The right clothing can make the difference between having a nice day in the bush and a day of discomfort. Bushwalking clothing has to take account of a number of factors, including:
- Comfort in hot, cold, wet and windy weather
- Strength to resist wear and tear
- Pockets to contain frequently used items
- Protection of your skin from bushes and sun
- Comfortable enough to wear for extended periods
Clothing is made from natural fibres or synthetic. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages in the bush. Natural fibres tend to be more comfortable to wear, and are often thicker than synthetics. They are however, very slow to dry if they get wet, and can often chafe.
Synthetic clothing is usually lighter and stronger, and dries more quickly.
Clothing should generally be lightweight and loose-fitting for most conditions in NSW, to assist with keeping cool.
Denim jeans are particularly troublesome as they tend to restrict leg movement, more so if they get wet.
Factors to consider include how susceptible you are to sunburn, how fragile your skin is, whether you can afford to go to work with scratches and scars on your legs, what the weather is like, and so on.
In all cases, you must decide what is right for you.
If sun or skin damage is a concern, long trousers and long-sleeved shirts are probably advisable. If the track is clear or shaded, shorts and T-shirt can be more comfortable.
In warm weather, make sure clothing is light and cool to prevent overheating, but make sure to take something warm in case the weather changes.
In cool or windy weather, wear warmer clothing. A light windproof jacket can keep you warm when it is windy.
Bear in mind that there are sticks, rocks, logs, etc in the bush, and your clothing is likely to get torn or damaged. It will certainly get dirty. Do not wear expensive or fashion clothing in the bush.
It can be useful to take a change of clothing to leave in the car, in case you get wet on a trip. Sometimes, it is just nice to get out of the old, dirty clothes into something fresh for the journey home.
In most cases you can wear your normal underwear. However, on hot days you might find you develop chafing, and it may be worth looking at other styles of underwear more suited to active pursuits, particularly if it is a multi-day trip.
In really cold weather, thermal underwear can help to preserve warmth.
Most bushwalkers wear hats to protect them from the sun. Styles of hats are many and varied, ranging from baseball caps to floppy cloth hats to broad brim hats. Each has their place.
In cold conditions, it may be necessary to wear something warm on your head. This could be a beanie, balaclava or scarf.
Again in cold conditions, it may be necessary to wear gloves or mittens to protect the hands from the cold. Gloves can be found in almost any fabric you can imagine, from silk to cotton to wool to fleece and more exotic combinations.
Gardening gloves can also be useful in un-tracked bush to protect your hands.