As any seasoned outdoorsman will vouch, the essential ingredients for a great outdoor vacation are: a ready-for-anything attitude, reasonably good physical condition and the right gear for the kind of activity, terrain, and climate or weather likely to be encountered.
Being kitted out right is the first step to a successful outdoor adventure vacation: the presence or absence of the correct gear can make a vacation great – or disastrous. Wearing the right kind of clothing is critical for any enjoyable and successful outdoor experience, including a hiking trip.
Creating a Check-List for a Hiking Trip – Clothing and Personal Gear
The best way to create a check-list of what to wear on a hiking vacation is to break up the requirements: clothing, protection for the head, face, feet and hands – based on the time to be spent in the outdoors, the kind of terrain and possible weather conditions.
Clothing Essentials on a Hiking Vacation
Whether it’s a for-starters adventure family vacation or a hard-core solo hiking vacation, the principles of clothing are the same. Loose-fitting cotton clothes are best for hot and sultry climates, while layered clothing is ideal for colder climates where the weather turns warm as the day proceeds, and body temperature rises with exercise.
For layering, begin with chest hugging innerwear.
While cotton fabric has traditionally been preferred for innerwear due to its ability to breathe and absorb sweat, many hikers and outdoor gear providers now recommend wicking fabrics that “wick” away sweat from the body.
There is some debate, however, on moisture wicking innerwear versus cotton innerwear: as to whether it is really desirable to “wick away” the moisture to the outer shirt – making the outerwear wetter than in the case of a cotton inner. The best way to decide on this would be to personally test out both fabrics on short hikes before setting out on a long hiking vacation.
Over the innerwear, layer with a warm tee, and then an outer jacket.
Fabrics that breathe will be more comfortable, especially when there are large variations between day and night temperatures. As daytime temperature increases and your body warms up with the exercise, peel off one layer at a time to stay comfortable. Reverse the procedure later in the day, when temperatures begin to fall or when a halt is called. In extreme cold, it is critical that layering is constantly moderated to ensure that the body is never too warm or too cold, since overheating and consequent perspiration can be extremely uncomfortable and even dangerous.
Shoes and Boots – Caring for Feet on a Hiking Trip Hiking Trip
Since the strain on the feet is pretty high when walking continuously, it is important to be fussy about the kind of shoes or boots worn on a hike. Shoes should be of the lace-up type, and made of material that breathes. Well-broken in shoes are a must; never wear new shoes on a hike as it can lead to shoe-bite, blistering and excruciating pain when walking.
The choice of whether shoes or boots are right for a particular trek will depend on the kind of terrain. If the terrain is likely to be uneven, rocky or thick with undergrowth, boots with ankle support will provide better protection for feet.
Protection for Head, Eyes and Skin on a Hiking Vacation
Whatever the weather, a cap is something no hiker should venture outdoors without – it is vitally important to protect one’s head from the blazing sun or pouring rain or even night-time dew on a long trek. Protective headgear – a cotton cap in warm weather or a woolen cap or balaclava in colder weather – can safeguard against headaches, chills and worse. A scarf for the throat and ears is also a good idea. It is advisable to keep headgear on even if the sun is not directly overhead, and after sundown as well, to protect against dew.
Wearing sun-glasses will shield eyes against the glare of a blazing sun or snow, and will prevent damage to eyes and make for easier hiking. For the skin, a water-based sun-block is a good way of protecting against sunburn.
It would also be wise to carry rainwear, either a lightweight rain poncho or a rain suit that will provide protection against the unexpected shower or thunderstorm. Staying dry is important in the outdoors, since getting wet, especially when the body is warmed up, might lead to chills and fever.
The right kind of clothing and personal accessories on any outdoor adventure vacation play a critical role in ensuring a safe, enjoyable and memorable adventure, whether it is a hiking or trekking vacation or a camping trip. Wear clothes and protective gear right for the adventure – and get set for a great and mem