Posts Tagged ‘while’

Managing Moisture While Hiking With Layers

If you’re planning a multi-day trek through the wilderness, or even just an epically long day-hike, you will need to carefully consider what to wear. As any seasoned hiker would tell you, jeans and a T-shirt will only get you so far.

Serious hiking requires a more thoughtful approach to clothing, including an accurate assessment of the conditions you’ll be encountering, and a thoughtful layering system that will not weigh you down. Weight is an especially important issue for hikes that extend over multiple days. You can’t bring a suitcase filled with half your wardrobe on this type of excursion – you will need to pack very lightly.

Importance of Moisture
One of the most crucial things to consider when deciding on your hiking wear is moisture. Moisture can come from outside, like rain, or from inside, usually from perspiring. Being wet all the time is no fun, and can also be very dangerous. Water on our skin traps heat, and when the water evaporates, the heat goes with it. This means that, if you are wet in windy or cold conditions, the evaporating moisture could cool you down faster than your body can expend energy to keep itself warm. It’s a recipe for shivering discomfort, and can lead to hypothermia, in extreme conditions.

Water-resistant Layers
To stay dry during long hikes, it’s a good idea to have, at minimum, a water-resistant outer layer, like a rain jacket. This will help keep you dry, by repelling most of the moisture that comes from the outside. Water-resistant jackets are usually also breathable, which means that, they let air pass in and out. This is a good thing, because it can help regulate your temperature if it’s warm, and can help keep you dry, by letting your perspiration evaporate efficiently. Unfortunately, breathability also means that the jacket will be less water-resistant. A waterproof garment or poncho, which is not breathable at all, can be totally waterproof, but that’s when moisture on the inside can become a problem.

Waterproof Layers
If you wear a waterproof jacket or poncho, you are almost guaranteed to stay dry if it rains. If you sweat, however—and you will sweat if you are exerting yourself on a hike—that moisture will have nowhere to go. There are several problems with this. First, it’s uncomfortable. But this is the least-important problem. More importantly, if you are soaked with sweat, you could lose more heat than you need to, leading to chills. In warm conditions, the opposite problem occurs. The purpose of sweating is to cool your body down, but if the sweat can’t evaporate, the heat it contains will stay against your skin, and you could overheat. You’ll be producing more perspiration to compensate, which could lead to dehydration.

Waterproof and Breathable Layers
Some products claim to be both waterproof and breathable, but many experts argue that this claim doesn’t make sense, and that waterproof garments are, by definition, not breathable. Still, waterproof, breathable clothing is very popular among people who go hiking for long distances in wet conditions.

Base Layers
Another way to manage moisture from the inside is to choose base layers appropriately. A base layer is the first layer that you wear while hiking. Casual hikers on short outings might simply choose a cotton T-shirt as a base layer, but experienced hikers know better. As is the case in most sports, synthetic fibers like polyester are the best base layers for hikers. Synthetic fibers can be very lightweight, and they absorb very little moisture. A cotton shirt is very absorbent, so it traps wetness against the skin. Synthetic base layers do not have this problem, and are an important part of the equation for staying dry.

Choosing appropriate clothing doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. All you need to do is ensure that you’re making the right choice, instead of the easy or uninformed one.

Things to Know While Hiking in Humid Climate

On a recent trip to visit family in Texas, I got a chance to do a little hiking. Being from an area with a much less humid climate, I got to thinking about the unique issues involved in hiking in high humidity areas. During the Texas spring, wildflowers are in bloom, and some areas of the state are truly a hiker’s paradise. But if you’re used to dryer weather, you might find that moisture is something of an obstacle.

Perspiration
Let’s not mince words about it-one of the most difficult things about hiking in humidity is the sweat. I’ll admit that Texas Hill Country has lower humidity than some places I could have chosen, but by the end of the day, I was feeling very, very swampy. Do yourself a favor and bring along a towel or old T-shirt to keep yourself dry. I would also recommend that you carefully think about what type of fabric you’re wearing before you go. Not only are some fabrics, like denim, more absorbent than others, not all clothes are equally friendly to the skin when you’ve been out in the sun all day. I’ll spare you the detail, but let’s just say that I would not recommend denim. My hiking partner wore a pair of lightweight, moisture-wicking pants, and I wish I had done the same.

Hydration
An issue related to perspiration is hydration. Some people think that you do not actually produce more sweat in humid climate, but the slower evaporation makes it seem like you do. This is a myth. In fact, most people do perspire more in humid climate. The reason is this – it’s true that sweat takes longer to evaporate in humidity, and evaporation is the primary reason that perspiration cools us down. When our sweat evaporates, heat goes with it, and the air can reach our damp skin to decrease our body temperature. In humid weather, the lack of evaporation means that sweating is a less efficient way of cooling off, so you produce more sweat to make up for the reduced efficiency. So what does all this mean for hydration? It’s simple – bring extra water. You’ll be sweating more, and all that moisture has to come from somewhere! Make sure you pack enough water to replenish yourself.

Staying Cool
Since your body has a harder time cooling itself down in humid climate, take extra precautions to make sure you’ll be cool enough. Dressing lightly is one good way to stay cool, but remember that snakes, plants, and insects can be dangerous to bare skin. Wearing a hat is essential in humid climate, to keep cool, and storing water out of the sun inside a pack can help keep it cold. Most of all, check the weather in advance, and don’t plan a long hike for an exceptionally humid day.

Humidity and Altitude
It is important to distinguish between humidity and altitude, but the two are not totally unrelated. At high altitude, the air pressure is lower than it is at sea level. This means that, the air is thinner and can’t hold as much water. That’s why higher altitudes tend to be dryer, while low altitudes are more humid. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, dense but dry air is often found in deserts at low altitudes. In general, though, if you are in a climate that’s more humid than you’re used to, chances are good that the altitude is also lower than you’re used to. Hiking at low altitude is different from altitude hiking, because the denser air can deliver more oxygen to your body. This might make the hike feel easy to you, but remember not to overdo it!

With a little advance preparation, hiking in humid weather can be a wonderful experience. If you’ve thought about the unique aspects of humidity hiking ahead of time, you are sure to have a good hike.

What to Wear While Hiking

Clothes to wear while hiking in the cold
True lovers of nature are always looking for ways to spend time amidst the greens. Hiking and camping are the ideal choices to refresh one’s mood, while enjoying that adrenaline rush. However, before you set out on your hiking adventure, you must be well-equipped to handle various unforeseen situations that may arise. Apart from the basic essentials, the clothing that you opt for is equally important to ensure that your trip is safe as well as enjoyable.

The weather largely dictates the kind of clothing you should pack. Layered clothing will help you to adapt to the changes in the varying moods of Mother Nature!

Summer
–The best material for hiking gear in the summer is synthetic fiber like, polyester or polyamide.

–Start with a base layer of comfortable innerwear. Opt for a short-sleeved top and three-quarter length leggings.

–For the next layer of clothing, go in for a zip up jacket and comfortable trousers.

–Carry a jacket that is windproof as well as rainproof, for precaution against the natural elements.

–Wear a pair of liner socks and carry an extra pair along with you.

Winter
–Wear a thermal top with long sleeves and full-length leggings over your innerwear.

–As a second layer, go in for a fleece jacket with long sleeves or a woolen turtleneck. Over the leggings, opt for pants that are water-resistant and thick enough to protect you against the cold.

–For the third layer, take along a jacket that will act as a shield against the wind and rain, if required.

–While hiking in winter, two pairs of wool socks and two pairs of gloves are recommended.
Spring and Autumn
–The base layer includes a non-cotton top. Wearing leggings is optional depending on how cold you feel.

–The second layer includes full-length pants and an insulated jacket that is weatherproof.

–Carry a fleece jacket along with you.

–Wear two pairs of socks; woolen ones over synthetic ones.

Tips to Remember
**Always ensure that you wear a base layer of clothing made of fabrics that absorb sweat. This layer is the closest to your skin and fabrics that do not absorb sweat will make you feel sticky. Polyester microfiber is suited for the warm summers, whereas polypropylene is preferable for the cool winters.
**The outermost layers should be windproof and water-resistant. Look for a comfortable jacket with several pockets.
**Avoid wearing denim. Instead, opt for special hiking pants that are easily available in stores. Shorts can come in handy, so always keep an extra pair in your bag.
**The kind of footwear that you choose is extremely important. This would depend upon the climate and the kind of terrain you are about to explore. For example, during the rains, choose waterproof shoes with a sturdy sole that will enable you to get a better grip. Always look for the cushioning in the footwear. Stiff shoes are bound to make your feet hurt.
**Opt for hats or caps to protect yourself from the heat. Knit caps are ideal for the cool winters. Sunglasses are essential to protect your eyes from the harsh rays during the day.
With the right outfit for hiking, your trip can be made enjoyable without any hindrances in terms of comfort. The right clothing can help you face any changes in the weather with a smile!
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