Outdoor clothing for hikers, cyclists and winter sports enthusiasts
It seems like outdoor sport and leisure clothes are being advertised everywhere. What distinguishes outdoor gear from everyday clothing is the way the individual garments are specially adapted for the relevant outdoor sports. To put it simply, this means that certain functional fabrics offer particularly good protection against wind and rain, while others offer exceptional warmth or are extremely breathable or quick drying. Outdoor clothes offers a great fit, excellent freedom of movement and is comfortable to wear for outdoor sporting activities.
When designing and producing functional clothing, experienced manufacturers such as Mammut, Jack Wolfskin and Vaude use a diverse range of functional materials. Along with quick-drying functional shirts, waterproof hardshell jackets and activity-friendly softshell jackets other popular choices include functional underwear, outdoor sports socks and hard-wearing hiking trousers. Since the functional properties and materials for outdoor clothing vary depending on the relevant sport, you will find a concise overview here of the different kinds of outdoor sports and the appropriate functional clothing in each case.
Hiking and trekking clothes - the perfect example of outdoor wear
For many people, the term "outdoor clothing" initially brings to mind checked hiking shirts and long walking socks protruding from ankle-height walking boots . Classic alpine clothing is timelessly modern and has been worn for decades for hiking in the mountains. What have changed over the years are the materials, which have become much lighter and are extremely quick drying. Walking jackets are also very lightweight and offer extremely good protection from wind and rain. Depending on the weather, hikers may opt for softshell or hardshell jackets.
Hardshell or softshell - what is the difference?
The terms hardshell and softshell are often used for outdoor wear. Whether it's softshell gilets and softshell jackets, or hardshell trousers and hardshell coats - these two kinds of functional gear often require a choice to be made between the two types of construction. Hardshell jackets, trousers and coats offer fantastic protection against wind and rain. They have a very high water column rating and are generally equipped with a waterproof hood. Thanks to the use of breathable membranes, such as Gore-Tex or Ceplex, hardshell outdoor fabrics are not only windproof and waterproof, but also breathable. This means that moisture can be transferred from inside to outside while simultaneously preventing rain from penetrating inside the jacket.
With softshell jackets or trousers, on the other hand, the emphasis is not on waterproofing but on allowing excellent freedom of movement and achieving optimum breathability. Many softshell functional fabrics offer good or very good protection against chill winds and guarantee a sporty and comfortable fit. Some are equipped with a Gore Windstopper membrane which makes the functional clothing completely and permanently windproof. Softshell clothing can also offer a certain level of protection against rain. However, in the event of heavy and sustained precipitation, softshell gear is clearly outclassed by the hardshell equipment.
Overview of outdoor clothing
- Sports clothing
Functional sports clothing which dries quickly and offers good freedom of movement is a massive advantage for indoor and outdoor sports. Warm sports jackets, breathable sports shirts and sports underwear, combined with well-fitting, breathable sports socks enhance endurance, performance and comfort. These functional properties also make sports clothing very popular as leisurewear and travel clothing. Sports gloves, softshell jackets and softshell coats can be used in all sorts of different contexts.
- Hiking clothing
The ideal hiking clothes depend on the nature and length of the expedition. Travel location and weather also play a crucial role when it comes to being well prepared. For long trips over rough terrain, your essential kit should always include sturdy and comfortable hiking boots with appropriate hiking socks. Depending on the weather and route you might choose hiking shorts or softshell trousers paired with a hiking jacket or waterproof jacket. Outdoor shirts and walking shirts which dry quickly and wick moisture swiftly away from the body help ensure you feel comfortable while out hiking.
- Trekking clothes
Trekking specialists, such as Fjällräven and Patagonia, know that hikers out on extended trekking expeditions are often confronted with very variable weather conditions. As a consequence, the demands in terms of protection against the elements and durability are even higher than for standard hiking gear. Special materials, such as Fjällräven's well-known G-1000 fabric, guarantee optimum durability on multi-day expeditions. Since hardshell jackets are put under particular strain through heavy hiking backpacks when out trekking, the trekking jackets are usually specially reinforced. Trekking and expedition clothing ensure freedom of movement for sporting activity even under extreme conditions. Robust trekking boots with high-grip soles offer a perfect fit with matching trekking socks.
- Climbing clothing
Functional clothing for climbing can be divided into bouldering clothing, clothes for sport climbers and outdoor clothes for alpine climbers and ice climbers. For bouldering and sport climbing in climbing halls the main emphasis is on optimum freedom of movement, high stability and good moisture management, whereas climbing clothes for alpinists, mountaineers and ice climbers also offer good protection against the elements. For via ferrata the ideal combination consists of robust climbing clothes with appropriate climbing gloves or via ferrata gloves to protect your hands on the steel ladders and wire cables of the via ferrata.
- Cycling clothes
Cycling clothes for mountain bikers and racing cyclists are highly specialised. At any rate, breathable cycling underwear, cycling socks or compression socks plus comfortable cycling gloves will make cycling more pleasant on bike tours or for everyday cycling.
- MTB clothing
Mountain bikers love to wear breathable t-shirts and cycling jerseys made from synthetic fibres combined, for example, with MTB shorts from Maloja, which also leave plenty of room for knee guards and shin protectors. For mountain bikers who want to push their bikes to the limit on downhill, enduro or bike park courses, the ideal gear consists of special downhill clothing with downhill jerseys, downhill pants and MTB gloves. These guarantee optimum durability and are designed so that back protectors and elbow pads can also be comfortably worn. Robust MTB shoes and well-fitting MTB socks are a must-have for mountain biking.
- Road bike clothing
For road bike users, on the other hand, the priority is to combine aerodynamics, breathability and protection against wind and cold. Road bike jerseys and road bike trousers with integrated seat padding should ideally be combined with a waterproof road bike jacket, breathable road bike gloves and well-fitting road bike socks in order to achieve top form on your bike, whatever the weather.
- Winter clothing
Thermal clothes and insulated jackets ensure you stay comfortably warm even when the temperature dips. Along with merino clothing from Icebreaker and wool clothing, the most commonly used options are down clothing and Primaloft jackets made from quilted synthetic fibres. Feet can be kept warm inside their winter boots with winter socks, thermal socks or merino socks, while winter gloves protect your fingers against the cold. The warm gloves are available either as mittens or in a classic liners design.
- Ski clothing
Winter sports clothing for skiers and snowboarders doesn't just offer great protection against the wet, snow and wind; it is also pleasantly warm. Skiing and snowboarding clothes consist of various layers which complement each other perfectly thanks to their thermal properties and breathability. The undermost layer here is provided by ski underwear made from synthetic fibres or merino wool. Then come some comfortable ski socks or snowboard socks. Waterproof snowboard pants, ski jackets and snowboard jackets provide an outer layer of clothing for maximum protection against the elements. Ski gloves with integrated Gore-Tex membrane, warm ski beanies and well-insulated ski helmets are essential equipment for this winter sport.
- Ski touring clothes
The outdoor clothing for ski touring is, to a great extent, similar to the ski clothes worn on the pistes. However, with their additional ventilation openings, ski touring jackets and ski touring trousers offer great flexibility when it comes to ventilation. This makes them particularly comfortable for strenuous climbing.
- Cross country ski clothes
Cross-country ski jackets and cross-country ski trousers offer great flexibility during sporting activity and they are highly breathable. Comfortable cross-country ski socks keep your feet nice and warm, while cross-country ski gloves and cross-country ski beanies not only have excellent thermal properties, they also offer guaranteed moisture management.
- Running clothes
Running clothes and trail clothes help runners tackle the most varied terrains. Specialists, such as La Sportiva, not only provide the perfect trainers, they also guarantee athletic performance with coordinating running underwear and specific running socks.
- Waterproof clothing
Rainwear and Gore-Tex jackets are not just available as hiking and trekking jackets, but also as all-weather jackets, spring jackets, autumn jackets and transitional jackets. Gore-Tex clothes and rain gear with waterproof membranes ensure reliable and long-lasting protection against the rain. Whether it is in the form of a rain coat or a rain poncho - the robust hardshell clothing ensures you stay dry on the inside during your everyday or sporting activities. Additional accessories, such as waterproof socks or Gore-Tex gloves, complete the weatherproof rainwear.
- Kids' clothing
The outdoor clothes for kids has been specially designed for young outdoor sports enthusiasts and meets the same high standards as the outdoor clothing for men and for women. Breathable and weatherproof kids' jackets and kids' trousers are also designed with high-quality membranes. Kids' gloves, kids' socks and beanies are likewise highly functional and have been optimised for kids in terms of the style and design. The extensive selection ranges from kids' gilets to kids' snow & ski trousers and covers all areas - from hiking and climbing, to trekking, cycling and winter sports.