Why Wearing the Right Gear is Key to Enjoying Nature

Hiking in the Mountains

We’ve all done it. Worn the wrong shoes or jack­et, or for­got gloves or a hat and were mis­er­able. Wet, cold, and grit­ting our teeth back to the car. Or maybe you were in a warm set­ting and your clothes didn’t breathe, and your shoes cooked your feet like a mis­er­able sweat lodge. Or the time when you wore gore-tex shoes only to real­ize your hike had a riv­er cross­ing and now those water­proof fea­tures actu­al­ly kept your shoes from dry­ing turn­ing your feet into blis­ter-rid­den prunes.

With the right gear, you can enjoy all of the mag­ic nature offers. Thanks to mod­ern tech­nol­o­gy from brands you trust, we have access to some of the most amaz­ing ways to expe­ri­ence the out­doors. Here are some basic tips on how to pre­pare for extreme weath­er so the great out­doors are still great to you.

Warm Weather Gear

Breatha­bil­i­ty is key when it comes to warm weath­er activ­i­ties. Don’t cook your­self in a prison of your own mak­ing; here are a few tips to make sure you’re ready for adven­ture on those hot sum­mer days:

Man­ag­ing sweat with a breath­able and non-chaffing mate­r­i­al is key. Take boardshorts/swimming trunks for exam­ple. If there are heavy seams, they are sure to chafe—especially if you’re at the beach. Salt enters the seams and the crys­tals rub against your skin with every stride. The same can hap­pen with hik­ing shorts: if they rub with every stride then the salt from our sweat helps add a sand­pa­per-like effect. Shop for breath­able, light clothes with low pro­file or glued seams and plen­ty of vents.

“Breath­able sup­port with ver­sa­til­i­ty” encom­pass­es what you want to look for in a shoe. You want soles that can grip the tide-pool and riv­er rocks, and a breath­able shoe. If you know your upcom­ing hike includes riv­er cross­ings, then you need to either have shoes designed for in and out of water or car­ry a water-shoe you can change into as needed.

The sun can be bru­tal and dan­ger­ous. A key com­po­nent to a suc­cess­ful sum­mer out­ing is sun pro­tec­tion. This includes sun­screen, chap­stick with SPF, cloth­ing with UV ray pro­tec­tion, and often most impor­tant­ly: a prop­er hat. Your hat should be light with ven­ti­la­tion, yet have a brim that ade­quate­ly shades your face, ears, and neck. One trick I love is to dunk my hat in a cold riv­er along my hike. It feels like an ice pack for my over­heat­ed head—it’s heavenly.

Hydra­tion Pack
You should always plan on pack­ing extra drink­ing water when it’s hot out, but did you know you can actu­al­ly use your hydra­tion pack to keep cool? Pri­or to your hike, fill the hydra­tion pack with ice, then water. The entire hike your ice will slow­ly melt cre­at­ing rough­ly the same vol­ume of water. This yields refresh­ing­ly cold water to sip on along your jour­ney but the cold pack also feels amaz­ing on your back!

Cold Weather Gear

You know lay­er­ing is vital to stay­ing warm, but I’m going to reit­er­ate it here. When you’re hik­ing, kayak­ing, or bik­ing in cold weath­er, you will inevitably warm up as your heart rate and blood pres­sure increase so you’ll need to shed a few layers.

One crit­i­cal com­po­nent in a suc­cess­ful out­door win­ter expe­ri­ence is your foun­da­tion or base-lay­er. A water-wick­ing mate­r­i­al is best for a base. For tem­per­a­tures under 45 degrees Fahren­heit, a flan­nel-lined com­pres­sion base-lay­er that also is water-wick­ing is high­ly suggested.

Your out­er lay­er is as impor­tant as your skin! Do you antic­i­pate wind, rain, snow, or all of the above? Your out­er shell needs to pro­tect all of the inner lay­ers, oth­er­wise, all of the cool wick­ing flan­nel won­der shirts in the world can­not keep you warm and dry.

Foot and Hand Wear
Your feet and hands need to stay dry and warm. Many mate­ri­als adver­tise water­proof fea­tures but they don’t breathe which locks in sweat. Once the sweat is trapped, it sits on your skin caus­ing you to become chilled, that is it’s pur­pose after all.

If you have to have access to your smart­phone while out­doors, then either pur­chase gloves that have the smart­phone-friend­ly tips or glue on the tips to your supe­ri­or gloves to increase its function.

Your feet play a crit­i­cal role in your adven­tures. Meri­no wool is a fab­u­lous mate­r­i­al for win­ter socks. If your hike is lengthy, con­sid­er sock-lin­ers that will allow the motion of your foot to rub between the lin­er and the sock instead of your foot and the sock there­by elim­i­nat­ing blisters!