"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

27 June 2018


Dave on the Mt Adams trail
High Peaks Wilderness Region ADKS
Labor Day 2015
On the Summit of Poke-a-Moonshine Mt
Eastern ADKS
June 2015 

What do I wear on a summer hike??

That is one question that comes up a lot among my friends. I learned from experience and from reading various hiking books about how to dress and what to pack.  When the girls were little, I taught them some of these tips as well.  One mistake I have seen, and that years ago as a teen I used to make is:  Denim.  I have seen so many people make the mistake of wearing denim.  It's usually because they are novice hikers or don't do it often enough to invest in the proper clothing. But.... you don't have to have the most expensive hiking gear to hike!  Here is a complete list of highly recommended clothing/gear for summer hiking.  Summer for this article's purposes is June-end of September.  

  • HIKING SHORTS OR CAPRI LEGGINGS:  Think "wick away" material.  You can find these items at LLBean, Dicks Sporting Goods or sometimes T*rget. The shorts I'm wearing in the above photo and that my husband Dave is wearing are a cotton poly blend with some rayon and a wick away material.  Cotton is preferable over denim but even 100% cotton is NOT recommended. You will be miserable if you get wet or if a sudden rainstorm pops up.  If you are on budget, just get running shorts or capris.  If you are hiking in tall grasses, it is recommended that you wear trail pants.  Again, avoid denim and 100% cotton. Denim DOES NOT GIVE and when wet it will be very constricting.  Also, denim, when wet or dry, does not "move" with your body.  You are hiking!  You need to have flexibility in the waist, hips, and butt.  AVOID DENIM. (forest rangers will tell you the same thing...and NEVER wear it in autumn or winter either!). The only times I wear a pair of jeans to "hike" in is if I'm spontaneously walking one of the local park paths.  NEVER in the woods/mountains.

  • WICK AWAY HIKING SHIRTS OR TEES/TANK TOPS:  any shirt you choose should be a wick away material (yes, even in colder months).  I have a separate article for spring hiking but for summer it is highly recommended that you wear a sports bra (if female) and over that, a wick away material found in most hiking shirts.  Again, if you are on a budget, you can find running shirts at T*rget for less than $20.  The one i am wearing in the above photo is from the brand Champion.  I also have a couple of high quality wick away racer back tanks for those really hot day hikes.  Again, in a wick away material. LLB sells them for a reasonable price at the end of season sales.  Or again, check the athletic department in places like K*hl's and T*rget.

  • HIKING SOCKS:  this is vital.  Always.  Wear socks that offer a sweat free experience. It's wise to invest in at least one good pair of socks.  Use a cheaper pair, as your back-up pair, and keep in your backpack.

  • HIKING BOOTS:  I have seen people wearing sandals and flip flops and I cringe. ALWAYS HIKE WITH HIKING BOOTS or even high top sneakers, as long as they don't have a smooth  bottom, will work.  IF you must hike with sneakers because you don't want to invest in hiking boots, then choose running/trail or hiking sneakers.  LLB makes a good, affordable pair that I wear for flat hikes.  High tops are recommended as long as they have the tread on bottom for any trail that climbs. Obviously, hiking boots are the best for hiking.  LLB and Keenes are ones I recommend but any brand will do if you get your foot fitted for them and as long as you have room in the toe to avoid toe jam. Your feet take a beating when on a mountain trail.  

  • BANDANNA: I tie one around the loop of the top of my backpack and when you are super sweaty and come across a stream or other body of water, simply dip the cloth in to the water and place around your neck.  Instant relief!

  • MOLESKIN:  this should be in every hiker's backpack.  See post titled Basic Hiking Gear for a short basic gear checklist.

  • HOODED RAIN JACKET OR WIND-BREAKER: every summer backpack should carry this even if the forecast calls for sunny skies.  It might be chilly on the summit, or (and this has happened to me numerous times in the mountains, especially the Catskills and Berkshires for some reason) a pop up rain or thunderstorm.  Keep it in the bottom of your backpack.  Simple. Get the light weight kind that rolls up.

  • FLASHLIGHT and/or HEADLAMP:  always.  Bottom of backpack.  Because you never know!

  • Other items you will need for a summer hike: 

Foods that include something salty and a lot of protein.  There are some great plant-based protein bars in all kinds of flavors with minimal sugar that make great hiking snacks.  Pack fresh fruit and raw veggies, nut butters, nuts like walnuts and almonds.

WATER!  at least 2 bottles.  Try to avoid plastic bottles and invest in 2 good re-usable ones.  POGO or CAMELBAK are ones we like and highly recommend.  (you must carry in/carry out).

FIRST AID KIT:  at least one person if not every backpack should have a first aid kit.  include bandaids, tylenol or ibuprofin, an antibacterial cream, moleskin, tweezers, hand sanitizer.

BIO-DEGRADABLE TISSUE: for obvious reasons. Please see the Hiking Etiquette post about how to pee in the woods and dispose of human waste properly.

LEASHED DOGS:  if you insist on bringing the family dog, please do everyone a favor and put a leash on it at all times. If's actually required in the High Peaks region.

TRAIL MAP and/or COMPASS or GUIDEBOOK:  for obvious reasons.  Some trails are well blazed.  Others, not so much.  Many of the trails outside the ADKS and Catskills have very spotty blazes if any.  Bring the map of trailbook and do NOT rely on GPS or google map programs because cell service is usually non-existant or spotty at best.  Use common sense!

EXTRA WATER IN COOLER for car:  Keep ice in a cooler and keep on the floor of your backseat in hot weather.  Keep extra water bottles or juices in there in case someone is feeling dehydrated or "sun sick" after the hike.  


 Remember to take only photos and leave the wildlife and plant life alone!!  NEVER PICK THE WILDFLOWERS!! many of them, especially at alpine level (above tree line and on summits) are endangered. Also, never re-arrange rock cairns.  Rock Cairns are there to help navigate hikers along the ridge line or on the summit if the summit continues on to another trail or to another look-out.  It is extremely rude and dangerous to mess with the cairns.  Thank you!!

summit of Cascade Mountain

1 comment:

Susanne said...

This is a great post, Faith. I don't do the serious hiking that you do but even on the easier ones it's good to be prepared!