Selecting a hiking destination is fun; choosing what to wear when hiking in 60 degree weather can be a challenge. Sure, you know the basic attire to put, on but do you know what the differences are in materials and wicking capabilities, for example, for each piece that can make or break your good time on the trail? Read on for some helpful insights on what to wear and why you should or shouldn’t wear it.
Preparing for Hiking in 60 Degree Weather
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned trail trekker, hiking scenic locations is a favourite pastime for outdoor enthusiasts. Whenever you’re exploring a new trail or traversing a well-worn path, there is always a level of anticipation of what will be discovered along the way.
For those who enjoy communing with nature, dressing in appropriate attire is one of the first things on the list of “things to do”. When choosing to hike when the temperature is moderate and hovering around the 60 degree mark requires a few things to consider ensuring the trek is comfortable from start to finish.
Depending on what part of the country you plan to hike along with the weather for that area can have an impact on the apparel you choose. For some locations, 60 degrees means the area is cool and crisp with sunny skies while other destinations may have the same cool temperatures, but rainy conditions may be a factor.
Whether it’s the sun beating down causing you to work up a sweat, rain clouds have rolled in making the area feel cooler, or raindrops are pelting your clothing, doing some research before taking to the trail will help you decide what to wear, so you’re prepared for whatever changes may occur along the way.
The Basics for Hiking Attire in 60 Degree Weather
- Leg wear
Footwear When Hiking in 60 Degree Weather
While the weather will be cool, it won’t be cold enough for full-on insulated hiking boots and heavy-duty socks. What hikers can opt for are reinforced trail-running shoes designed for both comfort and gripping power on rocky terrain. You can also opt for sturdy waterproof hiking shoes, which are heavier but hold up to the task of hiking over challenging trails. There are numerous styles, materials, brands, and price ranges to choose from for both types of shoes.
Like the shoes, there are a variety of choices in style, fabric, height, and design when choosing socks. Since your feet will be encased in a pair of secure shoes, you’ll want socks that are not only comfortable but can also provide protection from friction that can result in blisters but are also breathable to prevent moisture from sweating feet. For this reason, look for socks comprised of moisture-wicking fabric such as wool, polyester, nylon, or a blend of wool with a synthetic material. These materials or combination of materials promote warmth, durability, and faster drying. Some of the features of hiking socks include a cushioned footed, blister tab, seamless toe, and honeycomb support. Some top brands include SealSkinz, Quechua, Alaplus, KOOOGEAR, and National Trust hiking socks.
Avoid cotton socks for two reasons. First, the sock is more likely to rub against the back side of your feet, which means blisters. Cotton socks will soak up the moisture being generated by your feet leaving the inside of your shoes wet/damp.
Another option for footwear is hiking sandals. These shoes are designed especially for hiking excursions. They are tough, durable, and many are waterproof. Some hikers choose to wear the sandals without socks. But, when the sandals are paired with a set of hiking socks, the entire bare foot has a layer of protection against scratches and scraps plus feet stay warmer. The downside of hiking sandals and socks is if the trail is muddy or if you’ll be hiking through streams it will result in wet socks, which will need to be replaced with a dry pair. While some hikers may be fine with this, keep in mind you’ll end up transporting several pairs of wet socks in your backpack.
Brands to consider for footwear include Salomon, Nike, Columbia, Merrell, SCARPA, Lems, Danner, and more. Hiking sandal brands to consider include HOKA ONE, Xero, Teva, Chaco, and Bedrock, to name a few.
Choices in Legwear that Support Hiking in 60 Degree Weather
Legwear is a personal choice between shorts and longer pants. Shorts are a good choice especially for those who have a higher tolerance for cool legs. During the day when the sun is providing warm rays, shorts work well for many hikers traversing the trails when the temperature is moderate.
On the flip side, if the climate is rainy, cloudy, or windy combined with 60 degrees, shorts may not offer an adequate level of warmth. This is true whether hiking in the spring or fall. To get around this, wear a pair of leggings beneath the shorts. This provides a layer of warmth if the climate suddenly changes from sunny to gloomy. Also, the trail may wind its way through thick, shady forests where the sun’s rays aren’t as strong and legs are subjected to thorny underbrush, etc. The leggings come in handy for this type of hiking environment, too.
If you’re hiking trails that wind through areas that are heavily landscaped, a pair of long pants made of durable non-absorbent material, such as nylon, polyester, and spandex, provide your legs with protection from getting scratched from brush and stems.
To have the best of both worlds, choose a pair of specially designed hiking pants that can be easily converted from long pants to shorts. This style of hiking pant allows hikers the freedom of easy movement when wearing the short version especially when climbing. If the weather changes cooling down the temperature or the trail’s terrain puts your legs in direct contact with too many obstacles, the long version can provide a layer of warmth, protection, or both.
Some top choices in hiking pants include Prana Stretch Zion, RailRiders Backcountry Khakis, KUHL Renegade, Marmot Men’s Arch Rock, REI Co-Op Sahara, and Arc’Teryx Leffroy.
Shirts to Wear When Hiking in 60 Degree Weather
The one thing you don’t want when choosing a shirt is one made from cotton. This popular material serves many purposes from kitchen towels and bath towels to sweatshirts and t-shirts. The problem with cotton when while hiking is the material absorbs moisture like a sponge, which will leave you damp and uncomfortable. The same is true about shirts made from denim material. Once the material comes in contact with the moisture from sweat, rain, etc., the material will remain damp, which will leave you cold and uncomfortable.
For hiking during 60 degree weather, which generally takes place in areas during the spring and fall, technical t-shirts made from polyester, polypropylene, or wool help keep hikers dry and comfortable. If you prefer, choose a technical long sleeve shirt, which is ideal for wicking away moisture and maintaining/regulating temperature comfort levels.
Sun shirts are another option. These lightweight shirts also have long sleeves. The shirts are versatile, durable, breathable, and comfortable. The long sleeves also help protect skin from the sun’s rays while hiking an open trail. Choose from a variety of styles and colors available from brands such as Mountain Hardwear, Black Diamond Equipment, Columbia, Patagonia, and Outdoor Research.
Best Jacket Types to Wear When Hiking in 60 Degree Weather
In 60 degree climates, a heavier style insulated jacket won’t be needed but having access to a lightweight, waterproof, and lightly insulated jacket or long-sleeve fleece-style jacket is recommended. A sweatshirt made from merino wool or rayon may also be enough to keep you warm should the climate change and a sunny day turns into a cloudy and overcast environment.
Jackets to consider include the comfortable and breathable Arc’teryx Zeta LT jacket, the lightweight, versatile, and breathable Westcomb Shift LT, the comfortable and warm Featherlite Shell jacket, the hard shell Outdoor Research Axiom jacket, and the affordable and durable Westcomb Focus LT Hoody. Other brands to consider include Athleta, Eddie Bauer, Montane, and Mammut.
Choices in Headwear When Hiking in 60 Degree Weather
Even with the cooler temperature, the sun will most likely be consistently shining producing harmful ultraviolet rays. When hiking, unless the trail is continuously under a canopy of trees, you will be subjected to those direct rays for prolonged periods. To help protect your head, face, and neck from exposure, it is recommended that along with sunscreen, you wear headgear for protection.
Hats are generally made from nylon or a blend of nylon and polyester and come with an assortment of available features. Depending on the brand and style, features include breathable mesh venting, removable and adjustable draw cord, sunglass lock, crown ventilation, moisture-wicking band, foldable, machine washable, stain resistant, and water resistant.
Choose from multiple styles, shapes, and sizes ranging from a traditional duckbill cap, beanie, or safari hat to a brimmed mesh hat or cap with a face or neck covering, choose the one that offers the most protection for the type of environment you’ll be exploring. Brands/styles to consider include the North ace Horizon Breeze Brimmer, Outdoor Research Sun Bucket, KUHL Renegade Cap, Tilley Airflo Medium Brim, Outdoor Research Swift Cap, Tilley LTM6 Airflo, and the Patagonia Duckbill cap.
Gloves to Wear When Hiking in 60 Degree Weather
Gloves are also an essential part of a hiking adventure for several reasons. For hikers who use a trekking pole, aka hiking pole, to help reduce joint strain plus provide stability, a pair of gloves adds a layer of protection between your hand and friction from the pole.
If the trail takes you through areas where climbing is part of the hiking experience, you’ll need a quality pair of gloves to provide protection for your hands as well as enhancing your grip. Something else to consider is while hiking an uneven trail dotted with rocks, roots, or other impediments can lead to an unexpected stumble or fall. A natural reaction to this scenario is to grab the nearest stable object to prevent a fall, which might be a ragged tree trunk or a jagged rock. Wearing a pair of gloves adds a layer of protection, which is a benefit you’ll want to have, to help against injuring your hands, which are vital when hiking.
There are things to consider when choosing gloves. They should be waterproof or water resistant in case the climate changes from sunny to rainy, made from synthetic materials versus cotton, and the palm of the glove has a grip pattern. This is useful when hiking with poles or walking sticks. As heat builds up when wearing gloves, in general, or if you’re using a hiking pole, the material needs to provide moisture wicking to ensure comfort throughout the hike.
Several brands to check for style, fit, and breathability include moisture wicking Outdoor Research Alti Mitts, lightweight TrailHeads Elements, fleece lined Outdoor Research Men’s Versaliner, SmartWool Liner Gloves for sensitive skin, and fast drying Outdoor Research Activeice Spectrum Sun Gloves.
Checking the Basics for Hiking in 60 Degree Weather
At the end of the day, the type of trail you will be hiking, whether short or long, flat, or hilly, rocky, or smooth combined with the weather forecast for the day or days of the hike must be taken into consideration when choosing proper attire to wear in 60 degree weather. Along with the item’s durability, flexibility, and comfort level, it is also important to consider apparel that provides safety from the elements and excellent moisture-wicking capabilities.
Whether the trail involves navigating tight spaces, making your way up slippery inclines, or navigating over roots or rocks, hiking attire, from head to feet, should offer the best coverage and protection from the moment you step on the trail.