A simple list of outdoor apparel you should own

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This article aims to be a simple guide to outdoors(wo)man's wardrobe, so he or she will have means to stay comfortable in most weather types. All of the items here can be found at Varusteleka of course, but you might already own some garments that fill the purpose or think you can find better deals somewhere else. There's a lot of links to different categories of our web pages in this article, and you don't have to open them all as a reflex. They just direct you straight to the appropriate product groups.

Respect the nature

First, let's remember one basic thing: nature can really rough up those who do not respect it. This is probably the most important thing to remember, as everything else kinda stems from it. So, let's respectfully nod towards the Great Outdoors.

Underwear comes first

Merinoninja.

Be sure you own merino woolen or at synthetic underwear: T-shirt, boxers/briefs, long johns and a long sleeve shirt. These will keep you relatively comfy even when wet. Of course, being wet is not fun, but with cotton, you'd have it way worse. If you get wet down to underwear, something went wrong already.

This also includes socks, which should be rich in wool. Our merino socks are good, get a handful, and a few thicker ones as well. You'll be probably wearing double socks in the woods, so try different combinations! Thin-thin, thin-thick etc. A change of socks is a good idea if your trip is more than just a walk in the park and back to the car.

Don't cheap out on boots

Black hiking boots in a forrest.

Once upon a time a party of young men arrived at the campsite. They had walked over a frozen but slightly thawed lake with their tennis shoes and cotton socks, which were soaking wet. Don't be like these guys.

Boots with a waterproof membrane are pretty much always a good choice, but even a standard leather boot beats those supermarket sneakers any day, and if used right in the right places, can be even more fit for purpose than GTX footwear. Use double socks with your boots and make sure your boots are large enough to accommodate them - try it out with sock combos. See that your toes don't hit the nose and the laces have room both for loosing and tightening.

Other clothing

When the above is in order, make sure you've got:


A hiker with green-brown pants.

A good pair of field trousers, which you can move around in. These are not supposed to be waterproof. These will be your go-to choice, pair them with long johns for colder weather.


A man with a fur hat and a green anorak jacket on.

A proper unlined jacket. Make sure it's large enough to fit warm stuff underneath. Some water resistance might be a plus, but this is not a rain jacket. A hood is a good thing to have. If you know what you're doing, fabric wax can be used to bring some degree of water repellency in strategic spots.


A grey sweater with zipper on a man.

Warm mid layers. A traditional sweater is good to have with or without a zipper, but consider a fleece jacket too. This garment can also function as something to keep you warm during breaks.


Green pants with suspenders on a male.

Waterproof trousers, which should be GTX or Sympatex or equivalent. These should be roomy enough to fit over your long johns and regular trousers. We suggest looking at army surplus first: these are strong, simple and cheap for what they are.


A smiling man in the woods with a greyish green jacket on.

A waterproof jacket, likewise one with membrane is a good idea. Again this should fit over all other clothing if needed. And again, look at surplus stuff first. A rain cape is also OK, but moving around in it is a pain in the ass.


A man in the woods with some snow and in hiking gear.

A hat, watch cap, scarf and gloves. The hat is just for sun protection, a boonie hat is a good choice but a baseball cap could work too. The watch cap and scarf should be made of wool. For gloves, any strong gloves will do, just make sure they don't mind handling tools and doing campfire stuff. Consider going modular: get strong leather overgloves and wear woolen gloves underneath. A pair of mittens for winter is a good investment too.


A grey wool hiking suit in winter surroundings.

The simple writer of this simple article lives in the past, so he sometimes prefers old timey woolen (wool frieze) clothes. These are very appropriate for mid-season and winter; they keep you warm, breathe well, have a degree of water resistance, but won't block much wind. A good thing while on the move, not so nice when being stationary. Some say they can be a bit itchy and scratchy, but there are differences among wool clothes. These definitely have their place as outdoor garments, being used since ancient times. Examples of modern wool frieze clothing are our Särmä TST Woolshell jackets and trousers. The availability of military surplus varies greatly, that's why our examples are of new manufacture.

Nature is not a sterile environment

A man lying down on a grassy rock land with camo pants and hat and a black shirt and boots on.

It's wise to realize that your clothes will get dirty when tramping around the forest, and it's really fun to tramp around the forest when you do not have to worry too much. So, we suggest dedicating certain clothes for outdoor use. The author boldly states that it's also a way of respecting nature to wear clothing with appropriate toned down, earthly color schemes as opposed to the logo-ridden neon madness seen too often.

Also, remember to take care of your kit so it will serve you well. Always dry and clean your clothes after a trip in the woods and care for your boots too. Some brushing will go a long way for both clothes and boots, washing is not usually necessary after every little trip outside.

"I don't know how to use these!"

Succesful use of different clothing in different conditions is an art form, and the best way to learn it is to do it. However, rather good base knowledge can be found from our article about layered clothing.

Read also

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