TOP GEAR PICKS

Best Hiking Clothes: Gear You’ll Wear Every Day

Group of hikers climbing the mountains in the summer time
John C. Porter
Written by John C. Porter

Quick. Think of your favorite T-shirt! Maybe it’s a new one from the best hiking clothes collection you used in your latest summer adventure. The lettering is still bright, but it has enough wear to show that, yeah, you did some cool hikes on your vacation.Or maybe it’s a shirt you’ve fallen back on for years. It’s got holes in the seams and the design has mostly washed off, but it still makes you smile every time you pull it over your head.

Whatever your favorite T-shirt looks like, it probably has a few things in common with everybody else’s. It fits perfectly. It’s made from comfortable fabric. It just won’t wear out. You can wear it every day and never get tired of it (and you miss it when you have to peel it off for a quick wash).

Like a favorite T-shirt, your hiking clothes are clothes you’ll want to wear every day. They’re made from fabric that does exactly what you need it to do, whether that’s wicking away sweat so you stay cool or adding a layer of insulation to keep you warm.

Couple enjoying a relaxing Smoky Mountains National Park backpacking trail

They have features that you like: enough pockets for the gear you want to carry, drawstrings to adjust the fit or a high neckline that protects you from chilly breezes. The clothes, let you run and stretch without a problem. Finally, they can transition from the trail to just about anywhere else, so reaching for them every morning when you wake up is a real option.

Product NameMaterialsWeightColorBest UsePrice
Columbia Roc II100% cotton fabric, 35% polyester, 65% lining0.85 lbFossil, Abyss, Flax, Pony, Grill, Camo brown, CypressSummer hiking, Sportswear, Casual wearCheck price on Amazon
Champion KMW160% cotton and 40% polyester1 lbBlack, Winter white, Navy, Bordeaux redIndoor to outdoor useCheck price on Amazon
Columbia Tamiami II100% polyester0.5 lbBlack, Fossil, White, Gulf stream, Sail, Tippet, Sunlit, Vivid blueWinter hiking, Casual use, Backpacking, home useCheck price on Amazon
Rocky Thermal 255% cotton and 45% polyester1 lbBlack, Hot pink, Navy, Teal, White, Red, Royal blue, Purple, YellowIndoor use, Hiking, Sleepwear, Athletic wear, High quality underwearCheck price on Amazon
WenVen Cargo100% cotton1.3 lbSkyblue, Light black, Grass green, Military green, Light grey, Charcoal, Yellowish brownSummer hikes, backpackingCheck price on Amazon
WenVen Military100% cotton1.3 lbBlue, Black, Khaki, Army green, Dark grey, Turmeric, Grey, Light khakiOutdoor activities, casual wear, workplaceCheck price on Amazon
PrAna Inseam97% nylon and 3% spandex0.83 lbDark khaki, Coal, Mood indigo, Black, Gravel, Cargo greenHiking in wet climates, backpacking, bike commuting, home useCheck price on Amazon

Features To Consider

Finding a favorite T-shirt is usually a matter of luck. Buying your new favorite hiking pants for this fall, or the thermal top you’ll wear under everything this winter takes a bit more strategy. When you’re wondering whether a garment is right for you, think about these four categories: Fabric, Construction, Fit, and Versatility.

Is The Fabric Practical?

Probably the most noticeable characteristic of anything you wear is the fabric. Fabric can make the difference between a garment you can’t wait to wear and one that makes you frustrated and uncomfortable.

Hiker climbing the mountains looking at the photo camera

For clothing that you plan to wear hiking, the fabric is especially important. When considering whether a garment will perform as you expect it to on the trail, ask the following questions about the garment’s fabric.

Is It Sturdy?

The fabric of the best hiking clothing should be durable and long-lasting. It shouldn’t rip or wear out quickly, even if your adventures include scrambling over boulders or hiking for days at a time. Don’t assume that a strong material must be stiff or heavy; many materials are both strong and light-weight.

Is It Breathable?

Hiking clothes should be breathable, allowing air to move and preventing you from feeling like you’re stifling.

Woman in Pants and Shorts

A breathable fabric will make you more comfortable whether it’s warm or cold weather clothing.

Is It Stain Resistant?

Stain resistant fabric helps keep your hiking clothes clean, a real bonus if you’ll be wearing the clothes both on and off the trail.

Is It Quick Drying?

Whether you get caught in a rainstorm or need to give your clothes a rinse, fabric that dries quickly is invaluable on the trail.

Does It Have Insulation?

When you’re looking for winter clothing, insulation is key. Think about how much warmth you’ll want.

A couple hiking the mountains

Are you looking for a base layer to wear on a difficult hike, or do you want a top to keep you warm on a night when the temperature is below freezing?

Is It Comfortable?

In addition to other practical characteristics, fabric for hiking clothes should be comfortable. The fabric for many hiking garments is soft and light-weight, despite being rugged enough to withstand hard use.

Is The Clothing Constructed Well?

A second consideration when you’re buying hiking clothing is the construction of the garments. Think about whether the seams are durable, whether the fasteners, ties, and other parts of the garment seem like they’ll last, and whether the garment has the features you like and need.

Ideally, your hiking clothes will have seams, zippers and other design features that are as practical as the fabric of the clothing. Seams and fasteners should be sturdy enough to hold up under active use. The clothing should also have the features that you want.

image of a young woman wearing hiking clothes

Do you like clothes that you can wear during all four seasons? Gravitate toward pants with tabs that transform them into shorts. Is your phone always slipping out of your pocket while you’re navigating underbrush? Look for shorts with deep, zippered pockets.

Does The Clothing Fit?

A third crucial consideration when you’re eyeing a new piece of hiking gear is whether it will fit you. You don’t want your clothes to distract you from a great hike by restricting your movement, chafing, or riding up.

If you’re shopping at a local outdoors store, seeing whether a garment fits you is simple. However, if you’re buying clothes online, finding the right fit can be more complicated than just trying on a few different options. Start by identifying your expectations for well-fitting hiking clothes, and look for styles that match your preferences.

A man wearing Hiking pants made of synthetic materials

Then, before ordering, try to find out whether the clothes you want have any sizing idiosyncrasies. (A few of the pieces reviewed in this article, for example, tend to differ slightly from typical clothing sizes.)

Is The Clothing Versatile?

A final point to think about when you’re looking for new hiking clothes is whether the clothing is versatile. Will you tuck the clothes in the back of your closet until your next hiking trip, or will they fit your lifestyle on and off the trail?

Best Products on the Market

Below are seven pieces of hiking clothing that are versatile and practical enough to deserve a place in your closet—if you ever stop wearing them long enough to put them there.

Columbia Roc II Columbia Roc II

Price: Approx. $30

Weight: 13.6 ounces

Specific features: 100% Cotton granite cloth, welted back pockets, machine wash, zip fly with button, level front outdoor short with inclined side pockets including omni-shade upf 50+ sun security, zippered protection pocket at the hips

Best use: Summer hiking, sportswear, casual wear

Description: The Columbia ROC II Shorts are made from a 100% cotton fabric that includes UPF 50+ sun protection. Fans of this piece emphasize the quality of the fabric. They say it’s durable, yet soft to the touch, breathable, and lightweight.

The fabric is also stain resistant, so the shorts come out of the wash time after time looking clean. The shorts have a zippered security pocket, as well as cargo and back pockets.

The stain resistant fabric and abundant pockets suit these shorts well for transitioning from the outdoors to anywhere else you may be heading; the shorts stay presentable, even after a hike and the pockets allow you to safely stow away a wallet, phone, and anything else you need for the day.

The Omni-Shade UPF 50 sun security helps to block the damaging effect of UV beams from getting close to your skin in order for you to enjoy the more joyful moments in the sun. This short is really a great fit for any of your outdoor activity. The zip-closed protection pocket makes a helpful place to stow your GPS and phone.

PROS:                   

  • High quality
  • Comfortable
  • Versatile
  • Nice color
  • Flattering

CONS:

  • Inconsistent size of shorts

Related: If you want a fashion-style belt that can fit and decorate your short, then you can check out the JASGOOD JA009-A1 Belt. This belt is outdoor activities hobbyist and driver’s top pick.

Check the price on Amazon

Champion KMW1 Champion KMW1

Price: $16 – $18

Weight: 1 pound

Specific features: 60% cotton and 40% polyester, machine wash, flatlock seams to prevent irritation, dampness-wicking top featuring double-layer thermal and long sleeves for warmth, ribbed sleeves for a safe fit

Best use: This shirt moves well from indoor to outdoor use.

Description: The Champion KMW1 Neck Top is a cotton and polyester blend (60% cotton and 40% polyester), designed to wick moisture away from the skin and provide an extra layer of warmth. Many owners of the shirt like that it is soft, comfortable, and not bulky. You can wear it by itself to beat the chill inside or, because it’s light-weight, you can easily wear it beneath other layers to keep you warm outside.

Duofold men’s top provides comfortable solace with high-performing specifications when you require it most. This great base layer can address your issues for both hard core hibernating and hard core workouts.

The duofold men’s top is an all-purpose regular use thermal built for warmth and solace soft two-layer security barrier. It is consolidated with a near-body fit and non-abrasiveness for better solace dampness control for you to stay dry. It also features a label free mark all providing solace.

PROS:

  • Highly comfortable
  • Durable
  • Odor control
  • Tag-free elastic waist
  • Soft thermal fibers intertwined with 360-stretch textiles

CONS:

  • Limited colors
  • This shirt occasionally shrinks after the first wash, and many buyers report that the sleeves are disproportionately short for the body.

Related: if you need a pant that you can wear together with your top and that can fit your top perfectly, then you can check out the Duofold KMW2.

Check the price on Amazon

Columbia Tamiami II Columbia Tamiami II

Price: $40 – $45

Weight: 8 ounces

Specific features: 100% polyester, mesh-lined venting at the center back, four chest pockets, short-sleeve button-up shirt built in super-light rip stop textile

Best use: Winter hiking, casual use, backpacking, home use

Description: This 100% polyester Columbia Tamiami II Sleeve Short is light-weight and breathable, with a mesh vent in the back for added cooling and a button-up front.

It dries quickly and resists staining and wrinkling. With four chest pockets, the shirt has room to carry an abundance of gear. With a rinse and a brief chance to dry, this shirt can move from your favorite woods to your backyard, keeping you looking well-dressed the whole time.

This shirt is designed for cool solace and functionality in the long run. The performance button-up is created from super-light rip stop textile that is wicking and sun-protecting and together with mesh-lined venting at the center back.

Breathable, lightweight shirt ideal for backpacking and day hikes. It is snappy drying and does not wrinkle easily, thus making it perfect for voyaging. This short-sleeve shirt has snap closures and soft fabrics which make it hard to snag on gear or branches. It is a long-sleeve dark tech shirt that can be used for casual events.

PROS:

  • Soft fabric
  • Comfortable and cool
  • Breathability
  • Sun-blocking fabric
  • Strong snap closures rather than buttons
  • Available in various colors

CONS:

  • Shirt’s longevity is uncertain due to thin fabric
  • Some buyers found that the fabric pilled after repeated washing, and many people found that the sizes of these shirts run large.

Related: if you want a shirt case for easy transport and storage of your shirts with protection against moisture, dust, and wrinkles, then you can check out the Magnetucks 42763 Shirt.

Check the price on Amazon

Rocky Thermal 2 Rocky Thermal 2

Price: Approx. $20

Weight: 1 pound

Specific features: Thermal 2pc set one top and one base, 45% polyester and 55% cotton, thermal knit holds heat to keep your body warm, lightweight

Best use: Indoor use, hiking, sleepwear, athletic wear, high quality underwear

Description: The Rocky Thermal 2 Underwear Set is made from 55% cotton and 45% polyester. The knit material is warm, soft, and light, providing a base layer without bulk.

Because you can choose which clothing you’ll layer on top of it, this shirt and pants set is great for adding extra warmth whether you’re inside by a wood stove or outside on a winter hike. This set is designed as a base layer. Think about your preferences for how tightly base layers should fit when you’re figuring out what size to buy.

Be ready for the icy climates! Keeping warm couldn’t have been any less demanding. The Rocky women’s thermal set is perfect for High quality clothing, Athletic wear, sleepwear. It has a smooth Knit and a full cut for comfy fit.

With the shrinkage controlled, it offers a lasting shape and size. The thermal knit holds heat to keep your body warm. The package will incorporate 2 Pieces fleece lined underwear thermal Set. You can wear it alone at home or include an additional warm base layer under your clothes.

PROS:

  • Great for casual wears
  • Sturdy constructions
  • Durable
  • Very soft
  • Warm and comfy
  • Fit perfectly

CONS:

  • Complaint of fabric not comfortable by some user
  • Fits large and strange

Related: if you have a cold neck, whatever remains of your body will be cold. Warm your body up with the Arctic Extreme DG-1130 Neck Warmer.  This neck warmers gaiter will keep you comfortable and toasty in the coldest climate

Check the price on Amazon

WenVen Cargo WenVen Cargo 

Price: $24 – $80

Weight: 1.3 pounds

Specific features: 100% Cotton, cargo, zipper closure, loose fit with straight leg, multiple pockets, leg cargo pockets, 13 color options, lightweight and comfortable material, breathable material good for summer wear, stylish pockets yet functional

Best use: Summer hikes, backpacking

Description: The WenVen Cargo Shorts are 100% cotton, light-weight and breathable. They have multiple pockets including side, rear, and cargo pockets, with the cargo pockets featuring snap closures. The legs are long, hitting below the knee, and straight cut.

These shorts are great for summer hikes, with their comfortable fabric and abundant pockets to hold whatever gear you’re bringing on your travels.

These shorts are really amazing! They are board-short length (particularly on the long side). The colors don’t run or get blur. The fabric material of the shot is lighter than denim and has great breathability. They get softer every time it is washed.

These shorts are designed with many pockets with fitting buttons. Your smartphone will fit pleasantly vertically and won’t drop out like some other shorts.  They have a great fit and a long inseam length (approx 22″) compared to most other board and cargo shorts – which is extraordinary if you are tall.

PROS:

  • Highly comfortable
  • Fits great
  • Stylish and unique cargo look design
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Stylish pockets
  • Sturdy and well stitched.

CONS:

  • Not suitable for person of over 5ft tall
  • A bit snug in the thigh area
  • The fabric used in these shorts is light-weight, and a few buyers reported fading or ripping, so the shorts may be better suited to day hikes than rigorous days fighting through the underbrush.

Related: If you want a classic and comfortable belt that you can dress up or down, then you can check out the  HDE Elastic Belt. This belt is perfect for any event.

Check the price on Amazon

WenVen Military WenVen Military 

Price: $32 – $100

Weight: 1.3 pounds

Specific features: 100% Cotton, cargo, zipper closure, loose fit with straight leg, multiple pockets, leg cargo pockets, 10 color options, lightweight and comfortable material, breathable material good for summer wear, stylish pockets yet functional

Best use: Outdoor activities, casual wear, workplace

Description: Like the WenVen men’s cargo shorts reviewed above, WenVen Military Cargo Pants are 100% cotton, making them soft and breathable.

The legs are straight and the pants feature a loose fit and a waistband at the natural waist. Pockets include side and rear pockets, as well as cargo pockets secured with snaps or zippers.

The light-weight fabric makes the pair a good choice for summer hiking, especially in contexts where the full-length legs could help protect you from the sun or keep you from feeling a chilly breeze. These cargo pants offer a great counterpart to the company’s cargo shorts.

The pocket sizes are consummately proportioned. Most cargo pants models have large pocket, which is not fitting, but not this one. They are made with thicker material which is impervious to tearing. They have a well-tailored fit and body forming.

It is a great pant that worth the price. It is really a normal pant designed with stitches and zips to look sporty. This is actually sturdy pant with a warm liner all through. Triple sews along the pockets, and built with semi-thick material.

PROS:

  • Well-tailored and body forming
  • Nice strong material
  • Worth the price
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Perfect for outdoor activities.

CONS:

  • The zippers appear to be a little bit lower in quality
  • Some owners of these pants found sizing inconsistencies in the item, noticing that the sizing of the cargo pants was smaller or larger than standard size.

Related: If you want a classic and comfortable belt that you can dress up or down, then you can check out the  HDE Elastic Belt.

Check the price on Amazon

PrAna Inseam PrAna Inseam

Price: $60 – $80

Weight: 13.4 ounces

Specific features: 97% nylon, 3% spandex, cross-functional pant, stretch zion fabric, pant styling with snap front, enunciated knees, loose fit, straight leg, mid rise, roll-up leg feature

Best use: Hiking in wet climates, bike commuting backpacking, home use

Description: These pants are comfortable and light-weight. The fabric in PrAna Inseam Halle Pant has a slight stretch, due to its blend of nylon and spandex (97% nylon and 3% spandex).

The fabric also wicks moisture away from the skin, dries quickly, and offers moderate rain resistance. A snap front, combined with a drawstring, offers a customized waistband fit. Among several pockets is one with a zipper, designed to keep valuables secure.

The legs roll easily to a Capri length. Many owners of these pants emphasize the pants’ combination of practicality and flattering style. Because these pants dry quickly and repel water, they’re ideal for hiking in wet climates. The light-weight, breathable fabric and adjustable length make them a good choice for warm weather as well. Given their stylish cut and easy to care for material, these pants can go from the great outdoors to a relaxed office or casual get-together without a problem.

PROS:

  • They look feminine
  • The rear looks pleasant as well
  • They are not baggy
  • The bootie looks incredible
  • They dry quick
  • Long life span

CONS:

  • The buttons at the front will eventually fall off
  • They are far too small
  • A bit spacious in the tummy area
  • Some buyers found that these pants ran large compared to standard sizing. Additionally, people who own these pants frequently say that the buttons have loosened or come off the pants with normal wear.

Related: If you want a soft and lightweight shirt that can fit your pant well, then you can check out the ExOfficio Lightscape Long Sleeve.

 Check the price on Amazon

Concluding Thoughts

At the beginning of this article, we outlined some important categories to think about when you want to find the best hiking clothing for you. These four criteria are fabric, construction, fit, and versatility. A garment’s fabric, construction, and fit have dramatic effects on how functional the garment can be. The material of your clothing should be comfortable, provide the warmth or wicking that you want, and keep performing under the pressure of days on the trail.

The construction and fit of your clothing should never restrict you or make you uncomfortable. Instead, the features of each item should equip you to enjoy hiking without worrying about where you’ll stow your camera, whether you’ll stay warm enough when you reach the summit, or how you’ll manage to dry out after a surprise rain storm.

Although hiking clothes don’t need to be versatile to be functional, an item’s ability to transition between a variety of contexts makes it more likely to become an article of clothing you’re happy to wear every day. When considering each category, you should look at your own needs and preferences for the various features of your hiking gear.

A couple getting rest on their way to the top of the mountain

Since every hiker is unique, the hiking clothes that work for someone else may not work for you. You should think about where you’ll be wearing your new hiking gear, what you will expect it to do for you, and what types of clothing make you comfortable.

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment. Try out some different hiking clothes (maybe an item that stood out to you on the list above or a piece of gear that a friend swears by). It’s important to identify what you’re searching for in hiking gear, and to research which items offer the features that matter most to you. Sometimes, however, discovering a favorite hiking shirt can involve a little of the same luck that it takes to find a favorite T-shirt.

If you’d like to share a favorite piece of hiking clothing that we didn’t talk about in this article, please leave a comment about it!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John C. Porter
John C. Porter

John is passionate about hiking long distances. His record is over 65 miles in one day with backpacking gear. John hiked over 10 thousand miles, tried over 100 hiking shoes and visited 56 countries so far. His favourite hiking route is West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

  • Jerry Richards

    I love my WenVen Men’s Cotton Military Casual Cargo Pants. I have them in different colors and they are perfect for the outdoors. I also picked up some cargo shorts from WenVen. Their pockets are just the right size and in the right places and the material is thick enough to survive the rough outdoors. They are a perfect fit for my adventurous lifestyle.

    • John C. Porter

      Hi there Jerry and thanks for this great experience with the WenVen Men’s Cotton Military Casual Cargo Pants. Was the size just right for you? Most are saying their usual size don’t fit them, but I guess that’s one of the problems of any kinds of pants. One thing a lot of people like about the pants is the cotton material that’s so comfortable, which is a must when you’ve been hiking for hours!

  • Eddy Phillips

    The Columbia brand has such good clothes for outdoor life. I especially like their shirts, both short and long sleeves. I wear these shirts to work on Fridays and then when it is time for backpacking, I still wear them. Their lightweight fabric is perfect for the summer, both home and away. I think I have about 8 shirts or so from them.

  • John C. Porter

    The Columbia brand has been around for such a long time. I remember my uncles still wearing them when we went backpacking back then. A friend of mine gifted me one and I think they are one of the most comfortable shirts I’ve worn for a long time. 🙂

0
0
Total
0
Shares