Hiking Clothes and Footwear

As they say, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. In this article, we tried to bring together all the basic ideas on hiking clothes and shoes.

It is essential to know the climate of the area and to be ready for any surprises. Deciding what to wear, you also need to focus on the complexity of the hiking conditions, its duration,  the differences between day and night temperatures.

Remember that your clothing should be quick-drying. It means you should use clothing made from natural fabrics as little as possible. The ideal option is cotton underwear only, but everything else should be synthetic. Some exceptions can be made for woolen socks, although lately, there have been good synthetic thermal socks explicitly made for walking in hiking boots.

Embrace layering 

Clothing should also be light, especially if you’re going on long trips. You may say this idea is primitive, but you need to take such things, that you cannot do without or replace them with other objects.

It does not matter where you set out: in the wood or the mountains, the rules to choose the equipment are the same. The classic three-layer garment system consists of a base layer, an insulation layer, and a shell layer. While a base layer is worn regularly, the insulation and shell layers are only worn when the conditions require them.  

1  The base layer garments can include T-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, tank tops, etc. The primary function of these garments is to wick away humidity (perspiration) to the outer layers so that you stay dry. When choosing thermal underwear, you should focus on several factors: thickness, elasticity, and material quality. All of these factors affect thermal insulation and comfort;

2  The insulation layer usually includes fleece jumpers, warm track pants, and lightweight jackets. Just like a base layer, a mid-layer should be breathable and able to retain heat. More than one insulating layer gives you increased flexibility; particularly important when you are likely to encounter a broader range of temperatures;

3  The shell layer can consist of windproof and moisture-resistant jackets and trousers. A right outer layer will protect you against wind and rain, while also allowing the moisture and heat from your body to escape so you don’t overheat.

Your list of clothes for hiking looks like this:

— shirt / T-shirt - 2pcs;

— trousers;

— waterproof trousers;

— waterproof windbreaker;

—  fleece sweater/jacket;

— soft clothes for sleeping;

— thermal underwear (if any);

— socks - 2 pairs of warm, 2 pairs of ordinary;

— underwear (2 sets);

— headdress;

— a warm jacket.

Footwear

Hiking is a long, vigorous walk; that is why it is essential to take appropriate footwear. Due to the lack of experience and poor preparation of the muscles for mountain terrain, the legs require better protection. That is, where it is enough for an experienced tourist to have a pair of trainers, an amateur is better to take boots. Besides, if you are going to continue to go hiking further, it is worth thinking in advance that these shoes will serve you during your future travels.

Hiking shoes should protect the foot and ankle joints from injuries. They should be comfortable, light enough, and not tight. In dry weather, it is recommended to wear canvas sneakers or training shoes. To improve the cushioning properties of shoes, use sponge (foam) insoles and a soft lining under the heel. We do not recommend high-heeled shoes. If the hiking shoes get wet, use two pairs of polyethylene pockets. Put on the socks, they will keep feet dry in the rain, and when walking on grass covered with dew. Wearing them for more than 2-3 hours a day is not recommended, as they prevent feet skin from breathing.

If the weather is changeable, tourists should have high enough leather or rubber waterproof shoes (boots, low ankle boots, etc.). Wet shoes need to be dried by hanging them by the shoelaces. To prevent the perspiration of the feet and wounds got from rubbing, you need to wear woolen socks over cotton socks even in warm weather. In case of excessive sweating of the feet, wash socks daily with cold water and dust with talcum powder.

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