Hiking has always been one of the go-to activities of adventurous people who want to take a break from their busy lives. And why not? The peaceful atmosphere, the cool climate, and the breathtaking view are more than enough reasons to make your hiking journey a marvelous experience. However, you will have to face several challenges on the trail before you reach the top. These challenges can be harsh if you do not follow the dos and don’ts of hiking, which can ultimately ruin the hiking experience.
One of the most crucial steps to having a pleasant hiking experience is to wear proper hiking attire. There is nothing wrong with trying to look good for your Instagram-worthy photos, but it should not come at the expense of your comfort. After all, you would not want to look uncomfortable or too sweaty in your pictures. Not to mention, giving up in the middle of the trail just because of your inappropriate hiking attire can make the experience a waste. To help you escape these problems, we prepared a list of the biggest hiking wear mistakes you should avoid when going for a hike.
Cotton is a big no in hiking, regardless of whether the weather is cold or hot. Cotton is a very absorbent fabric, which means it will absorb a lot of water or sweat. You will sweat a lot if you go hiking, especially in hot weather. If you are wearing cotton, your sweat will stay on your clothes, leaving you feeling sweaty all day. Wearing wet cotton can also make you extremely chilly if the weather is cold. Hiking while you are freezing cold can be such an unpleasant experience, so make sure to avoid it!
Note: Be sure also not to choose cotton when it comes to your underwear. Our underwear is the layer closest to our body, so wearing underwear full of sweat can make you feel sticky and uncomfortable. The goal is to move the moisture away from the body, so stay out of cotton and choose a better fabric such as those made of nylon, polyester, or merino wool.
Wearing Denim and Heavy Pants
We know that hiking while wearing denim can make you look cool, but you would not want to take that literally. Cotton is made of heavy cotton yarn. Thus, just like cotton, denim is very water absorbent. Wearing one can leave you damp and cold. Not to mention, wet denim is extremely heavy. Hiking on wet, heavy denim is the last thing you want to do on the trail.
Similarly, avoid wearing denim pants or any pants that are made of heavy material. The weather on mountain terrains can be very unpredictable. It would be a disaster if it rains and you are wearing a denim jacket or pants. Moreover, heavy pants are usually too tight. Hiking while wearing one can be extremely difficult and uncomfortable. Instead, consider wearing pants that are lightweight yet durable and quick-drying. Spandex and nylon pants are perfect examples of this.
You may also want to decide on the style of hiking pants that is suitable for you. There are three kinds of hiking pants: standard, convertible, and roll-up. Standard hiking pants are comfortable pants that have no zippered attachments. On the other hand, Convertible pants are pants that you can convert to shorts by zipping off and detaching at the knee. Roll-up pants are pants where you can roll up the bottom of the pants and secure it with buttons.
Wearing Uncomfortable Footwear
Hiking involves a lot of walking on rocks, inclines, and river crossings. Wearing uncomfortable or inappropriate clothes can be extremely comfortable and possibly painful for your feet. Using the right kind of hiking footwear is crucial. You should always wear sturdy shoes that can provide support and protection from rocks. There is also a chance that you may need to walk on bodies of water or wet surfaces, so make sure that the soles of your shoes are still not worn out to avoid slipping.
There are different types of shoes that can be suitable for hiking and walking on a trail. Choosing the best hiking footwear depends on which makes you the most comfortable. It may also depend on the kind of trail you will take or the hike’s level of difficulty. For instance, trail runners are helpful for fast-and-light day hikes or trail running. If you need to climb rock walls or hike on tricky and steep inclines, then approach shoes may be a good choice for you. Mountaineering boots are insulated, so they are usually the choice for glacial travel or ice climbing.
Wearing the Wrong Kind of Socks
Aside from your shoes, wearing the wrong kind of socks can also make or break your hiking experience. Needless to say, hiking involves a lot of walking. Thus, it is crucial to wear comfortable and fit sucks. Avoid wearing loose socks as they can irritate your feet in the long run. Stay away from no-show or ankle socks as well, as they can leave the back of your foot exposed. Instead, choose socks that can cover your ankle.
Reminder: Just like your clothes, the material of your socks is also critical. Again, stay away from cotton. Walking on sweaty socks can make your hike miserable. Worse, it can lead to painful blisters. To avoid this, consider wearing socks that are made of materials like wool or synthetic polymer.
Only Wearing One Layer of Clothes
Layering is a strategy that most experienced hikers use. This strategy may depend from time to time, as different areas have varying climates. If you are going to hike in an exceedingly cool place, wearing only one layer of clothes is a disaster waiting to happen. Still, hiking under hot weather does not mean that layering is no longer helpful. It can be a matter of preference, but layering your clothes is always a good practice to adapt to varying weather conditions.
Hiking is a fun yet challenging experience that you should prepare for. To make the most out of this experience, make sure to wear proper hiking attire and avoid these five biggest hiking wear mistakes. Your comfort and safety should be your top priority!