What You Should Wear On Your Hike

Fabric Properties

To choose the right hiking clothing, you must always consider these factors regardless of how it is made or how it looks like.


This ability determines how much the clothes can pull sweat and moisture from your skin and absorb into the fabric's surface. It's crucial for the base layer or any clothes that touch your skin since this allows you to sweat without feeling chilled or clammy.

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Insulating is an important ability for mid layering. Clothing can't directly generate heat, but when having great insulation, it can hold more heat to keep you warm.

Waterproof and Windproof

A high-quality outer layer needs to be good at resisting water and wind to protect your clothes from those elements. For example, rain can saturate your clothes, and chilly winds are not great for heavy activities like hiking.


Unlike the above abilities, breathability is important for all layers. More breathable clothing also dries faster. When the layers of your clothing can't breathe collectively, moisture and sweat won't wick off your skin efficiently.

Sun protection

Clothing with a high UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) rating will protect your skin more effectively against any damages UV rays in the sun may bring.

Fabric Choices

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These are the most common materials when it comes to outdoor clothing.

Polyester, Nylon

Synthetic materials can provide excellent performance at a reasonable price, especially compared to merino wool. They are good at drying and wicking sweat. If you're concerned about the environment, there is good news for you: many manufacturers utilize recycled materials to make synthetic fabrics.

The only major issue is that they tend to smell funky, which some products have tried to solve by using antimicrobial treatments to get rid of odor-causing bacteria.


This is an old-school choice that many hikers may remember. Wool clothing has a bad rep since many old products are itchy, but today's wool hiking clothing isn't anymore. Models with merino wool, for example, are quick to dry, moisture-wicking, breathable, softer, and don't smell.


Despite its popularity in daily clothing, cotton is not a good material for hiking. It's bad at drying and wicking while soaking and holding more sweat, keeping you wet longer.

On a hot and dry day, you can still wear cotton clothes if you don't bother much about feeling sticky and clammy. But when it turns cold, it's a recipe for hypothermia.

How to Find Good Yet Inexpensive Hiking Clothes?

There are so many high-quality hiking clothes that tick all the boxes in all price brackets. You don't always need to pay a fortune for your hike. For example, Columbia has always been a good brand with well-priced products, such as the Silver Ridge convertible hiking pants, which you can learn more in our review.

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