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Hiking is one of France's favourite summer activities, allowing you to explore trails all over the country and beyond, discovering breathtaking scenery. When it comes to choosing what trekking clothing to wear on your outings, there are a few precautions to take because hiking in summer can be deceptive. If your route takes you to higher altitudes, simple t-shirts and shorts won't be enough, even in bright sunshine. Here's our advice on what hiking clothing to choose for your summer walks.
Generally speaking, when we talk about hiking, one rule often comes to mind: the three-layer rule. This essential rule helps you to choose the perfect hiking outfit for activity in optimum conditions.
The first layer, or base layer, is the one closest to the body. This layer should have good absorbency properties to wick away sweat, which is often the case when hiking. Opting for such a material lets moisture spread over the fabric and evaporate quickly, protecting you from any cold sensations. You'll find below the materials you should choose for your first layer, so that it provides you with undeniable comfort during your trek.
The second layer, also known as the intermediate layer, is what you wear over your base layer. The main role of this second layer will be to insulate you effectively from the cold, while offering you pleasant breathability when you climb to higher altitudes. Note that the breathability of your second layer is essential, as it lets the perspiration absorbed by the first layer to be properly wicked away.
The third layer is the outer layer. This is the trekking garment that will protect you from bad weather (wind, rain, etc.), while also encouraging the evacuation of moisture. Note that when you choose your hiking clothing, you will find indications such as "waterproof" or "water-resistant". It's important to distinguish between these two criteria, since water resistance will protect you from light, temporary rain, while waterproof trekking clothing will keep you dry for several hours, no matter how heavy the downpour. For a summer hike, water resistance should be enough.
The aim of the three layer rule is to keep you comfortable throughout your adventure, even in summer. Indeed, as soon as your route takes you to the highest points, a drop in temperature is to be expected; That's why it's a good idea to opt for several layers of clothing.
- Merino wool: contrary to what you might think, Merino wool is particularly light and comfortable to wear. Thin and stretchy, it's extremely breathable and wicks away sweat perfectly, making it the ideal material for your first layer.
- Nylon: also recommended for base layers, is a fabric that offers strength and finesse. It also has excellent absorbent properties to quickly evaporate any perspiration from your hiking trip.
- Polyester: with some similarities to nylon, also wicks away moisture quickly and dries quickly.
- Shorts: preferred by many, shorts give you all the comfort you need for an enjoyable activity. They give you real freedom of movement, especially if they're made from stretch fabric. However, shorts are best worn on particularly hot days. Otherwise, your hiking routes designed to show you the most beautiful sights, risk taking you to areas where temperatures are lower even in summer.
- Hiking trousers: one of the essentials for summer hiking, these trousers will protect you from potential summer winds and showers, as well as the low temperatures encountered at higher altitudes. Specially designed for trekking, these trousers offer real comfort, thanks to a lightweight, durable fabric that won't restrict your movements.
- The alternatives: to cater for everyone's preferences, we also have alternatives to shorts and trousers, offering interesting compromises. These include trousers with detachable legs that adapt perfectly to changing summer climates.
When it comes to the material of your bottoms, we recommend that you opt for lightweight, quick-drying fabrics, discounting jeans in particular in favour of stretch.