Outdoor clothes share a lot of common purposes with your average everyday clothing. Clothing in general is designed to keep you warm, dry, and wind-proof, the purpose of hiking clothing is just the same, but with added features to protect against adverse weather conditions, the type of terrain, and other challenges you may expect on your hike.
The general rule about traveling light always applies, so this means that you should choose your clothing with a lot more care than your ordinary clothes. Your attitude should not be, “as long as I carry loads of extra clothes along, I should be well equipped.” The same as with boots, tents, and all the other gear, weight and volume are important considerations.
Here are some guidelines to consider when choosing your clothing:
The Thermal Equilibrium
Although people think in terms of “warm clothing” actually, the purpose of hiking clothes like these is not to increase your overall body heat. What they do rather is to help you keep and provide a thermal balance throughout your body.
Thermal equilibrium simply means that your body is producing as much heat as you are loosing. That way, your body does not have to generate extra heat or lose it through perspiring. Producing extra heat or sweat a lot can be inefficient for your body, reducing your total energy. By choosing hiking clothes that help maintain your thermal equilibrium, you therefore save your body’s energy to keep you going for the whole of the excursion.
One obvious function of hiking clothes is to keep the rain out. If your skin is dry, your body is able to retain more of its heat. In addition, dry skin makes you feel more comfortable. No one wants to feel all damp and sweaty.
Keep you dry has two considerations:
• Firstly, defense against outside dampness. Your hiking clothes should be able to protect you from rain, snow, and other possible sources of wetness.
• Secondly, protection from body moisture. Your clothes should transfer body moisture (perspiration) away from your body.
The ability to protect against outside moisture while keeping body moisture away from your skin is a difficult combination that requires your clothes to work in a breathable way but also provide good waterproofing.
Padding and Protection
The last important consideration of your hiking clothes are their suitability to offer you protection from your environment other than wetness through extra padding. You need to protect your skin as it is not very strong. It can get easily cut by anything that’s sharp or moving in high velocity. It can get bruising, drieness, and even break in harsh conditions.
The outdoors life presents a lot more danger to our precious skin than our usual city life surroundings. Therefore, a good degree of padding and reinforcement are used to guard you from the possibility od damage your skin might encounter because of rough rambling or backpack chaffing.