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What We Wear on a Day Hike: Gear Guide

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Hiking Gear Guide (Clothes + Accessories)

Hiking is such a rewarding activity and one that we have become more and more obsessed with, since moving to Vancouver, Canada. Since we started hiking years ago, we have tried a lot of different options of hiking clothing and gear. The clothing and gear we currently have is some of our favourites yet and so we want to share what we use with you to hopefully help you choose your own hiking gear!

In this guide, we will list all of the clothes we wear when hiking throughout the year as well as some of the extra pieces of gear that we bring along with us. We will list our own personal favourite items as well as some alternatives for you to check out.

Couple standing at viewpoint at Panorama Ridge campground, Golden Ears

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What to Wear Hiking

When choosing what to wear hiking, the most important thing you need to make sure is that you are comfortable. There are so many different options for clothing, especially for pants. For example, I love wearing leggings when I hike, but you might prefer shorts or hiking pants.

When choosing your hiking clothes, the most important thing to do is layering. Your clothing layers should consist of a base layer, mid-layer, waterproof shell and an insulated jacket. Then you need some comfortable socks, hiking boots or shoes and a pair of pants/shorts/leggings.

Merino Hiking Tops

You can’t go wrong with a soft merino top when hiking. The reason for this is that they are moisture-wicking, dry quickly and odour resistant so perfect for hiking. We get most of ours from Icebreaker because we love the quality.

For shopping in the US, check out the men’s and women’s shirts using these links.

For shopping in Canada, check out the men’s and women’s shirts using these links.

couple sitting at viewpoint at Saint Marks Summit at sunset

Warm Mid-Layer

A mid-layer such as a fleece is especially important for hiking in the mountains as the temperatures can be super warm until you reach higher elevations when they can really drop. A good fleece will also keep you warm when you stop moving to take some photos or stop for a snack.

Shop for Kerry’s current favourite fleece in the US here. (also available for mens)

Shop for Kerry’s current favourite fleece in Canada here. (also available in mens)

Insulated Jacket

We each carry a puffer jacket with us on our hikes in the mountains. Depending on how cold it is going to be, sometimes in Summer we leave these behind but we always check the mountain temperature before starting our hike.

Shop for Kerry’s favourite puffer jacket in the US here.
Shop for Dave’s favourite puffer jacket in the US here.

Shop for Kerry’s favourite puffer jacket in Canada here.
Shop for Dave’s favourite puffer jacket in Canada here.

Raincoat or Windbreaker

We have found a lot of the time when hiking in Spring, that wearing a light raincoat takes off the chill but then doesn’t get too hot. Other times, when on top of a mountain when it is super windy, a light raincoat or windbreaker really makes a huge difference. Other than this, we always have our raincoats with us just in case the weather decides to change.

Shop for jackets in the US for men and for women.

Shop for jackets in Canada for men and for women.

Hiking Pants or Leggings

Dave usually wears long hiking pants and I usually wear leggings to hike. I like wearing long pants on hikes for protection from both the sun and the mosquitoes! My favourite leggings are the Align Pants from Lululemon. They are the softest leggings that I have ever worn! Some great men’s pants options are the KUHL Renegade Rock Pants or the Patagonia Quandary Pant.

couple standing looking up at mountains

As an alternative to leggings, hiking pants are also a great option for women. Some great hiking pants are the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Convertible Pant.

For Winter, I switch to fleece leggings to stay a bit warmer. My fleece leggings are also from lululemon but there are a lot brands that have their own versions such as Smartwool.

Shop for hiking pants in the US for men and for women.

Shop for hiking pants in Canada for men and for women.

Hiking Shorts

If you prefer shorts over leggings or pants, some great options for hiking shorts for girls are the Patagonia Quandary 5in Short or the Backcountry Olympus Lightweight Short.

Shop for hiking shorts in the US for men and for women.

Shop for hiking shorts in Canada for men and for women.

Rain Pants

If you want to go hiking no matter the weather, rain pants will be super useful! They are great in Winter when it is constantly rainy and you still want to hike. You have to make note that rain pants do get rather hot and sticky though, so you might not want to take them on every rainy adventure.

We use pretty budget rain pants as we find that we don’t use them too often. A good budget option for men is the Columbia Rebel Roamer Pant which you can purchase here.

For women, a great budget option is the Columbia Storm Surge Pant which you can purchase here.

If you have a larger budget or are planning on going on a hike or backpacking trip that you know if going to be super rainy, some good options are the Outdoor Research Prologue Storm Pant for Men and the Outdoor Research Motive Ascent Shell Pant for Women.

Shop for rain pants shorts in Canada here.

Merino Hiking Socks

We always wearing Merino hiking socks. The merino stops them from smelling and is sweat wicking plus they are super comfy. Both of us get our socks from Darntough and Smart Wool.

Shop for hiking socks in the US for men and for women.

Shop for hiking socks in Canada for men and for women.


girl standing at Golden Ears Summit at sunset

A beanie is not always a necessity, especially not during Summer, but in the shoulder months we like to bring our beanies along for when we get to the viewpoint.

Shop Kerry’s favourite beanie here!

Sun Hat

Tilley Wanderer Hat
Tilley Wanderer Hat

It is so important to protect yourself form the sun. As well as sunscreen, we always take a hat each with us when hiking. Tilley have some great options for adventure hats.

Shop for Tilley Hats in the US here!

Shop for Tilley Hats in Canada here!

Girls Merino Underwear

I had to add this to the list because it is such a game changer! Because I usually wear leggings when hiking, I constantly have the problem of the underwear line showing through. Girls, I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about! Recently I discovered Smartwool’s Seamless Merino underwear which is a huge improvement and they are super comfy!

Shop for Merino underwear in the US here!

Shop for Merino underwear in Canada here!

Hiking Boots

Girl sitting on tent platform at the panorama ridge campground Golden Ears Provincial Park at sunset

Hiking boots are probably the hardest hiking gear item to choose but also the most important as you will be wearing them all day long and so you want them to be as comfortable as possible. Boots are a great choice over trail runners on really long hikes, or on hikes where you are going to be covering a lot of rough trail as their soles tend to be harder.

Kerry’s boots are the Oboz Bridger Mid B-Dry Boots.

Dave’s boots are the Scarpa Kailash Plus Gore-Tex Backpacking Boots.

Shop Kerry’s hiking boots in the US here!
Shop Dave’s hiking boots in the US here!

Shop Kerry’s hiking boots in Canada here!
Shop Dave’s hiking boots in Canada here!

Hiking Shoes / Trail Runners

If you are doing a shorter, less technical hike on a fairly flat surface, you may prefer hiking shoes or trail runners over hiking boots. Living in Vancouver, we find boots really useful even for smaller trails that are super muddy as they are waterproof and keep protect your feet all the way up to your ankles.

Shop for hiking shoes and trail runners in the US here!

Shop for hiking shoes and trail runners in Canada here!

What Gear to Pack Hiking

Day Hiking Backpack

Let’s start with what we use to pack all of our extra layers, food and water in. We have a backpack each. One for our camera gear and one for everything else! Our camera bag is the Osprey Tempest 20 litre which is perfect for day hikes.

Choosing a backpack that is right for you, is completely subjective and you might want to try a few on for fit and comfort before buying.

Shop for day backpacks in the US here!

Shop for day backpacks in Canada here!

Hiking Poles

Black Diamond Trekking Poles - Women

We don’t use hiking poles on every hike, but they definitely help on hikes that have more elevation or are more technical or slippery. Hiking poles are beneficial as they balance the work through your entire body and help keep the load off your knees.

This keeps you fresher for longer and able to hike further distances. Poles also really help on the way down as this is where a lot of people run into trouble with knee pain.

Personally poles have actually saved me a few times from slipping and hurting myself. When Dave and I were hiking on steep shale in Alberta, I took a bit of a tumble. Luckily, the pole broke my fall and I wasn’t really hurt at all. The pole was bent but it was worth it. ?

Girl hiking in Kananaskis with hiking poles

You may feel like poles will only get in the way of your hiking, which is how I felt at first, but now I can’t imagine hiking without them! Check prices for Black Diamond’s Hiking Poles for men here and for Black Diamond’s Hiking Poles for women here.

Shop for hiking poles in the US here!

Shop for hiking poles in Canada here!

Safety Items

When you are going hiking, your clothing isn’t the only important thing you should consider. There are a few important items that you should always take with you such as a first aid kit, bug spray, sunscreen, headlights and even a navigation device. When we are hiking in Canada, we also always carry bear spray with us.

First Aid Kit

You never know when you might need a first aid kit on a hike. We take a small lightweight first aid kit with us on our hikes. In it we have Band-Aids, gauze, tweezers, antiseptic and more.

Shop for a first aid kit in the US here!

Shop for a first aid kit in Canada here!

Bug Spray

Bug Repellent

Bug spray is a necessity, especially in the Summer months! There’s nothing worse than getting eaten alive by mozzies while you are trying to enjoy being out in nature.

Shop for bug spray in the US here!

Shop for bug spray in Canada here!


Sun Bum Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion - 3 fl. oz

Sunscreen is another necessity when hiking and we make sure we reapply after 2-3 hours of hiking. We find the bottles that sunscreen comes in always way too big and bulky, so we purchased some travel bottles to carry our sunscreen in when hiking. This helps a lot with bag weight and space.


Shop for sunscreen in the US here!

Shop for sunscreen in Canada here!

Head Lights

Nitecore Headlight

Head lights are a really important emergency item. If you were to end up hiking in the dark on the way home due to misjudgement of timing etc, you are definitely going to want a fully charged headlight with you to help navigate back.

Navigation Device

Garmin Montana 700i

A GPS such as a Garmin eTrex 22x or a Garmin Montana 700i is something we do not have yet and so we download maps from All Trails before we leave to go on our hike. You should always research the trail you are going on and ensure that you have something to navigate with that is not going to fail you, whether it is a map and compass or a GPS device.

Shop for a navigation device in the US here!

Shop for a navigation device in Canada here!

Emergency Blanket

This is next on our list of things to add to our emergency kit. If you were to get injured on the trail and have to wait until dark or even longer for help, you are going to want to stay as warm as possible. Buy an emergency blanket here.

Shop for an emergency blanket in the US here!

Shop for an emergency blanket in Canada here!

Bear Spray

Bear Spray

I’m sure if you live in the PNW you are familiar with needing bear spray when hiking. Coming from Australia to Canada, this was something that was completely new to us but now we carry bear spray on every single one of our hikes.

Shop for bear spray in the US here!

Shop for bear spray in Canada here!

Have a question about our hiking gear or clothing? Send us a DM on Instagram!

Are you curious about what photography gear we take hiking? Check out our Camera Gear!