Hiking is wonderful and easy to start! Here's a beginners guide to picking the right base layer and great trekking shoes for a hike. And well, scouts are experts in this field so I'll let then tell you...
We, scouts, love being in nature and breathing in the fresh air. But, if you are cold or wet or uncomfortable in anyway the experience often becomes less fun memorable and more traumatic memorable.
Of course, it is less important if you are only planning to do a day trip, but if you're like us and trek for several days, you want to stay warm and dry without carrying a million pieces of clothing.
So, these are our suggestions for what to wear on a hike:
1. The Base Layer
As Finland is fairly cold throughout the year we recommend you invest in a warming merino wool base layer. Merino wool is excellent at retaining the body heat, it breaths and lets sweat evaporate to keep you dry and warm, plus it's stain and odor resistant. You can also use your merino wool base layer as pajamas during the summer months when the temperature drops during the nights. Breathing merino wool is good to use even on summer hikes, other options are for example technical activewear made of (recycled) polyester.
2. Trekking Trousers
On top of your base layer, you will want to wear trekking trousers with a durable and stretchy material. Breathable and water resistant materials are the best and often consist of a mix of polyester and cotton. Luckily nowadays some outdoor brands offer alternative products that are made of recycled materials, so if you have a choice, choose sustainable!
And then a true deal-breaker...
3. Trekking Footwear
Your feet are your most valuable body part during a hike. Even a tiny blister can easily become so painful and irritating that it is hard to push through a full day of trekking. Thus, investing in a good pair of hiking shoes will pay off. Make sure to break the shoes in properly, by for example shorter day tours and never ever head out into the woods with brand new shoes. Also, wear proper hiking socks that are sweat absorbent and keep your feet at a stable temperature.
4. Trekking Jacket
As an outermost layer wear a trekking- or a shell jacket. A trekking jacket that is breathable and waterproof is recommended as hiking is a strenuous activity and you can easily get fairly hot. If you don’t want to invest in a special trekking jacket a basic shell jacket often does the trick of protecting you from the cold wind.
5. Warm Wool Sweater
During a hike you will want to take plenty of breaks, sometimes just to take in the breath-taking nature but also during meal times. As you move around all day you will generate a lot of body heat and it is important not to let your body cool down too much during the breaks - that is how you will catch a cold. Therefore, bring a (merino) wool sweater or a light down jacket with you to keep warm. They add almost no extra weight to your packing and you will be extremely glad you brought something warm and cozy along.