What to wear when you go hiking!

So I’m testing out a little more interactive fun when it comes to my What to Wear Where postings. This week’s What to Wear Where is focused on what to wear when you go hiking. Before I go into the what to wear section, lets first talk about the different hiking types there is. The Tropics and Not The Tropics. 

The Tropics

You may think that this hike is one of those easy breezy walks through the forest with fresh air and birds chirping… but no, this is the kind of hike where the destination is what matters, not the journey. Be prepared to be caught in ridiculous sweltering tropical heat. You would be amazed at the fact that you will unlikely be able to see the sky through the rainforest. You would barely be able to see three meters in front of you without having to move leaves bigger than your face away. You will most likely be swarmed by mosquitoes and flies and insects that even the most mosquito repellent outfit wont be able to repel and be prepared for leeches that will bite through your socks.

Excited yet? yes, me too. So please don’t go unprepared. Long sleeves, long pants, backpack, hand towel, and a hat would be most advisable. Mosquito repellent a plenty (they don’t help 100% of the time, but they do help). Wear light breathable materials and especially good would be those Columbia pants that zip on/off at the knees.

Imagine the jungles of Borneo, the Amazon and pretty much South America.

(Dressed for the tropics – and a proper hike. Look of death comes free)

Note: Clearly, I think it’s difficult to try and look good when doing this kind of hike. 

Not The Tropics

This is when you can style it up a bit. Imagine those scenes with frolicking hills and meadows, where the sun is gently caressing your skin and the breeze cools down your body. These kinds of hikes are simpler and involve pretty much just putting one foot in front of the other without involving yanking out a machete and hacking away at the sharp weeds that would give you paper cuts otherwise.

Imagine Patagonia, hiking in Europe, the US, Australia and New Zealand.

It is for these kinds of hikes that I present my first style board : ta-dah!

What to wear - hiking

In these kinds of ‘easy’ environment, I believe you can mix up your wardrobe and use most of what I would recommend for hiking in your other non-hiking travel activities. Bottoms like cargo pants, or tuxedo track bottoms can easily be worn for hikes and styled up with wedges or heels. Denim shorts that give you lots of movement would without doubt match most of what will come along in your bag.

(Finally my kind of ‘hike’. Enjoying the four hour walk along the Great Wall of China)

As for tops, I recommend tank tops that are (always) sleeveless. Clearly you will be moving your arms around much to take pictures, point to amazing things and take swigs from your water bottle. I have broad shoulders and always feel that anything in short sleeves is trying to bind me tight.

As for shoes – depending on how ‘rough’ the hike would be, I would recommend anything from Teva Sandals to proper hiking shoes. If you foresee a lot of going up and down, get proper hiking shoes that come up to your ankle. This will help support your ankle from rolling when moving downhill. Teva sandals or any of those tough open sandals can be used for simpler hikes such as those with clear boardwalks or anything that involves going through both wet and dry terrain in one go. Just remember to get one that has a cover protection for your toes.

As much as I love handbags, do bring a backpack for hikes. The ones with its own H20 opening which you can stuff a straw through and sip while you walk would be best regardless of which type of hiking you do. Either or, you would want to keep your hands free. I’ve made the mistake too many times now, of bringing my Longchamp bag or some other tote with me and having to inadvertently try to put the straps through both my arms and carry it like a backpack.

(What clearly not to wear when you’re hiking in the tropics… your beach wear. I was also beyond unhappy with myself for forgetting to pack the most important thing of all for a hike – good shoes)