Summer is the perfect season for hiking. The weather is warm and sunny, the trails are snow-free, and the views are breathtaking.
But what outfit is appropriate for a hike in the summer, and what all belongs in the backpack?
In this article, you’ll find some tips on the necessary equipment for a summer hike that will be fun for everyone in your group.
Shoes for hiking in summer
The right summer hiking shoes are comfortable, airy and at the same time provide grip on uneven trails.
The soles should be grippy to prevent slipping, especially hiking on wet rocks or slippery surfaces.
But gravel and pebbled paths can also cause you to slip away quickly if the soles don’t provide the necessary grip. This often happens to beginners on steep rocky trail sections littered with sand.
For hiking in summer, however, I would avoid high hiking boots – if possible. Especially in combination with shorts, the combination leads to a visible line on the ankle due to the sun.
But you can easily prevent this by wearing long and airy hiking pants.
Tip: I often wear trail running shoes for my hikes in the summer, depending on the route. You can read more about the choice of hiking shoes at the link in my blog.
Wearing the right hiking socks in high summer
Socks are just as important as good footwear when hiking.
Socks determine the fit of your shoes. This, in turn, affects how your feet feel during a hike.
I recommend lightweight hiking socks made of synthetic material (such as merino wool) or lightweight cotton blends for summer hiking.
The socks don’t need to be too thick when hiking, and they should be soft and comfortable against your skin.
The ankle, in particular, needs adequate padding because of the frequent changes in direction when hiking. The ankles are often the most sensitive part of your foot.
Blisters can quickly form if they are not adequately protected.
Again, I can only recommend wearing long pants with your socks to prevent a horrible-looking line on your foot from possible sunburn.
Tip: It’s best to pack a second pair of socks in the summer to keep your feet dry and protected from blisters.
Airy shirts, and polos against the heat when hiking
It’s hot and stuffy outside! The air seems to stand, and the sun burns mercilessly from the sky.
What could be better than a light shirt or shirt for hiking?
With airy shirts, shirts, and polos, you can better withstand the heat while hiking. They are breathable and dry again quickly, so you don’t have to sweat. Plus, they look good too!
The material of the tops for hiking in summer should be thin and made of mesh. Your skin can breathe, and you won’t sweat as much.
If the fabric is too thick, you will get hot and uncomfortable while hiking because the accumulated heat can not escape.
I prefer longer sleeves because my arms can get cold when hiking, and I often go into the mountains. There you get a sunburn quickly even despite sunscreen.
My motto: There is no better protection from the sun than long clothing. I gladly accept a little more sweat, although that is hardly worth mentioning with breathable material – But that also depends on your skin type.
Outdoor jackets for hiking in summer
The warm summer months invite you to go hiking outdoors.
Suppose you do not want to do without your outdoor jacket. In that case, you should pay attention to some important criteria when choosing your jacket.
Which jacket is the right one depends on the respective hiking route:
- For shorter and easier routes, a normal outdoor jacket is usually sufficient.
- More demanding hikers should reach for a special touring jacket.
Finding the right outdoor jacket can be difficult, as both functional and fashion aspects to consider.
For my part, I pay more attention to the functional aspects and make sure the jacket has a neutral design.
In summer, I pack a light rain jacket for this purpose because I often do not have to reckon with the cold. But what can happen quickly in the mountains when hiking is that it starts to rain.
Here the rain jacket is wonderful to keep you dry. Even in prolonged rain, you minimize the risk of undercooling.
But the rain jacket is good protection against rain. It also protects you from sunburn.
When I realize I’m at risk of sunburn, I pull the rain jacket over my head to protect myself from the UV rays without getting too warm underneath.
A rain jacket doesn’t weigh much and takes up hardly any space in your backpack. That’s why I always recommend having one with you.
Tip: It’s best to buy a summer jacket with an adjustable hood and with enough air openings that you can open and close yourself if necessary.
Fleece sweater for hiking against cool mornings and evenings
Especially in the summer, it can get chilly in the morning and evening. With a warm fleece sweater, you can endure these temperatures well.
But also at the start of the hike until you get warm, or when you stop at the beer garden, long sweaters made of fleece are quite fine.
These do not weigh much, dry quickly, and can be easily tied around the waist if necessary.
I also recommend wearing these during sweaty climbs and descents because the material wicks sweat away from the body, protecting you from hypothermia.
When would I wear the fleece sweater in the summer?
For a short hike through the woods, the fleece sweater is not always necessary in the summer. I pack this in my backpack when I go on a day hike or a multi-day hike across the mountains.
Tip: It’s best to buy a fleece sweater with a zipper to regulate your body temperature better.
Accessories for hiking in summer
In summer, it’s wonderful to hike outside in nature.
To make your hike more comfortable and enjoyable, some accessories can help you out.
I’ll show you what they are exactly in this part of the article.
- Sunglasses: with sunglasses, you protect your eyes from the UV rays and prevent you from getting headaches or bags under your eyes. I often wear my sunglasses even on cloudy days because the sun’s rays are still strong enough to harm my eyes. My sunglasses always have 100% UV protection.
- Hat or Cap: Like sunglasses, a hat or cap protects your head from the sun’s rays. When it gets really hot, I take off my cap and let it hang around my neck.
- Sunscreen: The sun’s rays are dangerous when hiking in the summer, and that’s why I make sure to apply sunscreen with a protection factor of 50 on my skin before every hike. Depending on your skin type, a protection factor of 30 is often not enough in the mountains.
- Waterproof backpack cover: With a waterproof backpack cover, you protect your backpack from moisture, dust, and dirt.
- Mosquito repellent: I recommend wearing mosquito repellent when hiking in the summer months. These prevent unpleasant mosquito bites and also keep ticks away.
- Parasol: A parasol is unnecessary for most, but if there are small children with you, it can’t hurt to have one. This way, you can protect your kids from the sun while in the carry backpack.
Lightweight hiking backpacks
Whether it’s for summer or winter, a hiking backpack should be as light and comfortable to carry as possible.
Here are especially recommended hiking backpacks with an extra mesh to prevent the backpack from resting directly on your back. So the air can circulate, and heavy sweating is prevented.
Without going into too much detail now, you should look for when buying your new hiking backpack. The strap is well padded and does not cause abrasion marks on the arm, even with sweat.
A 25-liter backpack should be sufficient for most hikes in the summer.
However, with my photo and video equipment, I use a 50 or 75-liter backpack to take everything with me.
Tip: Make sure the backpack has a simple design and omits unnecessary slings. Too many nets and loops on the backpack are just annoying.
Trekking/hiking poles for long tours
If you like to walk long distances, you need the appropriate equipment.
Especially trekking or hiking poles are recommended here to protect joints and back on longer tours.
I have explained which models there are and what you should look for when buying in a separate blog article.
However, hiking poles are not a must. I have even met hikers who deliberately do without them to train the ability of body balance. But that’s another topic I won’t go into here.
In short: I always have hiking poles with me and pack them away if necessary when I no longer need them.
What to consider when hiking in the sun
When hiking in the sun, it is important to wear the right clothes to avoid sweating in the heat.
Some sweat is, of course, always part of it. Still, especially in high summer, the sun can be dangerous for the skin. Therefore it is important to protect the body.
I remember back then when I was a beginner hiking and had neither sunscreen nor long clothes. Although the temperature was only 75 °F, I returned to the car with a terrible sunburn.
Don’t make the same mistake and underestimate the sun’s UV radiation!
The most important thing is to wear sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays during your summer hike. A wide-brimmed hat is also important, as are sunglasses (preferably with UV filters).
A long-sleeved shirt or T-shirt that covers your arms is another must.
Also, wear sunscreen on the back of your neck. Otherwise, you can get a burn there, even if you don’t feel it.
If you plan to be out for a long time, take a bandana to protect your neck and face from the sun.
If a headscarf is too much of a hassle for you, there are special hiking caps with an extended scarf that goes over your neck as an alternative.
Also, when hiking in the summer, make sure you always have enough water with you.
3 to 4 liters are empty faster than you think. That’s why I always carry an activated carbon filter in my backpack to refill my water supply on the go without worry.
Tip: If you want to learn more about what to wear when hiking in any season, I recommend my other article. Just click on the link to read the article.
Have more questions about the right outfit for your next summer hike?
Contact me on Twitter. I’ll be happy to help you with your questions.
Have fun on your hike!