Best Hiking Apparel

Do you like hiking in nature? Are you looking for the perfect merino hiking outfit? These outfits not only provide you with protection from nature and other environmental influences, but they also provide you with functionality and make you look fashionable as you embark on your adventure. 

You probably have several pressing questions like whether merino can be used to make hiking pants, the best merino underwear, what you should pay attention to when shopping for high-quality merino sweaters, or what differentiates a merino shirt from a merino jacket?

Or you’re probably just a little skeptical and need to know the advantages of a merino hiking outfit over those made from synthetic products. 

What are merino hiking outfits?

Ideally, the best hiking outfits are made from 100% merino and, if possible, will cover every layer of the onion system (base layer to top layer). The reason for this is quite apparent; hiking clothes made from merino wool are particularly impressive because of their functional properties that are in no way in competition with synthetic fiber – the opposite is more likely!

Natural merino wool clothing has an odor-inhibiting and temperature regulating effect and is both breathable and quick-drying compared to artificial productsThis is why the merino wool hiking outfit is the perfect hiking outfit choice for your next micro-adventure or even the upcoming trekking tour. 

But that is not all: For us personally, a modern merino hiking outfit must have a timeless appearance, possess material qualities, and have practical features. After all, we don’t just want to feel the soft feel of fine wool on our skin; we also want a fabric that will provide us with climate-regulating properties during our hikes.

Merino clothing articles also possess multipurpose usage; they can be used privately, out on the street, in the office, or at home. We paid particular attention to the visuals, especially the top layers of the clothing articles presented in this article.


Based on the structure of an onion characterized by multiple layers, the onion system is a proven and practical method for combining different layers of clothing. 

The first layer is characterized by breathable underwear that hugs the skin and wicks moisture away from the body. This is covered by a thin, short-sleeved layer of clothing, followed by a sweater or vest. The top layer is made up of wind and weatherproof jackets. 

Individual layers are removed or left out entirely, depending on the outside temperature and physical exertion. The implication of this is that: the air stored between the layers automatically warms up, providing an insulating effect. The body cools down more slowly, even as air circulates while the body breathes. 

The following layers have proven to be very effective for both short hikes and long treks:

1. Base-layer – The second skin is sometimes referred to as the first layer.

2. Second layer – thin shirts, often with fashionable motifs.

3. Third-layer – Warm vests and sweaters.

4. Top layer – weatherproof jackets and trousers to ward off external influences.

The second-layer and third-layer are often combined to form a mid-layer.


There are a few factors you need to consider when shopping for merino wool clothing. This is because not every clothing fabric labeled merino can boast 100% merino!  Manufacturers have been known to add other fibers to their garments. Our recommendation is to scrutinize any item purporting to be merino wool carefully and reject any attire with artificial fiber. 

The approach used as a selection criterion in this article is one we’ve been known to use for our personal shopping: Natural additives like cellulose are okay. Artificial fabrics are not. 

The only exceptions here are the fabrics used for the top layers and the socks. Unfortunately, it is difficult to ward off wind, weather, and other mechanical influences (friction, sharp edges, etc.) without synthetic fibers like polyamide. 

As with all clothing attires made from wool, the following principles also apply to fine merino wool: the thinner the merino, the more vulnerable the clothing. Merino fabric is sensitive, which explains why the material’s strength should also be considered. Friction points are particularly susceptible to this. 

Thinner materials (material thickness: 175 g / m² or less) are super practical, especially in warmer climates, but tend to separate; hiking leggings made from merino are examples of this. Therefore, we have opted for a higher material thickness (measuring 175 g / m²), if possible, for the items of clothing presented. 


Merino hiking Apparel

Wool is a renewable raw material and is 100% natural, making it more ecologically sound than artificial man-made fibers. Its delicacy and soft feel explain why merino wool is enjoying increasing popularity at the moment.

Its numerous functional properties have also been recognized by manufacturers of outdoor clothing, so it is used mainly for functional underwear (base layer) and mid-layers. 

The natural structure of the merino fiber is responsible for some of the most essential and functional properties and advantages of merino wool. Here are some of its most essential properties:

  • The material is natural and biodegradable 
  • It diverts moisture from the skin
  • It dries quickly 
  • It has an insulating and temperature regulating effect 
  • Cools by evaporation in warm temperatures
  • Provides warmth when it is damp
  • It is breathable 
  • It is odor-inhibiting and therefore requires less washing 
  • It is very gentle and does not scratch the skin 
  • It is not as flammable as synthetic fibers 
  • It has natural sun protection 
  • It does not become electrostatically charged, unlike synthetic materials 





Of course, there is an entire repertoire of merino clothing explicitly aimed at female hikers. In addition to the collection of merino hot pants, panties, and women’s briefs, you will also find sports bras made from merino wool.

Due to lack of personal experience and the fact that many of these undergarments are made of blended fabric, we don’t have as many details on our buying guides for items such as merino knickers for men.

Hiking Guide USA


Base layer: merino socks & merino hiking underwear

The classic Oasis series by Icebreaker is the de facto standard for merino underwear. Hikers and athletes from all over the world swear by the efficacy of the superfine fabric and high-quality workmanship of the Icebreaker base-layer underwear to prepare them for sudden weather changes. 

The brilliant long underpants and cozy-sleeved shirts have both been essential parts of our hiking gear for years and are perfect for both cold days and blazing hot weather. The Icebreaker Oasis series, which is part of the middle class, the flat seams, the gusset insert under the arms, and the offset shoulder seams – just like the really good cut – speaks for itself.

You can get socks from Smartwool for your feet. Depending on the temperature and the footwear in question, we either use the Ph.D. Outdoor Ultra-Light Mini multifunctional socks on warmer days or rely on the somewhat stronger Ph.D. Pro Approach Crew hiking socks in autumn and winter.

Due to the extreme stresses in hiking boots, these socks are made of merino blend fabrics, which should additionally increase stability and reduce wear. In addition, the flat seams and reinforced heels convince us – we have not heard of blisters and pressing seams for a long time.

*Of course, there is a whole repertoire of merino clothing explicitly aimed at female hikers.

For example, in addition to various merino hot pants, panties and women’s briefs, there are also sports bras made of merino wool.

Second layer: merino hiking shirts & sweatshirts

Mid-layer merino shirts are a dime a dozen. Of all the onion layers, these are probably the most likely to be subjected to fast-paced fashion cycles.

The outdoor manufacturers constantly outbid each other with a pattern, motif, and color variations that are unnecessary and that nobody seems to care about. 

We’ll rather go with simple, timeless designs made from durable and high-quality materials. 

The Gimmer Merino Light and Tee from Lundhags are examples of women’s merino shirts that we recommend. In contrast to most of the competition, these ones come in a single color and are made from 100% high-quality merino wool.

Alternatively, the Backpack Wool Tee from Bergans comes with a chest print, and its material is slightly thicker. 

Men looking for timeless mid-layer merino shirts can check out the Classic Peak T-shirt by Pally’Hi or go straight to the classic Norang Tee Merino shirt by Devold. 

Third layer: merino vests and sweaters

The question of whether a vest over the shirt is enough or it should be better a sweater, often divide the spirits.

We tend to prefer the former because vests can be accessorized better with other onion layers without overly restricting freedom of movement. This is particularly true if, like us, you have a 3-1 outdoor jacket for which a vest is sufficient. 

The merino vest from Engel and the slightly more expensive Momo vest from Mufflon are available in cuts for both women and men. They are both made from 100% merino wool. Because of its hood, the Momo vest is not very suitable for a mid-layer. 

We recommend taking a better look at the merino sweater by Ivanhoe for men who swear by long-sleeved sweaters. This timeless sweater comes as a half zip with a sleeve pocket and maintains its niceness and elasticity, thanks to a special weaving technique. Should you prefer a merino hoodie, the hoodie from Bergans would fit into your loot scheme. 

Whether you decide to go with the hoodless ones with sleeves or the hooded ones without sleeves – whichever third layer you go with, you should not go on long hikes without wind and a weatherproof top layer!


Hiking in Winter Sun

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