What do you wear hiking? Share your best clothing ideas.

We have a new eBook planned.

Just for a bit of fun.

It will be a giveaway on Our Hiking Blog.

It is designed to help people starting out.

We want to help them get setup with the best hiking clothing for a multi-day trip.

The mini guide will be a slightly expanded version of the “What  clothes to wear on the Overland Track” section of our How to hike the Overland Track guide.  Some of you may be familiar with it, and hopefully found it useful.

Gratuitous  photo of naked person hiking in an attempt to be funny…..

Hiking naked

End of gratuitous naked photo, hope you laughed…..

So, why write about it here?

There are a few hundred of you that receive an email each time we publish a new article. Many of you are experienced, many are building your knowledge, many of you have bought new clothes or have a system that works for you.

We would love to hear any tips, tricks, ideas, suggestions or read about what works for you in relation to clothing.

  • do you have a list you always follow?
  • hot climate must takes?
  • cold climate must haves?
  • where do you find bargains?
  • what is the best piece of clothing you have in your kit?
  • what is your most expensive purchase? Was it worth it?
  • what do you walk in, sleep in, keep warm with?
  • you get the idea……….

Your knowledge, experience  and ideas are invaluable so please share them with the world!

We will then go through the replies,  picking the best ideas to include in the mini guide. All published ideas will be attributed to you,  the idea genie.

Once the guide is finished we will let you know how to grab it.

It will be free for anyone who wishes to download it.

So, come on all you clothing junkies, please drop us a note below.

Oh, and for the moment, please  focus from the socks up, we have some great footwear articles around here written by Georgie Bull. Why knows, there might be another mini guide in those  one day.


  1. says

    I’m quite happy with my Mountain Designs Khumbu cargo pants. They are lightweight but strong, have zip-off legs and the material is drying very fast, even if soaked wet it will dry while walking. For walking I take the legs off, around the campsite I put them back on because of mosquitoes etc.

    Apart from that I keep buying Injinji Tetratsok Outdoor toe socks, they’re really good to wear as first layer and then some thicker hiking socks on top.

    To keep warm around the campsite or at night, I think there is hardly anything better than fleece.

      • Trixie kemp says

        I also have the Khumbu pants. Which are my day wear pants. I night I wear my Macpac fleece pants. Really warm but add thermal longs if really cold.

  2. Alex Scott says

    Head – Beanie if cold, bucket hat if sunny….

    Top – Blue singlet as base layer (thermal top if cold),
    Either a T-Shirt or a Wollangarra Workshirt
    Breathable, Cheap and

    Bottoms – Shorts (cheap boardshorts from GoLo :)

    Feet – Rivers Wollen socks

    If I may have a say, for starting, you have to Keep It Simple Stupid!

    Yes, a fancy Gazillion dollar multi layer jumper is cool, but theres nothing wrong with a $5 jumper from the Opp Shop!

    Trackie Pants are excellent for cold days, again, cheap and easy…

    This is the main factor that people getting into hiking have to know…

    Just simple, sensible clothing…

    • Frank says

      hey Alex,
      Thanks for taking the time to reply.
      Certainly agree with you that you don’t need expensive stuff. We buy all our stuff at the sales.

      Board shorts make great hiking shorts. Quick dry is a winner. I walked the Overland with a bloke who took 2 pairs of cut off jeans as shorts. First day , first pair saturated, second day, second pair saturated.

      Third day plus: chaffing , nuff said.

    • Catherine says

      Hi Alex, i noticed you mentioned Wollangarra, do you mean the Wollangarra near Licola. And which shirt – their button up ones? or their t-shirts?

      I also have to say – i am all for the keep it simple. I normally hike in shorts and a t-shirts if it is cold, then gaiters and sometimes a beanie or a jumper if it is cold. Even though the big brands can get me sucked in i never have the money to buy it and know that i can get virtually the same thing for less than half the price.

  3. john says

    I think it depends where you are. If you are bushwalking in Queensland a pair of board shorts and a t shirt would be fine. After all even the rain is warm.
    But if its Tasmania in the winter…. Well you could die in the same gear. It pays to have the right gear.
    Most of my cloths are quick dry synthetic. Except my undershirt which is a wool blend. Synthetic makes you smell like wet dog after a couple of days :)
    Boots must fit well and the brand depends on your feet. Mine are broad so I wear hi tech because they are the only ones that fit properly.
    I love my Gore tex jacket,when it is 3c and the wind is going sideways it is worth every dollar.

    • Alex Scott says

      I have a friend, an ex-woll staffie, who will wear the same clothes in any climate!

      Cotton workshirt
      Cotton SHORT SHORT shorts.
      Akkubra hat
      Hiking boots…

      If it rains, a rainjacket (gortex of course!)

      Seriously, we were up at Mt. Wellington / Crinoline and then went to Arbuckle Junction for lunch on the last day, in July, and he was just chilling (seriously :) in the shorts and workshirt!

      • Frank says

        hey Alex,
        Trying to think of his name ……ex teacher? Loved a good chainsaw? Played string instruments, liked a beer..
        Was there during the floods? Or was it the fire?

  4. Diane says

    The likelihood that something will tear is directly proportional to its cost.
    My absolute best pair of winter trews cost $3 at St Vinnies LaTrobe; knitted wool which stays comfortable if it does warm up and is really really comfy under my overtrousers which should have been expensive but were $10 with a new label on them from Anglicare. Look for silk shirts which dry quickly and never chafe; unwanted father’s day presents can sometimes be found new.
    I did tear my favourite overtrousers on the Jamison Traverse – mainly because I felt safer doing a five-point descent in parts (hands, feet and bottom contacting the ground) and if I’d known what I was in for I’d have put a cheap pair of boardies over the top.
    I have done a number of supported walks and really enjoyed them. That is, bags are carried for you so you can be a little more generous with packing. Consider sequestering your really wornout shirts for away trips – I had one which looked like torn tissue paper – and plan to discard them as you go. That provides rags with which to stuff wet boots – and if you are doing an extended walk in Tasmania or the Blue Mountains you have a good chance of getting wet feet. Camp shoes are feather-light deckies which cost $2 at the Reject shop.

    • Frank says

      Excellent comments and ideas , thanks!

      Clare and Hannah (our daughters) love a good Op Shop expedition and pick up excellent stuff, for a steal!

      Not sure about a “5 point descent” – sounds rather “adventurous?….

      • Diane says

        No, the guide was walking, I was slithering. Threatened flooding had cancelled the planned walk on the six-foot track and the nice people at bluemountainsguides.com.au (its not a plug if I’m answering a question is it?) had given us a freebie day walk instead – and it was spectacular, just a bit steep & slippery in parts.

        • Frank says

          Slithering is better than falling…..

          All reasonable plugs happily accepted so don’t stress!

          How do you like supported walks?

  5. Alex scott says

    Hey frank

    Nha, your thinking of ROSS Richards, director from 2005 to 2007

    I’m thinking of Dan Akibair, and also Conrad McKee (who incidentally is doing a fundraising walk from the western most point of aus to Byron via Uluru!!!)

  6. Diane says

    Oh, and with regard to brand names – Something I do miss is the Aldi supermarket chain. They have an extremely variable “variety” section of the store which occasionally has outdoor wear. My favourite summer hiking pants and shirt (Sunproof,lightweight, pockets, webbing in armpits) came from there for about $20 for both, I think, and I got an inexpensive pair of apres ski boots which are perfect for car based camping – waterproof, warm and comfortable. Bit hit and miss though.

  7. Diane says

    On a roll, am I not.
    If you can’t find woollen knit trousers (and I don’t mean tights or thermals, that’s underwear not clothing) in your op shop, checkout Australian Wool Mills next time you are in Bendigo. I daresay that thermals would be equally comfortable under my waterproofs but knit trousers are more respectable if one is fortunate enough to be able to plan a walk with a winery or pub at apogee.

    • Frank says

      You are on a roll Diane!
      Great tips, Aldi does have a weird range of stuff.
      Thanks for the headsup on Australian Woolen Mills. Clare, our daughter may know it, she was there for 3 years at Uni – doing Outdoor Ed 😉

  8. Brendan says

    I’m a a bit of a gear freak and try to justify my spending with the fact that I’m an OEd Teacher :) – so keep in mind my gear probably gets a bit more wear than most people’s and I’m prepared to spend a bit more because of this.

    I just got back from an 8 day walk in North Tassie yesterday and this is what I had:

    Accessories: Fleece Beanie & Neck Gaiter,
    one of those lightweight broad brimmed hats no idea what brand.
    A pair of $3 fingerless polypro gloves (I just get dirty/wet fingertips wearing full gloves. I’m not a cold person so don’t need anything warmer)

    Tops: 2 x long sleeved merino thermals (1 200 weight icebreaker, 1 some other way cheaper brand from Ray’s Outdoors that’s just as good),
    1 short sleeved merino,
    1 berghaus fleece,
    1 Mont Supersonic Jacket (This is my most expensive item coming in at $600 retail (I think, not that I paid that). Well worth it considering it’s my skiing jacket as well as hiking and kept me completely dry in 3 days of wet slushy heavy snow earlier this year. Best jacket ever.)

    Bottoms: 2 x 200 weight icebreaker thermals
    1 kathmandu overpants (definitely not my choice of brands (way overpriced for the quality), but I was stuck in Devenport with a completely shot old pair, and it was these or those cheapo Rainbird pants, and I was about to head up to Walls of Jerusalem where it was snowing. That said, they have done their job!)
    1 pair shorts (some cheapo quick drying Wild Country job from Ray’s. They do just fine)
    Pair of Sea to Summit ‘Quagmire’ Gaiters (canvas, not the eVent ones)

    Socks: I had 3 pairs, 2 of them I won’t bother saying what because I don’t like them and need new ones, but the other pair are Injinji toe socks (yes Frank, the very same free pair you sent me after that blisters article) and they are the best. socks. ever. But gosh they take a while to put on!

    Boots: I was wearing my Raichle (that’s ‘Mammut’ brand now) ‘Mt Crest’ boots this trip since it was pretty wet (dry feet even while fording many calf high creeks with boots/gaiters still on and a couple of days of bog. Fantastic) but also have Asolo ‘Fugitives’ I use on shorter hikes/warmer weather which are great- very stiff for their lighter weight and breath well.

    I was carrying extra in case the kids got their gear wet but that’s all my gear. Obviously a fair bit there, there’s no way I would carry all that in warmer/drier weather.
    As for your questions Frank:

    List: I don’t have a list, I change my gear depending on conditions (ie only take 1 thermal and have lightweight quick drying Macpac shirts for walking in in warmer conditions) but I always bring that gear I listed in colder conditions.
    Must Haves: Neck Gaiter in cold weather! Injinji toes socks!
    Bargains: Online – This saddens me, I’d prefer to support local business. For Aussie gear that is no cheaper online (ie my Mont Supersonic Jacket) I’ll often hit up Bogong Equipment in Melbs. The clearance section of Ray’s Outdoors has also yielded me many bargains with gear where quality doesn’t matter too much (ie shorts).
    Online, closer to home try http://www.bivouac.co.nz – free shipping to aus I think, and http://www.kellysbasecamp.com.au/.
    Abroad, try http://www.backcountrygear.com (not to be confused with backcountry.com) and check out their clearance section. They don’t seem to have the same restrictions on shipping some brands as other US sites do (ie icebreaker, MSR, etc won’t ship to Aus from backcountry.com).
    Best Piece of Gear: My neck gaiter- Found it on the Kepler track in NZ! Free gear is the best gear 😀 My boots and jacket are my best really- in these items $$$ really does = quality. Both well worth it.
    What I walk in: Shorts unless it’s snowing/overpants if it’s seriously raining. Long sleeved merino top with collar in cooler weather. Shirt in warmer stuff. Hat/beanie depending on sun.
    What I sleep in: I’ve got a jolly warm One Planet sleeping bag so not much beyond shorts usually- thermals if the mercury is dropping.

    sorry if that’s a bit of an essay Ive written :)

    • Frank says

      Woah Brendan,
      Lots of great information there, thanks very much.
      – Glad the socks work well, they are very popular!
      – We got Mountain Design bushwalker Goretex jackets years ago and they have been fantastic – glad to see your Mont has worked out well
      – great tips on shoppping for gear
      – Like your list, simple, cheapish and practical without too many frills!

  9. says

    Let me see. I tend to buy “good” stuff as the cheap things were either not comfortable or broke by now. It’s not so much about the brands, its about stuff that works.

    Head: Outdoor Research beanie if cold and a “sun runner” otherwise (also great to keep the rain out of my face – I’m wearing glasses).

    Neck: a gaiter keeps my neck warm in winter or cold wind.

    Top: 1st layer from Earth, Sea, Sky (feels like wearing nothing at all, keeps me warm or cool, made in NZ), Icebreaker long sleeve, cheap fleece if it’s really cold or at night in winter. Outdoor Research Helium jacket (weighs only 200g and is bright golden in case I would ever need to signal for help I thought)

    Legs: Northface shorts (again feel like wearing nothing at all without getting those looks), Macpac soft shell pants (the zippers are a bit annoying but they are comfy, warm but not too warm), Outdoor Research gaiters. Cheap rain-over pants from Kathmandu.

    What I’m still missing: good gloves and extra hiking undies.

    I do have a list on Google docs which includes the weight of all items. I used to shave 1-2 kg of by replacing the “biggest” items.

    I buy 95% of my gear in the US because prices here are a ripoff. Most of the items come from China anyway…

    My best item… the 1st layers, shorts, gaiters plus the rain jacket because it’s so light and small and I always have it in my pack.

    The most expensive item would be the Icebreaker long sleeve. Was it worth it? Hell yeah!

    On cooler/cold days I wear shorts with gaiters, 1st layer and Icebreaker plus neck gaiter and beanie. Perfect.

    A good idea is to have a set of cloth in the car. Nice and dry and not smelly. Even after a day-walk its great to “get clean” buy changing a T-shirt, socks and shoes. Then it’s also more fun to go to a cafe…

  10. says

    I am a bargain hunter. I use mostly online retailers. My current favorites are:
    Rock Creek

    The following clothing list is my standard for most weather conditions in the spring, summer, and fall.

    Convertible Pants – Columbia 

    L/S Sun Shirt – Mountain Hardware Canyon

    SS Shirt – Nike

    Underwear – 2 Patagonia Active Brief

    Sport Bra Champion

    Socks – 2 pair Injinji Performance Coolmax Mini Crew
Sun Hat – Cowboy
    Sunglasses – Smith
Down Jacket – Montbell UL Down Inner Sweater
Rain/Wind Jacket – North Face Diad

    Rain Pants – Marmot Pre-cip 

    Gloves – Mountain Hardware power-stretch with latex medical gloves
Hat – hand knitted head band, Smartwool beanie

    Baselayer Bottoms – Icebreaker 150
    Baselayer Top – Patagonia Capeline 2 Zip
Camp Shoes – Mary Jane Crocs 

    Sleep Socks – Wigwam Merino/Silk Scout

    I primarily hike in the High Sierras in California in the US. The temps swing from below freezing to hot and rain to hail and snow on any given day during spring, summer, and fall. Consequently, you have to be prepared for EVERYTHING.

    • Frank says

      This is a fantastic help thanks Rockin,
      It fascinated me that the Injinji socks keep popping up all over the world….

      I had read you used latex medical gloves as a water proof layer. This is an interesting addition many people might find useful. Lightweight, fairly tough and cheap. Did you find them worth it to keep you hands dry and warm?

      • says

        Latex medical gloves have saved me many times especially on cold frozen mornings when packing up is miserable and wet. You can wear these over glove liners or on their own while in camp or hiking. I handed these out to every PCT hiker that stayed at our home this spring. Little light life savers.

  11. says

    I’ve enjoyed reading what others wear. I live and hike where it’s hot – very, very hot. I’m almost embarrassed to add what I wear while hiking because it’s so simplistic. I have an old pair of yoga capris I bought a long time ago from Target, they are my favorite. I wear a sports bra and a large (men’s) “wife beater”. I wear wool socks (merino wool – medium weight) and Asolo hiking boots. And I have a camelbak. That’s about all :)

  12. Liz says

    I can’t go past Mtn Designs for much of my clothing…tough and functional. They are reasonably priced and often have great sales on. Plus the staff are friendly and knowledgable. They recently changed from Columbia to Berghaus for their brand…I picked up 2 pairs of convertible pants for under $100…will see how they compare to my trusty Khumo’s.

    Icebreaker merino thermals top and bottom as well as underwear.

    Good quality merino socks are a must.

    My last big hike was Great Ocean Walk, for which I introduced runners balm (available at Rebel Sport etc) to my must have kit. Coat my feet in this stuff every morning and not a single hot spot or blister for the whole 110+ km. Also helpful for any other problem areas (my hips are bony and tend to get a bit tender).

    I have a collection of head buffs, handy for many things other than keeping the unkempt mane in check.

    Down jacket from MacPac…same model often on sale for $99….never failed to keep me warm and comes with it’s own stuff sac.

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