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The exact details of this are going to vary but here are a few general guidelines. First off remember cotton kills (see explanation in the under socks in the footwear section). You do not want cotton in contact with your skin (especially undergarments) and I would recommend avoiding it altogether for any of your hiking clothing. Especially for anything overnight or if the temperatures could get even remotely cool. Depending on where you live and the types of stores in your area it might be hard to find some items in the stores and you may find that you end up having to order some items, such as underwear online.


Remember that although you may be plenty warm while hiking once you stop for the night you are going to start cooling down so pack layers. Layers are key. You do not need a change of clothes for each day and you probably don’t want to end up hauling that much around. Pack layers for a variety of temperatures and weather conditions. After all, here in Northern Michigan you can legit experience all four seasons in an afternoon.


There are a lot of great clothing options at outfitters stores and websites like, REI and Moosejaw, but they going to be costly (I recommend shopping clearance, closeout, and big sales, I don’t like to pay full price for anything). A lot of my hiking clothes came from Walmart, Meijer, or Dunham’s and most of it was on sale or clearance when I bought them. The materials are more important than the brands when it comes to clothing. Beyond that, it’s all personal preference and what fits you well. I have a hooded long sleeve t-shirt (made of synthetic material) that I bought on sale at Walmart years ago (at least 6 or 7 years ago) that is my go-to cool-weather layer. I take it or were it almost every time I go hiking and on every overnight trek.


I also highly recommend a packable puffy jacket. You may never need it on the trail but you will be glad you had it once you get to your campsite and if you get injured, stranded, or get unexpected inclement weather it could literally be a lifesaver. Arm gaiters aka arm warmers are a long sleeve shirt minus the shirt. They are simply tight-fitting sleeves that you can quickly pull on and off. These are great for starting out on a cool morning when you know it's going to warm up later in the day. Because once it warms up they can be easily removed and stowed away without ever stopping or having to take off your pack. If you get a thin breathable pair, they are also a nice extra layer of bug protection. Speaking of bug protection, that’s something to take into consideration. If you can stand the warmth long pants, and sleeves are a good idea and so are mid to high top socks because ticks love your ankles. A head net and or neck gaiter can also come in handy in extremely buggy areas. Some like to pack specific clothes to sleep in so that they have something relatively clean for sleeping. I usually pack a pair of slipper socks to help keep my feet warm.  A brimmed hat is also a good idea for sun protection and/or a beanie for cold temperatures. Some people like to pack swim gear but pretty much everything I wear hiking in the summer is quick-drying so I just wear the shorts I hike in then change into dry ones after. Usually, within a couple of hours in the sun, the ones I swam in are completely dry. Oh, and don’t forget an extra pair of dry socks!

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