Hiking in hot weather: What to wear, what to pack, water intake calculator, and 7 extra tips

Hiking in hot weather - What to wear, advice, water calculator, and 7 extra tips
Location: Grüner See, Austria

Hiking in hot weather is an excellent way to explore new trails and enjoy nature.

Today, you will find out what to wear when hiking in hot weather to stay cool, comfortable, and protected during your next hiking journey.

I will also share with you extra tips and tricks on how to choose the right hiking clothes and shoes, how to stay hydrated, and what to put in your hiking backpack for hiking in hot temperatures.

Let’s start!

  • Choose clothes made from merino wool or synthetics like nylon, polyester, polypropylene, and lycra spandex.
  • Wear underwear made from merino wool and with a loose fit.
  • Take a hiking backpack with a capacity between 10 and 30 L.
  • Always wear socks
  • Choose hiking shoes with great ventilation
  • Wear hiking pants if you are scared of ticks, bugs, and insects
  • Protect your skin from the sun by wearing a cap or hat and a long-sleeve shirt
  • Wear sunglasses for better visibility
  • Go here to calculate the amount of water you need to take with you

What to wear for Hiking in hot weather


In your adventure in hot weather, you also need hiking shoes.

When I say hiking shoes, I mean shoes with a cut under the ankle. Do not confuse them with hiking boots.

hiking boots vs hiking shoes
hiking boots vs hiking shoes

With this in mind, let’s see what to look for when searching for hiking shoes for hot weather.
1. Choose a pair of hiking shoes that are lightweight. Believe me when I say that you don’t want to wear heavy slippers in high temperatures while making an effort. This would tire your legs and you will not feel at ease.

So, look for shoes that are lightweight and flexible, as this will allow you to move quickly and easily on the trail. No matter the type of trail – you could hike on rocky terrain, dirt trail, forest floors, or sandy trails, choose light hiking shoes.

2.While hiking your feet also need ventilation. Otherwise, your feet will sweat and promote the appearance of blisters. My advice is to look for hiking shoes made from breathable materials such as mesh.

3.Another thing that hiking shoes must offer is good traction, this also depends on the hiking conditions. If you hike on rocky or uneven terrain, choose hiking shoes with a good sole grip. This gives you stability and prevents slips.

Finally, make sure the shoes fit you well and are your right size.


Nobody wants to face blisters or calluses while hiking.

Your feet are vital when hiking. You want to keep them as comfortable and healthy as possible. You must equip yourself with a good pair of socks to avoid the appearance of blisters or calluses halfway through your hiking journey.

Choosing great hiking socks for summer hiking is not difficult, but you need to take some points into account.

1. First of all, pay special attention to the material of the socks.

You want a pair of wool hiking socks.

You won’t regret it if you listen to my advice. Nothing compares to a pair of wool socks on a hike in sweltering temperatures.

Now you might be wondering: ok, but isn’t wool a cold weather material? No, it is not.

Wool is actually an excellent fabric that keeps you warm during cold temperatures and cools during warm or hot ones.

Your feet will be always dry because the wool fibers have the property of wicking sweat away from the skin. Breathability is also incredible.

2. Another alternative to wool is synthetic materials.

Like wool, they keep feet dry and cool. The only downside is that they lack odor-inhibiting qualities.

If your feet don’t usually suffer from odor, you’re safe with synthetic socks. If not, then opt for a wool pair that helps prevent odor and keeps your feet fresh.

The hiking socks for hot weather should not be thick. Choose a pair of hiking socks that are thinner because they should only protect your feet, not warm them.

3. A final point to consider is the cut of the hiking socks.

Here it also depends on your preference. I recommend that you take shorter socks if you choose to wear hiking pants. Hiking pants offer good protection for your legs.

If you choose to wear hiking shorts, then take longer hiking socks, possibly up to the knees. These long hiking socks come in handy in areas with higher vegetation or with branches and other obstacles that can injure you.

To sum it up, you should definitely wear thin hiking socks for summer hiking made from materials that wick moisture away from your skin.

Pants and Shorts

Hiking in hot temperatures does not necessarily mean that you have to wear shorts just because it is hot outside.

Both hiking pants and shorts are entirely acceptable in this situation.

Everything here depends on your personal preferences and the conditions of the trail.

Hiking pants - shorts - covertible Hiking in hot weather

Hiking pants

If you’re like me and you like to be safe and protected, choose hiking pants.

I personally am extremely afraid of ticks and always choose to wear hiking pants.

Besides the fact that it offers protection against ticks, bugs, insects, and snakes, hiking pants protect you from wounds from branches and bushes, poison ivy from different plants that can irritate the skin, dirt, debris, and the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Hiking pants are also a great choice for rocky terrain or one that has overgrown vegetation.

Hiking shortsIf you are adventurous and you do not mind a little dirt, then wear hiking shorts.

Hiking shorts ensure freedom of movement and extra ventilation. Moreover, hiking shorts can be worn by extra careful people in good conditions.

If you know that the trail is well maintained with no vegetation and low insect volume, you can wear hiking short too.

Convertible hiking pantsIf you still don’t know what to choose and you’re not even sure about the conditions of the trail, then my recommendation is to wear convertible hiking pants.

These hiking pants turn into short and long pants in a minute.

Regardless of your length preferences, choose a pair made from breathable and lightweight materials like nylon or polyester.

Look for shorts or pants with reinforced seams and a durable construction because they withstand the wear and tear of hiking.

And finally, they must fit comfortably and allow you to move freely.


Underwear may not be top of mind when you’re planning a hike in summer, but it should be!

Trust me when I say that nothing feels more comfortable than a pair of well-fitting underwear.

Your goal should be to avoid chaffing and sweat.

You can have a great experience on the trail with the right hiking underwear.

So, what underwear to wear when hiking in hot temperatures?

You must follow two criteria:

  • a suitable material
  • and a good fit.

MaterialThe underwear material must offer good breathability and have moisture-wicking properties. Superior ventilation and less sweat lower the risk of bacteria and infections.

The best materials you can choose from are synthetic ones such as nylon, polyester, polypropylene, lycra spandex, or merino wool.
FitThe fit of the underwear should not be too loose, but not too tight either. A snug fit is perfect to prevent chaffing and discomfort during the activity.

Now, let’s say you are a hiker who prefers to go commando.

Is it ok not to wear underwear? In case of day hiking, it is ok not to wear underwear.

You can help prevent chafing and provide increased ventilation for added comfort on the trail.

Have confidence and give it a try!

Sports bra

You want your hiking bra to offer breathability, a snug fit, enough support, and to wick sweat away from the body.

Just like underwear, choose one of the synthetic materials known for its moisture-wicking and quick-drying properties.

Lycra spandex, polyester, nylon, and merino wool are all perfect materials for a sports bra for hiking in hot weather.

All of them provide ventilation and keep you dry during the hike.

From the point of view of the activity, the support provided by the sports bra should not be extremely high.

Hiking is not a high-impact activity, so the sports bra should offer low to medium support.

But here depends on everyone’s preference – some women prefer low support, others a medium one, and some a very high impact support.

The size of it must be the right one. Wearing a sports bra that is too loose and you risk irritating the armpit’s skin. One that is too tight does not ensure good ventilation, and you risk overheating and tightening, causing maximum discomfort.

Great material, the right size, and your favorite level of support, and you’ve got yourself the perfect sports bra for hiking in summer.

Tank Tops, Short-Sleeve Shirts

In the upper part of the body, you can opt for a tank top or a short-sleeve shirt.

The difference between them is the degree of coverage they offer.

A tank top does not cover the shoulder or neck from the sun’s rays. So, it depends on you and what level of coverage you prefer.

Regardless of the choice made, opt for some items that offer a loose and comfortable fit. This fit allows you to move freely and prevent chafing.

The material of the tank top or shirt must be lightweight and breathable.

You need a piece of clothing with moisture-wicking technology that pulls sweat away from your skin. Two great choices are nylon and polyester.

Style and design are up to you.


When hiking, the backpack is practically your mobile storage unit. The hiking backpack is an essential piece of hiking equipment. It allows you to put on and carry with you everything you need in your hiking.

In your search for a hiking backpack, you must focus on three main factors:

  • backpack capacity
  • features and characteristics
  • fit

Backpack capacityLet’s start talking about hiking backpack capacity.

The capacity is measured in liters and varies from 10 to 70L+. Since you hike in hot weather for a day, you must choose a small backpack between 10 and 30 L.

I do not recommend you take one smaller than 10 L because on hot days you must be sure you have enough water on the hiking route.

A backpack larger than 30 L is also not suitable because you don’t have big or bulky things like puffy jackets that you would usually carry in the colder season.

However, the choice of backpack capacity also varies with the companions you have on this trip. If you are single, follow my advice above.

If you hike in hot weather with a dog or one or two children, then the amount of water and food goes up. In these situations, you consider taking a mid-sized backpack of 40-45 L.

Backpack features and characteristicsThe features of the backpack must also be suitable for hot weather.

You carry the backpack on your back during the entire trip, so it is important to have good ventilation.

Good ventilation helps minimize back sweat.

So, look for hiking backpacks that have a mesh back panel, ventilation channels also called chimneys, or a tension-mesh suspension, which is actually an arched design that offers small space between your back and backpack.

Of course, when you hike in hot weather, you want to have easy and effortless access to some things like water, sunglasses, sunscreen, phone, and so on.

That’s why you should opt for a backpack with side pockets. These elasticized side pockets also give you the advantage of continuing the journey without stopping and opening the main compartment.

Backpack straps should be padded for more comfort.

But choose a model with thinner straps. The wider they are, the more they will promote sweating in the shoulder area. Thinner shoulder straps give you more flexibility while making you sweat less.

Backpack fitFinally, we got to the hiking backpack fit.

Here there is a difference between women’s hiking backpacks and men’s hiking backpacks.

So, if you are a man just measure your torso, waist, and hips and look for a backpack that matches your body size. Keep in mind that 80% of the weight of the hiking backpack must be supported by your hips to have a pleasant hike. If the weight is not carried by the hips, you will feel more tired.

If you are a woman, you must also measure the same areas of the torso, waist, and hips.

The only difference from men is that you have to look at women-specific backpacks. Why? Because the frame of a woman is much smaller than that of a man.

A hiking backpack with the right fit will facilitate your hike in hot weather.

I use a 40L hiking backpack because I take water and food for my dog as well.

Hiking in hot weather - My personal backpack
Hiking in hot weather - My dog and the backpack

Hiking Accessories

Apart from clothes, shoes, and backpacks, you can also opt for accessories that can make your hiking journey more pleasant.

Let’s see what are the hiking accessories for hot weather.

1. Hat, Cap

It is a good idea to wear a hat or cap during your hike.

I need to say this: if you have very short hair or you are bald, then this item because mandatory for you.

A hat protects you from the sun’s rays while hiking in hot temperatures. It doesn’t have to be a special hat or cap, but one that suits you and feels comfortable to wear.

You can wear a baseball cap or a golf hat as long as it offers you shade from the sun.

2. Sunglasses

If you want extra protection, then add also sunglasses with polarized lenses.

The sunglasses reduce eye strain, improve visibility, and ensure protection against harmful sun rays.

The only things to look for when choosing sunglasses for hiking are to make sure they offer adequate UV protection and that they fit comfortably on your face.

3. Watch

If you like to stay on schedule, wear a watch while hiking.

This item helps you track your time and burned calories, plan your route, and manage your breaks and overall time effectively.

I suggest that you choose a durable and water-resistant watch with features like a compass and GPS.

What NOT to wear

So far I have given you advice on what to wear when you go hiking in hot weather. But now let me tell you what is not recommended to wear in high temperatures.

  • Avoid everything made of cotton.

    Do not wear any clothing made of cotton. Cotton in the warm season is very uncomfortable.

    It absorbs moisture and dries very slowly. Wearing clothes made of this material makes you sweat. Because cotton can not dry quickly, the sweat stays on your skin, risking skin irritation.

  • Do not wear compression underwear.

    Compression underwear is good for other activities, but not for hiking. The tight fit of the compression underwear can be uncomfortable during a long hike.

    They also do not provide enough breathability and moisture-wicking capabilities, which can lead to chafing and skin issues.

  • Sandals or flip-flops must be avoided.

    I know these types of shoes are great for hot weather, but you risk getting injured. They offer little support and protection to your feet.

  • Avoid wearing waterproof hiking shoes.

    These types of hiking shoes worn in hot weather make your feet sweat much more than normal. They are not breathable and overheat your feet in high temperatures. Excessive sweating and lack of airflow lead to discomfort and blisters.

  • Tight or thick clothes are a no-go for hiking in summer.

    They restrict your movement and do not offer you airflow. They make you sweat and have itchy skin. They also cause chafing and irritation.

  • Denim is not for hiking either.

    Don’t wear jeans on your hiking adventure. Although comfortable in other everyday situations, jeans in hot weather during physical activity become a real nightmare.

  • Do not wear dark clothes.

    Dark colors absorb more heat than light colors, which can make you feel hotter and more uncomfortable. Overheating can cause dehydration.

  • Leave the jewelry at home.

    Jewelry heats up in the sunlight and you damage your skin. Not to mention that there is a risk of losing them on the route.

What to put in your backpack when hiking in hot weather

It’s important to include all the necessary items in your hiking backpack.

Before any trip, I usually make a list of everything that I have to put in my backpack to make sure I don’t forget something.

Therefore, I have also created here for you a list of items that your backpack must contain when hiking in hot weather.
Plenty of waterHiking includes lots of physical effort, especially in hot weather. You must be sure that you have enough water with you to avoid dehydration.

But how much water should you bring for hiking in hot weather? Use the calculator below to know how much water you should take with you.

Hiking Water Calculator

When using the calculator, keep the following in mind:

– if you are a beginner, you can cover a mile in 40-60 minutes.

– if you hike with kids, you can cover a mile in 2 hours +

IMPORTANT! However, the amount of water can be influenced by certain factors:

  • Weather conditions. The weather can become extreme during the trip. Hot temperatures and humidity increase your water consumption.
  • Your general thirst. If you know that you drink more water than normal, then consider this factor and pack extra water with you.
  • Salty snacks. If you are a fan of salty snacks, take more water. Salty food makes you drink more water.
  • Direct sun or shade of the hiking trail.
  • The difficulty of the hiking trail. Hiking on a trail with a higher difficulty level, such as steep inclines or rugged terrain, can cause the hiker to sweat more and drink more water.
  • The weight of your backpack. Carrying a heavier hiking backpack can make your physical activity more difficult, which can increase your water intake.

But what kind of container to carry the water in? If you like your water to be cold or warm, then you can use an insulated water bottle.

An insulated water bottle is preferable to a thermos because it weighs much less. You want to pack light for your hike.

Tip to keep the water cold
Here I have another tip for those who prefer cold water but do not own an insulated water bottle.

You can put one of the water bottles you take in your hike in the freezer overnight. Make sure the bottle is not super full before freezing it. Water expands when it freezes, so you don’t have to fill the bottle completely.

When you pack the water bottles, put all the bottles in a garbage bag and then place them in the backpack. The normal water bottles stay cold thanks to the ice water bottle and the garbage bag helps you not to get moisture through the backpack.

Good to Know:
Drink hot tea while hiking in hot weather.

You can put the hot tea in the insulated water bottle. Science has proven that hot drinks help you cool down because they make your body produce more sweat, which helps release heat from the body.

Therefore, hot tea helps you cool down much better than cold water.

Food or snacksHiking can be quite physically demanding, and you need to eat and maintain your blood sugar level. You want to keep your energy level up during the hike.

Also, you should prevent hunger because it can affect your abilities.

Pack easy and small snacks like small sandwiches, energy bars, nuts, trail mix, or fresh fruits like apples, bananas, and even crackers.

Sunscreen and insect repellentBecause your skin is exposed while hiking, it needs protection from the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. That’s why you should pack sunscreen.

Apply sunscreen at least 15-20 minutes before going outside, then reapply every 2 hours. You can reapply it multiple times during the hike as it tends to wear off due to sweat.

Do not forget the insect repellent. This is especially important if you hike on a trail with rich vegetation. This helps you prevent bites from insects such as mosquitoes and ticks.

But what is the correct order of using these two? Apply first the sunscreen, wait to dry, and then apply insect repellent.

A hat or cap.A hat offers you protection against sunburn. It covers your face, head, and neck from the sun. For bald people, is very important to wear a hat during hot temperatures. Otherwise, bald people can suffer severe skin damage to the scalp.

Extra clothes.You never know when you need an extra piece of clothing. You may be sweating and want to change into something fresh, or it could be raining and you need another layer to keep warm. So, take 1 or 2 T-shirts and a lightweight rain jacket or poncho.

A first aid kit.In case of accidents, you must be prepared. A first aid kit allows you to quickly take care of cuts, scrapes, or blisters. Your hike is much safer if you pack a first aid kit.

Furthermore, you can add other medicines, for example, anti-inflammatory or those for disinfecting wounds, in addition to the medical kit.

A camera and a phone.If you want to capture the entire adventure and the outstanding views, pack a camera.

The phone is an item that allows you to stay connected, so you should pack it too. Although it can help you capture images just like a camera, it can be used in case of an emergency. You can also enjoy its other features like access to maps and GPS.

A multi-functional pocket knife. It can come in handy in many unexpected situations, so keep it handy!

A map, compass, or GPS device. You don’t want to get lost. Even if you have your phone with you and it offers you these fancy features, you have to consider that the phone may run out of battery. A compass never runs out of batteries.

Fire starter or matches. You can use them to make a fire in case of extreme emergency.

7 Additional Tips For What to wear for Hiking in Hot Weather

  1. Choose light and breathable hiking clothing. They keep you dry and cool.
  2. Wear light-colored clothing. You don’t overheat and you can easily spot ticks and bugs on you.
  3. Choose clothes that have a UPF rating. They protect you from the sun’s rays.
  4. Wear clothes with a slightly loose fit. They give you comfort and minimize wear and tear.
  5. If you have sensitive skin, wear a light, breathable jacket with long sleeves.
  6. If your feet usually sweat, wear woolen socks instead of synthetic socks. Synthetic socks tend to smell even after washing.
  7. Pack extra clothes. Bring an extra t-shirt or shorts in case you get wet. You can layer them up if you are cold.


Why to eat salty snacks when hiking in hot weather?

You should eat salty snacks when hiking because they help restore the sodium level in the body. During hiking, you make a physical effort that makes you sweat. Through sweating, you lose electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium, and sodium.

You need electrolytes for your body to function properly. That’s why, during hiking, it’s good to eat salty snacks to restore the sodium level. The drastic decrease of electrolytes in the body can lead to dehydration, fatigue, and muscle cramps.

So, take salty snacks with you when hiking in hot weather. They are very easy to carry.

How hot is too hot for hiking?

Temperatures of 85°F and above are considered too hot for hiking. Hiking at 85°F is quite challenging, especially if you are a beginner or if you are not used to the heat.

However, the temperature at which it is considered too hot for hiking may differ depending on the individual’s physical fitness, the length and difficulty of the trail, the wind, and the humidity level.

On days with a forecast of 85°F and above, I recommend you start your hike early in the morning. Between 11:30 am and 3 pm, I recommend you take a break and stay in the shade because between these hours is the hottest part of the day.

How much water should you bring for hiking in hot temperatures?

For hiking in hot temperatures, you should bring a quantity of water that allows you to drink 0.5 L of water per hour or one liter every 2 hours. So, for a 4-hour hike, you should bring 2 L of water.

The amount of water can be different if you hike with a kid or pet. Check my calculator to find out how much water you should bring in hot temperatures.

Should I wear heavy socks?

No, you should not wear heavy socks when hiking in hot weather. Heavy socks make your feet sweat, which is not recommended in already high temperatures. Sweaty feet increase the likelihood of blisters, calluses, and bacteria. I’m sure you don’t want to suffer from blisters halfway through the hike, right?

You should wear thin socks made of breathable materials that can wick sweat away from your feet. Thin socks keep your feet dry, cool, healthy, and pain-free.

I hope you find these tips helpful and that they inspire you to get out there and explore the great outdoors!

If you have any other tips or suggestions for hiking in hot weather, leave a comment and let me know.

Have fun!

About the author: Madalina Salceanu

MadasFounder of Sportlaunches.com, Madalina Salceanu channeled her passion for sports in a blog about sports apparel and equipment. Madalina likes to research daily and discover the latest sportswear trends. Keep reading...

Facebook - Twitter - Linkedin

Leave a Comment