A complete guide on what to wear hiking UK

A complete guide on what to wear hiking UK

Cotswold Outdoor’s top tips
Forest Holidays


Cotswold Outdoor’s guide on what to wear hiking 


Arguably the most important piece of kit in a hiker’s wardrobe! When choosing walking boots or approach shoes, look out for a waterproof material that’s breathable or advertises a membrane like GORE-TEX. This membrane is crucial for keeping your feet dry, both from puddles or rivers on the outside and sweat on the inside, preventing dreaded wet socks, and reducing your risk of blisters.

Waterproof jacket

Hiking unprepared in the rain is next-level miserable, so bringing a waterproof jacket with you will avoid getting caught out. Look for a lightweight option that packs down to fit in your rucksack when you’re not using it. Purchasing a breathable jacket will help keep you cool and comfortable whilst on the move.

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Get outdoors, all wrapped up and enjoy breath-taking views.

Insulated jackets

A durable and warm mid-layer is a staple as the weather gets colder, especially if you’re spending any length of time outdoors. Down jackets have a great warmth-to-weight ratio but ruin easily in the rain, whereas synthetic fill jackets retain their insulating properties when wet. A lightweight fleece is also great for keeping out the chills when you want to hike in the cold.

Hat and gloves

One of those things that you’ll barely notice you’re carrying but will be endlessly grateful for on a very cold day, a durable hat and gloves set will never let you down. Top tip – look for touchscreen-compatible gloves that don’t have to be sacrificed every time you get a notification on your phone.


It goes without saying that having the right bag to carry your essentials can make or break a walk. Day hiking packs are great for short walks in the hills and forests. Less bulky than larger backpacking packs, day packs still have enough space for all the essentials you need: water, food, and layers. Top tip - look for one with different compartments to allow you to keep your kit organised.

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The correct outdoor gear will make all the difference to your hike!

Frequently asked questions

What to wear hiking in spring?

Watch out for those April showers! A comfortable wicking base layer is essential, but you need to take a second layer with you if the weather turns (which it sometimes does in Spring). Pack a soft shell to protect you from the wind, and have a waterproof hard-shell jacket which you can easily carry and reach for if the rain comes!

What to wear hiking in summer?

You won't need to layer up on summer days when it’s hot and sunny; just a moisture-wicking base layer should suffice to help your sweat evaporate and keep you cool. Don’t forget to pop your mid and outer-layer in your bag just in case.

What to wear hiking in autumn?

Autumn can throw almost anything at you – so think layers. There’s no established formula for layering, as the type of layers you need depends on your activity level and the weather conditions. A merino wool base layer worn next to the skin helps regulate your body temperature by retaining heat and wicking away moisture. On top of this you’ll need a layer to retain heat, and in autumn a fleece will usually suffice. Finally, you’ll want to carry a waterproof outer-layer to protect you from wind and rain if it appears.

What to wear hiking in winter?

Hiking in winter usually means it’s cold, wet and windy. With that in mind, you’ll need to use three main layers. Like in other seasons, it’s best to start with a wicking base layer, then on top, you’ll need either a warm fleece or insulated jacket. To keep you dry you’ll also need your breathable waterproof hard shell to protect you (and your mid-layer) from the rain.

What to wear when hiking in the cold?

When hiking in the cold, the most important thing is to get your mid-layer right. A heavier weight fleece or an insulated jacket can provide additional warmth in cooler conditions.

When choosing an insulated jacket, you need to think about how you'll use it. Although down jackets have the best warmth-to-weight ratio and are easily packable, they lose their insulating properties when wet, whereas synthetic insulation doesn't.
You should also think about your extremities when hiking in the cold; a good pair of socks, a warm hat and gloves are essential to help keep you warm.

How to choose sustainable hiking kit?

Keeping our kit out of landfill for longer is one of the best things we can do for the planet. So when it comes to choosing the most sustainable kit, ultimately, it is kit that is right for your adventure and that you will wear season after season.

At Cotswold Outdoor, they’re keen to protect the wild places we all love, so have recently introduced the Our Planet collection; a range of products selected as more sustainable options.

And thanks to their sustainable in-store aftercare, repair and recycling services they can also help keep your kit performing longer and out of landfill.

Did you know? Guests can save 15% at Cotswold Outdoor. Simply discover your discount in our Forest Life magazine.

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Make sure your ready for anything thrown your way!