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Clothing is one of the most important gear components for any hiker because it is what we depend on to keep our bodies within survival and comfort temperature ranges while outdoors. For day hikes it is generally not to hard to anticipate needs and to carry adequate clothing options, but for multiple day trips selecting the right combination of clothing for adequate protection without overloading can be quite a challenge.

Most hikers use a layering system for clothing because it is the more flexible and lighter than trying to carry a separate piece for each contingency, and usually works better than trying to make one piece meet every need. The hiker’s layering system consists of:

Base Layer – The innermost layer next to the skin.

Insulation Layer – The middle layer that provides warmth when needed.

Outer Layer – The layer that protects the other layers against wind, rain, snow, and so forth.

In addition to the layering system used to protect the torso from the elements hikers must carefully select the clothing they will use to protect their extremities. These can be divided into the following groups:

Footwear – The most important gear for hiking comfort - shoes, boots, or sandals and socks to protect your feet. Online sources for footwear

Handware – Gloves or mitts to protect the hands.

Headware – Hats, scarves, and related items to protect the head.

You can find a good selection of clothing designed specifically for the needs of hikers and backpackers from a variety of manufacturers online. You can see what's available here.

Related Information:

Gear Types


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