What to Wear Hiking in 40 Degree Weather: Your Ultimate Guide

When it comes to hiking, dressing appropriately for the weather is crucial. If you’re planning a hike in 40-degree weather, you need to be prepared for both cold temperatures and potential changes throughout your trek. This guide will provide you with valuable insights on what to wear during your hiking adventure in such conditions.

Dress Layering Basics

Layering clothing is key when braving chilly outdoor temperatures. By utilizing multiple layers, you can easily adjust your body temperature while keeping comfortable throughout your hike. Here’s a breakdown of the three primary layers:

1. Base Layer (Next-to-Skin)

Your base layer acts as the foundation of your outfit and should effectively wick away moisture from your skin. Look for materials such as merino wool or synthetic fabrics like polyester that offer excellent breathability and insulation.

2. Insulating Mid-Layer

The mid-layer aims to retain heat by trapping air close to your body while allowing moisture to escape efficiently. Fleece jackets or synthetic insulated garments make great choices as they provide warmth without weighing you down.

3. Outer Shell Layer (Protection from Elements)

The outer shell layer serves as a shield against wind, rain, or snowfall during inclement weather conditions. Opt for a waterproof and breathable jacket made from materials like Gore-Tex® or similar performance-driven fabrics.

Hiking Apparel Recommendations

Hiking Pants/Trousers:

Choose pants that are durable yet flexible enough for unrestricted movement during hiking trails’ varying terrains—consider options made from quick-drying synthetic blends or lightweight softshell materials for optimal comfort.

Hiking Shirts:

For superior moisture-wicking properties, look for breathable long or short-sleeve shirts made of merino wool or synthetic fabrics. These materials efficiently regulate body temperature and keep you dry throughout your hike.

Hiking Socks:

Don’t underestimate the importance of appropriate hiking socks in cold weather. Opt for thick, moisture-wicking wool or synthetic blend socks that provide insulation while preventing blisters and discomfort.

Insulation Accessories


A warm hat or beanie is essential to prevent heat loss from your head. Look for options with good coverage that also protect your ears against chilly winds.


Keep your hands protected from frostbite by wearing insulated gloves or mittens designed specifically for outdoor activities. Ensure they’re waterproof and offer adequate dexterity to handle equipment without hinderance.

Safety Considerations


Investing in proper hiking boots provides ankle support, traction on slippery surfaces, and protection against sharp rocks or debris on the trail. Choose boots that are suitable for the terrain you’ll encounter during your hike.

Layer Adjustment:

Remember to adjust your layers as needed during breaks to avoid overheating or getting too cold when resting along the trail. Staying comfortable is crucial not just for enjoyment but also safety reasons.

In Conclusion

Now armed with these useful insights, you can confidently embark on a memorable hiking experience even in 40-degree weather conditions. Remember to layer appropriately using moisture-wicking base layers, insulating mid-layers, and outer shells to protect yourself from changing elements effectively. Additionally, don’t forget about necessary accessories like hats, gloves/mittens, and sturdy footwear – all vital components of a safe and enjoyable hike!