What to Wear and Pack for a Spring Hike

Planning a spring hike? here are some must-haves to help you stay safe and have the most fun that you possibly can.


Spring, for many folks who have stayed inside all winter, is a wonderful time to go outside and hike. Wildlife, waterfalls, warbling songbirds, and beautiful flowers – are all reasons for family, friends and couples to explore the nature. But if you want to have a more pleasant adventure, you need to arm yourself with some hiking essentials and tips first for the changeable spring weather.

1. HIKING CLOTHES

The weather outside in spring can be unpredictable, cool mornings can be replaced by warm afternoons and sometimes it rains. In order to make yourself feel safer and more comfortable on the trails, you need to prepare the right hiking clothes.

I bet you have heard the classic three-layer garment system, which consists of a base layer, insulation layer and a shell layer.

Base Layer:

The base layer made of breathable, quick-drying materials is better for you, like polyester and nylon. Cotton base layers are not recommended here. I think you won't love that feeling that sweaty clothes touch your skin during this high intensity activity.

Insulation Layer:

If you already have a fleece jacket or a comfy woolen sweater, you can use it as an insulation layer that can provide warmth if it get chilly.

Shell Layer:

This layer should be wind-proof, water-proof in case the weather is windy or rainy.

As for pants, you can wear a lightweight outdoor legging inside, a waterproof and rush shell pants are worn over the legging. Hiking modular trousers, however, not recommended for hiking as they may cause friction to your leg if you decide to hike a long trail.

Plus, you can also add sun hats, sunglasses, magic headbands, windproof/waterproof boots cover and more - according to your actual needs - to your hiking gear list. I highly recommend these magic headbands. They’re lightweight and easy to pack. The most important thing is these headbands have so many different ways to use, they can almost suit all your sports needs.

2. SHOES & SOCKS

Shoes and socks may be the two most important gears in hiking. A pair of breathable and light boots are much better than heavy boots for your spring hiking. If it’s a simple day hike, you can use your regular sports shoes or running shoes as hiking shoes; If you’re a hiking pro, you can consider investing a pair of off-trail boots or hiking boots.

Notes:  If you want a more comfotable hiking experience, you should avoid wearing a pair of brand new boots for hiking. You may get sores if you take them out on the trail, they need time to be fully adapted to your feet.

When it comes to socks, the regular cotton socks are only suitable for city walking or short country hikes. However, for long hikes in spring, you will require something moisture wicking, more sturdy and comfortable like merino wool hiking socks or Coolmax hiker socks. You can switch to a clean pair of socks at once a day to stay comfortable and also avoid smells.

Notes:  No show socks may not be a wise choice for hiking, the back of heel is in direct contact with the shoe and is prone to get worn and pain.

3. HIKING BACKPACK

A professional hiking backpack can load and manage your gear better and allows you to cover more miles using less energy which is very important for hiking. If you want to make your hiking more comfortable, you’ll want to choose a relatively lightweight backpack with reasonable space load system and even the waterproof ability.

4. HIKING ACCESSORIES

Trekking Poles:

Hiking usually puts a strain on your legs and therefore a pair of trekking poles can be a necessary. We strongly recommend 3 sections external lock hiking poles or Z-pole style of folding trekking poles. Basically speaking, external lock trekking poles are durable thus providing a safer and more secure grip while folding trekking poles are easier to use and more convenient.


Headlamp:

We recommend headlamp rather than flashlight because headlamp is hand-free, very convenient to use, it’s a great companion for hiking or camping at night. The headlamp should have a bright beam, it’s not neccessory to be super bright, about 150-200 Lumens is enough. And long-lasting battery life is also important.

Outdoor Tools:

Multi-purpose tool, Swiss army knife or other outdoor tools. When necessary, it’s very useful for cooking, making tools, even saving your life.

Fire:

Fire, stormproof matches, lighters, or flints are necessary tools for survival in the wildness, and make sure they're dry when you use them.

Water:

Hydration is key during the hiking, so your water bottles should always be easy to access. In extreme situation, a life straw can also provide the basic drinking water for you.

Two Way Radios:

Since there is no guarantee of cell service in the area of your hiking excursion, using two way radios rather than cell phones seems like the best way to keep in constant contact with your family or friends. They have an incredible range and with the push of a button you can communicate with someone who is away.

5. CAMPING GEAR

Unlike the day hike, if you plan a multiday hike or overnight excursion, you need to make sure you’re well stocked with the right camping gear and equipment.

Tent:

Choosing the right tent involves the following key decision points

  • Capacity:   likely number of sleepers
  • Seasonality:   3-season tents are ideal for your spring hiking trip
  • Weight:   a tent should weigh less than 3 pounds per person.
  • Livability:   comfort and convenience based on design and features

Tent Footprints and Moisture-proof Pad:

In order to prevent the wear and tear of your tent against the ground, it’s common to put a tent footprint or ground cover under camping tent and a moisture-proof pad inside the tent. A footprint costs far less to replace than a tent, it’s better for you to own one. There are a variety of moisture-proof pad materials, foam pads are a good value for the money, while inflatable pads are the most comfortable and convenient, you can choose one based on your needs and budget.

Sleeping Bags:

The two main shapes of sleeping bags are rectangular and mummy. Rectangular-shaped sleeping bags are suitable for camping in tempered climates. Mummy-shaped sleeping bags offer more warmth in colder climates as there's less unused space.

First Aid Medical Kit & Energy Food:

Whether you will be in the woods for a few hours or several days, having a first aid kit on hand can help you manage a medical situation before it worsens.

Don’t forget energy food. The best hiking foods compress the most energy into the lightest package, and they don't require utensils, napkins or too much thought like beef jerky, chocolate, energy bars, etc.