Summer is the perfect time to take a hike. It’s hot out, and you’re probably looking for something fun and active to do that doesn’t involve sweating in your kitchen.

We know what you’re thinking: hiking in the summer can be an absolute nightmare. But don’t worry—we’ve got tips on what to wear hiking in the summer, so you can stay cool and comfortable while exploring the great outdoors!

Start with your base layer

  • Base layers are made out of synthetic or wool material. Synthetic materials wick moisture away from the skin and keep it close to your body, where it can easily evaporate into the air. Wool works in a similar way, with one added bonus: natural fibers like wool have natural odor resistance (think of how you don’t smell musty after wearing old clothes for a long time). 
  • You’ll want your base layer to be close fitting; this will help keep warmth close to your body so that you’re not losing heat through unnecessary air space between fabric and skin. 
  • Look for something breathable, quick drying, and odor resistant: these characteristics allow for better airflow so that sweat doesn’t build up under the fabric; they also mean that if you get really sweaty while hiking (and we hope you do—sweat means that you’re working hard!), then any moisture won’t stick around as long on your shirt before evaporating off into thin air again.*

Cotton is not your friend

Cotton is not your friend when it comes to hiking. The longer you’re out in the sun, the more your cotton clothes will absorb sweat and hold it against your skin. This can lead to chafing, blisters, and sores on sensitive areas like armpits, inner thighs, or under breasts if you’re a woman. Cotton also takes a long time to dry which makes it heavy when wet (and thus very uncomfortable).

Cotton shirts can be expensive too; often twice as much as synthetic alternatives with similar qualities.

Wear wool instead of cotton

As you hike in the summer, one of the most important things to consider is what clothing to wear. Hiking is an outdoor activity that requires you to be comfortable but also allows for a little bit of self-expression. So, we want your hiking wardrobe to reflect who you are while still being practical and functional.

Get a lightweight synthetic or polyester T-shirt

You should get a lightweight synthetic or polyester T-shirt.

This is the most important piece of hiking clothing you’ll wear. It’s what protects your skin from sunburn and chafing, and keeps you cool as you move with the sun’s rays beating down on your skin.

It should be breathable, wicking, and quick drying so that sweat can evaporate through the material and not pool inside the shirt.

Wear quick-dry pants

  • Quick-dry pants are made of synthetic or polyester materials that help you stay cool and dry. 
  • They’re light and breathable, so you won’t feel weighed down if you start sweating. 
  • Washing them is easy, as all you have to do is toss them in the washing machine with some detergent and let them air dry overnight (or low heat cycle).

Consider zip-offs

Zip-offs are a great option for hot weather hiking, because they provide you with the air flow of shorts but can become pants when the situation calls for it. If you’re interested in being more modest on the trail and don’t want to wear jeans or long pants, zip-offs can be a good alternative to shorts and board shorts. And if you’re going somewhere where there’s a chance of some swimming, zip-off swim trunks are much more versatile than regular swim trunks.

Choose the right socks

You can’t go wrong with wool socks. They’re breathable and wick away moisture, so you won’t get sweaty feet in the summer heat. If you want to be extra safe, go for Merino wool socks—they’re softer than regular wool and have anti-odor properties that keep you from smelling like B.O., which is never fun when hiking through the woods in the middle of July.

Cotton socks are not recommended for hiking—cotton absorbs sweat instead of wicking it away, which means your feet will get wet and stay wet until you take off your shoes at camp (or worse: all day long).

Wear a wide-brimmed hat

If you want to keep your face and neck protected from the sun’s rays, you’ll need a wide-brimmed hat. Consider factors like material and style when shopping for one. If you choose wisely, it will help protect your skin from harmful UV radiation while also keeping sweat away from your eyes.

There are many different types of wide-brimmed hats available on the market today, but they all have one thing in common: they’re made of fabric that blocks out more than 90 percent of sunlight (according to The Outdoor Foundation). This type of coverage is ideal if you plan on hiking outdoors during summertime because there’s no way around it—the sun is going to be bright!

You should also think about what type of material makes up each hat before making a purchase decision. For example, some wide-brimmed hats are made with straw or canvas materials which tend not only provide better protection than other fabrics but also look more casual style wise so if this matters then keep this point at heart when shopping around until finding something suitable for yourself

You can wear shorts, just make sure they are dry wicking and breathable

It is summer, so you can wear shorts. Just make sure they are dry wicking and breathable. The same goes for your shirt and pants as well. When hiking in the winter, you want to stay warm but be able to move freely at the same time. A fleece jacket will keep you warm without being too bulky or hot to wear on a hike. You may also want to consider wearing tennis shoes instead of hiking boots if it’s hot outside because tennis shoes will dry quickly when wet, which makes them better for hiking in the summer heat than boots would be!


While it’s true that there are certain times of the year when hiking may not be the best idea, there is no reason why you should feel limited in your outdoor activities. With the right gear and a little creativity, you can find ways to enjoy your favorite pastime no matter what time of year it is.