Adventure Clothing

The right adventure clothing adapts to temperature extremes and is always comfortable. It is typically casual in style with rugged construction for outdoor sports and other activities, including hiking and camping.

All adventure clothing should provide the best ventilation while still offering options for adapting to sudden changes in weather or in going from high to low elevations. Sun protection is also a concern when it comes to selecting adventure clothing.

The Basics of Choosing Adventure Clothing

For any season, layering is the key to staying as warm or as cool as you need to be. While hot weather means that you will wear less clothing, there are times when extra accessories aid the body’s cooling off or warming up process. For instance, perspiration that clings to the body without wicking off through the base layer can make an individual feel cold and clammy.

In general, looser-fitting clothing is the best recommendation for outdoor activity. This allows for greater airflow as temperatures rise. Keep sun protection in mind, however, with tighter woven fabrics. While darker colors are better barriers for damaging rays from the sun, they do absorb heat. Typically, lighter colors in the latest blends are best for activities that require any exertion.

Adventure Clothing Materials

Most of today’s technologically advanced materials are also soft to the touch to reduce chafing and skin irritation. High-quality lightweight merino wool is also excellent in hotter climates, as it is especially suited for wicking away moisture and allows air to flow freely. While SPF (sun protection factor) values will vary, a 50 SPF is a better choice for those who are more active during the midday hours.

In general, adventure clothing made of synthetic fabrics will provide you with the best temperature control, comfort and sun protection. The latest microfiber construction includes:

  • CoolMax
  • Cordura
  • Polyester with recycled content
  • SolarWeave
  • Solumbra
  • Supplex.

Microfibers include a host of different materials that are thinner than hair and are woven to create the finest mesh in a range of products.

A proper fit is also essential to the comforts of physical activity, whether it’s at home or on the road. Look for softer linings and attachments that are less likely to fail. Garments with zippers and buttons have advantages, but these could cause problems if a traveler is not prepared to repair them if they break.

Avoiding Cotton

Cotton isn’t usually the best fabric to use for adventure clothing. While cotton has advantages, it generally offers less SPF protection. Similarly, cotton doesn’t effectively wick away sweat. Instead, it keeps moisture close to the skin, which can cause you to overheat, become chilled or experience skin irritation, such as blisters.

Selecting Adventure Clothing for Travel

Packing clothes for an adventure vacation tends to require a bit more thought and effort, as most adventure-type locales have extreme temperatures. For example, while the day’s heat can bring temperatures over 90°F, nighttime temperatures can drop dramatically, depending on your specific destination. To stay comfortable with these temperature changes, you will have to pack clothing and accessories that will allow you to quickly adapt.

As you are choosing between different clothes to pack for your adventure vacation, keep in mind that lighter weight clothing is essential, as pieces must be compact for packing. Good adventure clothes should also be easy to wash and quick to dry, while retaining their shape.

The Right Pieces for Active Wear

Here is an outline of the basic pieces of clothing you will need for any adventure:

  • Outerwear:In hot weather, breathable windbreakers will provide some protection from rain while allowing body heat to disperse. These won’t prevent you from becoming soaked in a driving rain, however.
  • Pants and shorts: These should be loose but fit you well. In particular, long pants should be the right mix of loose but fitted without being too bulky or constricting. Clothing made with rip-stop nylon is usually comfortable, and many incorporate a zipper option for removing the lower portions of the legs. While these zippers can create raw areas at sensitive areas on the inside of the legs, they do help you stay cool. Look for styles that break just above the knee to reduce this irritation. They make sense when traveling light. Cargo-style pants with multiple pockets also have advantages.
  • Shirts and tops: Pullovers are good, but sometimes button-up long-sleeve shirts provide better airflow. High-tech shirts now include a range of venting options at all critical points. Some also incorporate tabs, so sleeves can easily roll up and secured as needed. Full coverage with breathable fabrics will protect you not only from UV rays, but provides a barrier for insects. Also, look for products that include roomy pockets. One or more should be entirely closeable to prevent loss of valuables.
  • Underwear: Choose underwear made from breathable synthetics. Recycled polyester is among the newer products that promise to breathe like cotton while providing wicking properties. Like other clothing, these are now softer to reduce or eliminate irritated skin. Look for seamless tube styles or classic briefs with blended seams.

Along with all of these items, be sure to pack socks, footwear and other essentials, such as hats, for additional sun protection.

Adventure Clothing Brands

Many manufacturers make technical fabrics and great adventure clothing. These are among the more familiar names.

  • Gore-Tex
  • L.L. Bean
  • Land’s End
  • Mountain Hardwear
  • Patagonia
  • RailRiders
  • Solar Eclipse.

The most important point in choosing adventure clothing is to select pieces that won’t let you become too hot or cold. With the right adventure clothing, you can avoid dehydration and/or over-chilling.