Hiking is an experience in every season. Snow-covered mountains in winter, birds chirping and leaves rustling in summer or the first blooming meadows in spring; there is always something to see and experience. But to make the trip fun in any weather, the right clothing is essential and the effects that too warm or too airy clothing can have should not be underestimated.
Especially when hiking, the following applies: There is no such thing as bad weather, only poorly chosen clothing.
Of course, the season also plays a role in the choice of luggage. While cool drinks provide refreshment in summer, it is a good idea to take tea in a thermos flask in winter. A checklist helps to think of everything.
The Right Hiking Clothes For Winter: Stay warm and dry
When hiking in winter, the main thing is to stay warm and dry. Not only the moisture from outside caused by snow or rain must be taken into account, but especially that caused by perspiration. Damp clothing causes hikers to cool down much faster, which can lead to colds.
For clothing, the onion principle has proven itself here, which can consist of at least three, and depending on necessity, four layers.
With the onion principle, it is important to pay attention to the right combination of clothing, because here it is essentially important that moisture is transported away from the body, while at the same time the heat should be kept on the body.
The first layer should consist of functional underwear. It wicks moisture away from the body while remaining dry. Cotton is not suitable for this, because it absorbs moisture and then forms a clammy layer that not only feels uncomfortable but also cools the body. Synthetic fibers such as polypropylene or polyamide are better at this task. Functional clothing should fit close to the body for optimal performance.
The second layer must be made of breathable material so that on the one hand it retains body heat, but on the other hand, it can let sweat through. Fabrics made of fleece, for example, are suitable for this purpose.
The task of the third layer is cold and weather protection. Popular materials for this layer are down and Primaloft. While down is lightweight, it is sensitive to wetness, whereas Primaloft offers somewhat poorer thermal insulation, but is water repellent.
Depending on your needs, you can either add a second insulating layer or, for example, a rain cape as an additional weather layer.
Hiking boots Winter hiking boots should not be bought too small, because especially in the cold season, the feet must fit inside even with thick socks. In addition, they should be breathable, so that they can withstand the snow, but sweat to the outside. To keep the feet warm, cotton socks should be avoided, because similar to outerwear, they retain moisture and make the feet cold. Sports socks made of appropriate functional materials are the better choice here.
People lose most of their body heat through their heads. Therefore, a winter a thick hat is useful and a scarf should not be missing. Gloves are also an absolute must because hands and feet are usually the first to cool down and anyone planning a longer tour through the snow risks painful frostbite on the hands without gloves. Mittens generally keep the fingers warmer than finger gloves, but they are difficult to access, so they would have to be taken off for each grip on the luggage. An alternative is mittens with a fold-back tip.
Especially when hiking with a child, it is important to wear the right clothes, because freezing children can not only get sick but may also refuse to continue walking at some point.
The Right Hiking Clothes For Summer: Counteracting excessive sweating
Functional clothing is also important in summer to ensure a functioning heat regulation. Anyone who sweats a lot while hiking must ensure accordingly that the sweat is transported away from the body so that there is no risk of chilling.
Even at high temperatures, the fluctuations should not be underestimated, especially on the mountain. Since the legs are constantly in motion, shorts are fine in moderate terrain. For outerwear, it should be possible to switch between short and long, for example, over a functional shirt with a long shirt made of lightweight material.
If they also look inviting in summer, trekking sandals should be better avoided and light sneakers are also out of place. Although they provide pleasant ventilation of the feet, stones quickly get between the toes or thorny plants and also the surefootedness is limited. Appropriate sports socks and breathable hiking boots have proven themselves here. Both are also a good remedy against blisters because these form particularly quickly when damp socks lie on the skin. Overall, the feet play a major role in temperature sensation. If you want to cool down on a long run, you can do this particularly well by taking off your shoes and socks and cooling your feet. In case of particularly heavy perspiration, it makes sense to have a pair of dry spare socks in your backpack.
To protect the head from direct sunlight, a light hat is useful. Here, care should be taken that it is made of coarse material such as straw, so that heat does not build upon the head.
Transitional season: Ready for any weather
Here again, the onion principle is applied, because especially during the transitional period the temperatures can fluctuate significantly during a tour. While in the direct sun there is pleasant warmth that invites you to take off your jacket, it can get sensitively chilly in the shady forest or towards evening. Fleece and light softshell jackets can be taken off if necessary and stowed in the backpack. A jacket that can withstand short rain showers should definitely be included during the changeable seasons.
When it comes to pants, detachable pant legs are useful. They can be easily removed and stowed in the backpack when it gets too warm. Here, however, it is essential to pay attention to good workmanship, so that snaps or zippers do not create pressure points. Softshell pants provide a pleasant temperature balance and withstand even a short shower.