What to Wear for an All Day Hike

Getting out into nature is one of the best ways to spend a day or a few hours. If you follow my Instagram account, you know hiking the trails is something I do every week, rain, snow or shine. Whether you are exploring a long and dramatic coastline, an old growth forest covered with ferns, or working your way up and down a mountain, the scenery is breathtaking.

No matter where you hike, dressing properly is crucial to making the most of your day. Any discomfort can ruin the moment and make the whole trek feel like torture. Getting your wardrobe right the first time will make the most of your trek so you can enjoy the experience and the views.

So, here’s what you should wear.

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Layers, Layers and More Layers

The best way to ensure that you are never too cold but not too hot is to wear plenty of layers. This way you can alter your temperature a little bit at a time, giving you a chance to acclimate and stay comfortable. Lots of smaller layers also mean that you won’t be carrying such as heavy or bulky load.

If you are walking in a colder climate or you are climbing to a high point, you should think about the types of fabrics to choose. Wool does a brilliant job for sheep, and wool clothing, merino wool clothing, wool socks, wool underwear, wool hats are all naturally ideal for staying warm, especially with cooler temperatures at higher elevations or a driving wind.

Proper Walking Boots

For a short hike around a lake or loop trail, sneakers might be fine, but if you plan to be outdoors and on your feet for a longer period, you should get some proper boots. These boots will give your ankles and feet plenty of support, be waterproof and comfy enough not to give you blisters.

Getting the right size is also important, especially if you are going on a longer hiking trip and spending a lot of time wearing your boots. When purchasing new boots, give yourself plenty of time to break your boots in on shorter walks to make sure that you have chosen the right size.


Choosing a Backpack

If you are going on an all-day hike, there are probably a few things you will want to carry, like a water bottle, snacks and your phone. And, there are many lists with ten essentials for hiking that you’ll want to check out. Though you might have pockets that are big enough, a backpack is usually a better idea as you will be able to maintain your balance and not worry about dropping things along the way.

Finding the right size is a matter of personal choice, and you should think about how much you are willing to carry or what you need to carry for your hiking adventure. When I purchased my backpack, I went to the store so I could try backpacks on, test how they felt, and ask staff any questions. Their knowledge helped me choose the right backpack for my trip and body size. Keep in mind, a backpack that will take you on an adventure around the world will be very different than a daypack which is made for carrying a lighter load. 

The more comfortable you are with the proper gear and clothing, the more you’ll enjoy getting outside and exploring the natural world. 

#Collaborative Post



15 thoughts on “What to Wear for an All Day Hike”

  1. I would also suggest wool socks. A lot of times cotton socks will hold moisture and blister your feet. I also recommend hiking “unmentionables” to prevent chaffing, especially during warm weather hikes.

    • Yes, wool socks are mentioned in the post! I haven’t experienced chaffing yet, but I usually hike in a cooler climate. I could see it happening to me for sure.

  2. What is your recommendation if you also want to carry camera gear? My son and I are going on a trip to Costa Rica in May and plan to stay at hostels. We are taking backpacks to make it easier to go from place to place, but also want to go hiking to take a lot of photos. Your packing video gave me a lot of great ideas. Thank you for all the information. My son backpacks all over the world, and this is my first time going with him.

    • I use a sling Lowepro camera bag, but you might want something smaller that you can easily carry in your backpack while en route. I’ve used Lowepro camera bags for years and like the quality.

  3. I never really cared much what type of fabrics to wear when hiking, even in cold winter. Well, I’m from Los Angeles and never really experienced hiking through a cold or snowy weather. All I know is that I needed to layer up a lot, even cotton – which made me sweat a lot.

    That all changed when I was planning to hike through national parks in Oregon during the dead of winter with my boyfriend (yeah, we were crazy). My boyfriend knows a lot about fabrics and told me about merino wool, baselayers and all that stuff that I never knew before. I was first wasn’t keen to the idea because of the high cost but tried it out and – man, merino wool is magic! Although I don’t have to eliminate cotton, I noticed that merino wool is a better alternative. So yes, dressing properly is crucial!

    • Stacey, I so love merino wool! It’s such a great fabric for PNW climates. 🙂 Good to hear you like it too. I bet hiking in winter was cold but beautiful!

  4. Great suggestions on layering! It is so important because the temperatures can drastically when you hike up and down. Wool works wonderfully in keeping you warm too!

  5. Love your suggestions even though I do not really hike (plantar fasciitis). But for a camera, I just switched to mirrorless so I can just carry it in my purse! DSLRs are just too bulky!

  6. Good on you for getting out and hiking once a week it’s so good to be amongst nature and away from the hustle and bustle. Some great tips here, its so important to be prepared. The right footwear is of utmost importance to me.

    • Aimee, I hike at least three times a week with my blue heeler and I so love seeing the change of seasons and hearing all the birds.

  7. I’ve never did an all day hike. I could see backpacks being important. Especially on an all day situation. My friend is in search for some new boots. I’ll have to pass on you links.

  8. Love a tip from the people who are out there hiking themselves! We hope to do a lot of hiking on our voyage from the United States to Australia on our boat, so I am taking your tips to heart!


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