One thing you need to start thinking about when you start hiking in wild and wonderful places is what kind of clothes you are going to wear, and what kind of hiking clothing will best serve you for spending time out here.
This is a quick overview of the kinds of things I wear when I’m out on the trail, and what I find works well for me.
One thing I never wanna wear on the trail is denim jeans, ’cause if they get wet, they get really heavy, and they don’t have a lot of stretch or give to them. So what I chose to do for a pant, is to wear a lightweight quick-drying fabric, but also want there to be a bit of stretch, because you are gonna be climbing up things, maybe climbing up and down steps, or crouching down to pick up something. So if you’ve got pants with a bit of stretch, you’re gonna be super, super comfortable.
One term you’re gonna hear quite a bit of in terms of hiking clothing is layering. So the base layer is all about managing moisture because as you’re walking out here in the bush, you’re gonna be sweating. Even on a cold day, you’re gonna build up a bit of a sweat. So what you really want is a fabric and a material next to your skin that’s gonna draw that moisture away from your body, therefore keeping you warm.
There are two schools of thought with base layers. You’ve got merino, which is this wonderful natural fiber, and the worst you might smell after wearing merino is like a wet sheep. It is, however, a more delicate fabric, so it will tend to catch a bit more, and is not as sturdy and strong. And on the other hand, you’ve got synthetics. So synthetics, they’re a little stinky after you’re sweating and working hard in the bush, but they’re really good in a wet environment, like if you’re canoeing or something like that, or doing river crossings.
Now, this mid layer is all about insulation. It’s all about keeping you warm. So base layer, drawing away the moisture, keeping you dry. Mid layer, all about warmth. In the mid layer, there are a few different things you can do. What I’d probably do, if I was super cold, is I’d be laying another merino on top of this, and it’d be a long sleeve one. It’s one of a thicker variety. But what that mid layer is really all about, is stuff about warmth. So my favorite is a down jacket.
So the shell layer, or your rain jacket, something like that, that’s all about protecting you from the environment, from the weather. From rain, from wind, from snow, all those kinds of elements. So that’s about creating a shell to keep all those elements away from the rest of your body.
Finally, the last thing is my hat. So you probably realize a lot of the heat from your body escapes out the top of your head. So if you’re feeling cold, one of the first things you should do is put on a nice, warm hat. Fleece is great, it keeps me nice and warm, and covers my ears, which is great in winter.
So that’s my approach to clothing on the trail. Don’t forget, it’s all about layering. The base layer is all about moisture management. The mid layer’s all about insulation, keeping you warm. And the shell layer is all about keeping the elements off you.