Hiking Fashion For All Seasons
With the new year around the corner along with the chance for a fresh start, why not try hiking in nature? After the holidays it’s also a great time to load up on gear at better prices.
|Generally, there are no crowds|
No cell services
Diversity of nature
Peace & solitude
|Carry it in, carry it out|
No cell services (emergencies)
Gear can be pricy
You must prepare for all weather conditions
Protection from Wildlife and Rogue Humans
“Another glorious day, the air as delicious to the lungs as nectar to the tongue.”John Muir
Functionality is the first concern. Moisture-wicking fabrics, quick drying, sun-protective, and antimicrobial are best. Why? To stay warm, you need to remain dry. Antimicrobial fabrics keep the scent low to mitigate large animal attraction. In nature, you aren’t at the top of the food chain. UVB radiation knows no season. Not only can the lack of sun protection cause sunburns which lead to dehydration, skin cancer, is always a danger especially at higher altitudes, and even in the winter. Which fabrics work best? Wool, polyester, nylon, and silk area all proven to wick, warm, and dry quickly. Stay away from cotton! Even though cotton is comfortable, it does not wick, it takes forever to dry, and will not keep you warm.
Layers are Essential in Nature
Whenever hiking layering your clothing is key. Layering must address the variations in specific weather you will encounter. If you’ve ever been to Colorado, where I live, you must have something for all four seasons in one day year long. I know it sounds nuts, but it’s true.
Base layers: These are your undergarments, Bras, tanks/camisoles and bottom base layers. While you might not need to wear the base layer bottoms in the summer during the day, if you’re staying overnight, you will. Ladies, even bras and undergarments need to be suited for active movement and wicking, so be mindful of fabric and style choices.
Shirts, pants, shorts: According to rei.com (the best place to get any gear), “In general, bring one to two T-shirts, one long-sleeve shirt and one pair of lightweight yet durable synthetic pants. A pair of ultralight running shorts with a built-in brief can be a boon for hot weather: You can also swim in them and wear them while you wash and dry your pants.” My favorites are yoga pants, tights, or convertible pants.
Mid Layers: contrary to logic, pants shirts and shorts are not the “mid layer” per se. This article of clothing refers to two layers usually consisting of a light-weight zipper fleece and a puffy jacket. Remember, light weight will make or break your back. If you’re unsure how to choose the correct layering fabric check this out, https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/insulated-outerwear.html
Outer layers: While this might seem overkill, you’ll thank me later if you have it. This layer is also called your outer shell and is always waterproof. Tops and bottoms for long overnight hikes and known inclement weather. As a bonus, this shell is also windproof.
Shoes: This is probably the most important purchase. Bad shoes will ruin your hike and destroy your body. Take your time, try them on, and don’t buy anything that hurts when you try it on. For some of the best chosen by the best check this out, https://www.switchbacktravel.com/best-hiking-shoes
The good news is there are a ton of women hikers, and fashion has changed drastically over the last ten years. No longer do we have to dress like a lumberjack, unless of course you want to. Even women’s flannels have been upgraded and tailored to our curves. There are many more selections with patterns, bright colors, and so many fun accessories. Some of my favorites are crazy socks, bucket hats, and the brighter the pattern the better—in case I get lost.
“The moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts start to flow.”Henry David Thoreau
Nature Destinations Galore
America is filled with beautiful nature and breathtaking landscapes, but sometimes we don’t know what’s in our own backyard. To find the best hikes nearby or even to plan a trip elsewhere check out the app ALLTrails. “Built (for everyone) to go wild” (alltrails.com). With over two-hundred thousand expert traveled trails, millions of fellow hikers, the input is always current and up to date. It even has global trails as of 2020 from over 100 countries. If that’s not enough, 1% of all pro-membership fees goes toward protecting the wild, and the company continually plants new trees (totally over 10,000 to date).
“In a world of constant change [, turmoil, inequity,] and steaming technology, I find solace in the forest where a tree remains a tree.”Angie Weiland-Crosby