What to Wear Guide

Deciding what to wear when hiking is a challenging (but very important) task. The weather can change at any moment and if you pack the wrong clothing you might end up uncomfortable (or worse). Here are some useful readings followed by some examples of how you might pack.

Important Reads

  • “Layering” is probably the most important thing to know when preparing clothing for any hike. Layering let’s you regulate your temperature and comfort levels depending on the conditions and stay safe. This guide to layering is REALLY GOOD and you should read it (now, really).
  • “Cotton Kills” is a common expression in the outdoors. Here’s why. When you sweat, cotton absorbs the moisture and keeps it. When wet, cotton stops warming you up. Avoid cotton and go for synthetic fibres (which take the water away from your body) as your base layer with wool/down layers to keep you warm.
Example Packout – See this guide for more detail.
Warm-weather (3 Layer set-up)
  • Top Clothing (Use 3-layer system)
    • Base Layer: Long sleeve Synthetic sports shirt (or Cool-tech)
    • Mid-layer: Light weight fleece or sports jacket or or down coat/vest if it’s cooler
    • Outer-Layer: Soft shell/light compact raincoat or Hard-shell raincoat in rainy season or if high chance of rain
  • Pants – Long, breathable, flexible pants are ideal. Shorts can be good if it’s really hot but leave your legs exposed to scratches and snakes.
  • Pair of socks – plus a spare pair (incase of rain). Thick, hiking specific socks are ideal. TIP: Wear two pairs of thinner socks to reduce blisters.
  • Hat – wide-brimmed hats are best. Even on cloudy days there is still UV radiation.
  • Hiking shoes – Comfortable shoes that are ideally waterproof
Cold-weather (4 Layer set-up)
  • Top Clothing (Use 4 layer system)
    • Base Layer: Long sleeve heat-tech (thermal/Merino wool)
    • Mid-layer: Light weight fleece (thin is okay, because you’ll have more layers)
    • Warmth Layer: Light-weight down jacket (sweater) with hood. Should fit under your raincoat
    • Outer-Layer: Hard-shell raincoat if snow is expected, soft shell/light compact if very low chance of rain/snow. Goretex is ideal.
  • Pants – Long, breathable, flexible pants are ideal with Heat-tech leggings
  • Pair of socks – plus a spare pair (incase of rain). Thick, hiking specific socks are ideal. TIP: Wear two pairs of thinner socks to reduce blisters.
  • Hat – wide-brimmed hats are best. Even on cloudy days there is still UV radiation.
  • Beanie and/or neckwarmer
  • Gloves – waterproof if snow is expected
  • Hiking shoes – Comfortable shoes that are ideally waterproof
Over-night or Multi-night Pack what you see above PLUS

  • Spare socks/underwear for each day you’re on hike – You can wear the same clothes for multiple days but having clean socks will make you feel a lot better at the start of the day
  • Microfiber towel – Lightweight and good if you get wet or decide to swim
  • “Emergency clothes” (one set) in a water-proof bag in case your clothes/pack is wet
  • Even in summer, you may like to bring a thin beanie or gloves for overnight

References and Useful Links

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