What to Wear Hiking in 40 50 Degree Weather

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  • Post last modified:August 31, 2023
  • Post category:Knowledge Base
  • Reading time:12 mins read

Hiking is a fantastic way to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life while still enjoying nature. However, it is important to consider the weather when planning your journey.

When the temperatures range between 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit (4-10 Celsius), you’ll want to outfit yourself appropriately in order to feel comfortable throughout your hike.

There are several types of items that should be included in your wardrobe for this type of weather, such as layers, waterproof items, and thermal insulation pieces.

This guide will help you assemble a hiking wardrobe appropriate for 40-50 degree weather so that you can enjoy your adventure without distraction from being too cold or too hot!

What to Wear Hiking in 40 50 Degree Weather?

what to wear hiking in 40 50 degree weather

Clothing Essentials

Regardless of the weather, you always want to dress in layers when hiking. This allows you to adjust your clothing in reaction to the changing weather conditions and your level of activity.

When hiking in 40-50 degree weather (4-10°C), it’s a good idea to wear a couple of layers such as a base layer, mid-weight insulation layer and light outerwear, such as a waterproof jacket or soft shell.

**Base Layer:** When it comes to layering for warmth, begin with lightweight synthetic or wool fabrics as your base layer which provide breathability along with slight warmth.

A t-shirt or tank paired with long johns or leggings make ideal choices for this type of weather. For those days when it’s especially cold, look to technical fabrics that provide better insulation and moisture wicking properties such as merino wool ior synthetic blends.

**Middle Layer:** To insulate against cooler temperatures, you need a solid middle layer that provides lightweight warmth so choose a fleece pullover or vest which are both highly versatile options that can also be worn alone if temperatures warm up unexpectedly.

When shopping for mid-layer pieces opt for garments made from softsheel fleece which offer superior wind protection along with increased breathability to release body heat.

**Outer Layer:**To protect against rain showers and higher winds you should always have some type of lightweight outerwear on hand; this could be anything from a waterproof jacket to an insulated windbreaker depending on the expected weather conditions and your level of activity during the hike itself.

If possible choose pieces from water-resistant fabrics that deliver essential defense while also providing greater breathability compared with traditional rubberized materials used on other waterproof garments.

Related: What to Wear Hiking 70 Degree Weather


hiking footwear

When heading outdoors on a 40-50 degree weather day, your footwear is one of the most important factors in keeping you comfortable. It is important to wear shoes that provide plenty of cushioning and support to protect your feet against rocky terrain and prevent fatigue.

Shoes with good grip are also important for preventing slips and falls. Your footwear should also provide breathability and insulation to keep your feet properly ventilated while walking and warm against the chill of the cooler temperatures.

Lastly, a waterproof boot can help keep moisture out during wet days. Investing in a good pair of hiking boots or trail running shoes that fit all these requirements will help ensure you are properly outfitted for any outdoor adventure ahead!


When choosing accessories for a day of hiking in 40-50 degree weather, selecting items that will provide warmth and help to regulate body temperature is the key. Lightweight layers are typically best, as they afford flexibility if the temperature changes.

Hat – To keep your head warm in cool temperatures, a knit cap is ideal. It can also fend off the sun during short hikes or times when the sky is clear. A bandana may also be useful if you’ll be moving through areas with tall grasses or fireweed.

Gloves – Thin gloves are good for sufficient warmth and grip on colder days. A pair of wool or synthetic liners will keep your hands warm without adding much bulk to your outfit and won’t limit freedom of movement like a heavy set of mittens would.

Sunglasses or Goggles – UV radiation is more intense in high altitudes at lower temperatures, so wear protection to protect against snow blindness and physical damage from reflected light off glacier ice, snowfields, lakes and other bodies of water—even when it’s cloudy out! Additionally, protecting your eyes from flying debris can improve visibility on the trails and offers more comfort while hiking.

Headlamp – Investing in a mini LED headlamp with adjustable brightness settings can be extremely useful if you plan on spending extra time outdoors after dark, particularly on backpacking trips where camp sites may not feature as much ambient light as established trails S/he should always take along an extra set of batteries just in case you should need them.

Layering Tips

Layering your clothing is the key to being comfortable when hiking in temperatures ranging from 40-50 degrees. The ideal base layer should be made of a breathable fabric such as synthetic materials or Merino wool that wick moisture away from the skin.

When layering, think “three layers” to keep warm without overheating: an inner breathable layer, a middle insulating layer, and an outer protective layer.

For an inner layer, wear fabrics that are lightweight and absorbent like Merino wool so they can help pull sweat away from your body while keeping you warm. Choose neutral colors like grey and black which will reflect heat back at you rather than absorbing it like dark hues do.

Middle layers act as insulation and should provide warmth without bulkiness or stiffness. Softshell jackets, insulated vests, or even a traditional fleece vest are great options for this mid-layer stage.

Lastly, choose outerwear that can keep rain, sleet, hail and snow at bay but won’t restrict movement too much when worn over multiple layers of clothing. A waterproof/breathable rain jacket with full length zippers helps provide good ventilation options while offering decent levels of protection from wind and precipitation.

Sun Protection

sun protection

Sun protection is essential when hiking in warm weather, as the sun’s rays can be intense and potentially cause skin damage. It is advised to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and to reapply it at least every two hours that you are outdoors. Wear dark colored clothing such as navy blue, dark grey, or black.

While light colors can look cool, they don’t offer the best protection against any UV radiation. For extra protection choose clothing that contains UV-protection fabric designed to allow sweat and moisture pass through while blocking the sun’s rays.

A wide-brimmed hat is also beneficial in blocking the sun from your face while allowing your head and neck to be covered as needed. Lastly, a good pair of sunglasses that offer UVA/UVB protection is essential when out in sunny weather conditions.


hydration for hiking

Hydration is key to having a successful and enjoyable hike. Keeping your body temperature regulated while on the trail is an important part of maintaining hydration levels, no matter what the temperature is.

When hiking in warm temperatures below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, aim to wear clothing made of lightweight, breathable material that keeps you cool and comfortable.

Many hikers choose lightweight synthetic fabrics such as polyester or nylon for their quick-drying ability and UV-protective qualities. You may want to opt for shorts instead of pants if it’s particularly warm out; however, if there’s a lot of sun exposure you’ll want to make sure you have some sort of coverage from long sleeves and pants or capris.

It’s also important to wear sturdy footwear that covers your ankles so that you don’t accidentally injure yourself on the trail.

In 40 – 50 degree weather, layering becomes incredibly important to regulate your body temperature. Hiking in colder weather can be quite pleasant but the key is staying warm and dry throughout your adventure!

Start by wearing a baselayer like a tight-fitting thermal made from merino wool or synthetic materials to wick away perspiration; add layers over this like an insulating midlayer made from wool or synthetics; top it off with a waterproof outer layer such as a shell jacket designed for outdoor activities.

You’ll want full coverage in terms of trousers/pants so opt for either fleece-lined tights or lightweight shell trousers over any other type of legwear – this will help keep the wind at bay while still offering excellent breathability during more physical sections of the trail.

Lastly, make sure you include a hat and gloves – weight dependant on the amount of warmth needed – so that your extremities are kept at an even temperature during different levels of activity throughout the day.

Final Thoughts

When selecting clothing to wear while hiking, consider the fabric and features.

Look for items made of breathable, water repellent fabrics like synthetic or merino wool.

Avoid wearing cotton as it can quickly absorb moisture and increase the risk of hypothermia.

Make sure to layer the clothing so you can remove items if you become too warm or add them for extra warmth if needed.

Packing a hat, gloves, and a windproof jacket is also recommended in case temperatures dip suddenly or strong winds appear unexpectedly.

Finally, no matter what season you’re hiking in, remember to apply sunscreen and insect repellent before heading out on your adventure!


I'm an outdoor enthusiast and serial entrepreneur, with a splash of digital marketing and telecom engineering in my DNA. When I'm not working, you'll find me spending time traveling with my son, and loving on my dog, Tobster.