Whether you’re going on a short walk or a multi-day tramp, performance hiking clothing will make life more comfortable.
Synthetic materials tend to dominate as they are lightweight and quick-drying, wicking moisture away from the skin. Elastane blends are also common, which help ensure a tighter fit without restricting movement. Avoid cotton, which will hold moisture.
Layering is important to make the most of each item of clothing you pack. Keep this in mind when choosing the size and fit of an item.
Longs or shorts
Trousers and long sleeve shirts provide more sun protection and warmth. Zip-off trouser legs are more versatile, but will be slightly heavier.
Some materials are designed to provide extra sun protection. The ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) measures the amount of UV light that passes through fabric. A UPF rating of 40+ or more should provide sufficient protection during summer.
Insect repellent fabrics
Some fabrics are treated with permethrin which incapacitates biting insects that land on the fabric.
Adjustable hoods and cuffs help provide a tight fit which will keep you warmer, especially in the wind.
Patches of thicker material on high-wear areas, like knees, help increase the life of a garment.
Multiple pockets are common features, but too many pockets can add weight and more seam friction without providing extra utility. Zippered pockets keep items like keys and cards secure, but add extra weight.
Some materials are treated with a durable water repellent – DWR – which can improve the comfort and warmth of the item and make it more versatile.
Macpac Take a Hike Short Sleeve Top $79.99
MultiDry fabric manages moisture, nylon/elastane stretch jersey for pack abrasion, invisible side pocket, loose fit, drop tail in the back, stuffs into pocket. 130g (m/w). www.macpac.co.nz
Rab Arc Jacket $399.95
Three-layer Pertex Shield stretch fabric, helmet-compatible hood with wired peak, roll down anti-snag hook and loop tab, YKK AquaGuard front zip with dual storm flap, two zippered chest pockets, anti-snag hook and loop adjustable cuffs, hem drawcord with cord retainers. 414g (m); 368g (w). www.outfitters.net.nz
Craghoppers Nosilife Adventure Long-Sleeved Shirt $139.95
Travel shirt with UPF50+ sun protection, NosiLife mosquito control, moisture control, five pockets including a hidden zippered security pocket. 250g (m); 200g (w). www.outfitters.net.nz
Craghoppers Nosilife Cargo Shorts $129.95
Designed for hot weather trails with permanent insect and sun protection, moisture control, nine pockets including two zippered. 265g. www.outfitters.net.nz
Macpac There and Back Tights $149.99
Nylon/elastane stretch jersey fabric, Durable Water Repellent-treated stretch woven panels, breathable side panels with added stretch, low profile waistband, gusseted crotch, multiple pockets, slim fit. 250g. www.macpac.co.nz
Craghoppers Nosilife Pro Trousers $169.95
Travel trousers with UPF50+ sun protection, stretch fabric, permanent NosiLife mosquito protection, moisture control, five pockets. 365g (m); 300g (w). www.outfitters.net.nz
Montane Women’s Terra Ridge Pant $169
Quick drying fabric with two-way stretch, tailored fit, reinforced knees and ankles, articulated knees, thigh vents, button fastening, removable belt, zippered pockets, press stud ankle adjustment, UPF 50+. 355g. www.furtherfaster.co.nz
Montane Terra Pants $159
Cordura patches in high-wear areas, articulated knees, tailored waist with repairable button fastening, removable webbing belt, hand pockets, zipped pull-out security pocket, mesh lined thigh vents, press stud ankle adjustment, UPF 40+. 340g. www.furtherfaster.co.nz