Hiking Apparel Tips

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What are outer shell hiking pants?

Outer Shell Hiking Pants

As part of the three layer system, outer shell hiking pants are lightweight, usually made out of nylon or other very lightweight material, and are meant to be used as the last layer in the system. They are usually cut a little bigger to help them fit over the first two layers of clothing.

The fabric should be breathable, and it should be waterproof, as well. Strong nylon hiking pants fit the bill, because they are water and windproof, are lightweight, and breathable to take advantage of all three layers of clothing. In addition, outer shell hiking pants can serve as active gear for other sports when you're not hiking.

   
Why is The North Face jacket so respected?

The North Face Jacket

The North Face jacket is a well known name in hiking jackets; they have been making high-quality hiking gear for decades. Good quality hiking jackets include sturdy materials, offer protection from the elements, and are light enough to stow away and carry in good weather.

The North Face jacket incorporates all these qualities, and is an excellent hiking jacket. Look for quality construction in hiking jackets, including reinforced seams and closures, breathable and yet sturdy fabric, and a fit that allows movement and freedom, especially for more extreme sports like climbing. The North Face jacket meets these requirements, and can be used for everyday wear, as well.

   
What is the insulation layer of hiking apparel made of?

Three-layer System: The Insulation Layer

The insulation layer is vital to your hiking apparel system. The function of this layer is to retain a protective layer of air. In general, these garments are made of polyesters that are designed to make fibers stand up, trapping air between the fibers. The most popular material used to create insulation layer garments -- such as vests and pullovers -- is fleece. Fleece can be bunted (napped to make a fluffy layer) or piled (layered to create a thicker layer).

   
What is thermal equilibrium?

Your Thermal Equilibrium

We often think of dressing warm when we are about to venture outdoors for an extended period of time. However, increasing your body temperature is not the main purpose of your hiking clothes. Ideally, you should dress to maintain a "Thermal Equilibrium." This means that you lose an equal amount of heat to the amount you are generating. This should not involve your body having to produce extra heat or lose it through sweating. The more your clothes are able to help you maintain your thermal equilibrium, the less energy your body has to use to do so. Luckily, clothing made for today's hiking excursions are designed to do the work for your body so you don't have to think about anything but fun on the trail!

   
What is a base layer in hiking apparel?

Three-layer System: The Base Layer

The layer of hiking clothingclosest to your skin is most important when you are hiking. Unfortunately, a common choice such as cotton T-shirts is not recommended as they tend to retain the moisture your body produces. This can lead to feeling chilly after your workout. Newer synthetic materials are used to make garments that wick moisture from your body but not retain it (usually less than 1%). Also, they are light but strong. Many are even treated to reduce body odor!

   
What should I wear when I hike?

The Three-layer System

Okay, so you're going hiking, but what do you wear? Make sure you're sporting the most comfortable hiking apparelby employing the three-layer system. On a typical hike you will heat up, cool down, and heat up again. Layering appropriately is the best way to stay comfortable. The system involves wearing a Base Layer, an Insulation Layer, and an Outer Shell. Each of these layers can be removed and added again as your comfort dictates.

   
What is an outer shell garment?

Three-layer System: The Outer Shell

The final layer in the Three-layer System of hiking apparel is the Outer Shell. These are typically windbreakers and other such pullover jackets. Their main purpose is threefold. The outer shell serves to protect you from the elements such as high winds, rain, and snow. In addition, they vent moisture that can build up as you exert energy. The outer layer also takes the brunt of any scratching or scraping made by trees and brush you may encounter on your hike.

   
How important is resting during an overnight hike?

Overnight Hikes

Long hikes will require special care of your body to avoid overexursion, and additional gear and apparel for emergency situations. Make sure you bring a spare set of clothes that can easily be folded up, like hiking shorts and an extra pair of shoes. Overnight hikes in particular demand extra time to allow your body to rest and recover. While on a day hike, you will need to pause for rest periods. This will assist in slowing down your heart rate and breathing, thereby resting your heart and lungs. Also, breaks during hikes give your body the time to get rid of the lactic acids built up in your muscles. Any strains and muscle sores will also have the opportunity to heal.

   
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