If you plan on spending a lot of time on the trails this fall, then it will be important that you have some extra warmth and comfort. Great for yourself, or to give as a gift, thermal underwear will be one of the most important things to wear while you’re climbing those mountains.
For those that don’t know, thermal underwear is a set of clothing, most often consisting of a long sleeved shirt and long leggings that are meant to be worn underneath outer clothing on cold days. An alternative to separate tops and leggings is a full body suit made out of thermal material. Also known as long-johns or long underwear, these are very popular among men and women hikers, especially those that hike during the colder fall and winter months. Hikers require appropriate clothing no matter the weather.
When you are unable to control the temperature, it’s important to layer your upper body clothing, as this will allow you to add or remove garments as the temperature changes. A typical example for a hiker would a base layer, insulation layer, and shell layer. The base layer will be the layer that never comes off; the insulation and shell layer are only worn if needed. That’s why the base layer is important to be top quality. Your lower body is also normally layered, however, can be just a base with a shell is sufficient. The biggest thing to keep in mind when looking for long-johns when hiking is comfort and ease ability, as you may need to often add and remove clothing.
When a hiker is looking for a base layer of thermal underwear, there are several important factors to take into consideration. Because this layer is worn close to your skin it should be made from a wicking fabric to help with perspiration so that you stay dry. If hiking in cold weather, improper wicking could lead to rapid body heat loss, which could lead to injury or illness. A great fabric for wicking would be a type of wool like merino wool.
The base layer should also help protect against UV rays. Regardless if you are hiking in the mountains or through a trail on the beach, UV rays are prominent and without proper protection could cause sunburn or sun sickness. The base layer of thermal underwear should be soft to the touch since it’s worn directly on your skin. This will also help prevent your backpack from causing any irritation on your body, and should also be odor resistant.
Long-Johns can be found for hikers in many different colors and styles including, but not limited to, short sleeved, long sleeved, and different colors.
Many long-john materials are impenetrable, which is helpful if you happen to snack your clothing on something shark while hiking. It’s important to find a well fitting thermal underwear that is also light in weight. When purchasing long-johns for hiking pay attention to collars, seams, and tucking ability on the shirts. Collars should lay flat, seams should be forward, and they should always stay tucked into the bottom garment. For leggings, the waist should be a flex waist and have a back ribbed cuff. These characteristics will make for an extremely comfortable hike without feeling uncomfortable or bulky.
Hiking is supposed to be a fun and engaging experience, don’t let the wrong clothing ruin your hike, cause overheating, or not keep you warm enough. Make sure to wear or include long-johns or thermal underwear as your clothing options.