Gear Guides: how to layer for hiking adventures

Heading out hiking? Make sure you are wearing the appropriate layers and you can be prepared for any weather conditions. We spoke to IGO Adventures, an adventure travel company for people who want to get more out of life, to get top tips on what to wear for hiking, walking, or any other challenge.

One of the best things about adventure challenges is that you never really know what’s going to be thrown at you, both by the route but also by the weather. It’s easy to under appreciate the impact of getting kit that’s fit for purpose, and fits you well has on your time in the hills.

A good base

Firstly, you want to be able to manage your temperature well, that means thinking about your layering and the weather conditions of the day. If it’s a hot day or you’re going to be running around the hills, you are better opting for a synthetic fabric for your base layer that can help wick away perspiration. If going at a slower pace or a lower temperature then merino base layers are a great option. They again provide excellent moisture wicking, but also have the added benefit of being antimicrobial which is good for when camping and space is at a premium. Long-sleeved base layers can help keep you sun-safe also, so it’s worth considering having a few that you can choose from on the day.

The right base layer will help keep you cool in warm weather and wick away sweat during higher-intensity activities.

Stay Warm

Your mid layer is the one you’ll put on when stopping to refuel or just slowing the pace down for a bit. This is the layer provides your warmth, and really the only rule on this is to avoid cotton as it loves to hold water and will actually make your colder! Good options are a fleece or down jacket as they are lightweight and retain heat while remaining breathable.

Adventures take you out into beautiful scenery where the weather can change quickly, like the IGO Adventures Scotland Weekend Challenge, but with the right layers you can stay warm, dry and comfortable.

Stay Dry

Next is your shell jacket, and as much as you hope you won’t have to reach for it the conditions can change quickly and you need to have a waterproof or softshell jacket in case things turn on you. Different shells suit different environments so it’s good to have a handle on the normal weather conditions in the area you are visiting, an arctic down jacket would leave you toasty warm on the hill but you’ll probably end up having to take it off and carry it when you start overheating.


There’s only a small weather window where you won’t find the IGO team in some form of a hat when completing a challenge. If cold, a warm hat is great for trapping the heat and is especially useful for any rest periods along with your mid-layer. A Buff or neck gaiter is one of the most versatile pieces of kit you can have on you and can be turned into a hat, neckerchief, balaclava, scarf or sahariane.

In the summer a sunhat is an absolute must to keep you safe. A baseball cap-style hat is perfect around camp and for the hike but for a speedy run visor might be more comfortable. The sunniest of days calls for the widest of brims, so reach out to your inner Aussie and wear your sun-hat proudly!

Sometimes something small can be exactly what you need, like a sunhat on those lovely sunny days!

Looking good is nice, but really form must follow function when it comes to gear. There can be so much variety in the conditions in one day and between seasons. Planning is key, and with the correct kit you’ll be able to stay (mostly) comfortable and dry so you can enjoy the day.

Happy Adventuring!

IGO Adventures is an adventure travel company for people who want to get more out of life. They offer fully-supported challenge weekends and week-long breaks to test your limits in the world’s most wild and rugged landscapes. Expect to hit peak physical performance, gain new skills and make new friends whilst you are at it.

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