One of the greatest joys of hiking is the fact that it is incredibly accessible. You can hike almost anywhere, and with the air in your lungs and your own two legs you are well on your way to a great adventure. A practical hiking outfit men need before setting out for a hike, however, does require some planning and consideration.
Hiking can be anything from a leisurely one-hour walk through a nearby trail or a day-long trek up and down steep slopes. Every hiker should be prepared with gear and clothing that is both comfortable and durable. And also adjust to different climates as needed.
The best hiking clothes for men come in a wide variety of styles and price points. We will walk you through ten tips to help you create the perfect hiking wardrobe.
What You'll Learn
- Tip #1: Feet First – Let’s Start at the Bottom
- Tip #2: Make the Conversion to Convertible Pants
- Tip #3: Pocket Essentials to Pack
- Tip # 4: Saving Your Skin with Sun Protection
- Tip #5: Build Better Base Layers
- Tip #6: Pick the Right Jacket for the Trail
- Tip #7: Seek Shades Built for Adventure
- Tip #8: Cap It Off with the Best Hats for Hikers
- Tip #9: Bring the Best in a Hiking Backpack
- Tip #10: Stick it Out for Longer Hikes with a Trekking Pole
- Final Thoughts
- Need More Advice on Gear and Footwear?
Tip #1: Feet First – Let’s Start at the Bottom
Pay close attention to this one, men: do not skimp on footwear when it comes to hiking. You may think you will be fine in those worn-out sneakers you wear to do yardwork. But hiking requires more support and protection than the average pair of shoes can offer.
If you are serious about hiking, you need serious shoes to go along with it. Not only that, make sure they properly fit to avoid painful blisters out on the trail. A quality hiking boot will keep your feet dry and protected. Additionally, it offers enough cushion and support to keep you comfortable when walking long distances or traversing difficult terrain.
If you have ever run in a pair of On Clouds, then you know they make some of the most comfortable and supportive shoes on the market today. That’s why hikers were thrilled to see an On shoe designed for hiking: the On Running Cloudrock Waterproof boots.
Available in six colors in men’s sizes 7 to 14, the Cloudrock Waterproof boot is both lightweight and supportive, offering traction when needed and keeping your feet warm, comfortable, and dry all day long.
Be sure to get the right hiking socks, too! Do not pair your quality hiking boots with cheap socks. Try Darn Tough’s Coolmax socks which are ideal for hiking boots. These socks pull moisture away from your skin and dry quickly.
Tip #2: Make the Conversion to Convertible Pants
Every hiker needs convertible pants to deal with temperature changes out on the trail. These pants are perhaps one of the best innovations in outdoor gear. It boasts zippered knees so that the lower half can be removed, and PRESTO! You are wearing hiking shorts.
Convertible hiking pants offer more than just the pants-to-shorts magic trick. These trousers are built to stand up to wind, water, and abrasion. What’s more, it has features like hidden zippered pockets to stash important items.
Any man on the trails should consider investing in a quality pair of hiking pants. Why? Because it’s also an investment in comfort. A well-designed pair of convertible pants will not chafe your skin. It won’t irritate hikers on a long day of trekking through the woods.
Our favorite convertible pants come from a trusted outdoor brand. Columbia’s Silver Ridge pants for men. These come in standard as well as big sizing, offers UPF 50 sun protection, a partial elastic waist. It also has Omni-Wick technology, for quick drying times. Available in eight colors, these pants should be a staple piece in any men’s hiking wardrobe.
One final tip we will offer when it comes to hiking pants is to be wary of “rain pants”. These can also fit the bill, however, be sure the rain pants are more than just water-repellant. Look for extra pockets, articulated knees, and other features designed for comfort on long hikes.
Tip #3: Pocket Essentials to Pack
We think the great thing about hiking pants is the abundance of pockets. You will have plenty of room to store your wallet, phone, and keys while out on the trail, but don’t forget these pockets can be useful for some other essentials, too.
Every hiker should own a compact multi-tool. Leatherman’s Skeletool is lightweight and easy to carry. What’s more, it packs a powerful punch with seven different tools in a 5-ounce package. This type of tool can help hikers and campers out of many jams in the outdoors. In addition, its minimal weight means you will never regret carrying it along. After all, you have the pocket space for this tool in your sporty new hiking pants!
Another incredibly useful pocket-sized item men should carry on hikes is Badger’s Anti-Bug Balm. This DEET-free balm will keep the mosquitoes at bay so you can enjoy the outdoors without being swarmed by insects.
Tip # 4: Saving Your Skin with Sun Protection
Another important piece of protection on the trail comes in the form of sunscreen. And not only for application on your skin but also “built in” to your hiking clothes.
Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) for hiking clothing has become the standard in most quality outdoor gear. So be sure the hiking clothing you invest in for the trails is designed with this in mind.
Patagonia’s Quandary Pants for men offer UPF 50+ along with a durable design for under $100. These pants are a superb choice for hiking with sun protection and be sure you stash a high-quality sunscreen in the pants pockets, too!
Oars + Alps Go Stick is a great product for your outdoor adventures with 35 SPF in an easy-to-apply stick form, ideal for men on the go. This sunscreen is designed with sensitive skin in mind and can be used right after shaving without causing irritation.
Tip #5: Build Better Base Layers
A hiking wardrobe for men demands high-quality base layers, which are incredibly important out on the trail. You may start the day in a jacket or hoodie and shed that layer as temperatures rise. This allows you to spend the rest of your time hiking in a shirt only.
Perhaps that tattered Corona t-shirt you wore on your college spring break 15 years ago is still your favorite tee. However, it may not be the wisest choice for your outdoor adventures. A cotton tee shirt will hold water and body heat. This ultimately makes you feel hotter when it’s warm out or leaves you shivering when in cold weather.
Your base layer should be a shirt designed for hiking. Look for one made of a moisture-wicking fabric that won’t chafe your skin while protecting you from the elements.
Free Fly’s Bamboo Flex Henley is an ideal base layer hiking shirt for men with four-way stretch for easy mobility and offsets shoulder seams. These seams are designed to eliminate chafing if you are carrying a backpack. Available in five colors and sizes from small to 3XL, the Free Fly Bamboo Flex Henley is as stylish as it is functional.
Tip #6: Pick the Right Jacket for the Trail
Hiking jackets for men offer many important functions: warmth, protection, storage, head covering. Your existing rain jacket might work for certain situations, but it may not cover all of the bases outlined here.
The best hiking jacket will be durable enough to withstand the elements but also lightweight enough to stash in a backpack. Remember the hiking jacket is a layer that could be removed for long periods. Basically, it shouldn’t weigh you down, whether you tie it around your waist or store it in your bag.
Your hiking jacket should also have at least one zippered pocket to store and protect small valuables. Our favorite men’s hiking jacket, the Men’s Motive Ascent Shell from Outdoor Research. It has all the bells and whistles you could want on an outdoor adventure. What’s more, it boasts a 3-layer waterproof shell construction, a key clip, a carabiner loop, reflective visibility logos, a chest pocket, and zipped hand pockets. Even with all of these features, the jacket weighs in at only 10.9 ounces.
Tip #7: Seek Shades Built for Adventure
When you think about sunglasses for your outdoor hikes, you might be focused on polarization or comfort. Those factors are indeed important but don’t forget one other that is sometimes overlooked: glasses that float! This comes in handy if you happen to be hiking near waterfalls, streams, lakes, or other bodies of water.
Rheos Eddie’s Sport shades are ideal for hikers as they are lightweight, affordable, and will not sink. Plus these glasses come in 12 different frame style/color combos. You’ll be sure to find the ones that work with your hiking wardrobe. These glasses will become your favorite for all your outdoor adventures.
Tip #8: Cap It Off with the Best Hats for Hikers
You might rely on the hood from your hiking jacket to protect your head, but if the temperature rises and you shed that layer. you might need a hat.
The Swift Cap from Outdoor Research is an inexpensive but effective way to protect your head while hiking. Available in 9 color combos this hat offers UPF 50+, a mesh liner for ventilation, and weighs only 2.5 ounces.
Tip #9: Bring the Best in a Hiking Backpack
If you are on the trail for a full day hike, or even several days, then you will need a backpack to stow your hiking gear, water, food, and extra clothing. Hiking backpacks should be specially designed for hiking trips. Their design is meant to reduce irritation under your arms, support your shoulders and Hips, and provide efficient storage options.
The Osprey Daylite Plus Pack is one of our favorites for hikers. This daypack comes with a foam-padded harness, adjustable sternum strap, and dual water bottle side mesh pockets. This pack also attaches to other larger Osprey packs for longer adventures. What’s more, it only weighs 1 pound 5 ounces.
Tip #10: Stick it Out for Longer Hikes with a Trekking Pole
Finally, one accessory that may complete your hiking wardrobe (and also offer support on the trail) is a trekking pole. These handy hiking poles may help you maintain balance, relieve some stress from your joints, and help test water depth before crossing a stream.
Cascade Mountain Tech’s aluminum trekking poles are a great way to try this tool without spending a fortune. Get a feel for using the poles to see if they improve the quality of your hike. They are adjust from 26 to 54 inches. Since these poles weigh only 10 ounces each, they won’t slow you down.
Our goal here is not to get you on any “best-dressed list” or try to lure you in with the latest trends. Hiking outfits are more about function than fashion (though you can certainly still look good on the trail!) Any experienced hiker will emphasize the importance of features. Such as water-repellant fabrics, well-fitted hiking shoes, and layers (to shed in warmer temperatures or add in cooler ones).
Now that you’re all geared up, it’s time to hit the trails. Make sure to take plenty of water and snacks, dress appropriately for the weather, and be aware of your surroundings. If you’re unsure about what to wear when hiking or where to go for your next hike, then check out our blog articles for more tips and advice.
With a little preparation, you’ll be comfortable and safe while enjoying some of nature’s most beautiful landscapes. What are your favorite hiking trails?
Need More Advice on Gear and Footwear?
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Last update on 2022-07-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API