Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dress for success(ful) day hike with children

Properly dressing children includes layering
for the weather and a sun hat.
Living in Southern California where the weather usually is pleasantly warm and dry, a T-shirt with shorts, hiking boots and hiking socks is about all that my son and I don for the wilderness. Sometimes during the cooler months, we might opt for jeans instead of shorts and pull on a sweatshirt. During the summer months, a hat with a brim is mandatory. It’s that simple.

But that’s Southern California where checking the weather usually is as uncomplicated as looking out the window. In contrast, Midwestern states are notorious for having four seasons in a single day. The chances of hiking a sunny day in the Pacific Northwest are less than the chances of getting wet. In Florida, an afternoon shower is a daily occurrence during the summer. Most locales demand that you dress differently for each hike, even one done a few days before.

In any case, you’ll need some special clothing, like footwear and socks. Not having them greatly increases your chance of injury.

When buying hiking clothes, remember that this pastime isn’t about being fashionable or wearing the most expensive duds. It’s about being comfortable and protecting yourself from the elements.

Fortunately, a variety of practical, functional and good looking clothing is available in all price ranges.

Read more about day hiking with children in my Hikes with Tykes guidebooks.