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Granola Girl’s Guide To Summer Hiking Clothes For Women

Summer hiking is the best hiking… only if you have the right hiking clothes.

A thick shirt or un-breathable pants can ruin a good trail when hit with the summer sun. Staying cool is one of the most important goals when hiking in the hot summer months.

Well, after hiking alone as a woman all summer long, I’ve got a few recommendations on summer hiking clothes for women.

I’ll teach you everything I’ve learned about what makes the perfect summer hiking gear so that you can avoid the mistakes I’ve made!

Don’t worry, you don’t need to look like an absolute nerd in your hiking outfit. Here are my favorite hiking clothes this summer that I look cute in (IMHO).

Tips For Choosing The Best Hiking Outfits for Women

I’ve been hiking all my life and across mountain ranges around the world. One thing I learned while living out of a backpack is that you can hike in literally anything. You don’t need all of the technical stuff, though the technical stuff sure if handy.

Whatever you end up choosing for your summer hiking outfits, follow the tips I’m outlining below. It’s basically how I prioritize my own outfits no matter how big my wardrobe is.

Hiking Outfits for Women
Photo by: Marquis Matson
  1. Choose the Right Materials: The right fabric can make or break a hike. Opt for breathable, quick-drying, lightweight fabrics like merino wool, polyester, and nylon. Most people will say to avoid cotton but I still wear a cotton tank most days and then choose lightweight layers.
  2. Be Prepared for Temperature Changes: Especially in summer, temperatures can fluctuate, especially if you’re hiking at high altitudes or in the early morning or evening. Layering your clothes allows you to adjust to changing conditions.
  3. Prioritize Comfort: Your hiking clothes should allow free movement and be extremely comfortable. If something is annoying about your hiking boots or pants, then it will only become more annoying the longer the hike. My recommendation: prioritize comfort.
  4. Always Protect Yourself From The Sun: Wear a hat, long sleeves, sunscreen, and everything else to keep yourself protected. This is not just a skin issue, this will help keep you hydrated and safe on warmer days and longer hikes.

How To layer Summer Hiking Clothes

Start with a moisture-wicking base layer to keep sweat away from your skin. If it’s a bit chilly, add an insulating middle layer made of fleece or merino wool. And always carry a lightweight, waterproof outer layer in case of unexpected rain showers. I also always pack a warm little beanie just in case.

These are my usual my base layers (and everyday wear, honestly):

I always brings extra clothes on my day hikes. Summer thunderstorms roll through in the afternoon and often bring freezing hail with it. I like having warm clothes ready to go just in case I get caught in something.

Then my middle layer and outer layer I stuff in my day pack:

I also always pack a warm little beanie just in case:

Top Picks for Summer Hiking Clothes for Women

Women’s hiking clothes are often cute but leave a lot to be desired. As people back in Australia once told me: American style is so functional. It lacks style and character.

cute hiking outfit for women
I do still look pretty cute though 😉 ; Photo by: Marquis Matson

But the truth is, when I’m on a backcountry trail in Montana, I’m more concerned about breathability and sun protection than I am about looking cute. So these are the cutest women’s hiking clothes that I’ve found that also offer a lot of protection.

Here’s my go-to hiking outfit:

Hiking Shirts For Women

I always start my outdoor adventures with a good tank top, then a lightweight long sleeve shirt over that. I bring a flannie with me in case temperature drop and a down jacket in case temps really drop.

These are some of my favorite shirts for warmer weather.

Hiking Sports Bras For Women

If I can get away with it, then I go braless. But if I must wear a bra, then this is what I go for. It stays in place, is soft enough to not feel smothering, and is super comfortable. You’ll barely notice it’s there, and gone are the days of removing your bra the second you get home.

Hiking Bottoms For Women

Comfortable hiking pants or shorts come down to flexibility, breathability, and ability to repel water. My go-to shorts are always the biker shorts, but on wetter days or when I’m hiking to or near water, I like the other two moisture-wicking options here:

Whenever I want to jump into some hiking pants, these are my two go-to options. The leggings style is great for flexibility and my preferred option, but the looser-fitting water-resistant pants are great for wetter or hotter days.

Hiking Socks For Women

A good pair of socks can go a long way on the trail. I prefer wearing taller socks with my hiking boots so the backs of the ankles don’t rub on my boots. With trail runners, ankle socks can help keep rocks and dirt out of your shoe. Here are my top recommendations for hiking socks.

Hiking Hats For Women

Ever since living in Australia (the land of hot weather), a good sun hat has been a part of my everyday wear… especially with my hiking outfits on the trail. While I like my straw hat, I got it at a little convenience store at the beach in Queensland. I also like a classic waterproof brimmer hat for better protection.

Hiking Shoes For Women

The best hiking shoes are those that will not be a pain in your ass. I have super wide feet and short toes, so I’ve had my fair share of painful hiking shoes. Luckily, I’ve finally found two brands (Altra and Chaco) that work for me. So keep in mind that I’ll include my favorite hiking shoes here based on my wide feet.

I have a pair of hiking boots, hiking sandals, and water resistant hiking shoes for winter hiking… and here’s what I wear hiking in the summer:

Altra Lone Peak Hiking Boot

The Lone Peak Hiking Boot is designed with your comfort in mind. The breathable mesh upper ensures your feet stay cool and dry, even on those hot summer hikes. Reinforcements add durability to the boot, making it a reliable choice for any terrain.

I loooovvveeee these boots. They’re like walking on clouds and they are so breathable that I hardly notice I have shoes on at all. The grip is great and the ankle support is good without being suffocating… which, as you can see in this pic, is super important to me because homegirl as some all natural THICKNESS in the ankles. Most boots (and lamentably any kind of shoes that wrap around the ankle) are too tight for me here. NOT ALTRA.

Altra Lone Peak Hiking Boot
Photo by: Marquis Matson

One of the standout features of this boot is the Footshape toe box. This design allows your toes to spread naturally, providing stability and support on uneven ground. With my wide feet, this has been a very exciting feeling. My toes have s p a c e.

The Altra Ego midsole combines cushioning and support to keep your feet comfortable on long hikes. I swear it feels like walking on clouds.

Altra LP Alpine Hiking Shoe

If you’d prefer a shoe, then I recommend the sister version of my boot: The LP Alpine Hiking Shoe. I love these hiking shoes because they work great as trail running shoes too.

One of the unique features of this shoe is its 0mm drop, which encourages a natural stride. This design, coupled with a cushioned midsole, ensures all-day comfort and energy return. So, whether you’re hiking for hours or exploring a new city, they will be comfortable.

Chaco Lowdown Sandal

This laid-back and versatile adventure sandal is as ready for your summer hiking trails as it is for a casual day out in the city. Its lightweight design makes it a perfect fit for any of your everyday adventures – be it running errands, strolling through a park with friends, or even splashing in puddles.

At least that’s how I wear them.

hiking alone as a woman

Since my feet are impossibly wide, they don’t fit in any shoe, which means that I get blisters often. Literally, even shoes I wear daily will give me blisters if I walk long enough.

Not these bad boys. This is the first pair of sandals I’ve ever worn that I could wear immediately and have never given me a single blister. EVER. (Don’t wanna jinx myself…)

The adjustable straps with a buckle allow for customizable comfort, ensuring your feet feel as good as they look. The women-specific Luvseat footbed offers durability and all-day usage, while the Chaco-grip with a 3mm lug depth ensures optimized traction, keeping you steady on your feet no matter where your adventures take you.

I love these sandals so much that I wear them for most things this summer. They’re great for relatively easy hikes (not for rocky terrains or bearing weight) and since they’re waterproof, they’re perfect for lakes and rivers. I like the lighter color because it makes them less noticeable on my feet, but there are tons of color options available!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Do Women Wear For Hiking In Summer?

In the summer, women often opt for lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking clothing to stay cool and dry on the trails. A typical summer hiking outfit might include a breathable short-sleeved shirt or tank top, hiking shorts or convertible pants, and a sun hat. Don’t forget a pair of sturdy hiking boots or shoes that are comfortable and well broken-in. Remember, the key is to choose clothing that protects you from the sun and keeps you cool.

What Are Ideal Hiking Clothes In Summer?

Ideal hiking clothes for summer are those that offer comfort, protection, and functionality. Look for clothing made of quick-drying, breathable fabrics like nylon or polyester. These materials wick away sweat, keeping you dry and comfortable. A lightweight, water-resistant rain jacket might also be useful in case of sudden showers. Don’t forget accessories like a wide-brimmed hat for sun protection, sunglasses, and a high-SPF sunscreen.

Should You Wear Pants Hiking In Summer?

While it might seem counterintuitive, wearing pants can be a good idea when hiking in the summer. Lightweight hiking pants can protect your legs from sunburn, bugs, and scratches from plants or rocks. Look for pants that are made from breathable, quick-drying materials. Convertible pants, which can be zipped off to become shorts, offer a versatile option for changing weather conditions.

Should I Wear Shorts Or Pants For Hiking In Hot Weather?

The choice between shorts and pants for hiking in hot weather depends on the environment and personal preference. Shorts can keep you cooler and are a good option for well-maintained trails with little underbrush. However, pants provide more protection against sun, insects, and abrasive vegetation. If you can’t decide, consider convertible hiking pants that offer the best of both worlds.

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