When it comes to spending time in the great outdoors, I’m always looking to strike a balance between function, fashion, and comfort. When an item has all three aspects covered, I know I’ve found a winner.
I’ve spent most of my life hiking outdoors and have finally found a recipe I can rely on for the best hiking clothes. The following are my favorites, prioritizing green companies that care about the environment as well as items that stand the test of time:
Best Sports Bras for Hiking
Just like regular bras, it’s best to try them on to determine if it will fit you well. I personally find the sports bras from Under Armour and lululemon to fit me the best. Bras that are supportive and moisture-wicking are the way to go. The Barely Bra from Patagonia is soft, lightweight and wicks moisture so you don’t have to deal with annoying underboob sweat.
The type of bra you go for probably depends on your body type, so choose something that you know will be comfortable for you. There’s almost nothing more uncomfortable than wearing a bra that is too tight or too loose, so try out your new hiking bra for a couple days before you bring it on a trip to make sure you definitely want to wear it for days on end.
Best Tops For Hiking
Tank tops are great for hiking in tropical climates, or as your base layer for hiking in moderate weather.
Cotton can take a while to dry, so they should be made of moisture-wicking material like polyester. My favorites are the kind with low sides for ventilation, because they make it so much easier to stay cool:
Another great pick, this tank comes in 4 colors, has sun protection and is moisture-wicking:
If the weather is slightly chilly, but not cold enough for thermal shirts, I like these breezy long sleeve shirts that offer sun protection. You can layer one of these under a jacket or vest if the temperature drops, too:
If you are hiking in cold weather, the base layer insulation is essential in not only providing the foundational warmth, but also in making sure that your body stays dry. I love merino wool thermal shirts, and these are my favorites for when hiking in cold weather:
For my mid-layer insulation when hiking in cold weather, I opt for fleece or wool pullovers. You want something comfortable that keeps you warm minus the weight. I love merino wool for that, as well as Patagonia’s thermals:
I live in my leggings. Some people opt for shorts when they hike, but I much prefer keeping my legs out of the sun (no thank you to hiking tan lines!) and opt for different thicknesses depending on the weather. There’s no hike, except for in extreme cold, that I’ve done without leggings as my pants.
For moderate to warm climates, I prefer something comfy and stretchy. I am in love with the Athleta Elation Crossover Rib 7/8 Leggings, which are perfect for spring, summer, and fall hikes. The new crossover waistband trend is actually more functional than you’d think, serving even more comfort on top of the cute and flattering look.
If it’s particularly cold, I prefer these thick North Face leggings that are specifically for hiking.
Or if I just want to be super comfy doing a casual hike near home, I proudly rock these sweatpants, which come in 4 cute colors.
I resisted vests for a long time although I loved the way they looked. I’d assumed they wouldn’t keep me warm since they lack sleeves, but I was wrong! They’re the perfect splash of color while adding in much needed heat without making it excessive. They’re great for moderate climates.
For cold weather:
For moderate weather:
Jackets will really depend on what kind of climate you can expect. I always bring something waterproof and windproof, like a thin layer, as well as a warm base if I’m hiking somewhere that could get cold.
For colder climates, bring your ski jacket if you have one! I love my ski jacket from The North Face, but have also purchased a couple other brands to test them out. These are my favorites:
For moderate weather, I like these options:
Finally, hiking in warm weather does not mean you should leave your jacket at home. There may be rain, strong wind, and if you are doing a multi-day hike, the mountain gets cold at night. When hiking in tropical climates, I like to bring a breathable rain jacket or windbreaker, and a fleece jacket for the night:
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Sometimes, it’s too cold to opt for just leggings. When I’m showshoeing or in snowy weather, I opt for these cold weather thermal leggings underneath snow pants or ski pants:
I always hike in leggings! My favorite are lululemon, which are totally worth the investment in my opinion – they last forever! They are just so much more comfortable than pants. However, if I am entering the jungle, I put these hiking pants on:
For hiking in tropical climates, I tend to just wear my usual running shoes, or consider New Balance hiking shoes.
If you are on a multi-day hike, your toes will want to be able to breathe at some point. Many hikers swear by Crocs, but I just can’t bring myself to buy them (sorry not sorry!), so I opt for these cool KEENs:
Sometimes you’ll be on a rainy trail, or will experience cold, and you’ll want gloves to keep you warm. Make sure your gloves are waterproof and insulated:
I hope this helped you find some functional but also stylish hiking clothes. After trying all kinds of cheapies, I can confidently say that gear that will last forever, and is often made with recycled materials by greener companies, is way better in the long run. So pick your favorite colors, opt for something that pops, and enjoy the adventure!
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