What to Wear Hiking: A Guide to Women’s Outdoor Clothing

Planning a hiking trip with the girls? Getting some time outdoors and trying out a new adventure sounds like a good idea. And being well prepared for the trail is even a better one. What do you need to make this an enjoyable and safe trip instead of an uncomfortable experience? Proper clothing, hiking shoes, and some extra food and water just in case.

If this is a new experience for you, the best thing is to be strategic about what you take with you. Pack as light as possible because you will carry everything on your back while walking, and you don’t need heavy equipment to slow you down. To avoid missing some of the essentials, but also not to overthink and overpack, here are the basic things you will need.

Tops – Dress in Layers

The first rule for clothing for outdoor activities such as hiking is to dress in layers. Temperatures can fluctuate and it might be hot in the afternoon but chilly in the mornings and evenings. Plus, you will be active and walking so you will get hot and sweaty. The best option is to have a way to add or subtract items of clothes as needed.

woman taking a break on a rock from hiking
Source: travanietravels.com
  • Base layer – this is the layer closest to your skin and needs to be comfortable and moisture-wicking. Avoid cotton as it doesn’t dry quickly, and go for merino wool, nylon, or polyester. They dry fast and are ideal for base layers – underwear, sports bra, socks, a short-sleeved tee, and a long-sleeved shirt.
  • Insulating layer – This is the mid-layer that gives proper insulation against the elements. A vest, long-sleeved top, pullover, or zip-up made from lightweight, breathable materials such as fleece, wool, or heavy synthetics will protect you from the cold, sun exposure, and various trail conditions.
  • Outer layer – A rain jacket that is also a windbreak will shield you in case of a storm. Waterproof and windproof fabrics from natural and synthetic fibers are the best option.

This is a tried and tested concept, proven to be the most effective for staying comfortable, dry, and safe on the trail in different weather conditions.

Bottom – Find Good Hiking Pants for Women

Comfortable womens walking pants are an essential item of proper hiking clothing. If you are hitting the trail on a hot day it might seem like a good idea to put on some shorts but bear in mind, pants are generally better. Hiking pants will protect your legs from overgrown bushes, low branches, rocks, or other forms of obstacles that might cause scratches, cuts, and bruises. They serve as a barrier between your skin and the surrounding grass, ticks, Poison Ivy, and other possible dangers. They will also protect you from the sun.

When looking for hiking pants women who are serious about the outdoors know that a pair of quick-drying comfortable pair is the best option. You need fabric that is lightweight, so you don’t feel restricted in your movements but also sturdy enough so they are durable. Moisture-wicking and breathable material is another desirable feature in case of unexpected rain, and of course, pockets. Deep, zippered front and/or pockets where you can keep your phone or some other essential equipment are perfect to ensure the safety of your belongings while you are high-stepping and scrambling on the trail.

hiking pants women
Source: outdoorgearlab.com

If you find the creek irresistible and want to soak your feet or ride a bike without the fabric holding you down, then you can take advantage of the zip-off pants that can be converted into shorts in a minute. And if you are hiking in colder temperatures then add long underwear for extra warmth. For those of you who appreciate comfort but also like to look good, the best outdoor trousers are designed to fit your curves, so you will great and be protected.

Is it Better to Hike in Pants or Leggings?

Often women opt for walking leggings as a more flattering bottom, and your yoga tights might do the trick if you are out on a short hike. But if we are talking about a multi-day adventure, then you might want to take a look at the hiking-specific leggings with added reinforcement over the knees, thighs, and rear. They should be from synthetic materials that wick sweat and keep you dry and include pockets and a water-repellent finish.

Shoes – for Safe Walking

Since hiking is essentially walking on rougher terrain, one of the most important things is to have proper footwear. These might be real hiking boots with excellent ankle support or a good pair of sneakers. They need to provide traction and appropriate foot support for the more challenging surfaces. If they are water-resistant then all the better, since your feet might get wet even if it’s not raining. You might step into a puddle, and walk through muddy places or dewy conditions. Breathable but sturdy materials are the best. Make sure they feel comfortable and don’t cause you any blisters that will make you regret you took the trip. Breaking into a new pair of shoes on the hike is not a good idea.

Ensure you wear good socks too, thicker or thinner wool socks will keep your feet dry, and don’t forget to take another pair or two extra. You never know if you might need them.

Protect Your Head

Whatever the season, wear a hat. A wide-brimmed hat can protect you from the intense sun on hot days, but it will also keep the rain out of your eyes if there’s a rainy spell. If you want to wear a baseball cap be aware that it won’t cover your neck and ears. For cooler weather conditions pick a synthetic or wool hat to keep you warm.

Final Thoughts

Bring a pair of sunglasses as well, extra sunscreen, and some bug repellent. If you are out hiking for the first time and sure what to pack, consult your more outdoorsy friends, but to play safe, bring some extras along. Remember, the point is to enjoy the experience, be able to move freely, and feel comfortable in your apparel while protected.