The best tips and options for women's, men's and children's hiking clothes.

We travelers love hiking around the world and one thing that we must remember is that, just as we need appropriate clothing to practice sports such as cycling and diving, for example, we also need adequate hiking clothes in order to ensure our comfort and safety.

Some items are indispensable for our adventurous style, others can offer us a better performance and allow us to go further, enjoying each step of the journey.

Join us throughout this article and find out the basic clothes and accessories you need to hike, regardless of the weather and difficulty level. At the end we’ll answer some frequently asked questions and share some hiking outfits for women, men and kids from Columbia Sportswear, the brand we wear on our travels and that has been supporting us, also by sponsoring this post.

Let’s go?!

Hiking clothes and accessories that cannot be missing in your suitcase

When practicing any adventure sport we need clothes that offer greater comfort and safety. When it matters to hiking clothing and accessories, some items are a must-have:

Hiking Shoes

Meet the main types of hiking shoes:

Hiking Boots

Men's hiking boots - one of the main hiking gear
Hiking Boots
Photo: Columbia Sportswear

This, in my opinion, is the main investment a hiking fan should make. I speak from my own experience, as I already had to dispose of a brand new pair of gym shoes after some hiking in Petar (SP). The sneakers I had were bad? No. The problem is that they have not been developed for that purpose.

Other than the durability of Columbia’s hiking boots, which make the financial investment worth in the medium/long term, they have features and technologies that help us prevent accidents and discomfort.

To reduce the possibility of slipping on the trail, Columbia has Omni-Grip™ technology, which offers a better shoe grip to the most different types of soil. Techlite™ technology features an ultra-lightweight midsole offering greater comfort, ensuring ample impact absorption and energy return. Also, it is antimicrobial, that is, it prevents the proliferation of bacteria and unwanted odors. No more stinky feet! 😅 Omni-Tech™, on the other hand, guarantees the waterproofing and breathability of the hiking boots, which means your feet won’t be sweating inside the shoes and they won’t get wet if you happen to step in a puddle.

Some shoes may be more appropriate for waterfall hikes, others for snow, but there are also some super versatile options. I ended up choosing the Columbia’s Dakota™ Women’s Boots Drifter Mid Waterproof because they’re light, breathable and waterproof (which is essential!). They also have medium uppers to avoid twisting and a beautiful and discreet design in case I need to wear them on a rainy day in the city.

Hiking Sandals

Columbia's Sandals
Elaine rappelling in Maresias
Photo: Marcela Moreira

Sandals are ideal for shorter and smoother hikes, destinations with waterfalls and days of intense heat. I own these women’s hiking sandals that accompanied me in Acre, both in the midst of Cruzeiro do Sul‘s nature and in the urban areas of Rio Branco. Some of the advantages of having a pair of sandals are super fast drying and great comfort on smooth hikes or when doing a city tour. They’re also safe to walk on the most diverse surfaces due to the sole and easy to put on and take off.

Hiking accessories and equipment

Hat, hiking socks and hydration pack will also make great adventure companions. Below we detail the importance of each of these items:

Socks

hiking socks
Hiking Socks
Photo: Columbia Sportswear

There’s no point in having breathable hiking boots if your socks aren’t. Appropriate hiking socks are essential as they help prevent blisters. They also last much longer than the traditional socks so despite the higher price, the investment is worth in the medium/long term. To give you an idea, I don’t buy common socks anymore: I have only a few pairs but they last a long time, dry quickly and take care of my feet on walks. =)

Cap / Hat

Cap with sun protection technology - Must-have item for summer hikes
Elaine Villatoro wearing the Omni-Shade™ technology UPF 30 cap
Photo: Marcela Moreira

Protect your face from the sun so you don’t get attacked by melasma like I was from lack of care. Nowadays it’s possible to find different types of caps and hats with sun protection, invest in them! The one in the photo is the Columbia W Silver Ridge™ Ball Cap, it has sun protection factor 30 and is resistant to rain and stains.

There are also caps with technologies that activate the fabric’s cooling through sweat and dissipate perspiration, making the cap always dry and giving a pleasant and comfort feeling.

Hiking backpacks

Hiking clothes and accessories for women, men and kids
Elaine in Bonete’s Hike
Photo: Raquel Pryzant

Hiking backpacks are a must-have, especially those with a compartment to add a hydration bag. You can choose small backpacks, around 25/30 liters for day hikes or larger backpacks, over 50L for when you go camping along the way. When it comes to the little ones, check the compartments: I love it when they have pockets on the waist straps: there I can keep tissues, hand sanitizer and lip balm within easy reach. For the big ones, avoid those that don’t have a zipper in the middle, the ones that look like a bag, you know?! This makes it very difficult to find items inside.

I have the Columbia’s Shadow Falls™ II Hydration Backpack and it has become my favorite. Even if it’s compact, I manage to slip my Canon camera in there, hang my shirt or flip-flop on the side buckle and I find it cool that it has a whistle in one of the buckles to use in case of emergency.

Hiking Clothes

Hiking clothes should always be comfortable and breathable, as well as appropriate for the local climate. When it comes to summer clothes, choose those that are light, dry quickly and have sun protection. If you’re going to venture into a cold place, it’s best to dress in layers, as we explained in an article about clothing for winter travel.

Among the essentials for your adventure are:

Shirts and T-shirts with sun protection

T-shirts and shirts with UV protection are excellent companions for hikes and many other situations in a traveler’s life. If you’re a backpacker, then at some point you must have regretted having sunburned your shoulders and then having to carry a backpack (oh how it hurts!). The most important thing for fans of outdoor activities is that this item helps protect the health of your skin. Columbia’s Omni-SHADE™ technology offers fabrics with a sun protection factor of 30 to 50.

Our partner brand’s technology for outdoors clothing doesn’t end there! Did you know that there is a fabric that, when in contact with sweat, causes a refreshing sensation? That’s what Omni-Freeze™ t-shirts do. Columbia’s Omni-Wick™ technology ensures sweat dispersion and makes clothes dry faster.

There are several options, short or long sleeved, in the most diverse colors and models.

Fox’s Tip 🦊: After testing different types of sun protection t-shirts, I realized that I like the Neblina model better in situations where I need it to dry more easily and Zero Rules for extremely humid places where I sweat a lot.

Hiking pants

Men's convertible pants - hiking clothes for men
Men’s hiking pants
Photo: Columbia Sportswear

Do you know convertible pants? It’s a pair of trousers which you can remove the bottom parts and turn them into shorts. It’s a very practical and versatile item to use especially on long hikes, where you can face various environments and temperatures in a single day.

When looking for hiking pants, choose models that are waterproof and quick-drying, this makes a lot of difference! Among Columbia’s options, many of them are even tear resistant.

Another option, which is often women’s favorite, are legging pants. There are some shorter models, others longer – these are usually better options for they do not leave that unwanted sun mark in the middle of the calf, also offering a more complete protection against scratches from branches. These leggings in the photo are the Columbia’s Women’s Windgates™ II Pants, I’ve already tested them and I can assure you that they’re super comfortable, don’t get hot, and the best: the fabric weft is narrow, so even when squatting, you can’t see through them. 🙌

women's black leggings - comfortable hiking pants for women
Women’s hiking pants
Photo: Columbia Sportswear

Another piece of advice is to look for pants with pockets, preferably with a zipper. When hiking, it’s important to keep our hands free so that we can hold ourselves in case we slip, but we’ll probably want to have our cell phone within easy reach to record moments of the journey. At these times, pockets are very useful. By the way, the leggings in the photo above have a side pocket that fits the mobile phone perfectly.

Hiking jackets

Columbia Sportswear's men's waterproof jacket
Waterproof jacket
Photo: Columbia Sportswear

Have at least one windbreaker & rain jacket! Choose a lightweight model that you can wear both in the heat and over winter sweaters. This key-piece will help you in case it starts raining during the hike. Look for an option with a hood, a sealed zipper and that is breathable so you don’t get too hot. I have the Columbia’s Evapouration™ waterproof jacket that, besides having colors that stand out in the woods, have Omni-Tech™ and Omni-Wick™ technologies.

For cold days, the fleece jacket is a great company: it’s the second piece used in the layering system to dress in winter and, among its advantages are lightness, comfort, easy drying and, of course, the fact that it heats up very well! Currently I count on a model from the Fast Trek™ and another one from Ali Peak™. In extreme cold destinations, pluma jackets will be necessary.

FAQ – Hiking Clothes & Outfits for Men, Women and Kids

What should I wear for hiking?

On hikes, the ideal thing is that you wear comfortable clothes and suitable accessories for the practice of this sport. Some of the must-have items are: hiking boots, pants, UV protection shirts, fleece jacket and waterproof jacket. Learn more about each of them and other items here.


Where to buy hiking clothes?

Columbia Sportswear is one of the most renowned brands for adventure sports in the world and it has stores worldwide, as well as an online store. Visit their website for more information.

What are the options for women’s hiking clothes?

Check out the main accessories and hiking clothes for women and create your favorite outfit:
Hiking Clothes for Women

What are the options for men’s hiking clothes?

See what are the essential men’s hiking items and clothing for outdoor lovers:
Hiking Clothes for Men

What are children’s hiking clothing options?

The little ones also need to be safe outdoors. Here are some hiking clothes for kids:
Kids Hiking Clothes

What are the best clothes for hiking in hot weather?

The best clothes for hiking in hot weather are the ones that are breathable and have sun protection. We recommend clothes with the Omni-Wick™, Omni-Freeze™ and Omni-Shade™ technologies from Columbia Sportswear.

Columbia Promo Code

Find Columbia Sportswear promo codes here.

x.o.x.o

Elaine

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