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Do You Have a Hiking Uniform?

Philip Werner's Hiking Uniform
Philip Werner’s Hiking Uniform

I wear the same clothes on every three-season hike I take. Well, not exactly the same identical clothes, but I always wear a RailRiders Madison River Shirt, RailRiders Eco-Mesh Pants, and Under Amour Heatgear underwear. I like the layout of their pockets, the cooling vents sewn into the fabric, the fact that they dry quickly when wet, and the protection they provide me from insects and chafing. The hats and socks I wear change from year to year, but the core garments stay the same.

I guess you could call these clothes my hiking uniform, because I always wear them for hiking,

Do you have a hiking uniform too? What clothes do you like to wear for hiking?

Please leave a comment.



  1. Ya, I guess I do! never thought about, I just don’t look for new clothes until these fall apart. I wear a Columbia PFG Bahama II, with the sleeves usually rolled up. I also wear some prana stretch zion pants, but those RailRiders you have look really appealing. Then I have a wide brim hat from Columbia.

    However, I probably will not purchase another of any of these, as I just haven’t tried enough different styles of clothes to find what I really like. So we’ll see what I have on a year or two from now.

  2. I do – it’s either an L.L. Bean uniform or a Columbia uniform. Both include Darn Tough socks. When I buy clothing I always purchase four of the exact same item – this gives me a clean “set” for each day hike over a three day weekend and a spare set just in case I want to throw something in my pack or something goes wrong with one set. It takes the guesswork out of which close to bring sense they are all the same and I know what to expect for performance.

  3. On three season hikes I wear RailRiders EcoMesh pants and an older RailRiders Expedition shirt. In winter, I switch to RailRiders Winter Weather pants.

  4. Running shorts + short-sleeve shirt (merino or synthetic depending on whether rain is in the forecast) for most of the year.

  5. Yes! North face convertible pants, a black synthetic shirt, wool socks and under armor shorts.

  6. For 3-season hikes it’s pretty consistent except for my shirt will change depending on the conditions: Asolo boots, EMS merino wool socks with liners, Railriders Bushwhacker pants, bandana. My shirts rotate depending on heat, bugs, wind, rain, etc. In general I think it’s because the cost of hiking gear is so expensive and it’s used a lot less often than other clothes. Plus when I find something that works I stick with it.

  7. Lols on this one…..Boy Scout, Military BDU’s, then the Jeans & Tie dye T-Shirt, and when I got filthy rich, meaning the daughters left the nest, Man made fiber Zip off Pants by Columbia and a Man made Fiber Shirt also made by Columbia, which I also use for Fishing, Long and short Sleeve. What I wear most of the time is an old Hydoduct T-Shirt, short sleeve and the long Sleeve version, which are thin enough to wear under the Military weight long johns from Cabelas, which I layer a Goose Down Vest from Cabela’s or a Goosedown Jacket and GoreTex Jacket from REI now going on 15 years old. And as with all outdoors acitivities it depends upon the weather forecast unless I am on a long trek where long range projections are just good guesses then I bring an “Haute” collection of clothing that would meet the worst expected and the best expected weather at that time of year..Above 10,000 I always prepare for single digits in August.

    • Forgot a couple of things..Smartwool Socks, IF wearing briefs, the Columbia Pants have a built in brief, I wear a pair of REI Briefs and always my faithful, always fit out of the box with no blisters…Danner Boots with Goretex booty sewn in.. Used to wear Danner Combat boots for some 20 plus years and never experienced any AT problems that I hear via Media outlets that people experienced but never met a person in person who had the AT problems claimed, probably because the boots fit my feet and my Lekki Shock Poles..Don’t know if they make them any more but they have been my companions for years..Hats, Always carry or wear my Boonie hat and a Watch Cap made from Turtle Fur bought many years ago from Campmor. All these items have stood the test of time and that is a good thing.

  8. Being primarily a Northeast spring & fall hiker on the AT… Jockey nylon midway brief; Injinj wool toe socks; Smartwool crew socks, Seirus Hyperlite Stormsocks; Birkenstock Milano Sandals or Birkie Aruba sandal; Ibex long sleeve Indie crew shirt, wool tights, Nomad full zip top, & wool hat.

    Thinking about getting an Indie with a hoodie!

    Yes, Birkenstocks in the woods. They work for my feet and keep the planter fasciitis away. When it’s raining I put my Crocs on. My AARN body pack rarely weighs more than 20 lbs total.

  9. I have used nylon zip-off pants from North Face or Campmor for years. I just recently got a pair of Rail Riders pants with re-inforced knees, shins, and seat. Gaiters help keep ticks out, as well as rocks and sticks out of my shoes. Columbia hiking boots. Depending on the temperature I layer in a Underarmor T with a long sleeve plaid or plain shirt. Can layer up more with North Face base layer and a heavier shirt. I wore a Columbia hat for years, then finally got a Tilley hat which is now standard wear. I prefer hiking gloves with open finger tips. I can cover my hands with a pair of rain mitts if needed for warmth. This is my “uniform” for 3 season hiking in Idaho. More layers added if it’s cold.

  10. I’ve seen you wear this many a time. I have a uniform too. Mountain Hardware kilt and a smartwool tee. the only time i wear pants is if I’m bushwhacking. I like having a uniform. Takes the guess work out of the night before.

  11. Railriders Madison River shirt and Railriders EcoMesh pants. Can you tell I’m a regular reader here? I haven’t tried those boxers yet but wear some nylon briefs I got from Campmore on closeout. My first torso layer is a synthetic SectionHiker T. I wear SmartWool socks and Innov-8 Terroc 330s–another SectionHiker thing. Oh yeah… PacerPoles. Thank you, Philip! If my wife knew how much SectionHiker cost, she’d disable my Internet connection!

    • You can’t blame the guy for reviewing some excellent stuff! There is some good quality products mentioned here that I’ve used and adopted into my own pack, some of them not expensive at all. Just look at the posts on reusing common items found around the house!

  12. +1 on hiking kilts, for women and men!

  13. For 3 season I wear: Columbia Trail Dryer Cap, Columbia Titan Omni Dry long sleeve t-shirt, Under Armor HeatGear Underwear, Columbia Omni-Shade Zip-off Pants, Brooks Wool Socks, LaSportiva UltraRaptor Trail Running Shoes. I treat the cap, t-shirt, pants and socks with permethrin.(I hike in the NE) … Thank you Phill for sharing your experience, I learn alot from your blog.

  14. I didn’t think I had a hiking uniform until I did Katahdin two years in a row on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. I was wearing the exact same outfit – rain hat, running shirt, pants – and I didn’t realize it until I got home and looked at my photos from the two trips.

  15. I have fallen in love with Salewa shoes and have several pairs.I have settled on tights, (to help with ticks), either my zipoffs (zipped off, why do I continue to carry the legs?), or mostly my bathing suit. Up top I seem to be going towards Tommy Bahama.Bandana and some sort of a Sox hat.

  16. RailRiders adventure top, RailRiders Jammin shorts! I hate hiking in pants. If it’s cold I’ll put on some leggings (either UnderArmor or a capilene layer depending on temp). I rarely wear underwear while hiking, but when I do I either wear UA heat gear or the RailRiders ultralight boxer briefs. I once wore my uniform (Jammin shorts, AT, no underwear…) for 80 days straight in the New Zealand backcountry. Now that’s what you call a uniform!

  17. I guess I sort of do with a few items. I change my shirt up from time to time depending on the weather and temperature. I usually wear the same REI Sahara pants, which are awesome by the way, and the same synthetic boxer-brief style underwear and wool socks. I have several pairs of the same socks and underwear because I like them a lot. I got some awesome merino wool dress socks from Costco awhile ago, and I want to get some more but they don’t carry them all the time!

  18. Columbia PFG Backcast II shorts. Callaway Golf shirt in orange. DeFeet Wooleator socks. Montrail Mountain Masochist in orange.

  19. Me too.

    For the shoulder seasons, EMS zip-off pants with a SMARTWOOL mid-weight, long sleeve, 1/4 zip, top.

    A MARMOT Precip jacket, a light weight SMARTWOOL cap and wool liner gloves are on standby.

    If I am moving, those items cover a wide range of weather conditions for me.

  20. Yes and no. I have a basic outfit for Fall, Winter and Spring that consists of tights or thermals with shorts over top and a pair of wind or rain pants to throw over that, and a LS top with a SS shirt over it and a wind jacket for warmth, but I always ditch it in the summer for ss shirt and shorts because if it gets over 70 I’m just hot all the time. No matter what the season, I always hike in my Darn Tough socks!

  21. Vibram Treksports, zip-off pants, a shirt for the weather and long johns if it’s spring or fall

  22. The basic system is: Patagonia Rock Guide pants (or Rock Guide shorts if it looks to be warm), a couple Capilene 1 long-sleeve tops, Patagonia R1 vest (homemade from an R1 Flash pullover), Northwest Alpine windshirt, Patagonia Jetstream shell jacket, Rab Xenon Primaloft jacket, Ibex wool beenie hat, OR baseball cap. If it’s cooler, I’ll add a Northwest Alpine Black Spyder hoodie and some gloves. Smartwool socks, Scarpa hiking boots. That works for spring, summer, fall. Winter requires another uniform….

    • Oops! Forgot shell pants – some 3/4 zip Cloudveil pants for expectation of serious rain; an old pair of full-zip Activent pants if I expect more wind that serious rain. And I try to keep a pair of base layer bottoms for sleeping in and for camp.

  23. BSA zipoff pants, and a nylon shirt. I used to use a Columbia shirt that I got for $15 at the REI used gear sale, but now I hike in a Railriders shirt.

    This is an interesting decision, because when I teach Scout leaders I need to wear the uniform. But my uniform shirt is 100% cotton. So I need to talk to them about proper materials for the outdoors.

  24. For almost all of my hikes I wear an Icebreaker merino t-shirt and socks, and Marmot shorts. I have a fleece and shell by Marmot in cases of precipitation or cooler weather.

  25. I answer to The Khaki Nightmare.

  26. My uniform is kind of unique, as we all are.

    2 Silk weight Patagonia Cap1 (one white, one black)
    Patagonia Knickers
    Patagonia Cap4 Beanie
    Injini Knee high compression toe socks and liners
    Under Amour Boxer Jocks
    Dirty Girl Gaiters
    Zpacks WBP Cuben Jacket
    Zpacks Kilt
    Zpacks Pointy Hat, which I have to say after being in NV in the hundreds for a week is freaking awesome. Just have to give an explanation to everyone that sees me in it.

    Montbell Mirage Down jacket for breaks and as a pillow for nap time.

    I can be under travel with this uniform from 30 to 100 Degrees. Swap out the knickers and yes I hike in my underwear.

    My most favorite aspect, is that I have no pockets. Just dislike pockets more than anything in the world of hiking apparel. No extra material. Less seems. No losing anything in the 64 pocket cargo hikers.

    • I can’t decide between an umbrella or a pointy hat. What’s the hat like in a revolving door? :-)

      • Philip,

        I use my hat as a part of my sleep system. When unzipped it is part pad, or seating pad(Nothing beats getting pine sap in your underwear.)

        Have not taken it through a revolving door. It is less wide than people think. Just inside the width of my shoulders. Airflow works with a baclava or a visor nicely. Stays on firmly in wind.

        I have done the Foreign Legion style. Handkerchief tucked in baseball. Various boonies of sorts. This is it for me.

        Only negative is it is not crushable like many travel adventure hats. The only place I have issues is when traveling through brush as it is resting on the back of my pack. It can make your pack wider than normal. I however tend to wear it about 80% of the time.

        One place it has been is:
        Across the gaming floor at a Casino at 5 am Sunday morning to beat the hot sun of the day. Along with the uniform. Just imagine all the drunken stares. That was a sight that would make anybody still drinking at that hour have another. :)

  27. Yes, except for my footwear, which I haven’t decided on yet. During three season hiking, I always wear a pair of crew height Darn Tough socks, Khuel Revolver Pants, ExOfficio Give-n-Go Boxers, Mountain Hardwear wicked light-tee, Icebreaker medium-weight hooded/zipped mid-layer (spring/fall) and a wide brim OR hat with insect shield.

  28. Like the others, i hadn’t thought about it, but i guess i do.
    Icebreaker T (150) under Icebreaker (260) LS T or Patagonia R1 Hoody;
    Exofficio shorts under Patagonia strider shorts,
    DeFeet Wooleator inside Lone Peak or Cascadia.
    Houdini windshirt and goretex jacket in the pack and i’m on the trail.
    I’ll pretty much wear this all the time incase i have to walk across the country at short notice.

  29. While this changes depending on terrain and weather I typically wear from top to bottom:

    Hat: Tilley Canvas Hat (bomb proof rain or shine)
    Shirt: Smartwool microweight Tshirt. Black (hides stains)
    Shorts: Warm weather or trail hiking I wear running shorts with built in undies. Cool weather or bushwhacking I wear GoLite long pants w/ UA boxer briefs
    Socks: Injini light weight toe socks
    Gaters: Been using Dirty Girl but looking for an alternative
    Shoes: La Sportiva Raptors w/ Green Superfeet inserts

  30. I almost always hike in my Prana pants (unless it’s insanely hot). I also wear some sort of moisture-wicking tee, long sleeve, or performance sweat shirt. One thing is a given, regardless of the temperature… I never hike without my Buff! The classic Buff I wear offers UV protection, washes well, and dries quickly. I love that I can wear it as a cap when it get’s chilly!

  31. LaSportiva Ultra Raptor shoes, REI Endevour pant, or Colunbia zip-offs, moisture wicking tee. Sierra Designs down puffy,Cloudviel Zorro shell.Mountain Hardware fleece. Moisture wicking low cut socks,(Darn Tuff). Happy Trails !

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