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Clothes for Hiking and Wildlife Watching

Almost everything will get wet on a long hike in the rain, including you.

A good soaking is just part of the adventure. Be prepared for heavy rain, occasional water crossings, or a refreshing swim. Optimal clothing is the key to a joyful trip. Test your clothes for comfort before hiking.

If staying perspiration-free in the rain is important to you while you’re hiking down a trail carrying a loaded backpack, maybe you should pick another sport. You’re going to sweat. Perspiring is inevitable on the move.

For rain or wetland hiking you want functional clothes that can get wet repeatedly and not soak up much water, but let it run off or wick it away. They should be lightweight, quick drying, and above all feel good and comfortable when swimming.

Kit for Rain Hiking

  1. Beathable unlined cagoule
  2. Quick drying base layer
  3. Fleece insulating layer if cold
  4. Rain pants (over your shorts or leggings)
  5. Wool socks
  6. Waterproof hiking boots

Swim Shirts

wading anorak
Quick drying swim shirts and pullovers make a good base layer that reduces waterflow over your body. Fleece pullovers wick moisture from your skin. Consider the water temperature before you decide for one or two layers.

Long Cagoules

adventure swimming in clothes
For wetland hikes you may want lightweight cagoules that are easy to swim in but keep you warm and protect you from stings, cuts and scrapes. Worn over a base layer, they make fantastic amphibian outfits.


adventure swimming in clothes
Ponchos are lightweight and comfortable on land and in water and hide your shape when wildlife watching.

You can build a photo shelter using one as a tarp to hide under. After your trip you can wrap all your wet clothes into a poncho bundle for the way home.

Shirts for Wet Wading

A quality wading shirt isn’t always easy to find. Either they’re too heavy, too light or far too expensive. Each wader has their own preference when it comes to a quality wading shirt. Consider where you go wading before you make your decision.

Many waders have shirts for spring, summer, spring, autumn and winter. Shirts are a bit of an investment, but comfort in the water will give you more joy.

A nice wading shirt repels bugs and sun as well as blend into the environment. You don’t want a shirt that sticks out and gives you away to all of the animals in the area.

Two zipped chest pockets keep your items in place no matter how much you're bending and moving. The durability make the $30 or $40 for these shirts well worth it.

Hiking clothes we've found most useful

poncho bivvy bag tent
Comfy swim shirt and leggings make a good base layer.

robust shoes for swimming or river hiking
Well ventilated trekking shoes with robust socks

Thermal fleece water pullover
A fleece pullover keeps you comfy by wicking moisture away from your skin.

Cargo Pants
Cargo pants with drain holes. Good fit matters, not too tight or too loose.

swim anorak
Lightweight hooded anorak

poncho for beach hiking in the rain
A versatile army poncho is essential for shelter, hiding, and as useful tarp.