Iím often tempted to wear shorts when hiking on warm days. We have a lot of those in the desert. But, Iíve fallen several times and have learned that long pants and long-sleeve shirts are, generally speaking, a better choice than the alternatives, even in the heat of the summer.
Over the past few years, itís been fun to shop for clothes at the sporting goods stores. All the brands are coming out with great technologies in the clothing fabrics. For example, Columbia now offers insect blockers, many have sunblock protection, non-rip technology, and most are quick drying and even have the ability to wick perspiration from the skin. All of these technologies are excellent additions. When choosing shirts and pants, I recommend looking for these modern fabrics that dry quickly and include SPF treatments.
Personally, I donít like convertibles, pants that allow you to zip off the lower portion and then they turn into shorts. Those zipper hems rub and annoy and they can be difficult to zip back together. Shorts also take away the safety and sun protection on the lower half of your legs. I do often roll up my shirt sleeves on hikes and have ended up scraping my elbows and arms on rocks and crevices. Par for the course, I guess.
Modern fabrics can be expensive, so I make a point of visiting the sales racks whenever I go to a sporting goods store. Itís a great way to get quality shirts and pants for hiking without having to pay the huge prices that come with the most recent technologies. Of course, I also shop off-season, buying winter clothes and summer and summer clothes in winter. You know youíll be out on the trails all-year long, so thereís nothing wrong with stocking up in advance.
While just about all the brands have sun block and quick drying technologies, here are a few of the latest technologies to look for:
Columbia: Insect Blocker and Omni-Wick (quick drying)
ExOfficio: Insect Shield (BugísAway)
Kuhl: Rhino Technology (tougher fabric on knees and places that rub)
REI: UPF Rating of 50+