There are a lot of questions to consider when determining the perfect hiking outfit for you and your family. Each part of the ensemble should be considered ahead of time in order to avoid any confusion when it comes time for the main event. Especially for first-time hikers, it can be easy to overlook certain parts of what to wear on your journey.
First of all, while there is a great deal that goes into picking the clothes that would best serve your family on your trip, what you wear goes beyond that. Other than clothing, there are multiple helpful tools and protectors that are not to be forgotten. It’s not just clothes your family will need to pack and wear!
The goal while out in nature is to enjoy its wonders and to always stay safe while doing so. With proper planning and subsequent execution, you can make your family’s hiking trip one for the ages.
We weren’t kidding when we said that not everything you wear while on a hike with your kids would be clothing. Even when we feel relatively covered up, creepy crawlies can still sneak under our clothing.
From there, it is only a matter of time before they get to biting. Luckily, we can nip this nipping problem in the bud with the help of some strategically placed insect repellent.
When enjoying nature, we want the products we use to reflect that same mentality. The great outdoors is not a place for harsh chemicals (not that there ever is a place for those, anyway).
All-Natural Insect Repellent
That’s where the BuzzPatch Mosquito Repellent Patches step in to work their magic (AKA science). Made with nature in mind using a powerful citronella essential oil blend, simply stick these patches onto your family’s clothes and let the patches get to work.
You read that right; these patches work effectively on both kids and adults. So not only can everyone enjoy the benefits of staying bug-free, but you can also sport matching adorable stickers as you traverse the wilderness. Everyone will be buzzing about your style (other than the bugs).
How Many BuzzPatches per Age?
Kids under two will only need one sticker on their torso. Meanwhile, kids between the ages of three and five years old will require one patch on their legs and one patch on their torso, coming out to two patches total.
Kids above the age of six (this includes adults since we’re all just kids at heart) will need between two to four patches depending on how much skin is exposed.
Skipping the bug bites is sure to make your hiking trip much more pleasant. No one likes feeling itchy, and anything that could take away from the splendor of nature is the last thing you want.
In case you got to the insect repellent a little late, we still have options for you and your family.
What To Do if You Have Bug Bites
Even the most impervious of bug fortresses will see a rogue insect slip through from time to time. That, or maybe you made the horrible mistake of forgetting to put on the insect repellent for all of five minutes. No matter how long or short our families are left unprotected from bugs, a seemingly infinite amount of them will take that time to strike.
You might worry that all is lost, but thankfully that doesn’t have to be the case. Rather than reaching for the tissues to sop up your tears, just reach for the MagicPatch Itch Relief Patches. These chemical-free stickers help to ease the itch for kids and adults alike, making them a convenient and wonderful companion on any outdoor adventure.
By utilizing the powers of Grid-Relief Technology, these patches help to drain the lymphatic system, making itching a thing of the past.
The other crucial kind of protection from the elements to take along with you on your hike is any kind of barrier from the sun and potentially harmful sunburn-causing UV rays. For many, sun protection will take the form of applying and frequently reapplying sunblock or sunscreen. Make sure to take the time to reapply your family’s sunscreen as needed, especially if you are sweating heavily or swimming.
For those looking for a clothing option to provide even more sun protection, a brimmed hat or visor can always be helpful. This will help keep the sun out of your eyes while protecting your scalp and forehead. Attire and accessories with UV protection embedded into the fabric can be a critical asset as well.
Proper Hiking Shoes
Although all parts of your outfit are important, your feet will experience the most direct contact. As such, it’s crucial that they have adequate protection from the elements. No matter what kind of hiking shoe you go with, make sure it has plenty of ankle support to keep everyone happy on their hike.
Likely the most famous shoe for this particular excursion, hiking boots are a classic for a reason. They provide comfort and durability, both necessary on a hike of any length or level of difficulty.
However, hiking boots can feel a bit bulky, especially for new hikers or kids. If you are going on a shorter hike, you can consider our next option:
Trail Running Shoes
If you and your family are heading out onto terrain that is rockier than asphalt or city streets without feeling as rigid as a pair of hiking boots, this next option might be perfect for you. Trail runners are an excellent choice for those seeking comfort and versatility.
While these particular shoes offer a significant amount of flexibility, it’s best not to wear them on an everyday basis. Well, unless you and your family regularly climb a mountain on your way to work or school.
Typical streets can wear down a trail runner’s treads as time goes on. This might not sound like such a big deal, but when you consider that it’s these treads that give you stability while hiking, then gravity sets in.
As long as you keep you and your family’s trail runners on the trail where they belong, you should have a long life with your new shoes. To extend this lifespan even further, however, know that there’s another type of hiking gear at your disposal:
While gaiters are not technically a kind of shoe, they are considered an invaluable part of footwear for many hikers. Gaiters are used as an attachment to shoes like trail runners. They add extra protection to the shoe — and by extension, your feet — from rocks, sticks, and any other debris you could pick up along your hike.
Gaiters can provide some much-needed peace of mind for parents and kids alike who prefer the comfort of trail runners but still want the safety of hiking boots.
The Right Hiking Socks
A hiking shoe is not complete without a complementary set of hiking socks. Similar to their shoe counterparts, there’s a lot more to consider than might immediately meet the eye… or foot.
What To Look For in a Pair of Hiking Socks
The exact kind of hiking socks you will need depends on the trail, the weather, and several other factors. Either way, these socks' primary goals will be preventing blisters and wicking moisture. For colder hikes, your socks should also be warming.
Many people find their preferred type of hiking sock in merino wool since the material embodies many of these qualities. Although merino wool socks are a popular mainstay of hiking, that doesn’t automatically mean they will be right for your family.
Hiking Sock Liners
For added protection from blisters, many hikers turn to sock liners. While these are not a necessity, those going on longer treks might find liners useful.
Why Bring Extra Layers?
Bringing extra layers is the golden rule of hiking. Nature is inherently unpredictable, so all that we can do is prepare as best as we can. Perhaps the most effective way of doing this is to wear and bring extra layers. This ensures that your family is ready for any number of possibilities that the weather could bring you.
Even if you decide not to wear the other two layers at first, you will absolutely be wearing your base layer. Why, you might ask? Because without a base layer, you would be hiking naked. While that might be the premise of multiple television shows, that probably isn’t what you’re looking for.
The main goal of a base layer is to be moisture-wicking. The less glamorous but more straight-to-the-point way of phrasing is: This layer will help remove sweat.
No one wants to feel gross and sweaty on a hike, but the need for proper hiking shirts and more goes beyond that. If sweat gets trapped, chafing can occur, which is wildly unpleasant for everyone involved.
Other than that, what base layer you want will really come down to a matter of personal preference. Moisture-wicking hiking outfits can be made of synthetic materials or more natural fibers. Unsurprisingly, we here at The Natural Patch Co. prefer to distance ourselves from the synthetic while out in nature, but what you choose will depend on your needs.
Also, consider if you and your family are going on a short day hike or if you’re preparing for a long backpacking trip. This is another key piece of information that will help you to decide what clothing is best for you.
What Should I Wear as a Base Layer?
A base layer is what you wear closest to your skin, so you should take care to make sure you choose something right for you.
For summer hiking, this could take the following forms:
- Short sleeve t-shirt
- Tank top
- Hiking leggings
- Yoga pants
- Convertible pants
- Hiking shorts
For winter hiking in cold weather, a long sleeve shirt is likely a better alternative, as is a heavier type of hiking pants. As long as you find a base layer that is simultaneously comfortable and works successfully to wick sweat, you and your family should be in good shape.
Mid-Layer (or the “Insulating Layer”)
The mid-layer is also often aptly referred to as the “insulating layer.” Whereas the base layer is meant to protect its wearer from chafing, sweating, and other forms of discomfort, the mid-layer is all about keeping heat in.
As a result, a mid-layer is crucial to have on hand during the winter season. Meanwhile, people might feel the desire to skip them when the hotter summer seasons roll around.
If you are feeling this instinct, this is when we would encourage you to remember the many benefits of layering. It’s a common misconception that an insulating layer must be bulky or large to be effective, but this isn’t the case. In actuality, mid-layers can be thin but still work wonders when preserving body heat. Even if the forecast predicts a warm day, the weather can change on a dime.
Think about it this way: you will never be upset that you and your family were overprepared, but being underprepared is a different story entirely. Layering allows you to make the most of the moment and dress according to how you feel.
What Should I Wear as a Mid-Layer?
When trekking through the backcountry on a refreshingly frigid day, you and your family are going to need a mid-layer that is warm, comfortable, and easy to move in.
Some of the most classic examples of this kind of insulated jacket include:
- Fleece jackets
- Puffer jackets
- Lightweight wool
- Insulating long sleeve shirt
- Down jacket
- Long pants
- Rain pants
If the weather is expected to be on the colder side, you might want a wool garment or a down jacket. However, if you prefer something very soft to the touch and compact, a fleece jacket could be the way to go. For an even thinner option that still packs a warming punch, an insulated long sleeve shirt is a convenient go-to.
It might take a bit of experimentation before you find the mix of layers that is right for you but don’t worry. It’s all part of the fun of hiking and figuring out where you and your family fit in!
Last but certainly not least, we have at last found our way to the outer layer. This shouldn’t be a shock, but this is the layer worn furthest from the body and the first to face the elements.
There is a lot to consider when choosing the right outer layer(s) for you and your family. So much so, in fact, that we’ve chosen to devote a whole section to it:
What Kind of Outer Layer Should You Bring?
Choose an outer layer that fits the weather you expect from the day, but still come prepared for all kinds of weather. Many of these kinds of jackets are easy to zip off or remove, meaning that if you and your little ones get too warm, they can be bundled up and stored in your daypack in no time.
This means that there’s almost no such thing as packing too heavy. Even if you don’t end up needing an outer layer, it won’t take up much extra space.
Depending on the rain jacket your family uses in your day-to-day lives, you might need something more specialized when trekking through the mountains. No one wants to be caught in a rainstorm during their hike, but being prepared for the possibility is how we prevent a bad day from turning into a horrible day.
When you can just rush into the nearest building, nearly any jacket with a hood might suffice in case of a sudden downpour. In the great outdoors, however, your chances of finding a building are slim to none. If you’re going on a short hike, it is possible that your family could make their way to a visitor’s center or another kind of structure.
Even so, having the right kind of jacket will make the trip there much more comfortable. If you plan to stay outside and wait it out, then an adequate (or preferably even above adequate) rain jacket is necessary.
Before venturing out on your hike, you will likely check the forecast multiple times. If this wasn’t part of your plan, then it definitely should be going forward. That being said, keep in mind that the weather conditions can change without notice, so you should always be prepared for any eventuality.
Look for a rain jacket that is water-resistant, quick-drying, and windproof. These helpful attributes will ensure your family is as comfortable as possible while weathering any kind of rainstorm.
Finding an outer layer that is windproof means that you can stay relatively cozy during a windy storm, making it one of the more important forms of year-round hiking clothes.
Enjoying Nature Is Human Nature
There are a multitude of reasons that being in nature is calming, but wearing the right attire can help cement that feeling.
On your next family hiking trip, you can take a big breath in and relish in the fact that you’re totally prepared for whatever comes your way.