What To Wear Hiking In Hot Weather
Love hiking in the warm weather, but hate figuring out what to wear, staying cool and actually enjoying yourself on the trail in the hotter months?
We’ve got you covered when it comes to summer hiking clothing! Pun intended. Check out our handpicked recommendations for exactly what to wear hiking in hot weather.
Hot Weather Hiking Tips for Any Adventurer
- Check the weather for temperature, UV index, and heat index
- Avoid hiking when the sun is highest (and hottest)
- Have a hiking partner, or share your plans if you hike solo
- Carry the 10 Essentials for Hiking along with a half liter of extra water and salty snacks for energy
5 Tips for Choosing What to Wear Hiking in Summer (or Any Hot Weather)
1. Choose Breathable Fabrics
Hiking clothes made from breathable material, such as a polyester fabric like nylon and spandex, and natural fabrics like wool keep you cooler and reduce sweat. Their fast-drying properties help you stay cool by allowing moisture to evaporate from the skin.
Wearing cotton in hot, sweaty weather is a no-go, since the natural fibers retain moisture instead of wicking it away. Clothes made from wicking material make it more comfortable to wear long sleeves without soaking in wet cotton.
2. Wear Light Colors
Lighter colors and fabrics will be your best friend in the hot summer months. Sure, blacks and other darks that don’t show pesky sweat stains— we all get ’em ladies! — but dark colors absorb heat from the sun making you hotter, unlike light colors like white, tan, or khaki that reflect the sun’s rays and keep it from beating down on your body quite so hard.
3. Choose UPF-Rated Clothing
The UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) rating of clothing refers to how much UV radiation the material allows through to your skin. The higher the rating, the better sun protection. UPF clothing is usually lightweight and breathable to keep you cool.
Exposed skin can sunburn when you’re out in the heat, and lots of mountains and alpine lake adventures leave you exposed to sun.
4. Cover Up
When you’re hiking in hot weather, one of the best ways to beat the heat is to keep the sun off your body. It’s easy to sweat off sunscreen when doing more strenuous hiking. Lightweight, long-sleeved shirts with UPF protection help to reduce sun exposure.
Shady hiking trails, lightweight trail umbrellas, and every day sun protections like hats, a neck gaiter, and sunscreen are good ways to cover up and keep your body heat down.
5. Choose Well-Venting Clothes
Ventilation is key when hiking in high temperatures. Wear loose fitting clothing that can easily move, breathe, and stretch with you while still allowing air flow. Sweating is a way for your body to regulate temperature in hot weather, and avoid no-fun fiascos like heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Having good ventilation to get rid of that moisture makes a huge difference in keeping you comfortable on long hikes.
The Hiking Clothes You Need to Keep You Cool in Hot Weather
*Disclosure: we independently choose all product recommendations. When you buy from product links in our posts, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This supports our ability to provide the best advice possible.
Picking appropriate clothing for hiking in hot weather can be tough to master. There are a lot of factors to consider on any hiking adventure, including whether you’re day hiking or on a multi-day backpacking trip. Here are some Explorer Chick favorite picks for hot weather hiking!
Summer Hiking Shirts
Look for hiking shirts made of synthetic materials that are moisture wicking and fast drying. Long sleeve shirts are good for an early start to keep you warm and give you good sun protection later.
A lightweight long sleeve shirt like the Northface Wander Sun Hoodie over an Explorer Chick tank top is a great layering system for hot weather hiking, and easy to take off to regulate your body temperature.
Hot Weather Hiking Pants
You may want to opt to wear shorts anytime it’s hot, but keep the terrain and altitude of your hike in mind. Hiking pants are your best option if you expect exposed terrain and fluctuation in temperatures.
The Eddie Bauer First Ascent Guide Pro Pants are great long pants for hot weather. They’re lightweight, water repellent, and have a UPF rating of 50+.
“I’m curvy and I like Eddie Bauer’s First Ascent guide pants. They’re curvy and stretchy too!”Explorer Chick Michele A.
Warm Weather Hiking Shorts
Wearing shorts is definitely cooler than pants on a summer hike. Look for durable, quick-drying fabrics like spandex or nylon that can move with you but stand up to the adventure.
We LOVE the Columbia Saturday Trail Shorts, made from durable nylon and a UPF rating of 50 yet lightweight enough for any activity. They also come in knee length!
Hiking Sun Hat
A hiking hat helps keep the sun from beating directly down on top of your head and shades your face along your trek. Whether you choose a bucket hat or a ball cap, sun protection for your head is important too.
Check out REI’s Vented Explorer Hat, with a moisture wicking sweatband and wide brim for extra personal shade!
Your everyday wear sneakers may not cut it on the hiking trail, but the hiking boots or shoes that work for you depends on your activity and personal comfort. Think about traction, ankle support, and of course durability when making your choice.
We love the Merrell Moab 2 Hikers because they’re waterproof, lightweight and incredibly comfortable, making them perfect for long or short hikes.
“If possible, go into a store and try on different brands/styles, check return policies in case they end up not working out after purchase – at REI you can return shoes up to a year of purchase for ANY reason.”Explorer Chick guide Kirstie Mullikin
Sports Bras for Hot Weather
Sports bras for hiking should fit somewhat snugly without folds in the fabric that can hold sweat. You want support, but also freedom of movement.
Fabrics like spandex and polyester are best for wicking away moisture. Pay attention to fasteners and shoulder straps to make sure they won’t irritate you on your hike. Explorer Chicks LOVE the comfort of the Sarah Sports Bra by Senita Athletics.
“The Sarah Sports Bra is my fav! They have a pocket in the back that fits a phone. Supportive and the padding doesn’t get all crazy and warped in the washing machine!”Explorer Chick Lisa L.
Join Explorer Chick for a Summer Hike!
Wanna get out on some epic hikes this summer? Join us on an Explorer Chick summer hiking adventure!
Meet the Writer
April is an adventure lover and freelance writer based in New England, with a passion for public lands, wild places, and all things outdoors. She loves camping in any form and spends as many weekends as she can hiking New Hampshire’s highest peaks, or road-tripping with her sweet dog Marley. If not in the mountains, you can find her planning her next expedition or caring for one of her far-too-many-houseplants.
Favorite outdoor adventure: National Parks Hiking and Road Trips!
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