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What is the Best Clothing for Backpacking?
Gear is important. There is no denying that when it comes to being prepared for a trip into nature, gear will top most everyone’s list of essentials, but clothing is something that should also be taken into close consideration when getting your pack and yourself ready to hit the trail.
When choosing clothing for your latest backpacking adventure, it's important to consider the climate, terrain, and activities you'll be enjoying. We’ve provided a pretty comprehensive guide below to help ensure that you are ready for everything, all while keeping your base weight low.
Layering is key for backpacking because it allows you to adjust to changing temperatures and weather conditions. In all cases, you will only need one of each of these layer types. Clothes take up a lot of space, and it just isn’t necessary to have multiple articles of the same clothing. You should have a base layer (a moisture-wicking shirt or long underwear), an insulating layer (fleece or down jacket), and a waterproof/windproof layer (rain jacket or shell).
- Quick-drying and moisture-wicking fabrics:
Choose clothing made from synthetic or wool materials that can wick away sweat and dry quickly, which will help regulate your body temperature and prevent chafing and blisters. Since you should only be bringing a limited amount of clothing, it is important that what you do bring be versatile enough to dry quickly, and comfortable enough for extended wear.
Look for clothing with good ventilation or mesh panels, especially for tops and pants. This will help you stay cool and comfortable in hot and humid weather. Depending on where you’re hiking, you could be in a climate that makes you sweat even if you're just sitting. Add that climate to a fairly demanding hike without breathable clothing, you’re looking for trouble. When shopping, pay close attention to these materials. It will make a world of difference!
- Comfortable and durable:
Make sure your clothing is comfortable to wear for long periods of time and durable enough to withstand the rigors of backpacking. While buying durable clothing, you’ll definitely be spending a bit more for quality clothing, but remember, you’re not building a full wardrobe of these clothes, one item of each category will be enough.
- Sun protection:
If you don’t want to waste valuable ounces in your pack to carry around a big bottle of sunblock, consider clothing with UPF protection, or wear a hat to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays. We would still recommend a small bottle of sunblock for your face.
A good pair of hiking boots or shoes is essential for backpacking. Be sure boots or shoes have good traction and support. You’ll be exploring all different types of terrain, and a basic pair of trainers won’t cut it. Also, make sure to break your boots or shoes in BEFORE your trip. Breaking them in on the trail will likely result in blisters, and blisters are the enemy of any backpacker.
The best clothing for backpacking is functional, comfortable, and adaptable to different weather conditions. Consider packing lightweight and compressible items to save space in your backpack whenever possible.
Of course, we like to recommend packing a Littlbug stove to help keep your pack lighter. Made with stainless steel, the Littlbug Junior weighs just 5.1ounces, and is a compact addition to your pack. If you’ve got a larger group going with you, our Littlbug Senior weighs in at 19 ounces, and still compact. Both will provide years of rugged use, with their simple and easy to use design.
Share in the comments what clothes are in your pack, or what you are looking to add next!
"When it comes to outdoor skills the more you bring along, the less you have to carry. Skills don't break and they're never left behind. They don’t leak, they don't tear, and they don’t get wet!"
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