We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How do I Choose the Best Hiking Clothes?

By Jessica Kolifrath
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Hiking exposes you to the weather, creatures and plant life of the great outdoors. The best hiking clothes help protect you from all the elements. The area of the country a person plans to hike in will have a big effect on the best clothing material, but you should look for high-quality hiking gear that will withstand the demands of physical activity. Also look for clothing appropriate for layering to get the most use out of your hiking clothes.

No matter what hiking routes you plan to travel, wearing at least three layers of clothing will keep your skin protected from both sun and cold temperatures. The first layer should be comfortable on your skin and must wick moisture away as you sweat. Specially designed synthetic materials are available that draw moisture away, and these materials make the best hiking shirts. The first layer of hiking clothes should fit tightly to the skin to prevent moisture from pooling and causing irritation.

If you plan to hike during cool weather, your second layer should be composed of a durable fleece or thick outer shirt and tough pants. Brambles, tree branches and low growth can cut your skin and cause irritation, so the second layer of hiking clothing is generally designed for protection. Choose shirts and pants made from tightly woven materials to prevent sunburn and for better insulation. Wool is a good choice if warmth is a major concern, because it won't absorb moisture, but synthetic fleece may be better if you are worried about clothing weight slowing you down. A medium-thickness cotton shirt will be your best choice in warm weather.

Hiking pants, whether they are shorts or full-length trousers, must also wick moisture, unless you plan to wear long underwear beneath them. Loose pants will be more likely to get snagged in underbrush. Instead, choose a well fitting pair that sits at your natural waist.

Socks also must be considered when picking the best hiking clothes. They should fit well — a bit on the snug side but not tight — and work well with the boots you intend to wear while hiking. Their weight, whether light, heavy or somewhere in between, should be determined by the type of hike. A moisture-wicking sock can be beneficial in helping to prevent blisters, especially on longer hikes over more rugged terrain.

The third layer of most hiking outfits is a jacket designed for rain protection, though some also consider warmth. The best hiking jackets are completely waterproof and fall just over your waistband. This length prevents water from running off into your clothing without being so long as to interrupt your natural hiking stride. An appropriate hat with a wide brim also can help with rain protection, along with adding warmth in cold weather and providing sun protection in hot weather.

No matter which article of hiking clothes you are shopping for, look for materials designed to keep moisture off your skin. Avoid flimsy materials that can rip if caught on a branch, and test the seams of each piece by pulling gently. Hiking clothes take a lot of wear from trail walking or backpacking and must be durable and well made to be worth the money.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.