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Summer Hiking Outfits: Expert Tips To Stay Cool (+ Mistakes to Avoid)

Summer Hiking Outfits: Expert Tips To Stay Cool (+ Mistakes to Avoid)


Welcome to your ultimate guide for summer hiking outfits, where we dive deep into the essentials for beating the heat and ensuring your adventures are both comfortable and exhilarating. 

With the right selection of fabrics, an understanding of key features, and a little help from Glacier Tek's innovative cooling technology, you're set to explore the best trails summer has to offer.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choose fabrics that offer sun protection, moisture-wicking properties, and breathability.
  • Opt for hiking clothes with UPF ratings for adequate sun protection.
  • Moisture-wicking materials like polyester and synthetic blends keep you cool and dry.
  • Proper ventilation and breathability in hiking clothes enhance comfort.
  • Select hiking boots and shoes that provide support, traction, and breathability.

Choosing the Right Fabrics for Your Summer Hike

When planning your summer hiking outfits, it is essential to select fabrics that provide sun protection, moisture-wicking properties, and breathability. These key features will ensure you stay comfortable and protected on the trails. Let's delve into three important aspects to consider when choosing the right fabrics for your summer hike: UPF ratings, moisture-wicking materials, and ventilation.

UPF Ratings: Understanding Sun Protection

UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) ratings indicate the level of protection from harmful UV rays offered by clothing. 

The higher the UPF rating, the greater the sun protection. 

When selecting hiking clothes for summer, opt for fabrics with a UPF rating of 30 or higher to shield you from the sun's harmful rays.

Moisture-Wicking Materials to Keep You Cool

Moisture-wicking materials, such as polyester and synthetic blends, are excellent choices for summer hiking. 

These fabrics pull sweat away from your skin, allowing it to evaporate quickly. By keeping you dry and cool, moisture-wicking materials prevent discomfort and reduce the risk of chafing.

Ventilation: Why Breathability Matters

Breathable fabrics are essential for maintaining comfort during summer hikes. They allow air to circulate, preventing overheating and excessive sweat accumulation. Look for clothing with features like mesh panels or vents that provide enhanced ventilation and promote airflow. These breathable fabrics will keep you feeling fresh and comfortable throughout your hike.

Fabric Type

UPF Rating







Synthetic Blends




Merino Wool












The foundation of your summer hiking outfit starts with choosing the right fabrics. Opt for materials that not only protect you from the sun's rays but also keep moisture at bay, ensuring a dry and comfortable hike. Fabrics like polyester and synthetic blends excel in pulling sweat from your skin, allowing for quick evaporation and a chafe-free experience.

For those long summer days, Glacier Tek's Classic Cooling Vests integrate seamlessly with your chosen fabrics, offering an additional layer of temperature regulation without compromising on comfort. Visit our shop to view our collection. 

Top Picks for Summer Hiking Shirts and Shorts

Finding the right shirts and shorts for your summer hikes can significantly enhance your comfort on the trails. Lightweight and breathable shirts made from materials like polyester and merino wool are great choices for staying cool and dry.

When it comes to hiking shorts, opt for pairs that provide comfort, flexibility, and moisture-wicking properties. These shorts will keep you comfortable during long hikes and allow for freedom of movement.

To help you make informed decisions, we have selected our top picks for summer hiking shirts and shorts:

For Men

For Women


KUIU Ultra Merino 145 Zip-T Hunting Shirt

  • Made of 90% Merino Wool and 10% Nylon
  • Has UPF 50+ sun protection
  • Has odor resistant properties


Outdoor Research Women's Echo T-Shirt

  • Made of recycled stretch materials
  • Has UPF 15 sun protection
  • Has odor resistant properties


Prana Men’s Slope Short

  • Made of nylon
  • Has an elastic waistband & drawstring
  • Has moisture-wicking properties

Columbia Women's Sandy River Cargo Short

  • Made of nylon
  • Has UPF 30 sun protection
  • Has moisture-wicking properties

These top picks combine functionality, comfort, and style, making them perfect for your summer hiking adventures. Remember to choose shirts and shorts that suit your specific needs and preferences, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable outdoor experience. 

The Best Hiking Boots and Shoes for Summer Trails

Choosing the right hiking boots and shoes is crucial for a comfortable and safe hiking experience. When it comes to summer trails, it's important to opt for footwear that provides adequate support, traction, and breathability.

We will explore some of the best hiking boots and shoes available on the market, designed specifically for summer hikes. Whether you prefer lightweight hiking shoes or sturdy boots, we have options for every hiker.


Key Features

SCARPA Rush 2 Mid GTX (Men)

SCARPA Rush 2 Mid GTX (Women) 

Lightweight, nimble, waterproof, reinforced toebox, GORE-TEX lining for dryness and breathability, and especially grippy outsole on boulders and slabs.

Salomon Quest 4 GORE-TEX (Men)

Salomon Quest 4 GORE-TEX (Women) 

Highly supportive, ideal for backpacking with heavy loads, durable, GORE-TEX waterproofing, and aggressive tread for rugged trail conditions.

Merrell Moab 3 Mid WP (Men)

Merrell Moab 3 Mid WP (Women)

Waterproof (M Select DRY), great cushioning, Vibram outsoles for traction, and updated with recycled materials. Offers a comfortable and foot-friendly experience.


These are just a few examples of the excellent hiking boots and shoes available. Remember to consider your hiking environment, personal preferences, and comfort level when selecting footwear. With the right pair of hiking boots or shoes, you'll be ready to conquer summer trails with confidence.

Accessories: Enhancing Comfort and Protection

Accessories play a crucial role in enhancing both comfort and protection during summer hikes. By choosing the right hiking accessories, you can ensure a more enjoyable and safe outdoor experience. Let's explore some key accessories that are essential for your hiking adventures:

Selecting the Right Sunglasses and Sun Hats

When hiking in the summer, protecting your eyes and face from the sun's harmful rays is essential. The right sunglasses can provide UV protection and reduce glare, allowing you to see clearly on bright sunny days.

Additionally, wearing a sun hat will shield your face from direct sunlight, helping to prevent sunburn and heatstroke.

Functional and Fashionable Hiking Socks

Don't underestimate the importance of wearing the right hiking socks. Functional and comfortable hiking socks are crucial for preventing blisters and keeping your feet dry.

Look for socks made from moisture-wicking materials that will help to keep your feet cool and comfortable during long hikes. Investing in high-quality hiking socks will ensure that your feet stay happy and blister-free.

Smart Choices for Backpacks and Hydration Packs

Carrying the right backpack and hydration pack is essential for staying prepared and hydrated during your hikes. A well-designed backpack with proper padding, compartments, and adjustable straps will distribute the weight evenly and provide maximum comfort.

Hydration packs with built-in water reservoirs make it convenient to stay hydrated on the trails without having to constantly reach for water bottles. Look for backpacks and hydration packs that are lightweight, durable, and have enough storage space for your hiking essentials. 

The right accessories can make a world of difference in your hiking comfort and protection. From selecting the perfect sunglasses and sun hats to choosing functional hiking socks, every detail counts. Glacier Tek's Cooling Products can be a valuable addition to your accessory list, offering innovative solutions to enhance your outdoor experience. Visit our shop to view our products.  

Hiking Accessories




Knockaround Fast Lanes Sport Polarized Sunglasses

  • UV400 rating
  • Polarized lenses

Sun Hats

Solbari Traveller Broad Brim Sun Hat UPF50+

  • UPF 50+
  • Made of nylon
  • Easy to pack  

Hiking Socks

Darn Tough Vermont’s Light Hiker Socks Collection

  • Made of merino wool 
  • Has underfoot cushioning 
  • Performance fit means no bunching and blisters 

Hydration packs/Backpacks

Osprey Hikelite Series

  • Conveniently-placed and secure zipper storage
  • Raincover included
  • Has dual compression straps with trekking pole attachment
  • Has hydration sleeve with hose port 
  • Has an adjustable sternum strap with whistle and removable hip belt 

Summer Hiking Outfits: Dressing for Different Trail Conditions

Dressing appropriately for different trail conditions is essential to stay comfortable and safe during your summer hikes. Whether you're facing elevation changes or unpredictable weather conditions, having the right clothing and layering strategies can make all the difference.

Adapting to Elevation and Climate Changes

When hiking in diverse terrains with varying elevations, it's important to anticipate changes in temperature and weather conditions. As you ascend to higher altitudes, the temperature generally drops, and conditions can become more unpredictable. To adapt to these changes, consider the following:

  • Wear moisture-wicking base layers that can manage sweat and keep you dry, even when the temperature drops.

  • Layer up with lightweight and breathable clothing to regulate your body temperature as you ascend and descend.

  • Carry a lightweight and packable waterproof jacket in case of sudden rain or wind at higher elevations.

  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat and applying sunscreen, even at higher altitudes where UV rays can be stronger.

Layering Strategies for Varying Weather Patterns

Summer weather can be unpredictable, especially in mountainous regions. Implementing layering strategies allows you to adjust your clothing according to changing weather patterns throughout your hike. Follow these tips:

  • Start with a moisture-wicking base layer that will keep you dry and comfortable even if you sweat profusely.

  • Add a lightweight and breathable mid-layer, such as a fleece or softshell jacket, to provide insulation when the temperature drops or to repel light rain.

  • Carry a versatile and packable outer layer, like a waterproof and windproof shell, to protect against heavy rain, strong winds, or sudden temperature changes.

  • Remember to adjust and remove layers as needed to prevent excessive sweating or overheating.

Hiking in hot weather requires preparation and the right gear. Staying hydrated, protecting your skin from the sun, and taking regular breaks are essential.

(And to help you stay comfortably cool on the trail, take a look at our Cooling Vests collection.)

What Not to Wear When Hiking in Summer

When it comes to summer hiking attire, certain clothing choices can lead to discomfort, overheating, and even safety risks. 

To ensure a successful and enjoyable hiking experience, it's important to avoid common mistakes in hot-weather hiking attire. One of the biggest mistakes hikers make is wearing cotton clothing. While it may be a common fabric in everyday clothing, cotton is not suitable for hiking in heat.

Avoiding Common Mistakes in Hot-Weather Hiking Attire

Wearing the wrong clothing materials can make your summer hike an unpleasant experience. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

  • Choosing cotton clothing: Cotton retains moisture and does not dry quickly, which can lead to discomfort, chafing, and even hypothermia in extreme cases.

  • Opting for dark-colored clothing: Dark colors absorb more heat from the sun, making you feel hotter and increasing the risk of heat-related illnesses.

  • Wearing tight-fitting clothes: Tight clothing restricts airflow and can trap heat against your body, causing excessive sweating and discomfort. It's important to choose loose-fitting attire that allows for proper ventilation.

To stay comfortable and safe when hiking in summer, it's essential to choose moisture-wicking and breathable materials that are better suited for hot weather conditions. Opt for synthetic fabrics like polyester or blends that are specifically designed to wick away moisture from your skin and dry quickly.

These fabrics allow for better regulation of body temperature and help keep you cool throughout your hike.

Navigating the Challenge of Hiking in Hot Weather

Hiking in hot weather can present unique challenges, but with the right knowledge and preparation, you can have a successful hike. Here are some tips and techniques to help you stay cool and comfortable on hot days while ensuring your safety and well-being:

  1. Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration is crucial when hiking in hot weather. Carry an adequate supply of water and drink regularly to replenish fluids lost through sweating. Consider using electrolyte-enhanced drinks to maintain a proper balance of minerals.

  2. Dress Appropriately: Choose lightweight and breathable clothing made from moisture-wicking materials to help regulate body temperature. Opt for light-colored clothes that reflect the sun's rays instead of absorbing heat.

  3. Protect Your Skin: Apply sunscreen with a high SPF rating to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Don't forget to wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to shield your face and eyes from the sun.

  4. Take Breaks in the Shade: When hiking in hot weather, it's important to take regular breaks in shaded areas to allow your body to cool down. Look for spots with natural shade or bring along a lightweight portable shade solution.

  5. Plan Your Route Wisely: Choose trails that offer shade or water sources along the way, such as rivers or lakes, to cool off and rest if needed. Avoid routes with intense sun exposure during the hottest parts of the day.

  6. Adjust Your Pace: Take it slow and adjust your hiking pace to the heat. This will help prevent overheating and exhaustion. Listen to your body and take breaks whenever necessary.

  7. Use Cooling Accessories: Consider using cooling towels or bandanas soaked in cool water to wrap around your neck or place on your forehead. You can also invest in a cooling vest like our Glacier Tek Sports Cooling Vest to help regulate your body temperature. These accessories can provide instant relief from the heat. Visit our shop to view our collection. 

  8. Plan Early Morning or Late Evening Hikes: Hiking during the cooler hours of the day, such as early morning or late evening, can help you avoid the hottest temperatures. This is especially important if you are hiking in areas with extreme heat.

By following these tips and techniques, you can navigate the challenges of hiking in hot weather and enjoy your summer adventures to the fullest.


As you gear up for your summer hiking adventures, remember that being comfortable and enjoying yourself out there all starts with what you're wearing. We've walked through all the essentials in this guide, from picking the right fabrics that keep you cool and shielded from the sun, to choosing the best boots that won’t let you down on tricky trails. 

It’s all about keeping things c the path throws your way. 

And here’s a little secret: Glacier Tek's Cooling Vests can be a real game-changer. They fit right into your carefully chosen gear, working hand in hand with those moisture-wicking shirts and UPF-rated hats to keep you feeling just right under the sun.

When it comes to accessories, don’t skimp on those either. The right sunglasses, hats, socks, and a trusty backpack are your best friends on the trail. And guess what?

Throwing a Glacier Tek Cooling Vest into the mix is like having a superpower against the heat, making sure you stay cool and collected, no matter how high the mercury climbs. 

As you map out your route and pack your bag, remember that the right choices in your hiking wardrobe, boosted by the clever tech of Glacier Tek, are key to making those summer trails memorable for all the right reasons. Here’s to comfortable, cool, and incredible hiking adventures ahead!

To view our wide range of cooling gear, click here

FAQ About Summer Hiking Outfits 

What fabrics should I choose for summer hiking?

It's best to choose fabrics that offer sun protection, moisture-wicking properties, and breathability. Look for materials with UPF ratings, moisture-wicking materials like polyester and synthetic blends, as well as garments with proper ventilation and breathability.

How can I protect myself from the sun while hiking in hot weather?

To protect yourself from the sun, wear clothing with UPF ratings, use sunscreen, wear a sun hat, and sunglasses. Make sure to seek shade whenever possible and stay hydrated.

What are the essential features I should look for in hiking clothes?

Essential features of hiking clothes include sun protection (UPF ratings), moisture-wicking properties, and breathability. Proper ventilation and breathability in hiking clothes allow for airflow and prevent overheating.

How should I dress for different trail conditions during summer hiking?

You should dress in layers to adapt to varying weather patterns and elevation changes. This allows you to easily adjust your clothing based on the temperature and humidity levels. Make sure to choose moisture-wicking and breathable materials for optimal comfort.

Are there any accessories that can enhance my comfort and protection during summer hikes?

Yes, selecting the right accessories can enhance your comfort and protection during summer hikes. This includes sunglasses and sun hats for sun protection, functional and fashionable hiking socks for preventing blisters, and backpacks and hydration packs for carrying gear and staying hydrated.

How can I navigate the challenge of hiking in hot weather?

To navigate the challenge of hiking in hot weather, make sure to stay hydrated, wear appropriate clothing for sun protection and breathability, and regulate your body temperature through proper ventilation and taking breaks in shaded areas.

What should I avoid wearing when hiking in summer?

It's best to avoid wearing cotton when hiking in summer as it retains moisture and can lead to discomfort and chafing. Instead, choose moisture-wicking and breathable materials that are better suited for hot weather hiking.

What are the key takeaways for summer hiking success?

The key takeaways for summer hiking success include choosing fabrics with sun protection, moisture-wicking properties, and breathability, wearing appropriate footwear, dressing in layers, and selecting the right accessories for comfort and protection.

Any final thoughts on choosing my hiking wardrobe for summer?

When choosing your hiking wardrobe for summer, prioritize comfort, functionality, and protection. Consider the weather conditions and trail requirements to ensure you have a pleasant and enjoyable hiking experience.

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