As anyone who’s ever spent even 10 minutes swiping through the many mountaintop selfies on Tinder profiles can tell you: millennials love hiking — and they love looking cute while doing it.
And why shouldn’t they? Hiking carries some amazing health benefits, including improved strength and endurance, exposure to nature and fresh air and reduced anxiety. Arguably the best part of hiking is the victory selfie you get to take at the peak or scenic vistas — and to capture that Instagrammable triumph without looking like a sweaty sasquatch. The right hiking outfit is key.
What To Wear for Hiking: A Few General Rules
The best outfit for hiking is one that keeps you safe, dry and comfortable without restricting your movement — bonus points if it looks cute. The right hiking gear varies by season, climate and environmental conditions. We’ve included a few basic pointers:
1. Practice the Art of Layering.
Layering is a time-honored art form that lets you regulate your temperature and comfort by shedding or donning layers according to changes in the weather and your activity layer. The basic formula for layering your hiking clothes is:
- A moisture-wicking base layer (more on this later).
- An insulating middle layer.
- An outer layer than shields you from the wind and rain.
2. Go for Moisture-Wicking Fabrics.
This is especially important for your base layer, or the clothing that touches your skin.
Moisture-wicking refers to a material’s ability to pull sweat from your body and move it to the outer surface of the fabric to speed drying. Skip non-wicking cotton and denim in favor of moisture-wicking fabrics like polyester, wool and synthetic blends.
3. Get a Good Pair of Hiking Boots.
Ideally, you’ll want hiking boots or trail shoes with ankle support, cushion and durability. A good pair of boots should fit snugly, but not tightly, with plenty of wiggle room for your toes.
4. Expect the Unexpected.
Remember, the weather can always turn colder, wetter, snowier, or sunnier than the forecast. You might encounter obstacles you didn’t expect, like rocks, tree branches and brush. Always wear or pack extra layers — we recommend going for one more layer than you think you’ll need — and prioritize clothing that gives you a full range of motion.
What Is The Best Outfit for Hiking? A Season-By-Season Guide
Although basic rules of hiking apply all year round, the best outfit for hiking will vary by season and climate. With this in mind, we’ve broken down general tips for hunting down fabulous and functional hiking clothing by season:
Summer Hiking Outfits
Summer hiking outfits should help protect you from common summer concerns, including harsh sunlight, humidity, ticks, poison ivy and mosquitoes.
During hot-weather months, it’s especially important to dress in moisture-wicking materials — sweat control is key for avoiding bacteria growth while keeping you comfy, dry and cool. Also important is clothing with a high Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating, which protects you from UV rays. Look for apparel with a UPF rating of 30 and above. In addition, go for looser fits in lighter colors over darker, tighter styles. Finally, don’t forget accessories — including sunglasses, a hat with a brim and well-ventilated socks.
Here are some stylish and superb summer outdoor hiking ideas to kick off your next sunny-weather hike:
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Spring and Fall Hiking Outfits
We’re lumping together the spring and fall because they are both pretty unpredictable for weather. You might encounter rain and wind one day, only to be met by the hot sun the next. That makes layers important during these two seasons.
When dressing for these two fickle seasons, we suggest layering a T-shirt and pants with a long-sleeve shirt or fleece, plus a windbreaker. It’s wise to choose a backpack that’s big enough to carry additional layers as you shed them.
To inspire your next spring/fall hiking outfits, here are some of our favorite picks:
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Winter Hiking Outfits
First things first: It’s best to steer clear of winter hiking if you l live somewhere warm like Texas, Florida or Southern California. Particularly for newbie hikers, snow, ice and freezing temperatures can be no fun and even pretty dangerous.
That said, if you’re in a warmer-weather climate, you should still be mindful of your apparel. You’ll want mid-weight fleece pants, fitted, moisture-wicking base layers, a removable insulated middle layer and a waterproof, weather-resistant, breathable outer layer. Top it all off with a warm beanie, neck gaiter and gloves or mittens plus warm moisture-wicking socks and weather-resistant hiking boots.
To help keep you snug and warm while you brave wintry weather, here are a few ideas for winter hiking outfits:
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The post Look Cute Outdoors in Fabulous + Functional Hiking Outfits appeared first on The Real Deal by RetailMeNot.