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Hiking Las Vegas Blog
“When is it better to go hiking? How to prepare for it? What to wear when hiking?” – questions like these are asked by first-time hikers most often. At first glance it might seem that a walking trip doesn’t require any special clothing; however, only thorough preparation will guarantee an unforgettable and safe hiking experience.
The thing is the weather can rapidly change from hot to cold, from wet to sunny, regardless of the season, especially if choosing mountain routes and trails. That’s why the hiking outfit is meant to be super versatile, comfortable, and ready-for-everything.
Best Fabrics To Choose
The main criterion that should be followed here is the moisture-wicking ability of the fabric, no matter if it’s hiking tights or a long-sleeve shirt. Synthetic materials handle it very well: polyester is known over time as a universal and affordable fabric, able to wick sweat and dry fast. Its only downside is a tendency to smell funky – the problem, which can be solved by means of natural materials like merino wool (so popular among tourists). Exceptionally lightweight, soft, odor-free, and breathable, it keeps you cool in temperatures of up to +35°C, and holds in the heat in -20°C. 21 things you should know before investing in wool.
Nowadays, lots of hikers also pick such innovative material as GORE-TEX, characterized by incredible longevity and waterproof/windproof protection.
Avoid cotton: despite being natural, it’s absolutely inefficient at wicking and drying. It soaks up the sweat and stays wet for a long time. “Cotton kills” – the longtime hikers claim, and that makes sense, indeed.
Layering is the Key
Is it really an issue? Absolutely! Three layers of clothing – basic, insulating, and shell – will trap the air warmed by your body heat, wick moisture away from your skin, allow you to adapt to changing weather condition, without sacrificing durability and comfort. Remove upper layers to prevent yourself from overheating, or add layers if it’s cold. Besides, you’ll have extra space in the backpack as a little pleasant bonus.
The layer, which is closest to your skin, is meant to trap the body heat and wick moisture. So, all wicking fabrics like COOLMAX will cope with it. Choose the thickness according to the climate, season, weather, and enjoy your adventure. Nylon, polyester, and merino wool are also good in keeping you clean, cool, and dry, so they’re perfect for:
Middle (Insulating) Layer
The second layer acts as insulation, it’s usually more than one garment. It may include a long-sleeved flannel shirt that you can take off or roll the sleeves up, a polypro pullover, polyester fleece pants, a pair of ordinary sweats, or the one able to transform from pants to shorts.
Never wear denim jeans for a hike, avoid pants with tight waists and if they’re not stretchy enough to climb up steps or over rocks.
Here goes the clothing that protects from wind and rain. Waterproof or water-resistant (less expensive) jackets with removable fleece interior for increased versatility can double as a windbreaker. Choose lightweight yet sturdy materials, so that it blocks the wind well while packing it isn’t a hassle.
Also, remember to take waterproof pants as well, when the rain is predicted by the weather forecast. The wider, the better – if you can get the pants on without taking the boots off, it’s a big plus in case of a sudden downpour.
Shoes are the most important part of the hiking outfit, as you are going to go big distances on foot, and blisters will quickly disable even a highly experienced tourist.
Sneakers won’t give you the grip you need on slippery surfaces, so better wear special hiking shoes or boots. They are both comfortable and safe and can cope with any terrain. The best shoes for hiking have a good sole, provide you with plenty of ankle support, stability, and flexibility.
For warm weather, don’t put on waterproof shoes as they feature bad breathability that will result in excessive feet sweating.
Head & Hands
No matter, if you’re planning a hike in Vegas or somewhere else, in summer or in winter, sunglasses and a hat are definite must-haves. The sun is too active even when it’s cold outside, so without proper protection, you’re risking to get sunburned. Cover your neck, face, tips of the ears, as well as head and eyes.
In winter wear a hat in order not to lose heat from your head, or try a balaclava. Waterproof gloves would also come in handy for a cold weather hike.
Be adventurous but stay safe, choose comfort over fashion, and you’ll have the most unforgettable hiking experience of the lifetime!
Written by Helen Rogers http://thecrossfitshoes.com/
Branch Whitney is the author of Hiking Las Vegas and creator of the 52 Peak Club where members hike to the best 52 Peaks around Las Vegas, NV