Wilderness clothing can be stylish but above all, needs to be durable and functional. In any wilderness setting, the place you actually live is inside your clothing. During the summer, cotton works just fine. It will keep you cool, keep the bugs off, and give you protection from the sun. In any other season, fall, winter, or spring, you will want to seriously consider layers of clothing that do not include cotton.
Cotton soaks up your body’s moisture and holds it close to your skin which will cool you by evaporation. If it is chilly out, you do not want this cooling affect. For the rest of the seasons you should have three layers on.
The inner layer next to your skin should be light merino wool which is high quality wool that does not irritate the skin, or a synthetic, like Under Armor. This will wick body moisture away from the skin and help keep you dry. This inner layer should be worn on both the upper and lower body.
The middle layer is usually thicker and serves as an insulator. This can be wool, synthetic materials, or even down. What it does is create dead air pockets that act as insulation helping you maintain your body heat in chilly or very cold conditions, depending on the thickness of the layer.
Finally, the outer layer should be windproof and waterproof and be loose enough to allow freedom of movement without being baggy. The amount of insulation you want in this garment is dependent on the season.
When you are making your travel plans, research the area
you are going to be traveling through and the types of weather you may encounter. You can then make an educated decision on what you will need for at least one complete set of appropriate clothing.
Bright colors are easier to spot in wilderness terrain.
Always carry an extra set (including small clothes) into the wilderness.
Keep your clothing as clean as possible, enabling it to retain its warmth.
There is a proper technique to using these layers. You don’t want to become overheated or you will sweat too much possibly causing hypothermia when the temperature drops. You may find yourself pulling off both the outer and middle layers then putting them back on again as the temperature and your activity demands. In any survival situation, maintaining the proper body temperature is critical.
Your wilderness clothing should include something to take very good care of your feet. This includes moisture wicking socks and the proper footwear. Whether it is cross trainers or hiking boots, you will want good support and protection from the elements for the appropriate season and terrain. Cross trainers may get you through the summer but in colder climates they just won’t do! A decent pair of hiking boots will cover the widest range of temperatures and conditions. In severe cold you will need arctic wear.
Think practical when choosing your clothing for the wilderness. The wild critters won't care what you are wearing.