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Hiking Apparel: Choosing Proper
When preparing for a hiking trip, there are certainly a large variety of aspects to plan. While considering such things as location, safety gear, and food, donít forget to carefully plan another key part of your hiking trip: your wardrobe. Your hiking apparel is not just for looks; it can play a key role in the comfort and ease of your trip. The right clothing will enhance your hiking experience, while the wrong clothing can interfere with your plans and even ruin your trip and possibly risk your health.
It is highly recommended that all of your hiking apparel be made of synthetic material. None of your clothing should be more than 50% cotton. The reasons for choosing synthetic materials are very important. Synthetic clothing is better at absorbing sweat without becoming heavy or cumbersome. This will go a long way in keeping you comfortable during your hike. If wet weather strikes, soaked cotton clothing can weigh you down and can even contribute to hypothermia. Synthetic fabric lessens the heavy, chilling effect caused by wet cotton. Synthetic clothing is also lighter in general, which is helpful not only when you are wearing it but also when you are carrying your extra clothing in your pack.
Another important key in choosing your hiking wardrobe is layering. No matter what kind of weather you are expecting, dressing in several thin layers is the best choice. It is much easier to maintain a comfortable body temperature by adding or removing one layer at a time. Always pack extra layers, just in case cold weather strikes. Thick, heavy coats are a poor choice not only because of their weight but because they are not as effective or as versatile as using several thin layers to keep warm.
It is always ideal to prepare yourself for any weather you might encounter on your hike. Although the weather might begin as clear and summery, you never know when it might suddenly become cold or rainy. Sudden weather changes are especially common at higher elevations.
Hiking boots are one of the most essential pieces of hiking gear, especially when you may face rough terrain. A good pair of hiking boots will be snug and comfortable. Waterproof hiking boots are ideal.
There are a few more clothing items that can be especially useful during your hiking trip. Below is a list of several of the pieces youíll want to have on hand.
1. Synthetic T-shirts, both short-sleeved and long-sleeved
2. Synthetic hiking pants and shorts
3. Both a lightweight and medium-weight fleece pullover
4. Lightweight thermal underwear
5. Several pairs of thick synthetic-blend socks
6. Rain jacket and pants, or a full-body rain suit
7. Lightweight fleece gloves
8. Waterproof gloves
9. Wide-brim sun hat
10. Warm pullover hat
All of the items in your hiking wardrobe should fit properly. Snug clothing will serve you better than baggy styles. Always pack at least a few more of each item than you anticipate using. It wonít hurt to carry a few extra light, synthetic pieces, but it can be a lot of trouble if you donít have enough of what you need.
Planning your hiking apparel carefully will make all the difference in your next hiking trip. Your hike will be much more enjoyable when you donít have to worry about having the proper clothing.
Copyright 2006: Elizabeth Walling
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