If you subscribe to my YouTube channel or follow me on Instagram, you know that I do day hikes because I’m not a fan of sleeping on the ground and not properly showering or washing my hands. Hand sanitizer is great for a little while, but I like to end my day with actual soap and water.
Even casual hikers need proper gear, though. I’m a strong believer that the deer care how you look, so I try to seek out gear that’s cute as well as functional. Here’s my standard outfit for a summer day hike.
Obviously the first thing you need to look good on the trail is the right outfit. Rascal and Moky are always effortlessly dapper in their tuxedos, but we can’t all look that good.
I got my Hi-Tec boots at a store in Mildura during my study abroad in Australia in 2014 (check out the Edge of the Outback program if you like photography). Mine are the Meridien WP Women’s in size 8.5. It looks like Hi-Tec discontinued this particular style, because the only place I found it was this out-of-stock one on Amazon. The accent color on the Amazon one is purple, but mine are light blue. I love that they’re mostly brown/beige because it’s so much easier to put together an outfit without having to worry if my boots will clash.
I’m normally a 7.5, so I went a size up to compensate for the thick socks I usually wear when I’m hiking. I’ve had these boots for a few years and I’ve never had any issues with them in any terrain. I’ve hiked through thick woods, mountainous and bluff regions, lava fields and more and these boots are easily keeping up with me. They’re also waterproof, which is great since the Midwest gets plenty of storms during the summer and even when the weather is nice, there are a lot of streams and puddles to wade through.
One thing to remember is that shoes need to be broken in and blisters are a fact of life. Whenever you get new hiking boots, wear them around for a while so your feet know the boots and the boots know your feet.
Thick socks help cushion your feet when you’re hiking. There are a lot of brands that are pretty comparable. I have some Fits socks that I really like. Most socks designed for hiking incorporate Merino wool, which is great for wicking away moisture to keep you from drowning in your own sweat.
I personally don’t like the crew style that most hiking socks come in. You can get high-end brands like Fits in a quarter height, but I actually like a brand called SeoulStory7 that I found on Amazon better. SeoulStory7 socks are much cheaper than high-end brands sold at specialty stores like Erehwon or REI and there’s a reason for that. They aren’t made with wool and they’re thinner than socks from more recognizable brands. I would only wear them in summer because they aren’t anywhere near warm enough for a fall or spring day in the Midwest, but I like them enough that I’ve purchased multiple pairs.
I think most pants designed for hiking are super ugly, but jeans aren’t really comfortable to hike in and leggings and yoga pants don’t provide much protection against brambles and can snag easily.
The pants I wear are sold by a company called Angel Cola on Amazon, but are actually made by a company called Komont, which appears to be Korean. I personally think these pants fit really well and I love that they come in so many fun colors, but a lot of the reviews on Amazon complain about issues with quality and fit. I’m very thin, so women with an average or heavier build may not like these pants as much as I do.
The lightweight pants that I wear in summer are very thin and some colors can be see-through, which I found out the hard way. To avoid showing off a little too much in see-through clothes, find underwear or a bra in a color as close to your skin tone as possible. White underwear and bras can still be seen through thin clothing, even if you’re as pale as me.
The best thing about these pants is that they’re super durable. Again, many reviewers on Amazon had a different experience than I did and have complained about these pants ripping at the seams, but I’ve found that I can charge straight through the woods without worrying about getting cuts and scrapes from twigs and brambles.
I’m not really a t-shirt kind of girl, so I usually wear tanktops on hikes. I got this one from Old Navy several years ago. I tend to cut the tags off my clothes, so I don’t actually know the fabric content of this top, but it’s super comfortable.
The sports bra I’m wearing underneath the top is also really comfortable. It’s from Fruit of the Loom and is 95% cotton and 5% lycra. Cotton is a great fabric for hiking and other outdoor activities because it’s breathable, so it doesn’t trap your body heat or sweat (super important on hot days). It also doesn’t retain smells as much as other fabrics, so if you’ve been sweating all day or sitting by the campfire all night, you won’t smell it as much when you’re still wearing your shirt and the smells will come out easier when you wash it.
I do keep heavier outer layers and waterproof layers in my backpack as well. In the midwest it’s important to have all kinds of clothing because you can’t trust the weather.
If you like the scenery in these pictures or just want to see more of Moky and Rascal, check out my video of our trip to Wildcat Mountain State Park in Wisconsin here.