Hiking in various seasons and conditions often begs the question whether to layer clothes. Many hikers choose to layer in the colder seasons but stray away from them in warmer weather. There are several things to consider when asking whether you should wear summer base layers when hiking.
You should wear summer base layers when hiking in summer if your goal is to keep your body cool and comfortable. These layers should consist of breathable materials that regulate your body temperature and limit sweating. They should sit comfortably on your body, not too tight or too loose.
Base layers can make a major difference in your comfort during summer hikes. For this to work effectively, you must choose the correct materials and understand why they work. Below, we provide explanation and advice on using summer base layers.
What Are Base Layers For Hiking?
Base layers refer to the layers of clothing that sit closest to your body. This does not include outer layers or waterproofs. However, there are an array of items and materials that can be used for base layers, and that is often where confusion occurs.
One of the main purposes of a base layer is to move moisture away from your skin. The effect of this is important both in the cold and the heat. During the winter, the base layer moves moisture away from your skin to stop you from feeling cold. However, you will still create some sweat when hiking in winter.
During summer, base layers help keep your body cool during the heat. The materials used for summer base layers are far more breathable than others and that can help to reduce the amount of sweat you will produce during your hike.
Base layers play an important role when it comes to hiking equipment. They are an essential item, and if you plan on hiking throughout the year, then having an array of base layers to pick and choose from is key to staying comfortable.
Make sure you know the difference between summer and winter base layers. They have different roles and help you to feel comfortable in completely different ways depending on the various conditions you can encounter while hiking.
Should You Wear A Base Layer For Hiking In Summer?
You should wear a base layer for hiking in the summer when your goal is to keep your body cool during high-temperature hikes, as well as to avoid excess sweat. To effectively use a base layer, you must carefully choose what materials you wear as some may cause adverse effects.
It is not entirely necessary for you to wear base layers during this time of year. However, it has been shown to improve the overall comfort you will feel on your hike, and that is something any hiker should consider.
Admittedly, some people would prefer not to wear base layers. Wearing base layers in the summer is not considered a requirement as far as safety is concerned. It is more of a personal decision as to whether you would want to wear base layers. However, there are many benefits that come with wearing summer base layers.
Only Think About The Upper Part Of Your Body
It is important to know that you should only look at wearing base layers on the upper part of your body during summer. In winter, you may wear items such as thermal pants, but they are not required in these conditions.
It is not necessary to have base layers under your pants during warmer months. However, you should still make sure your hiking pants are breathable and will not encourage your legs to sweat. They should be lightweight and feel comfortable in the heat.
The Art Of Keeping Cool
Summer base layers are all about keeping your body cool and comfortable during your hike. This is different to winter layers, where the emphasis is on thermals and maintaining body heat.
Therefore, the materials used in summer base layers are different. They must help slow down the production of sweat, which is achieved by using breathable material. You must be able to regulate your body temperature when hiking during summer and can do so by using base layers.
The Need For Comfort
If you hike regularly, you likely know how important it is to feel comfortable as you hike. Summer base layers can provide this comfort. Some may feel that base layers will be too tight for warm weather, but that is not always the case.
In a winter environment, base layers are tight to the body as that is their specific role. However, as temperature changes, so does the role base layers should provide. Whether the base layer is meant to keep you cool or warm is based on the design and material. Therefore, you need to understand which materials to use in each scenario.
What To Look For When Choosing Summer Base Layers
When choosing summer base layers, you have several key points that you should focus on. It is not as easy as choosing a random shirt to wear, and instead you must consider the materials and their design. Base layers have specific purposes, and you need to be aware of what to look for to make the correct choice.
Ability To Wick Away Sweat
One of the key things to look out for is the ability of the base layer to wick away sweat from your body. Materials such as polyester and nylon are excellent at doing this. The best options will include synthetic materials rather than more natural fabrics such as cotton.
Cotton is a popular material in clothing, but it cannot do the same thing as materials such as polyester. Cotton absorbs moisture and keeps it next to your body, which disrupts your body’s temperature. This is an example of why synthetic materials are a better option for your base layer.
You should wear short sleeves when considering your base layers. Your core is going to be the focus of the layer, but the lower half of your arms are free and able to enjoy some cool air against them. This balance helps with regulation of your body temperature, but there’s still a need for you to move moisture away from your body.
Wearing clothing that comes down to your elbow is not necessary, some prefer wearing three-quarter length sleeves. However, you should not wear full-length sleeves. This would likely cause discomfort while wearing your base layer, which we are trying to avoid.
Not Too Tight
Forget the idea that a base layer needs to be tight against the body, this isnot the case.Instead, consider it as the layer closest to your body. It is perfectly reasonable for a summer base layer to sit slightly away from your skin. In fact, it would probably feel better in this case.
Many stray away from summer base layers because they do not what their clothing to feel restrictive. However, we must also stress you should not have a base layer too loose on you. That will defeat the purpose of it being used to wick away sweat. It must have some form of contact with your body to achieve this. If it sits too far off your body, then it cannot accomplish that goal.
Can It Be Worn On Its Own?
A good summer base layer is one that you could wear on its own. It should be capable of performing in the way it is designed to do, keeping you cool without making you feel cold should the weather change. It should also help reduce the chance of excessive sweat.
You should wear a summer base layer when hiking if you want to keep your body cool and avoid excess sweat. It is important to note that base layers have different purposes depending on their material and design, some will keep you cool, and others will maintain body heat.