You have found a new special somebody, and both of you have decided to go on a hiking date. It is going to be a lot of fun, well, at least if you are properly prepared. There is going to be nothing worse than a hiking date where you and your significant other are both cold, wet, miserable, and hungry. So, let’s talk about what to wear on a hiking date, plus some other important gear that you need to bring along.
The Clothing – Layers, Layers, Layers!
When it comes to your next hiking date, one of the absolute most important things to bring with you is a good set of clothes. No, this does not mean a pair of boots, shorts, and a shirt. If you are planning on doing any serious hiking, you need to be wearing the right hiking clothes. There is no getting around this.
Moreover, hiking clothing always involves layering up, as each layer will have a different purpose, and trust us when we say that when you are hiking in cold, wet, or whatever other conditions, you will appreciate having layers on.
Remember, layers can always be taken off if they are unnecessary, but if you don’t bring enough clothes with you, you will be in a tough spot once that cold wind or a rainstorm hits. When it comes down to it, you want to have a good base layer, a middle layer, and an outer layer. Let’s go over each, talk about why they are important, and go over some good examples of what each layer would look like.
The Base Layer
The first layer that you are going to want to think about here is the base layer. This is a very important layer, the stuff you put on first. Now, the base layer is going to serve 2 main and important purposes. For one, this includes moisture wicking properties. You want to find clothing that is well-rated for moisture wicking. Hiking can get pretty hot and sweaty, especially if you are going for a long time and traversing difficult terrain.
When you get sweaty, and if it is not very warm out, and maybe a little windy, you are going to get wet and cold real fast. Therefore, a good moisture-wicking inner layer is important because It will pull moisture away from your body, keeping you dry and warm. It’s also ideal because when you get sweaty, rashes, and chaffing tend to occur, both things you want to avoid, especially when hiking.
Second, the base layer also serves the purpose of insulating your body and keeping you warm. Hiking often involves cold and windy conditions, so having a good base layer that can really keep the heat close to your skin is important. One thing we recommend is some kind of thermal insulation wear, such as that used for skiing or mountaineering. These clothes tend to be very thin and lightweight, they are extremely warm, and are great at wicking away moisture.
Keep in mind that the base layers is also going to include some good socks; the socks you wear are important. While thin socks are nice due to the fact that they are lightweight, remember that you will probably only fit a single pair in your hiking boots, so choose a nice thick pair that will keep your feet warm for the duration of the hike.
The Middle Layer
The next and also very important layer that you need to think about is the middle or second layer of clothing. Unlike the base layer, this middle layer serves a single purpose, which is to keep you warm. Here, the middle layer is all about insulation. Keep in mind that if you get too hot, you can always take a layer off. Either way, the middle layer should be something thicker that has the ability to keep in a lot of warmth.
Many people who go hiking or on hiking dates go with wool sweaters, as they are great for keeping in warmth. However, with that being said, really any kind of hiking sweaters and pants are good to wear. You want to look for something that can keep you warm, but still won’t weigh you down all that much. Here, what we are talking about is a good sweater and good pants. Whatever you do, for hiking, avoid wearing jeans. It might seem like a good idea at first, but walking around in denim for a long time is not very comfortable.
The Outer Layer
The third, final, and perhaps the most important layer to think about is the outer layer which serves a multitude of purposes, with one of them being to keep your warm, but more importantly, the outer layer is all about protection from the weather. When you go hiking, you will be exposed to the elements, and this often includes rain and wind, both of which can put a real damper on any hike you might take.
Therefore, for one, you want to keep an eye out for a good pair of rainproof hiking pants. Something that is lightweight, preferably plasticized or treated to be 100% waterproof and wind resistant too. The same goes for a coat. Now, consider the season you are hiking in. If you are hiking in a warmer season, a simple raincoat and a pair of rain pants will do just fine, and even those might have you overheating. However, if you are hiking during the colder months, you will want to look for something that is well-insulated from the cold and the wind.
Your Shoes and Boots
Besides your basic clothing, another thing to look for is a good pair of hiking boots. Needless to say, you do not want to go hiking in running shoes or flip flops — which will not turn out well. Once again, consider the season you are hiking in before making a choice. It pretty much comes down to lightweight and breathable boots that are ideal for warmer conditions, ones that are still very durable, comfortable, and have good traction, and boots that are a little heavier, but also well insulated against the cold. Whatever the case, make sure that the boots have good traction, a padded midsole, and are made out of durable materials that are not going to come apart from a few hours of hiking.
Hats and Gloves
Next, another important layer to keep in mind, so to speak, is the one that is going to cover your head and hands. If you are hiking in the middle of summer, you probably are not going to need a hat and gloves. However, during the colder months, you will want to keep both your hands and your head, plus your face, well-protected from the elements. There is nothing worse than getting cold hands and ears, and not being able to warm them up.
Other Items to Take on a Hiking Date
There are a few other things which you definitely want to take along on any hiking date, so let’s go over these real quick.
A Good Knife
When you go camping, hiking, or anything in between, a good knife always comes in handy. It can be used for self-defense, emergency situations, gutting fish, cooking, and much more.
A Two-Way Radio
Whenever you head out into the wilderness, you will want to bring a high-quality two-way radio with you. If somebody gets hurt or lost, you need a way to contact each other, and you need a way to call for help as well.
Whether you are going to be on a mountain or out in the woods, a good first aid kit is definitely a requirement too. You want to be able to treat basic wounds if they happen to occur.
A Cooking Stove and Food
Hiking is one of those things that works up a big appetite, so a cooking stove, a little pot, and your favorite hiking meal of choice is a big thing. Don’t forget the fuel and the fire starter. I use a wood burning stove on my hiking trips and I love it!
The bottom line is that hiking is really fun, and it can make for a good date, but there are things that you want to take with you. For one, and most importantly, the 3 layers of clothing you wear are going to go a long way in deciding your overall level of comfort. This also goes for items like hats, gloves, and boots. Don’t forget some safety gear, cooking equipment, and the other essentials which we mentioned above.