Calling all hikers — springtime is here! It's time to dust off your favorite hiking outfit, shoes, and outdoor essentials, and explore a favorite trail with family and friends or maybe even solo. No matter how you choose to spend your hiking time, be sure you're prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at you. Before you take off on your next adventure, check out our 5 tips for spring hiking.
Spring weather is far from stable. In fact, it can go from mild, warm to cold, and wet without notice. One way to ensure a fantastic hike is to be prepared for weather changes. Be sure to check weather updates in your local area for torrential rains, floods, or road closings. Be prepared with a poncho, umbrella, and rain boots. If it's a nice, sunny day, be sure you pack lighter T-shirts or tank tops to ensure you remain cool and dry.
The base layer sets the stage for all the other layers. It is the closest to the body and has a super important job of making sure you stay warm but not too hot. The key to proper base layering is to remember that moisture-wicking material is your friend. As the name suggests, a garment made from certain textiles can pass moisture through it without making your body feel wet or sticky. We recommend wearing an athletic shirt (short- or long-sleeved, depending on the weather forecast) and a pair of men’s or women’s long underwear for a base layer. Support and comfort while maneuvering outdoors is significant because these elements will be the first items to touch your skin.
Ah yes, the middle layer; these garments play an interesting role in how your comfort journey will end up. It's important to note that these items are most likely going to end up inside your hiking backpack. Middle-layer garments are typically snug but not tight and are worn on the upper part of the body, consisting of mostly non-waterproof jackets.
For an early spring mid-layer, nothing beats a puffy synthetic or packable down jacket. These versatile beauties can be worn in the morning and evening or during light rain and can easily be folded and packed into your hiking bag with little to no fuss and without taking up much space. Another middle option is a warm fleece jacket. Not only does wool pack well, but it also outperforms nearly all other materials when lightly dampened. Plus, it's exceptionally comfortable against the wind.
If your hike is going the way you anticipated, your primary focus should be to enjoy every moment of the great outdoors. You don't want the hassle of having to wrestle with your outer layer when it's time to remove it.
Your outer layer's primary focus is to combat windy, cold, or rainy elements that can put a damper on your hiking adventure. Outer layers play a huge role because it's a strong possibility that you'll become warm while hiking at a steady pace and may need to remove a middle layer regardless of the outside temperatures. Your outer layer will remain on to fend off cold and rain and keep you dry.
When searching for an outer layer, you may want to set your sights on a dependable but thin men’s or women’s rain jacket. If your plan is to do an early morning hike, be sure to keep your hands and head warm by grabbing a pair of hiking gloves and a cozy beanie. Additionally, early in the spring hiking season, you should have a pair of rain pants in your hiking arsenal of essentials. These pants can be a lifesaver when trekking along a wet and muddy trail.
Spring hiking is full of colorful meadows, budding trees, fresh air, and more. On the flip side, you may also face rainy days, mud puddles mixed with melting snow, and patches of ice. Your feet must be prepared for the path that lies ahead. When selecting your hiking footwear, be sure to choose hiking boots or shoes with excellent traction and rugged soles that protect your ankles from slips and falls. You should also ensure your footwear is waterproof and durable for various types of terrains.
Springtime is a great time of year to explore and see all that nature has to offer. So whether you're a day hiker, an overnight hiker, a fast-and-light hiker, or a trail runner, make sure you are prepared with all the necessities to ensure a safe and memorable outdoor adventure.