When hiking comes into your life it is imperative that the right clothes do it too. A wardrobe that supports your adventures is a priority, because being an outdoor sport it is necessary to have shelter when the weather is bad for your health.
Hiking is a sport that can be practiced throughout the year in different natural areas, at least, that is the opportunity given by the geographical diversity of the Iberian Peninsula. Of course: you cannot allow yourself to be caught unprepared by a change of weather.
In hiking, clothing becomes another tool: it offers protections against falls, prevents them or help you to keep the body heat and offers shelter from rain and snow, among other things.
All of these are reasons for choosing our clothes wisely to be our best allies, and among them the jacket stands out as an essential element of the hiker’s clothing. If you do not know how to make the right choice, from Walkaholic we bring you valuable tips so that you can choose the right jacket for every season.
Can I use the same type of jacket during the whole year?
Wherever be the place you are in, you must bear in mind that throughout the year the weather conditions will change. Likewise, if you are one of those who like to spend nights outdoors, after a hot walking day you will feel a change in temperature. Without taking into account that depending on the altitude above sea level and the geography of the trail, the temperature also drops.
For those reasons, we advise you to investigate before you adventure the characteristics of the climate of the place you are going to visit. There are many shops specialized in sportswear for camping and hiking: you can go to them and ask for the help of the staff. But, answering the initial question, your jacket should change at minimum depending the season of the year when you will go hiking.
What features my jacket should have?
Whenever you review information on the best combination of hiking clothing, you will find the so-called “three layer theory” or “onion system”. What does this means? Well, hiking experts assure that to have the best sports experience; you must guarantee perspiration, shelter and protection.
All this without forgetting that been able to move freely is a sign comfort and having a pleasant experience. Therefore, a layer attached to the body, a medium layer and another outside are recommended. Anyway, and as the temperature varies during the day, we can get rid of or incorporate layers to our clothing.
In a post about the essential materials for hiking, we explain the three layer theory in detail.
One jacket for each climate
Synthetic materials are the best to your clothes, since they allow the sweat that comes off our body transpire and does not get trapped in the fabric. If you think that this is only necessary for warm climates, you are wrong: in very low temperatures, perspiration is also important since all the sweat that goes to the clothing of the inner layer makes you feel colder.
For the hottest seasons, but in which it also tends to rain a lot, you can look for raincoats. The membranes of the fabric will give you the impermeability that you need and perfect perspiration. The market has several options for you: Millet Trident, Arc’teryx Beta AR and Gore-tex.
In the case of autumn and winter it is very common to choose jackets with fabrics such as fleece, wool, down and other warm materials. Depending on the weather, it may be necessary to wear more than one jacket: we recommend the so-called polar jackets because of their thickness and durability. A well-known by winter hikers is the THE NORTH FACE Hyperair: its breathable technology allows you to dissipate the sweat quickly and keep the body heat, besides being an excellent “windbreaker”. The Craghoppers Gore-tex jacket is another example of a great winter jacket for an unbeatable price.
Types of Jackets
They are the traditional waterproof, windproof and breathable jackets. They offer greater protection against rain, snow, hail or wind. The Hardshell jacket is not meant to keep you warm, but to keep you dry. This jacket of the brand Marmot for women is an excellent example. Or the Jack Wolfskin Cloudburst for men.
They are jackets with a warm interior, with some benefits for cold and rain, although limited. This type of jacket usually repels water but is not waterproof. We recommend its use only to protect you from mild drizzles. They are a good choice for winter conditions. The jacket Geographical Norway for women or the Columbia Fast Trek II for men are great examples of this category of jackets.
They are the ideal complement to the softshell, since they are waterproof and breathable and do not take up space or weigh in your backpack. If in your hiking route the weather worsens or starts to rain cats and dogs, you can put it on top of your clothes to serve as a raincoat. The Marmot PreCip for men or for women is a great example.
Hybrid shells Jacket
It is a hybrid jacket, in which the exposed parts are made of hardshell materials and the internal ones with softshell. They are comfortable, breathable and resistant, ideal for adverse conditions, but lacks the ability to be taken off by layers.
Places to buy the best jackets
Although there are many physical shops that are positioned in the market as the best in selling sporting goods and hiking, there is a trend for online shopping.
It is true that you won’t have the opportunity to interact with the real jacket or with a specialized seller to provide you with all the information, but you save an incredible time and money buying from home.
Among the most important online stores where you can get the latest in hiking clothes are eBay and Amazon. Both offer diversity and quality of jackets and sportswear in general, at great prices.
In addition, many professional brands such as The North Face, Columbia or Salomon also allow you to buy online.
Take into account also details such as the hood (which must have a cord), that the seams are thermosealed so that rain does not leak through them and very important: the jacket must have pockets.
It should also be loose, even with layers of clothing underneath, because in addition to protecting you, should be comfortable and the jacket must not rub on your skin.
Do you have any extra advice when choosing a jacket? We would be delighted if you leave us a comment, as well as any questions or concerns that you may have.
Then, we hope that when we meet again on the road, we will both be wearing the right jacket for each season.