable in shorts, then wear those instead. It really doesn’t matter what you choose to wear as long as you’re comfortable and safe.
A few things you should consider when choosing though, are bugs and vegetation. Will vegetation be brushing against you? There may be prickly weeds or thorns. Will you be in tall grass where ticks are likely to be hiding? Long pants will help prevent tick and other bug bites much better than shorts will.
What kind of clothing is recommended for hiking in summer?
When hiking in the summer, it’s important to wear clothing that will keep you cool and comfortable. lightweight fabrics such as cotton or linen are ideal, and you should avoid wearing anything that is made from heavy materials such as wool. It’s also a good idea to choose colors that reflect the sun’s light, such as white or light colors.
So, before you set out on your next hike in hot weather, take a little time to choose the right clothing. Make sure you have clothes made from light and breathable materials that will allow sweat to evaporate. Wear several thin layers rather than one or two thick ones, and bring along sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun. With the right gear, you can enjoy your hike even on the hottest day.