What to Wear Hiking in Hot Weather

What to Wear Hiking in Hot Weather [Materials & Tips]

Let’s deep dive into what to wear hiking in hot weather.

We cover clothing types, fabrics, and general tips for you and your hiking buddies to stay cool in the summer heat while avoiding heat exhaustion and never hiking again…

Considerations before choosing Hot Weather Hiking Clothes

What to Wear Hiking in Hot Weather
Courtesy of CleverHiker.com

Understanding the weather conditions and the type of terrain

If you’re planning a hot weather hike, you better make sure you’re dressed for the occasion! You don’t want to end up a sweaty mess halfway up the trail.

So, before you hit the road, remember to consider the weather conditions and the type of terrain you’ll be facing.

Weather Conditions

If you’re summer hiking in a desert or arid climate, you’ll need to think about sun protection.

That means hats and long-sleeved shirts are your best friends!

And if the humidity is high, make sure your clothes can wick moisture away from your skin.

No one wants to feel like they’re swimming in their own sweat!


Now, let’s talk terrain. If you’re hiking on rocky terrain, you’ll want clothes that are tough enough to handle abrasions.

Trust me, you don’t want to be ripping holes in your favorite t-shirt. And if you’re hiking through dense foliage, make sure your clothes provide protection against thorns and prickly plants.

Last but not least, don’t forget about those pesky bugs and mosquitoes. If you’re hiking in areas with lots of bugs, you’ll want clothes that cover more skin.

Nobody wants to be bitten all over by bugs while trying to enjoy the great outdoors!

Knowing the Duration and Intensity of the Hike

Knowing the duration and intensity of the summer hike is crucial when deciding what to wear hiking in hot weather.

Here is a useful heuristic to calculate how long a hike will take.

Let me tell you why.


If you’re going on a short hike, you may be able to get away with wearing lighter clothing that is more breathable.

If you’re going on a longer hike, you’ll need to consider clothing that can protect you from the sun and prevent chafing.

You don’t want to end up with painful blisters or sunburn halfway through your hike!


The intensity of the hike can also affect your clothing choices.

If you’re going on a leisurely summer hike, you may be able to wear hiking clothes that are more comfortable and relaxed.

If you’re planning on a more intense hike, or if you have heavy gear or a hiking stroller to bring, you’ll need clothes that can handle the physical exertion.

You’ll want clothes that can wick away sweat and provide ventilation to keep you cool and comfortable.

Don’t forget to eat a good meal before your hike to fuel your energy.

If you don’t take the duration and intensity of your hike into consideration when choosing what to wear when hot weather hiking, you may end up feeling uncomfortable and unprepared for the conditions.

What to Wear Hiking in Hot Weather: Materials

Breathable and Lightweight Fabrics

Breathable and lightweight fabrics are the way to go.

Breathable fabrics allow air to flow through the fabric, which helps to cool the body by allowing sweat to evaporate quickly.

This can help to regulate body temperature and prevent overheating during hot weather hikes.

Examples of breathable fabrics include cotton, linen, and certain types of synthetics like polyester.

In addition to breathability, lightweight fabrics can also help to keep you comfortable during hot weather hikes by reducing the amount of material weighing you down.

Lightweight fabrics like nylon, polyester, and spandex are popular choices for hiking clothes because they are durable, quick-drying, and can help to protect against UV rays.

It’s important to note that not all synthetic fabrics are breathable, and some can actually trap heat and moisture against the skin, leading to discomfort and irritation.

When choosing clothing for a hot weather hike, look for fabrics that are specifically designed to be breathable and lightweight.

Moisture-wicking and quick-drying properties

Let’s face it, nothing can put a damper on your adventure like being soaked in sweat or getting drenched in a sudden rainstorm.

Moisture-wicking fabrics are like the superhero of hiking clothes, designed to whisk away sweat and moisture from your skin to the surface of the fabric where it can evaporate quickly.

This helps to keep you dry and comfortable, even when the sun is beating down on you.

Plus, it helps to reduce the risk of chafing and irritation caused by sweat buildup.

Polyester and some types of wool are excellent moisture-wicking fabrics that will keep you cool and dry all day long.

And let’s not forget about quick-drying fabrics, which are like the trusty sidekick to moisture-wicking materials.

Quick-drying fabrics, like nylon and certain types of polyester, are designed to dry quickly, which means you won’t be weighed down by soggy clothes if you get caught in a sudden downpour or have to wade through a stream during your hike.

Sun Protection Fabrics

You can’t afford to ignore the sun’s harmful rays.

Let’s face it, nobody wants to come back from a hike looking like a tomato or worse, developing skin cancer.

That’s where sun protection fabrics come in to save the day!

Sun protection fabrics are made to protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

These fabrics have a super tight weave or are treated with chemicals that absorb or reflect UV radiation.

Some fabrics even have a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating, which tells you how much UV radiation the fabric blocks.

The higher the UPF rating, the better the protection from the sun.

Fabrics like polyester, nylon, and spandex are some of the best materials for sun protection clothing.

They’re lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying, making them perfect for hiking in hot weather.

You can also find hiking clothes with built-in UPF protection or other sun protection features like wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts with high collars, and more.

Before you hit the trail, make sure you check the UPF rating and sun protection features of the clothes you’re planning to wear hiking.

What to Wear Hiking in Hot Weather


Courtesy of REI.com

Breathable t-shirts

If you’re like me, you don’t want to be sweating bullets and feeling like you’re carrying around a portable sauna on your back.

So, the first thing to consider is a breathable t-shirt.

These are typically made from lightweight, moisture-wicking materials that allow air to circulate and keep you cool and dry.

Look for t-shirts made from materials like merino wool, polyester, or bamboo.

Sleeveless tops

You might want to ditch the sleeves altogether and opt for a sleeveless top.

Not only do these keep you feeling breezy, but they also let your arms move freely, making them a great choice for more technical hikes that require a bit of scrambling.

Just remember to slap on some sunscreen to protect those arms and shoulders from the sun’s rays.

Hiking-specific shirts

For those of you who want a little more coverage, hiking-specific shirts are your jam.

They’re made of technical fabrics that wick moisture away from your skin, dry quickly, and often offer some level of sun defense.

Look for shirts with ventilation panels, adjustable cuffs, and roll-up sleeves for maximum versatility on the trail.


Alright, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of hiking in hot weather – the bottoms.

Lightweight hiking pants

When it comes to hiking pants, you want something that’s going to keep you cool and comfortable, but also protect your legs.

Look for lightweight pants made of breathable materials like nylon or polyester that won’t weigh you down or leave you feeling like a sweaty mess.

Bonus points if they have moisture-wicking properties to keep you dry on those long hikes.


Shorts can be a great option for those who want to feel the breeze on their legs.

Just make sure to choose a pair that’s made of quick-drying fabrics and has built-in sun protection. You don’t want to end up with sunburned thighs, trust me.

Hiking skirts

Hiking skirts can be a total game-changer.

These bad boys are made of lightweight, breathable materials that allow for maximum airflow while still providing some coverage for your legs.

They often come with built-in shorts or leggings to prevent chafing and keep you feeling comfortable on those longer hikes.

Plus, they look super cute and can be a great conversation starter on the trail.


Ah, footwear – one of the most important choices you’ll make for your hiking outfit.

When it comes to very hot weather hiking, you want something that’s going to keep your feet cool and dry while still providing support and protection on the trail.

Hiking boots

Hiking boots are a classic choice for a reason – they offer sturdy ankle support and protection from rocks, roots, and other hazards.

Look for boots made of breathable materials like mesh and leather, and consider ones with Gore-Tex or other waterproofing if you’ll be hiking in wet conditions.

Hiking shoes

These are lighter and more flexible than boots, but still, provide enough support and traction to handle most trails.

Look for hiking shoes with good ventilation and cushioning to keep your feet comfortable on those long hikes.


And if you’re really looking to keep things breezy, sandals can be a great option for hiking in hot weather.

Just make sure to choose sandals with secure fit and sturdy soles to protect your feet from rocks and other debris on the trail.

Consider ones with adjustable straps and quick-drying materials to keep your feet cool and comfortable.


Sun hat

A sun hat is a must-have for protecting your face, neck, and scalp from the sun’s harmful rays.

Look for hats with a wide brim for maximum coverage, and choose lightweight, breathable materials to keep you cool.


Another essential accessory for hiking in hot weather.

Not only do they protect your eyes from the sun, but they can also help reduce glare on reflective surfaces like water and rocks.

Look for sunglasses with polarized lenses and a comfortable, secure fit.


Applying sunscreen regularly throughout your hike can help protect your skin from sunburn and reduce the risk of skin damage and cancer.

Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and reapply every two hours or as needed.

Tips for staying comfortable and safe during a hot weather hike

Drink plenty of water

It’s crucial to keep yourself hydrated during hot weather hikes.

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your hike.

Bring a hydration pack or water bottle with you on the trail and sip water frequently to stay hydrated.

Take breaks in shaded areas

Don’t forget to take breaks in shaded areas to give your body a chance to cool down.

Avoid hiking during the hottest part of the day, and plan your route to include areas with shade or water sources.

Check the weather forecast

Keep yourself informed of the weather conditions before you hit the trail. Make sure you’re prepared for any potential changes in conditions by checking the forecast.

Wrap Up

We’ve come to the end of our hot weather hiking journey, but don’t worry, I won’t let you leave without a proper send-off.

Choosing what to wear hiking in hot weather can make or break your hiking experience.

Nobody wants to be stuck on a trail in sweltering heat wearing uncomfortable clothes that make them feel like they’re suffocating.

That’s why it’s crucial to consider all the factors before choosing your hiking attire, my adventurous friend.

So, remember to take into account the weather conditions, terrain, duration, and intensity of your hike, and any specific safety requirements for the area.

You don’t want to be caught off guard with the wrong type of clothes on your adventure.

To keep things breezy, opt for breathable and lightweight fabrics, moisture-wicking and quick-drying properties, and sun-protecting fabrics.

And let’s not forget about the accessories that’ll keep you cool, like a sun hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. These items are essential to keep you safe from the sun’s harmful rays.

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