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Thread: What do you wear (clothes, not gear) hiking?

  1. #1
    Moderator jman's Avatar
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    What do you wear (clothes, not gear) hiking?

    This is just one of many projects that I am working on (a primer of what and what not to wear when hiking), but am curious to know what you people wear when you hike?

    Ranging from short hikes (2-3 hrs, say up Waterfall Canyon, Adams Canyon, Angel's Landing) to long hikes (multi-days/backpacking).

    Get specific too if you don't mind. Such as 100% cotton, 50% cotton 50% poly, 100% poly shirts, cargo pants, convertible long pants into short pants with the zipper by the knee, underarmor, levis, hiking boots, sandals, swimming trunks, beanies, windbreakers, sweaters, etc etc etc.

    One reason I ask is because when I go hiking on short/long hikes, even canyoneering, it seems like people always go underprepared and just go in a 100% cotton shirt, some cargo shorts, and sandals. I've seen that many times in the Subway. Granted on hot summer days, that might be okay for some people. But for most, I believe, it would not.

    I've even seen people hike the Zion Narrows in Crocks (sp?)...but it "worked" for them...but most, it would not. I've seen others in caves with pajama bottoms, and some people hiking Timpanagous in flip-flops (no lie!).

    And besides, I could probably learn a few things or two.

    Anywho, enough rambling....

    Oh and Feel free to include pictures too!

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  3. #2
    thinking of all times of year, locales, etc makes your head spin ... so just some quick comments

    if i wear shorts, they're usually cotton.
    for hiking/backpacking other clothing is usually synthetic. sometimes carhartt pants. wool socks.
    backpacking i always take light-weight rain jacket/pants (marmot precip) unless it's winter or requires more
    backpacking and hiking i usually layer depending on temps/weather/locale.
    backcountry skiing is layering of synthetic underlayers and shell outerlayers.
    extra gear depends on the locale/terrain/duration/size of the pack
    (skinny stemming canyon means much less gear)
    but i like to bring extra dry/warm gear whenever i can

    i usually hike in a cotton hat but bring synthetic and/or wool hats for warmth/night.
    backcountry skiing i usually have 2 hats (one i sweat in, one i keep dry, same with glove liners) and a balaclava for emergency or serious weather/cold

    hiking/backpacking: la sportiva exum ridge or 3/4 shank, full leather boot (used to be raichle palu sa, now older scarpas)
    canyoneering: la sportiva exum river & cirque pro

    when backpacking in warm places, i often take chaco flipflops for around camp.

    sometimes very short hikes i may wear chacos (w/ heal strap). i once hiked buckskin to lee's ferry in chacos which was fine. but to me for desert backpacking this is where the exum ridge shines as it drains water quickly, dries quickly, and feels nearly the same dry to me as it does wet.

  4. #3
    Moderator jman's Avatar
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    thanks stefan. Yup, that's what I am looking for.

    Of course I know this is a very subjective topic, but am looking for trends that *smart (as well as being comfortable)* hikers do. And the answers will vary greatly, but that's okay.

    Side question: What shorts/pants do you guys/gals where for canyoneering?

    I wear Columbia Silver Ridge II convertible pants. Very comfy, and allows for a lot of stretching (compared to just levis), and they dry pretty quick. And offer a bunch of pockets. They are durable but not invincible...unfortunately.
    ●Canyoneering 'Canyon Conditions' @
    ●Subscribe to my friend Jeff's Youtube Channel - you can watch our adventures there.
    ●Hiking Treks (my younger brother's website): hiking guides at
    "There are two ways to die in the desert - dehydration and drowning." -overhearing a Park Ranger at Capitol Reef N.P.
    "He who walks on the edge, will eventually fall."

  5. #4
    For hiking I used to have some baggy lightweight cotton (?) pants--sort of like parachute material in weight--that were real comfortable and dried out real quickly when I got them wet. My son scarfed them up though, and I have never replaced them. Since that time I have hiked in blue jeans, and sometimes denim shorts.

    Footwear: I almost always hike in running shoes. High top boots rub against a tendon on my lower leg. The last pair I wore, I had to cut out a chunk of the boot because it was killing me. I tried to wear those boots again (Northface), but they were much less comfortable than the running shoes. Of course, I give something up in foot protection while wearing the running shoes, but I need comfort the most. As far as socks go, I generally wear some low cut white cotton socks, but on longer hikes take along some 50% wool 50% cotton socks. I also keep some of those on hand in case the weather turns wet. In the snow, I always wear some kind of water-proofed leather boot--the most recent are made by the Rocky shoe company. If the snow is going to be more than six inches deep, I take gaiters.

    Shirts: t-shirts in the summer with a long-sleeve shirt packed just in case

    Jackets: I have an Eddie Bauer Gore-tex rain jacket that I take along if it's really going to get wet and cold. If I'm not expecting rain, I take a quilted flannel hoodie along, and an emergency poncho.

    Hats: Sometimes I wear my Indiana Jones style hat--but if I'm going some place where the wind might carry it away, I usually wear some kind of ball cap instead.

  6. #5
    100% cotton underwear. I rarely chafe since the desert is so so dry. No sweating like when hiking the Appalachian trail. But, I carry corn starch in a little package for either feet or chafing even underarms but rarely ever use it.
    Socks are smartwool hikers. 50/50 wool blend.
    shirt is usually a cotton t shirt.
    hiking shorts or pants are super lightweight nylon with polyester trimming.
    ball cap with bill. no sunblock don't need it.
    I don't use a pack. I carry a large 3 litre camelbak and attach all kinds of gear with beeners to the little pack. I sound like clinkety clank when I hike.
    (keeps the cougars away) hehe
    "Just waiting for a sip of that sweet Mojave rain"
    The Killers

  7. #6
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Size:  22.8 KBHere in the northeast deer ticks/lyme disease now play a big factor in clothing choices leg protection etc.I do most of my hiking during the summer months.I'll start with a good insect repellant with DEET. Cap with visor,short sleeve cotton shirt,durable cotton hiking shorts,Northface hiking boots.I always wear a mid calf sockliner with a pair of extra long ,thick knee socks.Socks are 36" long, ribbed from the ankle to the top and provide protection/support for your lower legs/calves.I'll fold the socks down several times for a thick cuff at about the middle of my kneecaps.I also use a roll on sock adhesive to keep the cuffs in place and the knee socks from sagging while hiking/trail walking.If I'm in areas with lots of brush/high grasses etc. I'll sometimes throw on a pair of mid calf gaiters in addition to the knee socks.One other option that I forgot to mention is the use of permethrin spray, particularly on your boots and socks/gaiters.This stuff will kill ticks on contact but is non toxic to humans.One spray application will last a couple of weeks ,even with laundering.You can get a can of this stuff online at Amazon.So far ,so good....not one tick bite in the last several years.

    (attached pic detailing boots/socks)
    Last edited by nhhiker; 02-09-2011 at 11:09 PM. Reason: more info plus attached pic

  8. #7
    I always wear Compression Shorts rather than cotton underwear, just dries faster if it gets wet, prevents chafing (we have high humidity where I live) and wicks moisture.

    For pants, I am partial to the Columbia Omni-Dry convertible pants. Seems to suit the weather for cooler mornings and can zip off the legs when it heats up.

    I really like the Nike dry-fit (or similar) shirts, they wick moisture very well and are extremely comfortable.

    Shoes, either my Merrell hiking boots or 5.10 savants (depending on how wet the hike is) with hiking specific socks (extra pair in the pack)

    Colder hikes (in snow) I wear a lightweight layer of Patagonia Synchilla, fleece mid layer and a shell

    I try to stay away from cotton until after the hike.

    "Be who you are, say what you feel.
    Because those that mind don't matter and,
    those that matter don't mind"

    ~Dr. Suess~

  9. #8
    Nothing special. Here's a pic from the top of pine mountain with some friends. Canyoneering though is a different story, depending on how hot and wet we are gonna get.

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    Your safety is not my responsibility.

  10. #9
    Bogley BigShot
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Just a few miles from Zion National Park
    Quote Originally Posted by wholybuy View Post
    I know a websit,there are a lot of outdoor equipments.And the price is so cheap that I can't believe!
    Maybe is sham or fake,but the quality is nice.I have bought twice.It really value of money!
    Also you may find what you should wear to hikking.
    The website is'm sure you won't be regret to accept my opinion.


    zapped him. He posted in hiking where I could delete him.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Deathcricket View Post
    Nothing special. Here's a pic from the top of pine mountain with some friends. Canyoneering though is a different story, depending on how hot and wet we are gonna get.

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    You guys look like some real pros. Homies in the hood.

  12. #11
    Bogley BigShot
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Just a few miles from Zion National Park
    Push up Bra, tight clothing and .... Oh yeah. That was my first canyoneering trip.

    I wear Bo's hi-tech stuff. Avoid cotton if I will be wet or if its winter. Something quick dry like on my avatar photo and usually just forgo the panties or wear quick dry ones when hiking. I usally like to cover from the sun, so something the covers me up, including my neck. Legs get thrashed following Bo, so usually something, quick dry, that at least goes below the knee. Sportivia's because we are always scrambling, going into water and across varied terrain. The light layers of hi-tech are great because I can ditch layers as it gets warm in the day. Often we start at 6am on a winter day so we are bundled up at the early hours, then want lightweight clothing that does not take up much room in the pack as we remove them, then use them again late at night on the trip back. Always take extra socks. They get wet, full of stickers, blisters, etc... Something to cover my ears and keep the sun off my face. Those early mornings are brutal on the ears! Winter take gloves that are thin enough I can work a camera. A very light weight rain top is nice to have. We have got stuck in many storms. The one on Bridge Mountain with Joe Braun was fun, but Joe and his dad did not have them and froze.

    This sort of wind stopper, light weight top is perfect for me year-round. When its colder I just wear layers of them. In summer I wear the same type of top, but not the wind stopper type.

    Spring day in Zion's Telephone Canyon. We did get wet [BBBBBBBBBBRRRRR!!!] and run into snow in the canyon.

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    Love these quick dry pants and top! Have to have a goofy hat to protect my face from the sun! I wear Keens when its an easier hike.

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  13. #12
    A Kilt
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    See you on the Trail

  14. #13
    Bogley BigShot
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Just a few miles from Zion National Park
    Hey, Bo does that too.

  15. #14
    Of course this apparel begs the question, what do you wear under the kilt. If worn traditionally how does that work with climbing over rocks.

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