What To Wear Hiking In Hot Weather: Stay Cool On The Trails

What To Wear Hiking In Hot Weather

Hiking in hot weather can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience, but it also presents unique challenges that demand careful preparation. As the temperature rises, so does the need for proper clothing to stay calm, comfortable, and safe on the trails. The right choice of hiking apparel can make a world of difference, ensuring optimal performance and enjoyment during your outdoor adventures. In this article, we will explore essential tips and guidelines on what to wear for hot weather hiking, from moisture-wicking fabrics and sun protection to appropriate footwear and essential accessories. Embrace the heat with confidence as we equip you with the knowledge to conquer the trails while staying comfortable and protected.

What To Wear Hiking In Hot Weather?

When hiking in hot weather, choosing the proper clothing is crucial for staying comfortable and safe. Opt for lightweight and breathable materials that wick away moisture, such as performance shirts and quick-drying shorts or convertible pants. Remember to wear a wide-brimmed sun hat and sunglasses for sun protection. Hiking sandals or breathable shoes are ideal for hot conditions. Additionally, apply sunscreen, use bug repellent, and carry plenty of water to stay hydrated. Staying excellent and well-prepared will ensure a more enjoyable and rewarding hiking experience in the heat.

Importance Of Appropriate Clothing For Hiking In Hot Weather

Appropriate clothing is of paramount importance when hiking in hot weather for several reasons:

Comfort and Performance: The proper clothing helps regulate body temperature, allowing hikers to stay calm and comfortable. Lightweight and breathable fabrics wick away sweat, preventing overheating and discomfort, thereby enhancing overall performance on the trail.

Preventing Heat-Related Illnesses: Wearing suitable clothing reduces the risk of heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Proper attire allows for better heat dissipation and minimizes the chances of overheating, dehydration, and related health issues.

Sun Protection: Hot weather often means increased sun exposure, leading to sunburn and skin damage. Choosing clothing with UV protection and coverage helps shield the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays and lowers the risk of sun-related ailments.

Hydration Management: The proper clothing can help manage sweat and moisture, ensuring the body does not lose essential fluids too quickly. Adequate hydration is crucial for maintaining energy levels and preventing dehydration.

Chafing and Discomfort Prevention: Well-fitted and appropriate clothing reduces the likelihood of chafing and blisters, common issues during hot weather hikes. This allows hikers to focus on the journey without distractions from uncomfortable clothing.

Insect and Plant Protection: Proper clothing can act as a barrier against insect bites, thorny plants, and poisonous vegetation that may be encountered on the trails, minimizing the risk of skin irritation and potential allergic reactions.

Versatility and Adaptability: Some hiking clothing, like convertible pants and moisture-wicking shirts, offer versatility to adapt to changing weather conditions or varying terrain, making them practical and efficient choices for hot weather hikes.

What Factors To Consider When Choosing Hiking Clothing?

When choosing hiking clothing, several key factors should be considered to ensure comfort, safety, and optimal performance on the trails:

Material And Fabric: 

The fabric choice is crucial in hot weather hiking. Look for moisture-wicking materials like synthetic blends or merino wool, which efficiently draw sweat away from the skin, promoting evaporation and keeping you dry. These fabrics also help regulate body temperature, preventing overheating. Additionally, opt for quick-drying materials to avoid discomfort from wet clothing in case of unexpected rain or creek crossings.


Hiking in hot weather can lead to excessive sweating, and breathable clothing allows air to circulate, improving ventilation and cooling. Lightweight and airy fabrics enable heat to escape and keep you feeling fresh during strenuous activities.

Uv Protection: 

Sun exposure is heightened in hot weather, making UV protection a vital consideration. Look for clothing labeled with UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) ratings to shield your skin from harmful rays. Long-sleeve shirts and wide-brimmed hats provide extra coverage, reducing the risk of sunburn and long-term skin damage.

Fit And Style: 

Choose clothing that offers a comfortable and functional fit. Loose-fitting attire allows for better airflow and freedom of movement, enhancing comfort on the trail. However, ensure that the clothing is manageable to avoid snagging on vegetation. Consider the clothing style as well, as some hikers may prefer traditional t-shirts, while others might opt for button-up shirts with ventilation options.


Light-colored clothing reflects sunlight, helping to keep you cooler than dark-colored clothing, which absorbs heat. Neutral and pastel shades are ideal for hot weather hiking as they are less likely to attract heat and can aid in temperature regulation.

Layering Capability: 

Even in hot weather, temperature variations can occur between daytime and nighttime or at different elevations. Opt for clothing that allows layering, such as convertible pants or shirts with adjustable sleeves. This flexibility ensures you can adapt to changing weather conditions without carrying excessive gear.


Hiking often involves encounters with rough terrains and vegetation. Choose durable clothing that can withstand abrasion and resist tears. Reinforced stitching and sturdy materials contribute to the longevity of hiking apparel.

Insect Protection: 

If hiking in areas with insects or ticks, consider clothing treated with insect repellent or wear garments that offer added protection, such as long sleeves and pants. This helps minimize the risk of insect bites and potential diseases.

Essential Clothing Items For Hot Weather Hiking

When hiking in hot weather, selecting the proper clothing is essential for staying comfortable and safe. Here are the essential clothing items to consider:

  • Opt for lightweight, moisture-wicking shirts made from synthetic blends or merino wool. These fabrics efficiently draw sweat away from the skin, allowing it to evaporate quickly and keeping you dry during intense hikes.
  • Choose quick-drying and breathable hiking shorts or convertible pants that can be zipped off into shorts when needed. These options provide flexibility for various temperatures and terrain conditions.
  • A wide-brimmed sun hat protects you from direct sunlight, shielding your face, neck, and ears from harmful UV rays. Look for hats with breathable materials and moisture-wicking sweatbands for added comfort.
  • High-quality sunglasses with UV protection are essential for safeguarding your eyes from the intense glare of the sun. Polarized lenses can help reduce glare and enhance visual clarity.
  • Opt for hiking sandals with sturdy soles or lightweight, breathable hiking shoes for hot weather. They provide ventilation and comfort while protecting your feet from sharp rocks and terrain.
  • While it may seem counterintuitive, a long-sleeve shirt made from lightweight, breathable fabric can protect your arms from the sun and reduce the risk of sunburn. Some specialized sun shirts also offer UV protection.

Accessories And Gear For Hot Weather Hiking

When hiking in hot weather, having the right accessories and gear is crucial for a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are the essential items to consider:

Staying hydrated is paramount in hot weather. Invest in a high-quality hydration system, such as a hydration pack or water reservoir that fits comfortably in your backpack. Having easy access to water allows you to stay refreshed and prevents the risk of dehydration.

Opt for a lightweight and well-ventilated backpack that provides ample storage space for your essentials. Look for a design that allows air to circulate between your back and the pack, reducing sweat accumulation and discomfort.

Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by applying sunscreen with a high SPF rating. Additionally, remember to apply lip balm with SPF to keep your lips moisturized and shielded from the sun.

Insects can be bothersome and even carry diseases in certain regions. Carry insect repellent to ward off mosquitoes, ticks, and other pests, ensuring a more pleasant hiking experience.

Pack a small, sweat-resistant towel or bandana to wipe away sweat and keep yourself dry and comfortable during the hike.

Protect your eyes from the intense glare of the sun with high-quality sunglasses that offer UV protection. Polarized lenses can reduce glare and improve visibility on sunny days.

If your hike involves challenging terrain or steep ascents, consider using trekking poles to provide additional stability, reduce strain on your joints, and improve your overall hiking experience.

Final Words

Hiking in hot weather can be an exhilarating and fulfilling experience, allowing you to connect with nature and challenge yourself. However, it also demands careful preparation and consideration to ensure your safety and comfort on the trails. By choosing the proper clothing, such as moisture-wicking fabrics and sun-protective attire, you can regulate your body temperature and shield yourself from harmful UV rays. Essential accessories like a hydration system, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat will help you stay well-hydrated and protect yourself from the intense sun. Remember to plan your hikes wisely, opting for more excellent times of the day and shaded trails. Taking breaks in the shade, using cooling accessories, and monitoring your body’s signals will help you avoid heat-related issues and overexertion. Always carry a map or GPS, stay informed about weather conditions, and hike with a companion to enhance your safety.


Q: How can I stay hydrated during hot weather hikes?

A: Staying hydrated is crucial during hot weather hikes. Carry a hydration pack or water bottles to have easy access to water throughout the hike. Drink regularly and take small sips to avoid gulping down large amounts of water at once. Plan your hike to include regular breaks for water intake, and consider electrolyte-rich beverages or supplements to replenish lost minerals.

Q: Should I wear long sleeves and pants in hot weather?

A: While it may seem counterintuitive, wearing long-sleeve shirts and lightweight, breathable long pants can protect against the sun’s harmful UV rays and reduce the risk of sunburn. Look for clothing with UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) ratings for added sun protection.

Q: How can I prevent heat-related illnesses during hot weather hikes?

A: To prevent heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heatstroke, it’s essential to stay hydrated, take regular breaks in shaded areas, wear appropriate clothing, and avoid overexertion. Be mindful of your body’s signals, such as excessive sweating, dizziness, or fatigue, and take necessary measures if you or anyone in your group experiences these symptoms.