What to Wear to Go Hiking: Tried and True Basics for Looking and Feeling Good.

What to Wear to Go Hiking: Tried and True Basics for Looking and Feeling Good.

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn PLEIN AIR a commission.

Whether you’re a novice hiker or simply getting started, the question of what to wear when hiking isn’t always the easiest to answer. The season, weather, terrain, and difficulty level can all impact the basics and layers you’ll need to stay comfortable (and look your best!) on the trail. This can seem daunting, especially if you’re just getting started, but we can assure you that dressing for the outdoors is much simpler when you know what’s available. 

That’s why we’re here! Like you, we love to get outside and move our bodies under the sun and want to feel like ourselves while doing it. We know what women need to feel their best when it comes to fit, function, and style, and we use that knowledge to curate the best options for you. Oh, and because we’re also fed up with recreation stereotypes—you know the ones: the ultra-rugged, competition-crazed, and granola-coded—we’ve intentionally chosen brands that design with women in mind. So you never have to worry about finding a ‘fit that’s true to you.

What to Wear Hiking: Tips for Finding Your ‘Fit

Know your climate and terrain.

Before you even think about getting dressed, you’ll need to know what type of climate and terrain you’ll be hiking in. An outfit recipe built for a hot and humid trek won’t work for a fall morning hike in the mountains—there are no if and or butts about it! So, in the name of comfort and function, first check the weather report for the day. Pay attention to what the temps will be when you start your hike and what they will be throughout your hike because they can sneak up on ya quickly, no matter where you’re hiking. Also, keep in mind that the temperature at the base can vary drastically from the temperature at the summit. To stay on top of the weather possibilities, we recommend using AllTrails+. Their weather report and community reviews will paint a picture of what the day may hold regarding terrain, varying temperatures, and some of the on-the-ground conditions (like snow or mud). 

Layer up!

Per our previous point, the weather while hiking can shift on a dime, so you’ll want to stay prepared by having various types of layers in your closet. Below, we’ll dive into the different types of layers and when you’ll need each.

Don’t be afraid of color

This might (literally) be the pot calling the kettle black, as gals who have a drawer filled with more pairs of black leggings than we care to count. However, you shouldn’t be afraid to incorporate colorful pieces into your hiking outfit! Take it from our founder, Madeleine (me)—the colorful pieces from my closet, like these Salomon trail running shoes, are always my favorite to wear on the trail.  

What to Wear Hiking: A Fool Proof Style Recipe

From the novice to the expert, these clothing items will easily take you from the starting point to the summit. We recommend keeping at least one of each on hand to be prepared for any condition. 

Hiking Base Layer Tops: Tank Tops, Dresses, and Long Sleeves

As the name suggests, the base layer is the layer closest to your skin. For your top, this could be a long sleeve, a tank top, or even an exercise dress, depending on the weather. When choosing your base layer, avoid anything that lists cotton as the primary fabric type—these fabrics are heavy and will trap sweat instead of wicking it away from your skin. Instead, look for something made from either polyester, spandex, or Merino wool to dry while you’re on the move. 

Oasis TankOasis Tank
SENIQ
Oasis Tank Sale price$74.00
Oasis TankOasis Tank
SENIQ
Oasis Tank Sale price$74.00
Oasis TankOasis Tank
SENIQ
Oasis Tank Sale price$74.00
Field CropField Crop
SENIQ
Field Crop Sale price$48.00
Field CropField Crop
SENIQ
Field Crop Sale price$48.00
Johnson TopJohnson Top
Halfdays
Johnson Top Sale price$85.00

1 color available

Marie TopMarie Top
Halfdays
Marie Top Sale price$55.00

1 color available

Johnson TopJohnson Top
Halfdays
Johnson Top Sale price$85.00

1 color available

Marie TopMarie Top
Halfdays
Marie Top Sale price$55.00

1 color available

Marie TopMarie Top
Halfdays
Marie Top Sale price$55.00

1 color available

Barre Seamless TeeBarre Seamless Tee
Alala
Barre Seamless Tee Sale price$65.00

1 color available

Muse Shelf TankMuse Shelf Tank
Alala
Muse Shelf Tank Sale price$95.00

1 color available

Flyweight TankFlyweight Tank
Alala
Flyweight Tank Sale price$75.00

1 color available

Barre Seamless TeeBarre Seamless Tee
Alala
Barre Seamless Tee Sale price$65.00

1 color available

Barre Seamless TankBarre Seamless Tank
Alala
Barre Seamless Tank Sale price$65.00

1 color available

Marie TopMarie Top
Halfdays
Marie Top Sale price$55.00

1 color available

Marie TopMarie Top
Halfdays
Marie Top Sale price$55.00

1 color available

Marie TopMarie Top
Halfdays
Marie Top Sale price$55.00

1 color available

Sold out
Johnson TopJohnson Top
Halfdays
Johnson Top Sale price$85.00
Sold out
Johnson TopJohnson Top
Halfdays
Johnson Top Sale price$85.00
Johnson TopJohnson Top
Halfdays
Johnson Top Sale price$85.00
Johnson TopJohnson Top
Halfdays
Johnson Top Sale price$85.00
Johnson TopJohnson Top
Halfdays
Johnson Top Sale price$85.00
Marie TopMarie Top
Halfdays
Marie Top Sale price$55.00

1 color available

Hiking Bottoms: Shorts, Leggings, and Pants

For bottoms, leggings or biker shorts work fine for light day hikes; just keep in mind that because of their soft, stretchy nature, these fabric types are more susceptible to snags from sharp rocks or harsh brush. If you’re headed on a hike with largely unkempt terrain, you’ll want to reach for something with stronger abrasion resistance to avoid snags and tears. For this, we recommend getting hiking pants or shorts made from nylon. We love the Adams Nylon Short from Halfdays and the Trailmix Pant from SENIQ

Trailmix PantTrailmix Pant
SENIQ
Trailmix Pant Sale price$148.00
Trailmix PantTrailmix Pant
SENIQ
Trailmix Pant Sale price$148.00
Trailmix ShortTrailmix Short
SENIQ
Trailmix Short Sale price$118.00
Trailmix ShortTrailmix Short
SENIQ
Trailmix Short Sale price$118.00
Trailmix ShortTrailmix Short
SENIQ
Trailmix Short Sale price$118.00
Trailmix PantTrailmix Pant
SENIQ
Trailmix Pant Sale price$148.00
Sophia LeggingSophia Legging
Halfdays
Sophia Legging Sale price$85.00

1 color available

Adams Nylon ShortAdams Nylon Short
Halfdays
Adams Nylon Short Sale price$75.00

1 color available

Adams Nylon ShortAdams Nylon Short
Halfdays
Adams Nylon Short Sale price$75.00

1 color available

Sophia LeggingSophia Legging
Halfdays
Sophia Legging Sale price$85.00

1 color available

Adams Nylon ShortAdams Nylon Short
Halfdays
Adams Nylon Short Sale price$75.00

1 color available

Adams Nylon ShortAdams Nylon Short
Halfdays
Adams Nylon Short Sale price$75.00

1 color available

Sophia LeggingSophia Legging
Halfdays
Sophia Legging Sale price$85.00

1 color available

Barre Seamless ShortBarre Seamless Short
Alala
Barre Seamless Short Sale price$55.00

1 color available

Barre Seamless LeggingsBarre Seamless Leggings
Alala
Barre Seamless Leggings Sale price$105.00

1 color available

Barre Seamless ShortBarre Seamless Short
Alala
Barre Seamless Short Sale price$55.00

1 color available

Barre Seamless LeggingsBarre Seamless Leggings
Alala
Barre Seamless Leggings Sale price$105.00

1 color available

Barre Seamless ShortBarre Seamless Short
Alala
Barre Seamless Short Sale price$55.00

1 color available

Barre Seamless ShortBarre Seamless Short
Alala
Barre Seamless Short Sale price$55.00

1 color available

Raya Rib TightRaya Rib Tight
Alala
Raya Rib Tight Sale price$125.00

1 color available

Barre Seamless TightBarre Seamless Tight
Alala
Barre Seamless Tight Sale price$105.00

1 color available

Barre Seamless ShortBarre Seamless Short
Alala
Barre Seamless Short Sale price$55.00

1 color available

Surf TightSurf Tight
Alala
Surf Tight Sale price$135.00

1 color available

Barre Seamless ShortBarre Seamless Short
Alala
Barre Seamless Short Sale price$55.00

1 color available

Raya Rib TightRaya Rib Tight
Alala
Raya Rib Tight Sale price$125.00

1 color available

Serene TightSerene Tight
Alala
Serene Tight Sale price$125.00

1 color available

Surf TightSurf Tight
Alala
Surf Tight Sale price$135.00

1 color available

Peak TightPeak Tight
Alala
Peak Tight Sale price$125.00

1 color available

Barre Short ExtendedBarre Short Extended
Alala
Barre Short Extended Sale price$65.00

1 color available

Barre Seamless ShortBarre Seamless Short
Alala
Barre Seamless Short Sale price$55.00

1 color available

Barre Super Hi Rise TightBarre Super Hi Rise Tight
Alala
Barre Super Hi Rise Tight Sale price$115.00

1 color available

Barre Seamless TightBarre Seamless Tight
Alala
Barre Seamless Tight Sale price$105.00

1 color available

Sold out
Sophia LeggingSophia Legging
Halfdays
Sophia Legging Sale price$85.00
Sold out
Sophia LeggingSophia Legging
Halfdays
Sophia Legging Sale price$85.00
Sophia LeggingSophia Legging
Halfdays
Sophia Legging Sale price$85.00
Sophia LeggingSophia Legging
Halfdays
Sophia Legging Sale price$85.00
Sophia LeggingSophia Legging
Halfdays
Sophia Legging Sale price$85.00
Sold out
Sophia Legging
Halfdays
Sophia Legging Sale price$85.00
Sophia LeggingSophia Legging
Halfdays
Sophia Legging Sale price$85.00

Mid Layers: Fleeces and Jackets

This is your next layer, typically a warmer jacket, vest, or sweatshirt to, uh, top things off—literally. When hiking at higher elevations or in densely wooded areas, the climate can cool off dramatically, even if the temperature at the base of the mountain is hot. Always double-check the weather on the AllTrails+ app before going and err on the side of caution. If you’re unsure of how hot or cold you might be, it’s best to stash a fleece away in your backpack should you need it. 

Nellie Packable Puffer JacketNellie Packable Puffer Jacket
Halfdays

1 color available

Nellie Packable Puffer JacketNellie Packable Puffer Jacket
Halfdays

1 color available

Nellie Packable Puffer JacketNellie Packable Puffer Jacket
Halfdays

1 color available

Nellie Packable Puffer JacketNellie Packable Puffer Jacket
Halfdays

1 color available

Nellie Packable Puffer JacketNellie Packable Puffer Jacket
Halfdays

1 color available

Nellie Packable Puffer JacketNellie Packable Puffer Jacket
Halfdays

1 color available

Nellie Packable Puffer JacketNellie Packable Puffer Jacket
Halfdays

1 color available

Nellie Packable Puffer JacketNellie Packable Puffer Jacket
Halfdays

1 color available

Davis Convertible JacketDavis Convertible Jacket
Halfdays
Davis Convertible Jacket Sale price$235.00

1 color available

Nellie Packable Puffer JacketNellie Packable Puffer Jacket
Halfdays

1 color available

Dirtpop Trek JacketDirtpop Trek Jacket
SENIQ
Dirtpop Trek Jacket Sale price$148.00
Dirtpop Trek JacketDirtpop Trek Jacket
SENIQ
Dirtpop Trek Jacket Sale price$148.00
Ace JacketAce Jacket
Alala
Ace Jacket Sale price$178.00

1 color available

Ace JacketAce Jacket
Alala
Ace Jacket Sale price$178.00

1 color available

Sold out
Pieper FleecePieper Fleece
Halfdays
Pieper Fleece Sale price$195.00
Pieper FleecePieper Fleece
Halfdays
Pieper Fleece Sale price$195.00
Sold out
Pieper FleecePieper Fleece
Halfdays
Pieper Fleece Sale price$195.00
Pieper FleecePieper Fleece
Halfdays
Pieper Fleece Sale price$195.00
Pieper FleecePieper Fleece
Halfdays
Pieper Fleece Sale price$195.00
Pieper FleecePieper Fleece
Halfdays
Pieper Fleece Sale price$195.00
Sold out
Pieper FleecePieper Fleece
Halfdays
Pieper Fleece Sale price$195.00
Pieper FleecePieper Fleece
Halfdays
Pieper Fleece Sale price$195.00
Pieper FleecePieper Fleece
Halfdays
Pieper Fleece Sale price$195.00
Pieper FleecePieper Fleece
Halfdays
Pieper Fleece Sale price$195.00
Sold out
Pieper FleecePieper Fleece
Halfdays
Pieper Fleece Sale price$195.00
 

Image Credit: @arianaferwerda

Shell or Outerwear Layers

You should only need this layer if you’re hiking in the cold, snow, or rain. We hate to point out the obvious, but if it’s raining, bring a rain jacket, and if it’s snowing, bring a water-resistant snow jacket to round out your outfit. If you’re a fair-weather hiker, keep scrolling!

 

Nellie Packable Puffer JacketNellie Packable Puffer Jacket
Halfdays

1 color available

Nellie Packable Puffer JacketNellie Packable Puffer Jacket
Halfdays

1 color available

Nellie Packable Puffer JacketNellie Packable Puffer Jacket
Halfdays

1 color available

Nellie Packable Puffer JacketNellie Packable Puffer Jacket
Halfdays

1 color available

Nellie Packable Puffer JacketNellie Packable Puffer Jacket
Halfdays

1 color available

Nellie Packable Puffer JacketNellie Packable Puffer Jacket
Halfdays

1 color available

Nellie Packable Puffer JacketNellie Packable Puffer Jacket
Halfdays

1 color available

Nellie Packable Puffer JacketNellie Packable Puffer Jacket
Halfdays

1 color available

Davis Convertible JacketDavis Convertible Jacket
Halfdays
Davis Convertible Jacket Sale price$235.00

1 color available

Nellie Packable Puffer JacketNellie Packable Puffer Jacket
Halfdays

1 color available

Shoes

Thanks to the cultural shift around outdoor recreation, hiking shoes are a whole heck of a lot cuter than they used to be. Unlike the other categories on this list, hiking shoes are fairly versatile, meaning you can wear most shoes in any climate (except sandals in the snow). We recommend finding something that feels comfortable on your foot—whether that’s a hiking boot (more ankle support), hiking sneakers (lighter weight), or hiking sandals (less coverage, more breathability). Some of our favorite brands to shop from are Hoka, Merrell, and Teva

 

Image Credit: Calpak

Bag(s) 

The most essential factor in choosing a bag is ensuring it can fit some sort of water bottle or bladder to keep you hydrated—yes, even if it’s just for a short hike. For lighter or shorter hikes, you can get away with a fanny pack or crossbody bag that fits your phone, a small water bottle, snack, and keys. For more intense hikes, you’ll need a large backpack that can fit plenty of water and snacks. If you don’t like the idea of a fanny pack or backpack, a running vest is a great compromise, at least for shorter hikes. It’s light enough that you forget it’s there but spacious enough to fit the necessities. 

 

Image Credit: @justineeagana

Sunglasses 

This one seems obvious, but they’re easy to forget, especially on a gloomy day. You don’t want to reach an incredible view only to be squinting through the sun's beaming rays to see it. Sports sunglasses are great because they are designed with activity in mind, but honestly, any pair with proper UV protection will do. 

Sold out
MontereyMonterey
Fifth and Ninth
Monterey Sale price$40.00

2 colors available

JordanJordan
Fifth and Ninth
Jordan Sale price$40.00

2 colors available

GoldieGoldie
Fifth and Ninth
Goldie Sale price$49.00

4 colors available

Sold out
CheyenneCheyenne
Fifth and Ninth
Cheyenne Sale price$40.00

3 colors available

KingstonKingston
Fifth and Ninth
Kingston Sale price$40.00

5 colors available

WrenWren
Fifth and Ninth
Wren Sale price$49.00

3 colors available

TayaTaya
Fifth and Ninth
Taya Sale priceFrom $40.00

3 colors available

ZariaZaria
Fifth and Ninth
Zaria Sale price$40.00

3 colors available

RyderRyder
Fifth and Ninth
Ryder Sale priceFrom $40.00

4 colors available

SheaShea
Fifth and Ninth
Shea Sale price$55.00

4 colors available

Sold out
GreyGrey
Fifth and Ninth
Grey Sale price$40.00

3 colors available

ChicagoChicago
Fifth and Ninth
Chicago Sale priceFrom $40.00

4 colors available

JacksonJackson
Fifth and Ninth
Jackson Sale price$40.00

2 colors available

RacerRacer
Fifth and Ninth
Racer Sale price$49.00

3 colors available

SienaSiena
Fifth and Ninth
Siena Sale price$40.00

6 colors available

LagosLagos
Fifth and Ninth
Lagos Sale priceFrom $40.00

2 colors available

 

Image Credit: @madhikes_

Hats

A hat is optional depending on the weather but not optional if you want to be fully accessorized. For cooler temps, we recommend adding a Merino wool beanie and a nylon cap for warmer temperatures. Both will do a great job regulating the ol’noggin while working up a sweat.

The Fargo HatThe Fargo Hat
Tio Lee
The Fargo Hat Sale price$125.00

10 colors available

Halfdays Ski Club Baseball HatHalfdays Ski Club Baseball Hat

From Trail to Town: 14 Cute Hiking Outfits for Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter

What to Wear Hiking in the Summer

SENIQ Oasis Tank and Trailmix Short
Brighten your trail style up with this bold pink set from SENIQ.
Halfdays Marie Top and Adams Nylon Short

Keep things cool, and comfortable, with this cool blue summer hiking set from Halfdays. 

Hikerkind Short Sleeve Hiking Dress, Base Layer Short, and Base Layer Hiking Top

Dress things up a bit with this short sleeve hiking dress and matching set from Hikerkind

Alala Barre Seamless Cami Bra and Short

Get your best hiker's tan in this soft pink bike short and bra set from Alala

What to Wear to Go Hiking in the Fall

SENIQ Oasis Tank and Trail Mix Pant
Stay grounded with the cabin colored hiking tank and pants from SENIQ
Halfdays Sophia Legging, Johnson Top, and Davis Jacket

Layer up with the Halfdays convertible vest jacket—perfect for unpredictable fall temps.

SENIQ Field Crop Tank, Trailmix Pant, and Dirtpop Jacket

Look chic and see new views in this sharp three-part hiking set from SENIQ.

Alala Seamless Barre Cami Bra and Legging

Trek boldly with this merlot hued set from Alala.

 What to Wear to Go Hiking in the Spring

Halfdays Marie Top and Sophia Legging
Get to glowing in this butter yellow set from Halfdays
SENIQ Trailmix Short, Oasis Tank, and Dirtpop Jacket

Keep your layers light with this 3-piece short, top and jacket system from SENIQ. 

Halfdays Marie Top, Pieper Fleece, and Adams Nylon Short

Stay cozy in this teddy fleece and nylon shorts combo from Halfdays

SENIQ Field Crop Tank and Trailmix Pant

Let your style breathe with this lightweight hike tank and pants set from SENIQ

What to Wear to Go Hiking in the Winter

Halfdays Sophia Legging, Johnson Top, and Nellie Packable Puffer
Lock in warmth with the Halfdays base layers and medium weight puffy jacket. 
Halfdays Sophia Legging, Johnson Top, and Pieper Fleece

Look sharp and stay warm the best-selling fleece and base layers. 

    Reading next

    Up, Up, and Away: The Best Luggage for Flying with Your Ski Gear
    Follow Our Lead: The Ultimate List of Hiking Essentials

    Leave a comment

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.