What to wear for a hike: 8 hiking essentials

If you are looking for great clothing, eqiupment and accessories for walking check out our Hiking Gear Guide

When you’re hiking, the right clothing is essential for your comfort and safety. In order to make sure you enjoy your hike and stay comfortable on your trail, it’s important to know what to wear.

Here are eight essential items for your next hike.

Hiking shoes or hiking boots

Specialist hiking shoes typically have a thicker, more durable sole than trainers, and they also tend to be made from water-resistant materials, which can help keep your feet dry in wet weather.

Sturdy hiking boots can also provide stability, support and protection when you’re walking across uneven terrain.

A more recent trend, especially in warmer weather, is for people to wear hiking sandals.

One of the benefits of hiking sandals is that they’re much lighter than hiking boots and also tend to have better ventilation, which helps keep your feet cool in hot weather.

If you’re looking for a great range of shoes to wear hiking, take a look at Decathlon.

What to wear for a hike

Hiking socks

Hiking socks are made from special materials that help to absorb moisture and keep your feet cool and dry. They can also provide extra cushioning and blister protection, which is important if you’re going to be hiking over long distances.

A company called Red On Socks have worked with fitness coaches to develop performance enhancing socks with blister protection.

A suitable base layer

When you’re planning your hiking attire, layering is important – and it all starts with the base layer. The type of base layer you’ll need depends on the weather.

For summer hiking in warm weather, you’ll want to wear a short-sleeve base layer that wicks moisture away from the skin to help keep you cool and comfortable on your hike.

When it comes to base layers for cold weather hiking, you’ll want to wear something that is going to keep you warm. A long-sleeve base layer will help to keep your core temperature regulated and prevent you from getting too cold – you’ll want to make sure that the base layer fits snugly so that warm air is kept close to your body.

Some people swear by Merino wool as the best material for a base layer, but it can be expensive. More affordable alternatives include polyester, or a bamboo/lycra blend.

Decathlon have a wide range of base layers, specifically for hiking.

A fleece mid-layer

A fleece mid-layer is a key part of your layering system for colder weather, as it helps to keep you warm by trapping heat close to your body.

We’d recommend not choosing a fleece that is too thick, as even on the coldest days, a heavyweight fleece can cause you to overheat.

Waterproof jacket

Another item to consider is a waterproof jacket, to help protect you against the wind and the rain – a necessity if you’re hiking in the UK!

In warmer weather, you’ll want something lightweight and breathable as an outer layer that will protect you from the elements without making you overheat.

For colder weather, you’ll need a waterproof jacket that is also insulated to keep you warm.

Check out Dare2B for a wide range of jackets to suit all needs.

View women’s jackets.

View men’s jackets.

Hiking pants

Walking trousers are another key piece of hiking gear as they’re made from more durable and stretchable material than your average pair of jeans.

A lot of hikers are fans of softshell trousers, that are incredibly hard-wearing, water repellent, and also help to protect you against the wind.

In terms of fit, we’d recommend choosing something with a little stretch in it, as this helps to keep your legs comfortable when you’re walking over long distances.


A good backpack is an essential piece of gear for any hiker – it’s the perfect way to carry all of your supplies and equipment with you on your hike.

When choosing a backpack, it’s important to consider the size and capacity. You want a backpack that is big enough to fit all of your essentials, but not so big that it becomes cumbersome to carry. It’s worth choosing a backpack that is made from water-resistant materials, to protect your belongings from the elements.

It’s also important to make sure the straps on the backpack will help distribute the weight of the pack evenly across your body, as this can reduce the strain on your muscles and joints.

Decathlon has a great range of backpacks suitable for hiking.


There are a few final items that you might want to consider taking with you on your hike, depending on the weather and the location.

In sunny weather, you’ll need to factor in sun protection – this means bringing along sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat.

If it’s likely to be cold or wet, then you might want to take some extra layers with you to stay warm, such as a scarf or waterproof gloves.

You might also want to take a map and compass if you’re hiking in an unfamiliar area, and a first-aid kit is always a good idea in case of any accidents.

What not to wear

Jeans are not an ideal choice for hiking as they are not very stretchy and can be quite bulky. They also don’t provide much protection against the elements, so they are not a good option if you’re going to be hiking in wet or cold weather.

Flimsy trainers are not a good idea when hiking, as they offer very little support or stability over uneven terrain.

Bulky jackets are also not ideal for hiking, as they can make you too hot and uncomfortable when you’re on the move.

So, those are our top tips for what to wear (and not wear!) when hiking.

If you have any questions about choosing the right gear for your hike, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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