A guide to layering for spring hikes

Clothing essentials for hiking in our unpredictable friend: spring weather

Clothing essentials for hiking in our unpredictable friend: spring weather

Hiking in the spring can be a tricky thing. Not only is spring the wettest season, but the weather is very unpredictable. Temperatures rise and fall like bad mood swings, and rain can arrive unannounced. If you’re caught in bad weather unprepared, it can ruin your entire hike. Or worse, you can get sick. That’s why layering your clothing is essential for a successful spring hike. You’ll be able to welcome sunshine without getting mad that you only dressed for that brisk morning breeze. Or you won’t have to cut your hike short because of a little drizzle. We’re here to teach you about the layering system - a guide sworn by all professional hiking gurus.

The Layering System

Neon Yellow Next Level Leggings from GRRRL

Neon Yellow Next Level Leggings from GRRRL

Base Layer

The base layer is the foundation layer. It’s the one worn closest to the skin (obvi.), so its purpose is to keep you dry (yes, from your own sweat). The day’s temperature will determine which options you choose, but you’ll want to go for a breathable sports bra and either a moisture-wicking t-shirt or long sleeve. For your lower half, decide between moisture-wicking shorts or leggings. And avoid cotton - it sticks to your skin when wet.

Best fabric choices: Merino wool, polyester, silk and polypropylene.


Mid Layer

The mid layer is meant to provide insulation and keep you warm. Think multiple items for this layer, like a crewneck sweater with a down jacket or a fleece hoodie. This will be the layer you adjust the most. The items will come on and be put back on depending on how strong the sun is at different times of the day.

Best fabric choices: lightweight wool, fleece, synthetic fabric.


Outer Layer

The outer layer is what’s going to protect you from harsh weather - like rain and wind. You’ll hear these items referred to as a “shell.” They’re basically waterproof jackets and pants or windbreakers. A waterproof jacket and pant is a great option when there’s a chance of rain or when the weather in the area is unpredictable. You can never be too prepared! Windbreakers are ideal if you know there is no chance of rain.

Best fabric choices: waterproof, water-resistant, lightweight, breathable


There are a few accessories we recommend for a spring hike.

  • Waterproof, breathable boots that cover your ankle. Whether it’s raining or not when your hiking, you’re more than likely going to encounter some mud and runoff from snow an rain.

  • A fleece or merino wool hat that covers your ears. People forget that we lose a significant amount of body heat through our head.  

  • A moisture-wicking towel to keep on hand for unpredictable downpours.

  • A poncho tarp can also serve as an extra layer of protection from the rain. It covers you from head to knees and even protects your backpack.

Now that you’re all set for a spring hike, let's get outdoors! Be sure to share your hikes via social media or even contribute a blog post. We love to hear from you!