What to Wear Hiking: Perfect Spring Hiking Outfit Ideas for Women

Hiking outfit idea

Spring is one of the best times to get out in nature and explore. The trees are budding, and spring flowers are blossoming. The crisp air in the morning, along with a later sunrise, allows for the welcoming of perfect hiking conditions and cozy layers. Here is a guide on spring hiking outfit ideas for women to keep you warm and dry as you enjoy the magic of spring this year.

Ibex, Peak Design, Jack Wolfskin, Artilect, and Gearhead Outfitters asked if I wanted to try the latest spring gear and outdoor clothing, and I jumped at the chance since I live for outdoor adventures. Of course, thoughts and opinions are always honest and entirely my own.

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Know Your Hiking Conditions

Image Credit: Emily Steward Photography.

Gear featured: Patagonia Cool Capilene Daily Hoodie, REI hiking leggings, and Osprey Kitsuma 7 Hydration Pack.

The most important part of selecting proper hiking layers and gear is knowing the weather and trail conditions. For example, if it’s still cold and snowy, wear thick, warm, and waterproof layers that will keep you dry. Or, if you’re hiking in dense brushy areas, wear a long sleeve shirt and pants so you don’t get scratched up.

If there is a chance of rain in the forecast, and you won’t be able to make it to the car during a rain shower, pack a rain jacket and rain pants.

Staying safe on the trail means anticipating weather and trail conditions. Be sure to pick gear that works best for the terrain and weather you will be subjected to.

Ladies, Know Yourself

Image Credit: Emily Steward Photography.

Gear featured: Patagonia Cool Capilene Daily Hoodie, REI hiking leggings, and Osprey Kitsuma 7 Hydration Pack.

Make sure you’re prepared and know your limitations. For example, I tend to run cold, and when my husband is wearing shorts, I might still be wearing a jacket.

Make sure your gear fits well and is comfortable. It should fit well and not cause blisters or chafing.

Hiking Layers

Image Credit: Emily Steward Photography.

Gear featured: REI hiking leggings, Oboz Sapphire Mid Waterproof Boots, Teva ReEmber Slip Ons, and Ibex Women’s Indie Hoodie. The Men’s Ibex Journey Short Sleeve is also wonderful for hiking (for men)!

Hitting the trails in the wrong clothes can ruin your adventure. If you pack too many layers, you will be hot and uncomfortable, but if you don’t pack enough, you’ll be miserable and cold. Therefore, it is important to know what to wear to ensure you are safe and have a great time.

Here is helpful advice on what to wear hiking and the types of clothing best for women who plan to hit the trails in the spring.

First Layer

Image Credit: Emily Steward Photography.

Gear featured: The North Face Winter Warm Essential Quarter Zip, REI hiking leggings, Leki Trekking Poles, FITS Socks, Oboz Hiking Boots, Osprey Kitsuma 7 Hydration Pack.

It’s so important to wear layers when hiking. It’s best to be over prepared then underprepared so you don’t end up cold. Always start with a breathable and sweat-wicking base layer or first layer.

Base layers can include tight pants, like long johns, and a tight long sleeve shirt close to your body to retain warmth.

For tops, look for a form-fitting thin fleece. You can also get away with a long-sleeve wool shirt.

Not everyone wears two layers of pants, but you should consider it if the weather is cold. Always have multiple layers for your top.

Watch the weather before you go out and about. You may only need a short sleeve shirt or tank top as your first layer if the weather is going to warm up quickly during the day.

Middle Layer

Spring hiking outfit idea for woman

Image Credit: Emily Steward Photography.

Gear featured: Patagonia Houdini Jacket and The North Face Winter Warm Essential Quarter Zip.

There are a few options for middle layers, depending on the temperature. A light windbreaker is an excellent mid-layer because it keeps you warm and stops the wind from getting to your skin. Anything insulating like a fleece jacket, Merino wool, or down is a great option for a middle layer.

Outer Layer

Image Credit: Emily Steward Photography.

Gear featured: Artilect Intersect Doubleweave Jacket, The North Face Winter Warm Essential Quarter Zip, and Osprey Kitsuma 7 Hydration Pack. My husband also has the Artilect Jacket for men and loves it.

Again, check the temperatures. If it’s chilly, wear a heavier down or light-down jacket. A mid-weight jacket with technical synthetic fabric is also another excellent option. So is a rain jacket – it can act as a softshell and will keep you warm and perform as a windbreaker.

The most important thing is to make sure the outer layer is insulating. If it is cold or wet outside, you’ll want it to be windproof and waterproof.

Pants

Image Credit: Emily Steward Photography.

Gear featured: lululemon Swiftly Race Long Sleeve Shirt and Jack Wolfskin Pre-Light Pants.

Hiking Leggings

Many women enjoy hiking in leggings, me included. There are fantastic brands on the market that make durable leggings, depending on what you plan to do in them. The key to deciding which leggings suit you depends on fit and fabric. If you’re going to be sitting on the rocks, make sure you don’t get a pair that will snag easily.

Look for leggings made with technical fabrics designed to wick sweat, keep you warm, and that won’t rip. I enjoy hiking leggings from The North Face and REI. I also wear the hiking line from lululemon and love lululemon’s brushed and fleece base pace leggings (available seasonally).

Hiking Pants

Sometimes, we just don’t want anything tight on our bodies, and looser hiking pants are the way to go. These days, I’m enjoying joggers from Jack Wolfskin or longer hiking pants from KÜHL.

Rain Pants

Whether you are starting a hike in the rain or an afternoon rain shower sneaks up, it’s worth having official rain pants when hiking. I recently got this pair from REI. I like that they can easily go over leggings or other hiking pants if needed.

Shorts

Know your environment before committing to shorts on the trail. Of course, protecting skin from the sun, bugs, and brush is always good. Knowing the trail and environmental conditions is essential when considering wearing hiking shorts.

Accessories

Image Credit: Emily Steward Photography.

Gear featured: Osprey Kitsuma 7 Hydration Pack, lululemon Swiftly Race Long Sleeve, and lululemon Baller Hat Soft.

Accessories might be the most important part of gearing up for a hike! So here are a few more things to consider.

Socks

Wear comfortable, sweat-wicking socks. There are so many brands on the market, but my favorites are Smartwool and FITS socks. Socks come in all shapes and sizes, so consider how they feel with your hiking shoes or boots and where you’ll be hiking.

Under Garments

Be comfortable, but make sure whatever you wear is sweat-wicking. Don’t get chapped skin!

Hiking Boots or Hiking Shoes

Image Credit: Emily Steward Photography.

Gear featured: Hydroflask water bottle, The North Face Alta Vista Rain Jacket, and Osprey Day Lite Pack.

Consider what type of terrain you’ll be hiking in. I fluctuate between a mid-rise hiking boot and a low-rise hiking boot. If the trail is well-marked and straightforward – I typically wear low-rise boots. If it’s colder outside, and I’m new to the trail, I wear mid-rise hiking boots.

Not pictured, but I have been recently training for my Europe trekking adventure with lululemon’s new Blissfeel trail women’s running shoe. I really like how supportive and grippy they are.

When shopping for new shoes/boots, try to bring thick socks. Ensure the boots aren’t too tight, or they can bruise a toe or cause someone to lose a nail.

On the other hand, you don’t want shoes/boots to be too loose- not to cause blisters. If a shoe/boot doesn’t feel good when trying it on in the store, it’s not the right fit.

Hiking Sandals

Like wearing shorts on the trail, knowing the trail conditions and the surrounding environment is key. For example, if in the backcountry hiking through streams, it might be good to have sandals to switch into. But, if you’re new to a mountainous or rocky trail, it’s better to have sturdy footwear to protect the feet and ankles.

Hat and Sunglasses

It’s crucial to save our energy and skin – pack a brimmed hat to protect your face and eyes from the sun’s glare.

Backpack

Image Credit: Emily Steward Photography.

Gear featured: Osprey Kitsuma 7 Hydration Pack, lululemon Swiftly Race Long Sleeve, and lululemon Baller Hat Soft.

There are thousands of backpacks on the market. The key is to get something that fits your body well and is big enough for what you will be using it for.

For example, if planning a smaller hike that will only last a few hours, maybe a small day pack with a bladder and a few pockets for snacks is perfect for the adventure.

If trekking for half the day or longer, get a larger backpack so there is room for water, snacks, bathroom essentials, a camera, and a place to store packable layers.

Hiking Poles

Hiking poles are great to provide extra balance. For longer hikes or more technical routes, they are helpful. I have a set from Leki.

Happy Hiking

Image Credit: Emily Steward Photography.

Gear featured: Osprey Kitsuma 7 Hydration Pack, lululemon Swiftly Race Long Sleeve, and lululemon Baller Hat Soft.

When it comes to finding the right spring hiking outfits for women, the most important things to consider are layers and comfort. The weather tends to change quickly in the spring, and it’s nice to be able to shed a layer or add a layer at a moment’s notice.

Most importantly, have fun out there, ladies!

Please practice Leave No Trace principles when exploring the outdoors.

Images by Emily Steward Photography/emilysteward.com.

This article was produced and syndicated by The Happiness Function.

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Ashlee Fechino

Ashlee Fechino is an outdoor recreation and travel writer sharing the best-kept secrets that aren’t in your typical guidebook. Her goal is to inspire people to travel with a sense of adventure by sharing hidden gems across the U.S. and beyond. She is married to an expat Argentine, Pablo. They camp in their Aliner often and love wandering the world. Follow their latest adventures on Instagram @thehappinessfxn.