My Favorite Hiking Gear and Clothes (for women)
One of my most frequently asked questions on my Instagram is “what do you wear when hiking?” especially in the winter months. Ohio weather can be brutal, windy and cold, so base layers and solid hiking clothes are essential for ensuring you can get outside and enjoy hiking while still staying warm. So, I’ve finally rounded up a list of my favorite hiking gear and favorite hiking clothes. This is specifically for women, and some gear and clothes are listed for little kids, too. I will work to create an entirely separate post about that in the future.
*Please note: I do have some affiliate links throughout this post. If you do plan to make a purchase, using my affiliate links would be amazing, as it helps support this website as well as my Instagram and Tiktok channels.
We’ll start at the bottom of the body, with my favorite hiking shoes and socks!
Darn Tough Socks are hands down, forever and always my favorite hiking socks. I swear I hype these socks up more than most products. They are SO durable, and keep my feet warm and dry. I’ve never once encountered a blister or felt discomfort in these socks. They are made with Merino wool, which is my favorite fabric. Plus, they offer a Lifetime Guarantee. If you get a hole, rip, etc. you can return your pair and they will send you new ones.
Stego Socks are a little bit more afforable and offer almost all of the same qualities I love about the Darn Tough Socks.
Bombas Merino Wool calf socks are another favorite of mine. Plus, for every pair of socks purchased they donate a pair.
Shoes are one of the most personal hiking gear choices, as there are so many variables such as foot arch, but I will share my favorite hiking shoes anyway.
Merrell is my favorite hiking shoe brand. I always recommend the Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Boot. I love these because they require no “breaking in” period, as in you can wear them on a long hike the first time and you shouldn’t expect any discomfort or blistering. I love the mid ankle for additional support but still gives a little flexibility. I’ve taken these to hikes all over the country and they have stood the test of time. I’ve done 8+ mile hikes in them with no issues.
If you aren’t ready to commit to a full hiking boot, I’d suggest trying trail running shoes. They are lightweight and can be used for regular walks, so you can still get use out of them when you aren’t hiking. I have the Moab Flight shoe and love them! The only downside is they aren’t waterproof.
When I’m wearing a child on my back, I do prefer a high, sturdy ankle support shoe to give me that extra stability. Something like the Hoka Anacapa Mid is a great option.
Kids Hiking Shoes
Both of my kids wear and love the Merrell Kids Trail Chaser sneaker during the warm months. When they were both just starting to walk, we loved the Merrell Bare Steps Boots. Not to mention, they are super cute! If we plan to play in creeks, rivers or any body of water, we use the Merrell Bare Steps H2O Water Shoes. I’ve also heard great things about Keens, but we’ve never personally owned a pair.
For winter hiking, we love the Jan & Jul Toasty Puffy Winter Boots. My three-year-old has never complained of cold or wet feet in these. They have velcro on both sides of the shoe, making them super easy to get on which is a huge bonus in my opinion.
I don’t prefer traditional hiking pants. I am a leggings gal, and my favorites are Lululemon Wunder Under High Rise Tights and Athleta Salutation Stash 7/8 Tight with pockets.
I have recently found a pair of more traditional hiking pants that I am absolutely obsessed with. They are the alder apparel Open Air pants. They are expensive, but they are the only pair I own! I love how many pockets these pants have, and the waistband is super comfortable.
In the winter I add a wool layer underneath my pants. I own the Kari Traa Floke Base Layer Bottoms and love them! They fit great and aren’t itchy like I usually imagine wool to be.
(It is very rare that I wear shorts, even in the summer because of ticks, but I will include some here once I find a pair I love!)
As far as tops go, I honestly wear such a wide variety it’s hard to narrow it down. I don’t have a specific brand I love. If it’s hot in the summer I grab a workout tank top or a t shirt.
In cooler months, I always wear my 1/4 zip Patagonia fleece. It’s another more expensive item BUT I have had this fleece going on eight years and it’s in perfect condition, so I’d say it’s absolutely worth investing in.
In the winter, I will wear a wool base and I love this Merino base layer from REI.
My favorite hiking coat is the Cotopaxi Fuego. It’s lightweight, but keeps me so warm even on the coldest hikes.
I always recommend the Osprey Daylite for beginner hikers or anyone who enjoys mostly day hiking. It fits all of the essentials and isn’t too bulky. I also use this in day-to-day life!
Our child carrier is the Deuter Day Comfort. We have used it with both kids and have loved it thoroughly. My only complaint is the front pocket is a bit small for my phone, but I think the new version has a bigger pocket! All of the straps are adjustable, which is so great because my husband and I can both wear it no problem.
Misc. Hiking Gear
Rechargable Hand Warmers for those super cold days.
Frogg Togs Cooling Towel for those super hot days.
Garmin Vivoactive watch to track your steps and hikes. Super accurate and a great battery life.
I will continue to add to this list as I find gear I love! I hope you’ve found this helpful and can find some hiking clothes that work for you.