It can be tough to figure out the best way to dress for a hike, especially in Colorado where on one hike you can go from wearing a tank top to a parka.
As a Meteorologist I have a little leg up on knowing the forecast, so I totally suggest following local meteorologists on social media because they have a little more insight than a weather app. We’re also pretty friendly & willing to give personalized forecasts if you ask nicely! (I tweet out detailed forecasts almost every day if you’re looking to hike in Colorado.)
No matter the weather, the best solution: lots of layers! I’d always rather have more layers to strip off and carry in my backpack then be freezing. Everyone has their own preferences, but here’s what I’ll typically wear by season:
-Long sleeve layer
-Windbreaker or light rain jacket
I prefer to hike in shorts, a tank top/sports bra & I always bring a long sleeve zip up. If I’m hiking in the mountains, I’ll bring a windbreaker or light rain jacket just in case of afternoon thunderstorms and windy mountain summits. Even if it’s a warm day, the temps will drop as you go up an incline. Spring can be especially muddy so waterproof boots & an extra pair of socks are a great idea.
-Long sleeve top
-Vest/Coat (sometimes both)
Leggings, tank, long sleeve top, vest/coat – Then I always keep gloves & a hat in my backpack. For me, it’s a good sign if I’m a little chilly in the parking lot because I know I’ll get warm once we start moving. If you’re too bundled up and feeling warm in the parking lot, I’d shed a layer and bring it with you. If you know you’ll be hiking in snow, look into microspikes or snow shoes!
A Meteorologist’s Favorite Weather Resources
In order to dress for the weather, you need a reliable forecast. Here are my favorite weather resources for non-meteorologists to help you figure out how to prep for your hike.