what to wear hiking in hot weather

What To Wear Hiking In Hot Weather?

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Are you planning a hiking adventure in hot weather? 

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or new to the trails, choosing the right clothing can make a significant difference in your comfort and safety. In scorching temperatures, it’s crucial to wear clothing that is breathable, moisture-wicking and provides adequate sun protection. This guide will walk you through all the essentials you need to know about what to wear hiking in hot weather.

Stay Cool with Moisture-Wicking Fabrics

When hiking in hot weather, your clothing choice can make or break your experience on the trails. Opt for moisture-wicking fabrics such as polyester or nylon blends that help pull sweat away from your skin and dry quickly. This will keep you cool and comfortable as you hike under the blazing sun.

Best Fabrics for Hot Weather Hiking:

  • Polyester: Lightweight and quick-drying, polyester is a top choice for hot-weather hiking.
  • Nylon: Durable and moisture-wicking, nylon is ideal for long hikes in the heat.
  • Merino Wool: Unlike traditional wool, merino wool is breathable, moisture-wicking, and naturally odor-resistant.

Choose Lightweight and Breathable Clothing

To avoid overheating on the trails, opt for lightweight and breathable clothing. Loose-fitting garments allow air to circulate around your body, helping to regulate your temperature as you hike. Avoid tight-fitting clothes that can restrict movement and trap heat against your skin.

what to wear hiking in hot weather

Ideal Clothing Choices for Hot Weather Hiking:

  • Moisture-wicking T-shirts: Choose tops made of quick-drying fabrics to keep sweat at bay.
  • Lightweight hiking pants: Look for breathable pants with ventilation features for added comfort.
  • Sun hats: Protect your face and neck from the sun with a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Sunglasses: Invest in a pair of sunglasses with UV protection to shield your eyes from harmful rays.

Sun Protection is Key

While enjoying a sunny hike, it’s essential to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Sunscreen, sun hats, and sunglasses are crucial elements of your hot-weather hiking attire. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and don’t forget to reapply throughout your hike.

Essential Sun Protection Gear:

  • Sunscreen: Apply sunscreen to all exposed skin, including your face, neck, arms, and legs.
  • Sun-protective clothing: Consider wearing UPF-rated clothing for added sun protection.
  • Sunglasses with UV protection: Shield your eyes from the sun’s glare to prevent eye strain.
  • Buff or neck gaiter: Protect your neck and face from sunburn with a lightweight fabric cover.
  • Sun Protective Hats: Protect your face and neck from the sun’s harsh rays with a wide-brimmed hat or cap featuring UPF sun protection. Look for lightweight, breathable materials that provide ample coverage without weighing you down.

Footwear for Hot Weather Hiking

Your choice of footwear can significantly impact your hiking experience, especially in hot weather. Look for hiking shoes or boots with breathable mesh uppers and moisture-wicking linings to keep your feet cool and dry. Opt for hiking socks made of merino wool or synthetic blends to help prevent blisters and keep your feet comfortable on the trails.

hiking shoes

Top Footwear Choices for Hot Weather Hiking:

  • Hiking shoes: Lightweight and breathable, hiking shoes provide ample support and traction on the trails.
  • Trail running shoes: If you prefer a more agile option, trail running shoes offer breathability and comfort for hot weather hikes.
  • Sandals with straps: For easygoing trails or water crossings, consider hiking sandals with secure straps for stability.

Stay Hydrated and Carry Essential Gear

In hot weather, staying hydrated is crucial to prevent heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Carry an adequate supply of water and electrolyte-rich beverages to replenish fluids lost through sweating. Additionally, pack essential gear such as a lightweight backpack, a first aid kit, a map or GPS device, and snacks to fuel your hike.

Must-Have Gear for Hot Weather Hiking:

Hydration packs or water bottles

Stay hydrated by carrying enough water for the duration of your hike. Aim to drink at least 16-32 ounces of water per hour, depending on temperature, humidity, and exertion level.

Electrolyte tablets

Replenish essential minerals lost through sweating by adding electrolyte tablets to your water.

Cooling Towels

Pack a cooling towel soaked in water or stored in a cooler to provide instant relief from the heat when draped around your neck or placed on pulse points. Re-wet as needed to maintain its cooling effect throughout your hike.

Lightweight backpack

Choose a backpack with breathable padding and ample storage for essentials.

lightweight backpack
Map and compass

Familiarize yourself with the trail and carry navigation tools in case of emergencies.

Insect Repellent

Protect yourself from mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects by applying insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin to exposed skin and clothing. Reapply as directed to maintain effectiveness, especially in buggy environments.

Dress in Layers for Changing Conditions

Hot weather hiking can bring unexpected weather changes, such as sudden rain showers or temperature drops. Dressing in layers allows you to adjust your clothing based on the conditions you encounter on the trails. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, add a lightweight insulating layer if needed, and top it off with a waterproof shell for protection against rain.

Layering Tips for Hot Weather Hiking:

  • Base layer: Choose a moisture-wicking T-shirt to keep sweat away from your skin.
  • Insulating layer: Pack a lightweight fleece or jacket for cooler evenings or higher elevations.
  • Waterproof shell: Be prepared for rain by carrying a packable rain jacket or poncho.

Color Choices

The color of your clothing can have a significant impact on your comfort level during hot weather hikes. Light-colored fabrics like white, beige, or pastel shades reflect sunlight and heat, keeping you cooler than dark-colored fabrics, which absorb heat. Choose light-colored clothing for hot weather hiking to stay comfortable and reduce the risk of overheating.

Safety Considerations

Safety should always be a top priority when selecting hiking attire, especially in hot weather conditions. Stay safe on hot weather hikes by taking precautions such as:

  • Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your hike.
  • Avoiding peak sun hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) when UV radiation is strongest.
  • Seeking immediate medical attention if you or a fellow hiker experience symptoms of heat-related illnesses.

Additional Tips for Hot Weather Hiking

Here are some additional tips to enhance your hot-weather hiking experience:

  • Start early: Avoid hiking during the hottest part of the day by hitting the trails in the early morning or late afternoon.
  • Take breaks: Rest in shaded areas to cool down and prevent overheating during your hike.
  • Listen to your body: Pay attention to signs of heat-related illnesses such as dizziness, nausea, or fatigue, and take immediate action.
  • Check the weather forecast: Stay informed about the weather conditions in your hiking area to prepare for any unexpected changes.
hiking in summer


Choosing the right clothing for hot weather hiking is essential for staying comfortable, safe, and protected during your outdoor adventures. Opt for moisture-wicking fabrics, lightweight and breathable clothing, sun protection gear, proper footwear, and essential gear to ensure a successful hike in the heat. By following these tips and dressing appropriately for the weather, you can have a pleasant and memorable hiking experience even in the hottest of conditions. 

Remember to respect nature, follow Leave No Trace principles, and savor the beauty of the great outdoors responsibly. So, gear up, lace up your shoes, put on your hat, and hit the trails with confidence! and embrace the wonders of nature on your next hot-weather hiking excursion!

Stay safe, stay hydrated, and happy hiking!

Frequently Asked Questions

To protect yourself from the sun during hot weather hikes, wear lightweight, breathable clothing made from UPF-rated fabrics, along with a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses with UV protection, and broad-spectrum sunscreen.

To stay cool while hiking in hot weather, dress in lightweight, breathable clothing, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, take breaks in shaded areas, and use cooling towels or misting sprays to lower your body temperature.

Yes, it’s essential to wear sunscreen and insect repellent while hiking in hot weather to protect yourself from sunburn, skin cancer, and insect bites. Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and reapply regularly, and use insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin to ward off mosquitoes and ticks.

For hot-weather hiking, choose lightweight hiking shoes or boots with breathable uppers and sturdy soles for traction and support on rugged terrain. Look for features such as moisture-wicking linings and toe protection for added comfort and durability.

During a hot weather hike, aim to drink at least 16-32 ounces of water per hour, depending on temperature, humidity, and exertion level. Take regular hydration breaks and listen to your body’s thirst cues to prevent dehydration and heat-related illnesses.

For more information on traveling and destination recommendations, check out my other articles on WanderingNotLost.org

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