Hiking is a great way to get out and enjoy the outdoors by yourself or with others, and is also a great way to stay in shape and burn calories with cardio. Hiking can lower stress, keep you in a great mood, and hangout with friends. Depending on where you live, there might be tons of hiking trails, or you may have to make a short drive to hit the hills, but one of the big questions people ask when they want to go for a hike, is if they can throw on a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, and some tennis shoes and hit the trail. Even if you are just getting into hiking, or have been a long time hill climber, there is a few important things you should know about hiking and your wardrobe.
While jeans are comfortable, they are not recommended for hiking, and are a very bad idea to wear. Denim soaks up water, is horrible for layering and ventilation, and can cause chafing which will be painful, and cause you to end your hike early. When hiking it is critical that you have as much mobility as possible, so if you have too tight, or too loose jeans, they can impact the way you walk and could cause you to slip and fall. Denim can also stick to your skin if you sweat, and become very uncomfortable within minutes of you starting a hike, especially on a warm day.
Jeans And Weather
Jeans are good for cooler weather, but they will soak up water like a sponge. When jeans get wet, they take a long time to dry, so if you are out hiking in wet weather, and get your jeans wet, they will stay that way until you get home and put them in the dryer. Jeans also do not ventilate well, so if you are hiking in the summer, it is going to have very little airflow, which will cause you to start sweating. Once this happens you will most likely start chafing, and could be very painful to walk back to your car.
Is Denim Durable
Denim is a very durable material, so it makes it great for people working outdoors, but do not mistake that for being good on a hike outdoors. People in the labor trades do wear denim for its durability, but generally do not have to walk 3 plus miles at one time in them. Even though it is a very durable material, denim can rip and tear if you catch it at the right angle, so if you are out hiking and snag on a tree or bush, it could tear the fabric leaving your skin exposed for the walk back to your car.
There are several alternatives to wearing denim that are really cost effective. The first is a plain pair of sweat pants. Sweat pants still give you the protection of long pants, but are normally a little looser, and designed for people that are doing things like playing sports, or working out. They are normally very cheap and can be bought almost anywhere. The second option is a pair of nylon hiking pants, which are designed specifically for hiking and camping. These will be more breathable, and will usually be water proof in some fashion so if you do get wet, it will dry faster. Some nylon pants actually have zippers at the knees so you can convert them into shorts if the weather warms up.
Always Dress In Layers
When hiking or camping, it is always best to dress in layers, especially layers that are easy to take off and put back on. Most people will go for a hike in the morning, and return in the afternoon or evening before dark. For most of the US and other places, it gets colder in the morning and warms up as the day goes on, so if you dress in layers like a t-shirt with a lightweight hoodie or jacket, you can easily take it off and put it in your back pack when it warms up. The same goes for pants, you can put a pair of shorts on underneath your pants, and change into them mid-day. If it starts to get cool on your walk back, you can put your warm clothes back on.
Bring A Back Pack
ALWAYS, and I cannot stress this enough, always bring a back pack with you. It is a great place to store and keep layered clothes, extra water, and any other essential items that you might need like a small survival kit, or flashlight and compass. Any back pack will do, but they do make hiking back packs that have a nice strap around the waste to balance the weight so it is not all on your back. Be smart with packing your back pack, and do not put unnecessary things in it that you do not need. Leave room for layered clothes that you might have to take off during the day.
Even though jeans are comfortable and are good for everyday wear, do not bring them on a hike, it is just a bad idea. Denim clothing is meant for work, and casual wear, not for walking miles up hill and downhill, I know from experience. Once you start chafing, it only gets worse, and will make walking a complete nightmare. Once you get a pair of jeans wet, they will not dry and can make you very cold on the way back. If you do not have the money for a pair of hiking pants, at least switch to sweats so you can layer and still have the mobility you need on your hike.
Are Tennis Shoes Good For Hiking
While normal street shoes are great for walking around the streets, and sidewalks, you should not wear normal tennis shoes for hiking. It can be very slippery and dangerous walking hills where there could be wet rocks, and loose leaves and dirt around where you need traction. For hiking, it is best to buy a shoe or boot that has more tread on it than a normal shoe. These shoes will also give you ankle support so you do not injure your feet or ankle if you step on something that is loose on the ground.
How Much Water Should You Bring On a Hike
On average, you should bring about 2 cups of water for ever hour you think you will be out on the hike. If the trail is extremely steep, or you are hiking in the summer, you should double it to 4 cups per hour. For children, it is suggested that you bring one cup of water for every hour they are hiking, and doubled for heat and the incline of the trail. If you plan to stop at a creek or river to refill your water bottles or canteens, it is very important that you bring something to filter the water with so you do not get sick.