What To Wear Hiking In 70-Degree Weather (Full Guide)

Comfortable, enjoyable hiking requires the right clothing to suit the conditions as well as the terrain. There can be nothing better than a hike on a beautiful warm day. However, as the temperatures start to rise and hit 70 degrees, you might start wondering what you should wear while hiking.

Loose-fitting clothing and lighter colors are primary considerations when hiking in 70-degree weather. UPF-rated clothing will provide protection from the sun, as will wearing a hat, a neck gaiter, and sunglasses. Hiking socks made from wool or synthetic materials will help keep your feet dry.

The clothing you wear on warmer days can dictate how much pleasure you get out of a hike. Wearing inappropriate clothing can see you sweat more and overheat. In this article, we will look at what you should wear when the thermometer hits 70 degrees, as well as offer some warm weather hiking tips.

What Should You Wear When Hiking In 70-Degree Weather?

The type of clothing you should wear when hiking in 70-degree weather is key to not only enjoying your hike but also in helping you avoid the risk of overheating. Choosing suitable clothing for the conditions will help you stay cooler, sweat less, and protect your skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Loose Fitting Clothing

Loose fitting, lightweight clothing tends to be cooler and more breathable, ideal when the temperatures start to nudge 70 degrees. A top or pants which sit tightly against the skin will become uncomfortable as the body heats up, as the sweat can make them rub and chafe against your skin. Lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and long pants can offer better protection on routes with limited shade.

Synthetic fabrics such as polyester and nylon are good choices. While loose-fitting clothes may not win any awards for style, they will allow the air to circulate more and help better regulate your body temperature. Lightweight clothing will be less bulky, too.

While we often say to avoid cotton when hiking because it so readily absorbs water, when the temperatures hit 70 degrees and above some people prefer to wear cotton. The fact cotton holds moisture longer can have a cooling effect while sweat evaporates. However, be aware this can lead to chafing and can also make your clothing feel heavier, particularly in a humid heat when you may sweat more.

When wearing cotton, you must also be aware of falling temperatures in the evening or when hiking on inclines, which could soon see you feeling cold from wearing damp clothing.

Wear Light Colors

Wearing light-colored clothing helps keep you cooler in 70-degree weather as it reflects the sun’s rays rather than absorbing them. If you wear darker clothing the dark colors will absorb the sunlight, and this will see your body temperature continue to rise.

White or khaki are popular choices for clothing in warmer temperatures and when the sun is beating down. Whether it’s your shirt, pants, or shorts, opting for lighter colors can help you keep cooler and feel fresher while hiking in 70-degree weather.

Wear The Right Hiking Socks

One thing that does not change regardless of temperature is that your feet are still the workhorses of a hike and need to be looked after. Therefore, wearing the right hiking socks is still as important when considering the most suitable clothing for hiking in warm conditions.

The nod to cotton as a possible fabric for tops and pants still does not extend to hiking socks. While a cotton shirt may cool you, cotton socks which absorb moisture and are slow to dry out are uncomfortable and can lead to blisters.

Hiking socks are usually made from wool or a synthetic material like polyester which wicks away moisture from sweaty feet. As the temperatures climb, the likelihood is your feet will continue to sweat even with socks made from more breathable fabric, so a material like cotton which is slow to dry is far from ideal.

Also, ensure your hiking socks are the right size, sitting snugly on your feet, but not too tight. Socks that are too tight can cause pressure points on the feet, while those which are too large can soon wrinkle. Both effects may result in sore and blistered feet, a destroyer of pleasurable hiking.

Put On A Hat

As the sun shines and the temperatures rise, a hat is an essential part of your protective clothing against exposure to UV rays. The skin on the face, neck, and ears is quick to burn, so wearing a hat can save you from this unpleasant experience.

While you will often see people out in the sun with a baseball cap, this only offers partial protection. For full protection for the face and neck you should be wearing a wide-brimmed hat, and usually the wider the brim the better the protection.

Another bonus of wearing a hat with a 360-degree brim is the shaded effect keeps you cooler. A lightweight, wide-brimmed hat is probably the best solution, and you can dowse it in water to help keep you even cooler whenever you pass a water feature on the trail.

Look For UPF Rated Clothing

Any protection is better than no protection, so any clothing which protects your skin from direct sunlight is good. However, wearing UPF-rated clothing can offer even greater levels of protection against UV rays while hiking.

UPF is the system used to rate apparel and is pretty much the clothing equivalent of SPF for sunscreen products. The rating can be found on a garment’s label and indicates the item’s effectiveness in screening out UV rays. The higher the UPF rating the higher the level of protection, with the more common ratings being 15, 30, and 50+.

The ratings tend to start at 15 as anything below this level is not considered protective against UV rays. You can buy shirts, including long-sleeved shirts, as well as pants and shorts with UPF ratings. Without adequate protection, exposure to direct sunlight can be harmful to the skin.

Protect The Neck

While a wide brimmed hat will offer a degree of protection to the neck, wearing a neck gaiter will provide full protection from direct sunlight. Not only does a neck gaiter help protect the neck, it effectively offers shade as well to help keep the neck cooler.

The neck can be another one of those areas that gets overlooked when dressing for a hike in 70-degree heat. If you don’t have a neck gaiter, a bandana or a neck scarf offers protection too. Whatever you wear to protect your neck can be dowsed in water from time to time to further help keep your neck cool.

Shorts Or Long Pants

Shorts are the intuitive choice for a day’s hiking in 70-degree weather. However, whether you wear shorts or long pants is often a matter of personal choice. Shorts clearly allow more air to circulate around the legs to keep them cool, as well as offer more mobility. However, when hiking in direct sunlight long pants can offer better protection against UV rays.

As discussed, loose-fitting clothing can also feel cooler too, as it allows for better air circulation. Convertible pants are another option, where you can remove the fabric below the knees and replace it as conditions dictate. This provides the convenience of both worlds and can be a handy solution, particularly if you tend to take shorts and long pants when hiking in the heat.

Don’t Forget Your Sunglasses

Last but certainly not least, don’t forget to pack your sunglasses. Sometimes sunglasses can be a bit of an afterthought when preparing for a hike, but your eyes need protection from the sun. Polarized sunglasses offer better protection from the sun, and also provide glare protection when hiking in the snow or around large bodies of water.

Sunglasses also prevent flies and other assorted bugs from getting in your eyes. This is annoying at the best of times but can be potentially dangerous if it happens at the wrong time on a trail, your eye instinctively shutting tight as you approach a section that falls away sharply on one side or on a narrow bend in the trail on a steep climb.

Clothing For A Humid Day

High levels of humidity can make hiking in warm weather particularly uncomfortable. When the sun beats down and the heat is dry it can be easier to adjust your clothing to the conditions. However, high levels of humidity can see someone who never seems to sweat find their clothing damp and uncomfortable.

When it is humid your sweat won’t evaporate so fast, if at all. While wearing cotton when it is 70-degree weather can sometimes be useful to benefit from its cooling effect since it absorbs the moisture and is slow to dry out, this is not such a good idea when it is humid. As sweat does not tend to evaporate in humid conditions it can start to rub and chafe the skin.

A synthetic material such as nylon or polyester can be the better option as it will wick away the sweat. Synthetic materials will also dry faster and chafe less. However, it is still important to pair the fabric with lightweight, breathable clothing. It’s also important to go for lighter colors to ensure you maximize the benefits of the clothing you wear when hiking in 70-degree heat.

10 Warm Weather Hiking Tips

1. Check The Weather Forecast One More Time

You may have checked the weather a few days before your hike and the forecast was for a warm, but for many hikers, pleasant 70 degrees. However, we all know weather forecasts can suddenly change, sometimes by quite a bit. Checking the forecast one last time before you head out prevents any nasty surprises.

If you are not great in warm conditions, you do not want to be on the trail wondering why it feels considerably hotter than 70 degrees. A last-minute check of the forecast can alert you to any increased temperature predictions, as well as any potential for storms that were not previously in the forecast. Sudden changes in the weather for which you are unprepared can be dangerous.

2. Stay Hydrated

Once you feel thirsty you can already be dehydrated, so keeping on top of your hydration is key when hiking in warm temperatures. As the temperatures climb you will need to replace lost fluids. Look to get into the habit of regular drinks, which will be made easier by ensuring you have easy access to your water bottle as you hike.

When you know the forecast is for warm weather you will most likely pack additional fluids to re-hydrate. However, planning a hiking route around opportunities to replenish water, either from natural freshwater sources which you can filter or at a store along the way, can also be a good idea.

3. Hike At Cooler Times Of The Day

When the forecast has predicted warm weather, avoiding hiking during the hottest parts of the day reduces the risk from some of the potential problems heat can cause. Hiking in the early morning or late afternoon can provide a more refreshing hike in cooler conditions. The hottest parts of the day are between noon and 3 pm, so when possible avoid hiking during these hours on warmer days.

If you are out for a full day’s hike or are hiking with a set mileage as a target, you can start earlier before finding some shade to take a break during the warmest part of the day. You can then resume your hike later in the afternoon, after 2 pm or 3 pm. This break can double up as a meal break too, providing the energy needed when you resume your hike, and ideally would be close to water too.

Hiking should be fun, and while having the sun on your back with warm temperatures may feel pleasant to begin with, it can soon take its toll. A break during the hottest part of the day helps with hydration too, and may mean you need to carry less water in your backpack from the start, particularly if you know you will be near water sources too.

4. Look For The Shade

Anyone with any running background will be switched on to this already, but on warm days, and particularly when the sun is beating down, you want to be taking advantage of any shade that comes your way. Ideally, if you know the forecast is for sunny skies and rising temperatures, then you should look to plot a hiking route where you know there will be a decent level of shade.

Even if you plan to hike in the cooler parts of the day, finding the shaded parts of the trail can help you stay energized and less drained. You can head out on wooded trails or through canyons where you will be less exposed to direct sunlight and find plenty of shade. Otherwise, be aware of the trail ahead and take advantage of any overhanging areas of rock and trees, even for momentary shade.

If shaded trails are at a minimum you may look to hike at a higher altitude where the air should be cooler. You may also look to hike on a trail that follows a stream or a river where you can at least splash water on your face or soak your hat or neck gaiter to help keep cool.

5. Wear Clothing With Vents

When you know you will be hiking in warm conditions, wearing clothing that offers ventilation and breathability is key. As well as being lightweight and loose to allow more air to circulate, hiking clothing designed to be worn in the heat can also include vents. These can be found in hiking shirts, pants, and shorts, allowing additional ventilation and air circulation to help keep you cool.

Wearing clothing with mesh has a similar benefit. If you do wear a baseball cap, you will often find they can include mesh to allow for better airflow. Any clothing that improves air circulation around the body helps prevent heat generated by the body from becoming trapped and thereby helps to better regulate body temperature in warmer weather.

6. Sunscreen

Sunscreen remains an essential part of the hiking kit and should always be applied to exposed parts of the body. The sun doesn’t need to be beating down for you to be exposed to potentially harmful UV rays. Even when it is overcast you are still being exposed to UV rays. Sunscreen goes hand in hand with your protective clothing to provide fuller protraction from the sun.

Sunburn after a hike is bad enough, but UV rays can damage your skin, increasing the risk of your skin to aging, reduced elasticity, wrinkles, and skin cancer. You can very quickly burn when exposed to direct sunlight and you should apply sunscreen before leaving the house, as well as reapply sunscreen every two hours while hiking.

Do not underestimate the strength of the sun even when the conditions are cloudy. According to Cancer Research, getting sunburnt just once every two years can triple the risk of melanoma skin cancer.

7. Plan Your Hike With Water In Mind

We all know how enticing a dip in a swimming pool or even a plunge pool in the backyard is on a hot day. Similarly, when on a hike in warm weather, it can be hard to beat cooling off in a stream, river, or lake. Just pouring water over your head or dipping your toes can have a noticeable cooling and revitalizing effect.

Planning a hike around water features can also be a useful safeguard against running out of drinking water, providing you also pack a water filter or purifier. The sights and sounds of water can also be a great soother, a mental pickup if the heat of the day has started to wear you down mentally.

8. Eat Salty Snacks

As you sweat on warmer hikes you lose salt and other important minerals such as potassium. When you sweat and only drink water you place yourself at risk of hyponatremia, where the sodium levels in the body can become dangerously low. Therefore, you need to replenish the minerals as well as the fluid lost through sweat.

Many people will carry a sports drink containing electrolytes which they will sip from occasionally to replace lost salts. If, like me, sports drinks are not your favorite product, you can look to salty snacks such as pretzels or nuts to replace the salts lost through sweating. Another option would be to take a salt tablet with your water.

If you are not too keen on the thought of carrying both a water bottle and a sports drink there are products that allow you to add electrolytes to your water. However, whichever is your preferred way of replenishing lost nutrients, it is important to maintain the balance of fluid and minerals in the body which would otherwise be lost through sweat on warm days.

9. Ease Into The Hike And Take Regular Breaks

Hiking should be fun, a rewarding time in spectacular scenery. When you know the weather is going to be warmer than average, you have to accept the additional challenges this can bring and allow extra time to complete a hike compared to when hiking in cooler temperatures.

There is no point starting your hike at breakneck speed, and if it is particularly warm you might not even want to start hiking at your usual pace. Instead, ease into the hike and allow your body and mind to gradually adjust to the conditions. As the hike develops you can pick up the pace accordingly.

Plan regular breaks in spots that offer good shade, and ideally have access to water for cooling off. Just as you don’t want to wait until you’re thirsty before having a drink, you shouldn’t wait until you’re tired out before taking a break. Regular breaks are a good time to have a drink and a bite to eat to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes. They are also a good time to remove hiking boots and shoes for a while.

10. Pack Extra Essentials

While we may all want to pack as light as possible when hiking, we also have to give a nod to the conditions. On warmer days packing a few basic essentials can be a good safety measure. Carrying additional weight can seem a little counter-intuitive as you may think it will require more energy and cause you to sweat more, but this must be balanced against being prepared for the conditions.

Packing extra water, sports drinks, and snacks provides peace of mind, even if they aren’t all consumed by the end of the hike. As you drink and eat the extra supplies the original additional backpack weight will drop, leaving a lighter backpack toward the end of the hike.

An extra pair of socks can also be a great relief if your feet sweat heavily and the socks you are wearing can not wick the moisture away fast enough. Blister plasters should be packed as sweating does increase the risk of rubbing and therefore blisters, while a bug spray can also be useful as bugs will tend to like these warmer days too.

Final Thoughts

When hiking in 70-degree weather, wearing lighter, loose-fitted clothing allows air to circulate more easily and helps regulate body temperature. Your clothing should also protect you from the sun, and sunglasses, a hat, and a neck gaiter offer protection to more exposed parts of the body.