Before you head out into the wilderness on an energizing backpacking trip, make sure you are prepared for any kind of weather you might encounter. If you are ready with the right type and amount of clothing for your adventure, you won’t be forced to turn back when you are faced with adverse weather conditions. If you are preparing for a scheduled trip, then you can look ahead at the forecast to determine exactly what you need.
Clothes to Bring Backpacking Overview
- Layer 1 – This is your base layer, and what it includes depends upon the type of weather you will be hiking in.
- Layer 2 – You also need an insulating layer if you will be hiking in colder weather. There are various material options to choose from.
- Layer 3 – If you will be heading out into a wet and/or windy environment, a layer to repel these conditions is essential.
The base layer is the first layer to consider as you plan your backpacking apparel choices. Regardless of the weather you will be hiking in, you can significantly enhance your comfort by wearing a layer of high-performance fabric. This layer needs the ability to wick away moisture from your skin, so consider options made from polyester or another fabric other than cotton. Cotton will stay damp for quite a while once it is wet, and nobody wants wet fabric rubbing against their skin while hiking.
The insulating layer can be something as simple as a sweater or a fleece jacket. This layer is important if you will be backpacking where the temperatures are cold, or even if it might start out cooler and then warm up later in your trip. Various materials can provide a good level of insulation including wool, down and synthetic fleece. Fleece and synthetic materials are usually the most effective options, as they are breathable and keep you warm even if the clothing gets wet.
For your outermost layer you want to make sure you are well protected from sun and wind, so make sure the jacket you select is either waterproof or water resistant. Before you purchase a jacket, check for sealed seams and zipper guards to ensure that no unwanted water will get through. And in addition to the jacket, it’s a good idea to wear or bring a pair of rain pants along on your trek if you know you will be out in rainy weather. And if you are backpacking in a warmer climate where rain is not likely, a light windbreaker will be your best and most convenient choice.
Below are some key points to remember as you decide on the best clothing options for your next backpacking trip:
- Know the climate of your backpacking location.
- Consider the possibility for sudden weather changes.
- Determine how many extra layers you want to carry with you and if you will have room in your pack as you remove the layers you are wearing.
- Consider whether you typically warm up quickly while backpacking.
- Check the weather and determine if it is likely to rain during your outdoor adventure and prepare accordingly.