From Base Layers to Outer Wear: Building Your Perfect Hiking Wardrobe

From Base Layers to Outer Wear: Building Your Perfect Hiking Wardrobe

Out in the vast expanse of the wilderness, sweat becomes your adversary. Excessive perspiration leads to dampened clothes, inviting the chill and potential skin irritation from rubbing. Each day spent on the trail or at camp becomes a delicate dance of adding and shedding layers strategically to maintain warmth without inducing sweat.

Amidst the abundance of outdoor gear options available today, navigating the choices can be daunting. Questions arise: Is a mid-layer sufficient on its own? What role does fleece play? Continue reading to find out how to build a hiking wardrobe to make your outdoor adventures one for the books.

What Clothes To Wear for Hiking

Check out these hiking attire tips before you hit the trail, allowing you to concentrate on what truly counts: enjoying every moment in nature's embrace.

Base Layers

Baleaf Laureate Brushed Long Sleeve

Base layers, whether referred to as long johns, tights, or by any other name, are an essential part of your attire as they directly touch your skin. Hence, they should be lightweight and form-fitting. Optimal choices include merino wool and synthetic materials. Merino wool offers warmth even when damp, though it dries slower than synthetics. On the other hand, synthetics dry more quickly.

Contrary to common beliefs, thin merino wool base layers are suitable and popular for warm weather conditions. For high-intensity activities like climbing or backpacking, go for ultra-thin base layers paired with briefs or short underwear. Conversely, during low-intensity activities in cold weather, such as camping or birdwatching, heavier base layers and long underwear are preferable. It's advisable to carry spare intimate clothing as they occupy minimal space.

Embark on your outdoor escapades with our Laureate Thermal Pocketed Leggings and Laureate Brushed Long Sleeve as your trusty base layers. Lined with fleece, they ensure warmth and coziness throughout your journey. Experience their moisture-wicking prowess, ultimate comfort, and flattering fit, all without the hassle of bulkiness.

Mid Layers

Baleaf UPF 50+ Lightweight Hoodie

Mid-layers come in two main types: fleece and puffy. Synthetic fleece, a conventional option, dries rapidly and fits snugly beneath outer layers without adding bulk. Synthetic insulation is benefiting from continual improvements in DWR technology.

Experience the rave-worthy Water-Resistant Full-Zip Vest, praised for its impeccable fit and wind and water-resistant capabilities. Featuring zippered pockets and a high collar, it's the ultimate layering essential for any adventure. With a full-zip design, high neck, drawcord-adjustable hem, four pockets, and dropped armholes, it offers both comfort and functionality, making it ideal for four-season hiking, climbing, traveling, or any outdoor pursuit you love.

Go for the UPF 50+ Lightweight Hoodie on sunny days for sun protection while enjoying its lightweight warmth and convenient thumb keyholes. Its comfortable design prevents chafing during long activities while its excellent sweat-wicking properties ensure quick drying, making it an excellent choice for any outdoor adventure.

You can choose to wear the UPF 50+ Lightweight Sun Shirt as an alternative, providing the necessary sun protection with a beloved design praised for its lightweight comfort and loose yet flattering fit by satisfied customers.

Shell Jackets

Baleaf Water-Resistant Hooded Softshell Windbreaker

Shell jackets come in two varieties: hard shells and soft shells. Hard shells, often termed rain jackets, offer greater resistance to heavy rain.

On the other hand, a soft shell jacket though less rainproof, excels in specific conditions. While hard shells provide superior warmth retention, they can feel clammy during exertion, making them suitable for heavy rain scenarios. Conversely, soft shells offer better breathability, making them preferable when heavy rain isn't expected or in extremely cold conditions. Match your shell pants to the type of jacket—choosing soft-shell pants with a soft-shell jacket—ensures uniform protection and comfort in varying weather conditions.

Experience the instant fan-favorite Water-Resistant Hooded Softshell Windbreaker and see for yourself why customers rave about its exceptional qualities. With an incredibly soft fabric, spacious fit, perfectly tailored sleeves, and an excellently fitting hood, this windbreaker provides unparalleled comfort and functionality. Designed to resist water and block wind, its soft fleece lining ensures warmth and coziness in chilly conditions. Featuring a full-zip closure, high stand collar, detachable hood, elastic cuffs, and adjustable hem, along with four pockets, it offers versatility and convenience for outdoor adventures.

Puffy Jacket

Baleaf Water-Resistant Hooded Puffer Jacket

The term "belay jacket" originates from climbers swiftly donning a puffy outer layer while pausing to belay their climbing partner, ensuring warmth during breaks without hindering movement. Easily removable when it's time to climb, it prevents overheating during exertion. While commonly associated with climbers, a belay jacket serves as a versatile outermost layer, suitable for anyone seeking warmth and convenience in fluctuating conditions.

Experience love at first wear with our Water-Resistant Hooded Puffer Jacket, boasting 90% soft duck down for unparalleled warmth. Lightweight, comfortable, and packable, it ensures versatility for any adventure. Featuring a full-zip design, hip coverage, a protective hood, and quilted panels to prevent fill shifting, it offers both style and functionality. Owners praise its great fit and lightweight feel, even in chilly conditions down to 10 degrees.

Hiking Pants

Baleaf Laureate UPF50+ DWR Hiking Pants

For hiking in the snow, prioritize highly breathable softshell pants, like the Laureate Articulated Knees Thermal Pants that effectively prevent perspiration buildup during various outdoor activities, like hiking, snowshoeing, climbing, mountaineering, or ski touring. Crafted from woven nylon or polyester, these pants offer enhanced warmth and wind resistance compared to typical three-season hiking attire, complemented by a durable water-repellent (DWR) coating to fend off moisture.

While some softshell pants cater to multiple winter sports, other hiking pants are tailored specifically for hiking, with fits ranging from slim for climbing to roomier options suitable for hiking and snowshoeing, allowing for easy layering.

On a summer hike, stay protected and comfortable in our Laureate UPF50+ DWR Hiking Pants, featuring lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying fabric with UPF 50+ sun protection and water-resistant properties. Equipped with an elastic waistband and a drawstring for a personalized fit, four zippered pockets, and adjustable cord locks around the cuffs to keep bugs at bay, these pants are your ultimate companion for outdoor adventures.

Sports Bra

Baleaf Freeleaf Cross-Strap Low-Impact Sports Bra

No matter if you're trail running, embarking on a challenging trek, or simply walking briskly, the strain from any jarring impact can affect your chest. Choose the perfect sports bra tailored for hiking adventures, offering genuine support by minimizing movement.

Introducing the Freeleaf Cross-Strap Low-Impact Sports Bra, engineered with Lycra ADAPTIV technology to adapt to your body shape, ensuring a personalized and comfortable fit. Its one-piece cup design molds to your body, providing a natural shape and enabling unrestricted movement during your outdoor pursuits.


A hiking wardrobe can't be complete without socks.

Similar to base layers, both wool and synthetic socks have their advantages and drawbacks, but synthetic fabric socks are preferred due to their superior moisture-wicking properties, which are crucial for keeping feet dry.

It's recommended to pack two or three pairs of socks, swapping them out during breaks to facilitate drying and always ensuring a dry pair for bedtime as prolonged moisture exposure can lead to serious foot issues.

Hats, Gloves, Mittens

Hats, gloves, and mittens are also part of a hiking trip women's wardrobe.

It's essential to protect your head in cold weather. A thin, tight-weave beanie offers comparable warmth to a thicker knit one.

Mittens, with their unified construction, retain more warmth compared to gloves due to their reduced surface area. For general use, fabric gloves are less bulky but offer less protection against wind and moisture absorption from snow.

Soft-shell gloves provide better wind and water resistance, although with reduced dexterity.

Wind-blocking gloves strike a balance between warmth and agility, mitigating heat loss from wind while maintaining flexibility.

Extra Tips

During movement, it's unlikely you'll wear all of the clothes in your hiking wardrobe. Typically, hiking attire consists of a thin base layer, a soft-shell jacket, underwear, and soft-shell pants, reserving mid-layers, and puffy outer jackets for rest breaks and low-intensity activities, like adjusting tent lines and preparing meals.

To manage body temperature efficiently, start your hike feeling slightly cool as you'll warm up rapidly. This strategy prevents the need for frequent layer adjustments, ensuring uninterrupted progress.

Avoid excessive sweating as it compromises insulation and poses a danger, particularly in windy conditions where wet clothes rapidly drain body heat. Even in relatively warm temperatures, moisture retention increases the risk of hypothermia, emphasizing the importance of staying dry for both comfort and safety.

Conquer Heights in Your Best Hiking Wardrobe

A simple hiking wardrobe isn't a one-size-fits-all. Various factors, such as temperature, terrain, and duration of the hike influence your clothing and footwear choices. Selecting the appropriate attire and footwear is crucial for ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable hiking experience as it can make the difference between a pleasant outing and a challenging one.

Get set for any adventure with our Women's Outdoor collection, packed with gear perfect for everything from leisurely strolls to competitive runs, fishing trips, or just hanging out with friends!

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