How To Dress For Summer Hiking


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Hiking in the summer typically means less chance of rain and better views. However, the higher temperatures can make it easier to become tired and dehydrated. By choosing the right clothing, you can stay cool and protected from the sun. Below are just some of the things to wear on a summer hike. 

Hiking shorts

Hiking pants could cause your legs to get too sweaty. Consider trading these in for hiking shorts. These are shorts made from a breathable material to help keep you cool as you hike. Truth be told, you don’t have to splash out on specially-designed ‘hiking’ shorts - lightweight cargo shorts and even gym shorts can offer much of the same ventilation. 

Polyester t-shirt/tank top

While you can buy purpose-designed hiking shirts, many polyester t-shirts will offer the same moisture-wicking properties. Tank tops are also a good choice that will keep you cool in the hot sun by allowing you to keep your arms exposed. Try to choose light colors that are less likely to absorb heat. 

Rain jacket

Just in case it does rain, it’s useful to always pack a rain jacket. As it could still be quite hot while raining, it’s best to choose something light and breathable. Heavy rain jackets should be avoided as they will likely offer poor ventilation and will add a lot of weight to your backpack. 

Emergency warm layer

A thermal fleece made from merino wool could be useful just in case the temperature does drop. If you’re mountain climbing, packing a fleece could be particularly important, as it will get colder the higher you go (you may also want to pack a thermal jacket and thermal pants).

Hiking sandals

Regular hiking boots may not provide the level of breathability that you need on a very hot summer’s day, resulting in sweaty and uncomfortable feet. Hiking sandals make a great alternative form of footwear - these sandals keep the top of the foot open while still providing a thick sole with lots of grip for tackling different terrains and elevations.

Thin wool socks

Thin wool socks are typically necessary for catching sweat and preventing blisters when wearing hiking boots. Do you really need them when wearing sandals? It depends. If you’re hiking somewhere with a lot of spiky plants and bugs, you may want to wear socks to add some extra protection to your feet. That said, some people may find that their feet get too hot (plus socks and sandals aren't the most attractive combo).


Don’t forget to bring a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes. You don’t want to spend your whole hike squinting.


Finally, consider a hat to protect your head from the heat of the sun. Baseball caps are popular because they can keep some shade on your face. Wide-brimmed hats can meanwhile protect your shoulders and neck too. You can compare some of the best sun hats here.

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