What To Wear Hiking In Hot Weather

Hiking in heat isn’t the same as standing still in heat, and you’ll get warm quicker than you might think.

A perfect 70-degree day can feel like 90 degrees when you’re out on the trail, and the right clothing can mean the difference between a lovely day out and hellish misery.

If you want to make sure you’ll end up with good memories of your hike, instead of swampy regret, here’s a breakdown of what you should wear to hike in hot weather.

What to Wear Hiking in 50-60-ish degrees

It seems strange to those of us who shiver in the sun in 50 degrees, but 50 degrees is considered warm weather for hiking.

As such, most hikers will be comfortable in a light- to medium-weight base layer and lightweight hiking pants if it’s dry.

If it’s raining, you’ll want to add a lightweight water-proof jacket, but, likely, little else.

If you’ll be hiking on an open trail without a lot of underbrush, you can also opt for shorts and short sleeves if you run warm. (But, if you do, make sure you wear plenty of sunscreen on exposed skin.)

If you’re hiking on a shaded trail, you may want a lightweight hiking jacket if you run cold.

The proper hiking wear in this temperature range really is heavily dependent on your personal reactivity to heat and cold.

What to wear from the top down:

  • Brimmed hat (unless you’re fully in the shade and there’s no chance of rain)
  • Sunglasses
  • Long or short-sleeved (non-cotton) shirt
  • Sports bra
  • Lightweight hiking pants or shorts
  • Non-cotton socks
  • Good, breathable hiking boots or shoes

Potential accessories:

  • Lightweight hiking jacket
  • Neck gaiter (to protect neck from sun and can be wetted to cool off if necessary)

What to Wear Hiking in (Around) 70 Degrees and Above

As you close in on 70 degrees, all hikes become hot weather hikes.

Nearly everyone will be most comfortable in the thinnest possible layers.

The thinnest possible hiking layers don’t always mean the least clothing, though.

Many hikers are actually more comfortable in lightweight long-sleeved hiking shirts and hiking pants than in shorts and short sleeves due to the UV protection they provide.

At any rate, long sleeves and pants will help keep you from burning on a sunny trail and provide protection from plant life and other trail hazards.

When hot-weather hiking, you will also want a thin neck gaiter, which can be wetted and worn on the neck or any other area of the body to keep you cool or help bring your body temperature down quickly if you start to overheat.

What to wear from the top down:

  • A brimmed hat (unless you’re fully in the shade and there’s no chance of rain)
  • Sunglasses
  • Long or short-sleeved (non-cotton) shirt
  • Sports bra
  • Lightweight hiking pants or shorts
  • Non-cotton socks
  • Good, breathable hiking boots or shoes

Necessary accessories:

  • Neck gaiter (to help cool off)

Notes on Hot Weather Hiking Clothes

When hiking in hot weather, it’s not just about how much clothing you have on, but the specifications of those clothes.

Here are the most important things to keep in mind when choosing hot weather hiking wear.

Opt for synthetic (or Smartwool) fabrics.

The secret to good hiking clothes is “performance,” which is basically code for breathes well, wicks sweat, and helps regulate body temperature, all essential things on a hot-weather hike.

UPF clothing is ideal.

While not every hot-weather hike will be bright and sunny, a lot of them will, and long hikes keep you out in that sun for extended periods.

Clothes with UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) can help protect your (covered) skin from dangerous UVs, which leads to –

Sunscreen.

If you’re hiking in a UV level greater than 3, you should be wearing sunscreen on any part of your body that is not protected by clothing.

For hikes longer than two hours, you should also bring it with you and reapply.

Clothing with vents can help keep you comfortable.

Many long-sleeved hiking shirts and full-length hiking pants incorporate vents.

These are small openings in the fabric which allow air to flow in.

If you want to wear long sleeves and pants for protection, but worry about overheating, vented clothing may be your saving grace.

Sunglasses and brimmed hats are necessities, not accessories.

UVs don’t just damage your skin, they also damage your eyes.

Even when the sun isn’t particularly strong.

So, if you’re hiking in an area that doesn’t have natural protection from the sunlight (like a thick canopy of trees), don those shades and baseball caps.

Hot Weather Hiking Comfort

While hiking in heat is never as comfortable as hiking on a perfect spring or fall day (not for us), it is as comfortable as you dress for it.

With the right clothing, accessories, and plenty of sun protection, you can at least ensure your hot-weather hike doesn’t turn into a hot mess.

Looking for more general information on what to wear hiking? Check out What To Wear Hiking.

Going to be cold on the trails where you’re headed? Check out What To Wear Hiking In Cold Weather.

Sharing is caring!

15 easy ways to get active now

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top