Hiking Gear

Do you need special hiking gear? Or can you just grab whatever you wore yesterday and head out on the trail?

Here are some factors to consider when you make your decision about how to suit up for a hike.


What you put on your feet matters a lot to how comfortable you will be — and how safe. Hiking in flip flops will certainly hurt your feet, and those unsupportive shoes will also make you less sure-footed on uneven terrain.

You may be fine with sneakers, but some sneaks will come apart in water or cause you to slip on rocks. They also won’t usually provide the kind of ankle support you need to avoid turning your ankle while climbing up or skittering down a rocky path.

Hiking boots are worth the investment if you’re hiking anywhere except on paved trails.

You should also buy some wool socks for comfort. Cotton or synthetic socks can leave you with blisters.


You can hike in blue jeans or cotton pants or shorts in warm weather. Cotton isn’t the fiber you need for tough hikes or climbs, but it’s great for comfort in pleasant weather. Performance fibers are good for specialized activity, but an ordinary day hike doesn’t require anything special.

Choose long pants to avoid ticks and snakebite, but otherwise just choose whatever you can wear happily and move in easily.


Wear layers: a cotton T or a sporty tank will be fine. Top it with a shirt that covers your skin, but which you can tuck in your backpack or tie around your waist if you want to.

Some of the features to be aware of:

  • Reflective patches or designs are helpful if you’ll be out before it’s fully light or after it gets dark.
  • Shirts made with insect repellent or sun protection are great choices for hiking.
  • Blue and beige are less visible to insects than red or orange.
  • If your hike will require you to be nimble, make sure that your shirt doesn’t have seams or tags that rub you the wrong way.
  • Breathable fabrics — either natural fibers or moisture-wicking hi-tech blends — keep you from getting uncomfortably chilly.

Keep in mind, your shirts are there to protect you from sun, cold, and insects. Make sure you have a layer that covers you up pretty effectively.

Outer layers

A waterproof jacket makes sense if there’s a chance of rain or snow where you’re heading for your hike. A hat protects you from sun and rain. For an ordinary day hike, that’s probably all the outer layers you need.


You may need a little rucksack for a water bottle and a map, or you might be carrying three meals and a basic first aid kit. Either way, choose a backpack that fits you well. Come to Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters if you’re in Northwest Arkansas, and our knowledgeable staff will make sure you have the right backpack.

Beyond these basic needs, your hiking gear can be a statement of your personality, self expression, or an appropriate extension of your everyday wardrobe. Whatever you need, we’ll be happy to help. Remember, Uncle Sam’s has the good to get you in the woods.

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