Tips for clothing for different outdoor activities
What clothes should you choose for different outdoor activities? It’s a question I am often asked and the answer does depend on a number of factors. First, what sport or activity you will be doing. Second, what season, winter or summer? Third, how long you will be outdoors taking part in your pursuit. Fourthly, you budget. All these factors need to be taken into account when choosing the most appropriate outdoor clothing but there are some general rules.
Tip for what to wear for a range of outdoor activities
The essential items are comfortable hard wearing and grippy shoes or boots. You should choose these according to the weather, season and terrain. It is better not to cut costs with walking shoes or boots. You will generally pay more for better quality and this means that will serve you well for longer.
Another important item is a breathable waterproof jacket. Many people swear by Gore-Tex as the best material for waterproof jackets but there are plenty of others. Choose a winter o summer waterproof jacket. The summer jacket will generally be lighter weight, while a winter waterproof will be a bit heavier and generally better able to cope with heavier rain.
Waterproof trousers are a useful extra. They are essential for winter walking but also a good item to have in the bottom of you rucksack even in summer, just in case it rains hard while you are out on a walk.
Other useful items of clothing for walking include gloves, a buff or hat, walking socks, a baselayer (short or long-sleeved, or both) and an insulated jacket layer to keep you warm when you stop for a bite to eat.
I like to carry a pair of extra warm gloves, too, because I get very easily and I find that my hands go numb.
Also see my blog: A beginners’ guide to walking kit.
I advise a pair of padded cycling shorts or tights. They might not look glamorous but the padding will offer comfort on a hard saddle. Make sure you buy gender specific shorts/tights because the padding will be different for male and female.
A windproof and/or waterproof jacket is important, too, for protecting you from the weather. You could pack a lightweight waterproof jacket in the rear pocket of a cycling jersey and wear a windproof front zipped vest jacket. Both are useful clothing items for cycling.
I like to wear cycling shoes with cleats and clip in pedals when road cycling. On my mountain bike I have flat pedals and MTB specific shoes (they have a nice grippy base to keep my feet on the pedals).
Horse riding is a great deal more comfortable – and a lot safer – with the right equestrian clothing and equipment.
The two essential items you will need are a riding hat (with the correct safety standards) and a pair of boots with a smooth sole and a small heel. Recommend items also include riding gloves and a body protector.
It’s more comfortable sitting in the saddle if you are wearing a pair of jodhpurs or breeches (riding trousers) rather than jeans or jogging bottoms.
Clothing such as a windproof gilet or waterproof jacket might also prove very useful. If you plan to ride where there will be traffic, a hi-vis vest is a good idea, too.
Trail running clothing
The only essential item is footwear that grips the ground. Trail running can be muddy and might also take you up hills, over rocks and grass and through streams. Trail running footwear should be chosen for fit, as well as the grip of the soles and their suitability to the terrain you plan to run over.
Aside from this, comfortable running kit might include shorts or a skort (see my review of five running skorts), a baselayer, a lightweight windproof/waterproof jacket and a rucksack for carrying spare clothing, snacks and water.
I also like to wear a buff to keep my long hair from flying around and I usually take lightweight gloves with me, even in the summer, because running the hills can be chilly.