What should you wear on a day hike? : Full List

What should you wear on a day hike

What should you wear on a day hike? It is no secret that for some people hiking is the best sport. These people pack their bags and go for hikes rather than watching documentaries of nature on their television. We respect them, as hiking is a wonderful option to get in the deep heart of nature, get your heart pumping while breathing down the cleanest air for your lungs. You can either solo to explore nature while exercising every single muscle or your body, or you could choose day hiking to spend quality time with friends and family.

While you get yourself to explore nature, it would be better to wear the right clothing and the right types of equipment that will help keep you comfortable and safe.

While getting through a day hike, most people are concerned about what should they pack in their hiking bag, like a sleeping bag, food, hiking essentials, etc. But in this worry, they have left out the important part and that is clothing. Generally, beginners never think about which type of clothing is best for them during the day hike.

They generally go in gym clothes or their everyday clothes, and at last, they suffer the consequences. Professional hikers have a saying ” there’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing”.

Choosing the perfect attire for your hike doesn’t have to be pricey or complicated, the clothes can be in the closet, but you didn’t know it yet.

Let’s check out what should you wear on a day hike. In this article, you will get to know what to wear when day hiking, along with some tips based on which season you are hiking in, and how to make your stay comfortable on the hike, keep reading!

What should you wear on a day hike?

Clothing is like the gear types of equipment during the hike, and it must be good quality, well fitted, and has a strong endurance.

Hikers have a saying ” Without proper hiking gear, your hike is screwed”. So if you don’t want to screw your day hike, read this article till the end and learn what should you wear on a day hike according to different seasons.


It is the clothes we wear, and during hiking, it is better to acknowledge this also. Avoid cotton underwear as it absorbs moisture and can lead to painful chafing when it gets damp.

It is better to stick with synthetic underwear, that will not absorb the moisture from your skin. Also, it would be better to get along or boxer-style underwear, as it will prevent rubbing between your things.


There are a huge variety of shirts a hiker can wear on a day hike. They can go in their usual daily clothes, gym clothes.

If you are hiking in summer with sun rays exposing in your skin, wear a long-sleeved UPF rating shirt, that blocks the sun rays and stops the absorption of swear.

Either go with a Merino wool and synthetic fabric on your hiking shirt.

Shorts, pants, and convertible (zip-off) pants

While choosing pants, three things must be kept in mind, movement freedom and pants that do not clinch your waist in tightly and quick-drying fabric.

Hikers usually prefer zip-off pants as they’d int have to choose between pants and shorts. Cargo pants are also common among hikers as they have soo much space to keep important things.

Get a good pair of thick pants, like it if you would climb using yoga pants, they could easily rip off.

Also, Environmental hazards (such as ticks, poison ivy, sharp rocks) should be kept in mind while choosing plants. Long and thick pants are necessary.


Jackets are usually worn if you are hiking in the fall or winter season. The two options are fleece jackets or puffy jackets.

Fleece is most used in the Fall season and provides more flexibility and more room for the movement of arms.

Puffy jackets should be worn in the winter season as they have better insulation power.


Never wear cotton socks when hiking. if you wear cotton socks, at the end of the day you will have blisters on your feet. the best option is to choose merino wool socks.


Gaiters are commonly made of plasticized synthetic cloth such as polyester, which looks like leg warmers on top of hikers’ boots.

These will help you to keep trail debris, pests like ticks. If you are hiking where ticks or other insects are more common, always wear Gaiters.

Rain Jacket

You might never know what could happen in a day. So instead of getting wet and have a potential risk of hypothermia, get a good pair of rain jackets.

Read More: How to wear Hiking boots with jeans

What not to wear on a Day Hike

Avoid Denim Jeans: Hike can include ups and downs, and denim Jeans provide neither stretchability nor comfort.

If you wear denim jeans on a summer day, you’ll need up losing a sweat, and denim is also a nonbreathable fabric.

Avoid Cotton Clothes

Cotton is not an appropriate option to wear in the outdoors because, it absorbs moisture, staying wet, and gives you a chilling sensation.

If you choose to wear cotton clothing on your day hike, you’ll feel the clothing sticking to your skin. It can be uncomfortable for some people.

Hikers say “cotton kills” to those who wear cotton clothes in winter as it can lead up to hypothermia.

Avoid Silk

Silk is not suitable for hiking, as it Is not a durable fabric. Although it feels good on your skin because if it’s soft composition material, it can be easily torn during the strenuous hike.

Read More: Can you wear hiking boots casually?

Clothing Fabric to choose during a day hike

Choose Wool fabric clothes

Wool is considered one of the finest fabrics which can be also used for day hiking clothes. It is soft, moisture-wicking, and can easily dry.

Wool fabric clothes also provide more breathability than other fabrics.

Affordable Polyester/nylon clothing

Wool is expensive, so it’s better to get a polyester/nylon blend that is suitable for hiking.

The worst part is that these clothes stink a lot. If you can retain the smell you can choose these fabrics for your clothes.


It is most material for jackets made from a polyester blend. Fleece jackets provide warmth, in the fall and spring seasons.

Although there is not the best option to wear in severely cold weather.

Choose UPF-rated clothing

If you are a beginner, you never even heard of a UPF rating, but it’s a thing. We know that clothing blocks the sun’s rays to reach our body to a certain extent.

But every clothing has a different potential on how much it can block the sun rays. UPF rating is guaranteed to provide protection.

If you are hiking in dessert or high-temperature trails, it is best to choose higher UPF rating clothes. Common ratings include UPF 15, UPF 30, and UPF 50+

Read More: When to replace hiking boots?

What to wear on a hike in different Seasons?

Now that we ruled out the types of fabric you should wear, it’s time to get dressed for a hike. We all know that every hike has a different environment and weather, and that makes it exciting and wonderful every time any person visits different trails.

But regardless of that, hikers need to get to attire depending on the season they are in. Here are some general tips for choosing the most appropriate outerwear for hiking by season.

Spring and fall

The outwear for this season is similar, as the weather is moderate and layering up is also similar.

Hikers usually go with two layers of long-sleeved hiking shirt as a base layer and a zip-up fleece jacket.

In the Spring-Fall season, the temperature is chilly, so a fleece jacket can be worn during day hiking.

Fleece jackets have three variants, lightweight, midweight and heavyweight. Select the weight variant according to your preference and weather conditions.


At the bottom, zip-off fleece pant legs are the best choice. During the hiking, if the temperature tends to rise, the hikers can easily zip off their pant legs.
As an addition to your outwear, a hat will be suitable. It will keep your eyes safe from the sun and even rain.


A good pair of socks which are built for hiking is necessary. Always add pair in your backpack.

Read More: Does merino wool shrink?


Footwear depends on the trail, but professionals suggest always wear hiking boots as they provide traction and support, and in addition, most of them are waterproof.


The best part about summer is that we don’t have to pack fewer pairs of clothes in our backpacks. We don’t require constantly add or remove of layers.

In summer, hikers tend to have a lighter backpack, due to less weight of jackets and stuff.

In summers, hikers must wear clothes with breathable fabric, that helps their body regulate temperature.

The worst fabric to wear in summers during hiking is cotton. Cotton has the property of absorbing moisture and dries very slowly, which creates a dangerous environment around your skin on wet and cold days.

Instead go for Nylon, polyester, or the best choice synthetic.

Also, go for lighter colors as they absorb less heat and keep you cooler during your hike.


The hiker can choose to wear either short or zip-off pants during the summer day hike. But while wearing these always check environmental hazards (e.g., ticks, poisonous plants, snakes, etc.).

There is a huge rise of insects during day hikes in summer, so it’s better to cover your legs and hands properly.


Avoid wearing cotton socks ( opt for wool or synthetic instead). The proper size of socks is mandatory while day hiking as if the socks are small size socks creates pressure points and sock slippage and too big socks disrupt the proper movement of the foot.


It’s appropriate to wear sandals and sneakers on easy trails, but with longer trails, you should wear hiking boots with good ankle support.

Read More: How to Wash Darn Tough Socks


The season where you have to layer up as much as possible. If you are day hiking in winter, you must have three layers of clothing.

All your clothes should have provided proper insulating properties. These layers will keep you warm and fight the cold outside.

The basic recommendations are to buy a good pair of the jacket. There is two option, the weather goes for a fleece jacket or a puffy jacket.

Fleece jacket:

These jackets are extremely lightweight, and also provide good insulation under cold temperatures.

But it is only suitable under an extent degree or a mild cold. You must not wear a Fleece jacket if the weather is too cold outside.

Puffy Jacket:

The ultimate option to go for when the temperature starts decreasing. A good pair of puffy jackets can last up to years and provide the best insulation and keep your warmth under low temperatures.

Avoid standard down puffy jackets as they tend to lose insulation if you get them wet.

Instead, opt for a synthetic insulation puffy jacket.

It would be more beneficial to buy a hybrid puffy jacket if your day hike can include you getting wet, as a synthetic fill with water-resistant down is the best option.


It’s cold outside, so pack as much as you can. Under severe cold temperatures, get yourself a good pair of fleece pants.

In addition, long underwear will also help you keep the leg warm.

Socks And Gloves:

Always go for merino wool socks and the socks must be taller than your hiking footwear. In winter it is good to wear fully insulated and waterproof gloves.

Hiking Boots:

Hiking boots help you easily get around the winter without feeling cold on your feet. Most of the hiking boots are waterproof and are also equipped with good insulation. When wearing hiking boots, you can stop worrying about getting your feet cold. It’s not happening!

Read More: How to Tell if Hiking Boots are too Big ?