What is a hiking capsule?

A hiking capsule is a small, light backpack that can be carried in your pocket. It is made of ultralight materials and weighs less than three pounds, making it suitable for any trip. When the weather turns bad, the hiking capsule has a built-in water bottle holder and an incorporated rain cover to keep you dry. You can bring all the things you should pack for going on a hike without taking up extra space in your luggage or backpack because it is so small.

Backpacking and Hiking Clothing

1. Safety and Comfort

In the backcountry, having adequate clothing to protect and insulate yourself is critical. Being stranded in a remote location with insufficient supplies can put you in a dangerous situation. But there’s no need to be afraid; know your limits, plan ahead of time, and go with confidence, knowing that your shelter, sleeping system, clothing, and skills will get you through whatever Mother Nature throws at you.

2. Do not Overpack

Hikers frequently overpack due to fear and the demands hiking places on our clothing, making backpacks unnecessarily heavy and bulky. That is why it is beneficial to invest in a system of clothing that can be easily adjusted to meet changing conditions. By reducing the load strain on your body, keeping your clothing system minimal and lightweight will improve your overall comfort.

The Necessities

1. Layering

Clothing that can be overlaid and worn all at once for maximum warmth or paired down for maximum breathability is essential for a well-dressed hiker. Tops, bottoms, hats, jackets, and even gloves should all be complementary and work together to create an outfit that meets your needs in the given circumstances.

2. Mix & Match

A backpacker’s outfit functions similarly to a minimalist capsule wardrobe, with the same basic, interchangeable items worn every day and supplemented for special occasions or seasons. Everything a hiker wears or carries should be adaptable and suitable for layering. If fashion is a concern, you may also want your clothes to match reasonably well.

3. Embrace the Grime

Because some items in your clothing system will be worn for the duration of the journey, they are likely to accumulate dirt. But being filthy and stinky is part of the backpacking experience, so embrace it and look forward to a relaxing shower at the end of your journey. If you want to keep the weight down, leave out duplicate items unless they’re necessary. Socks and underwear are the only items we bring in multiples, which we rinse, dry, and cycle between for the duration of our hikes.

4. Materials

Because we are continuously exposed to moisture while hiking, whether through sweat, rain, snow, or water crossings, it is critical that our clothing dry quickly. Fabrics that stay wet trap moisture against the skin and can cause serious issues such as hypothermia, chafing, blisters, and rashes, so it’s best to avoid them entirely. 

Clothing by Season

Chile, W Trek, Route

1. Summer

We wear shorts with a t-shirt or tank top for day hiking on summer backpacking trips when temperatures are unlikely to drop below freezing. We wear underwear, hiking socks, trail running shoes, running gaiters, a sun hat, and sunglasses to complete the look. We put on a long-sleeve shirt, windbreaker, or rain jacket if it starts to get cool.

We clean up in camp with a water bottle shower and then change into hiking pants and a clean base layer top, as well as warm socks, a warm hat, and a down jacket. Even if the forecast looks clear, we bring a lightweight rain jacket on all-mountain trips. We’ll also bring lightweight rain pants/mitts if the trip looks particularly cold/wet.

2. Spring & Fall

Shoulder seasons are typically cooler and rainier, necessitating the addition of a few layers of clothing. We bring our full summer outfit for these trips but replace the shorts with hiking pants, add a fleece jacket for warmth, and possibly bring a base layer top and bottom for nighttime use.

If the forecast looks particularly wet, we may also bring more durable rain gear such as rain pants, a rain jacket, rain mitts, as well as an umbrella. We pick socks and shoes based on the terrain and weather forecast, and we’ll probably bring a couple of extra pairs of warm wool socks. In these seasons, we still prefer trail running shoes, but if we expect to encounter a lot of snowy/muddy terrain, we’ll opt for lightweight boots.

3. Winter

In the winter, hiking and backpacking require a bit more clothing redundancy because staying warm and dry is more difficult when temperatures drop below freezing. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and make sure your shelter and sleeping arrangements are adequate to keep you warm and insulated at night. We typically wear base layers under a shell of rain gear with a warm hat, liner gloves, and rain mitts when hiking in the cold when it’s snowy or rainy. We add a lightweight fleece jacket if it gets really cold. When traveling through the snow, keep in mind that wearing sunglasses is especially important to avoid snow blindness. 

We change into our second set of dry base layers and a mid-heavyweight down jacket for insulation once we arrive at camp. If the liner gloves you wear hiking get wet, having an extra pair of fleece gloves to change into at night is a good idea. Even when snowshoeing, light-medium weight boots with snow gaiters and liner socks are adequate footwear for most winter trips.


1. A Pair of Trail Runners or Hiking Shoes

On our spring, summer, and fall trips, we almost always backpack in lightweight trail runners. It is a tool for taking care of feet while hiking or backpacking. They keep our feet nimble, prevent blisters, dry quickly, provide excellent traction, and don’t tire our legs out on long hikes. To allow for swelling, choose a size with a little extra wiggle room in the toe box.

2. A Pair of Lightweight Hiking Boots

Even though trail runners have become very popular in most hiking/backpacking circles, many people still prefer hiking boots for their durability and support. On rocky, rugged terrain and cold, wet trips, boots provide superior protection, especially if there is extensive snow travel or extremely muddy/mucky trails. Look for lightweight, comfortable boots that allow your foot to flex, and break them in thoroughly before going on your hike.

3. A Pair of Sandals

Though sandals are still one of the least popular trail footwear options, a growing number of hikers prefer them to other footwear options. Sandals are comfortable and breathable when everything goes as planned, and they dry quickly after river crossings or rain. Sandals, on the other hand, offer the least amount of support and expose your feet to abrasion from rocks and other sharp objects along the trail, so tread carefully. Bring a pair of wool socks to slip on if the weather turns cold or wet if you do wear sandals. Also, bring a first-aid kit with plenty of tapes to prevent any hot spots and avoid rubbing your feet raw.