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Clothing Colors for the Trail


Aaron Zagrodnick
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Aaron Zagrodnick

When it comes to the colors you choose for outdoor clothing, there are several considerations to keep in mind other than just your personal favorite, and having several color options in your favorite outerwear pieces can be beneficial throughout the seasons. 3 colors or shades cover the bases. Light colors are best chosen once the bugs come out in the spring, through summer, and early fall in most locales. The lighter color is...

The colors you choose for your clothing are worth consideration and can play a role in your backcountry experience, check out the choices and considerations in our Issue 35 tip:

Clothing Colors for the Trail

Hiking and Backpacking Clothing Colors

Issue 35 Page 1

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Thanks for the great article you wrote, Aaron.

The fall came, so it won't be excessive to wear orange colored clothes. 
Hunters will likely notice you from a distance, as well as bears. 

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Thanks Aaron, this is very helpful. I was just thinking about clothing colors when I bought gears for my recent hiking trip (not from a fashion point of view, but more like considerations you mentioned in the article). I also wonder if bright color will influence wild lives' behavior? Will bright color agitate large animals like bears? 

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Aaron Zagrodnick

Great to hear you guys found the article helpful and interesting! I don't know how much of a difference colors would make in regards to the behavior of wildlife, but my guess would be that just your presence alone would merit the most consideration and different animals see different colors differently than we do. I have however had a close call with a hummingbird on one occasion, who apparently mistook the bright colors I was wearing as food! 

Another consideration could be in regards to other people's wilderness experience, but that's probably more true for shelters and tents and is a personal call either way...and many photographers would say bright colors make for a better photo. Personally though, I like the more muted and natural colors. Of course if you ever needed to be found, some type of bright colors (clothing or gear) would definitely be beneficial.

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Agreed, brighter color makes a person stand out in a photo with nature as background, but I want to "blend in" when I hike. I finally bought a blue&grey jacket. 

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Most [not all] wild animals are color-blind. Which means that they see you better if you wear camo. If they see you it is most likely they saw your movement. 
When I'm out in the woods I like to blend in. I guess it makes me feel like I'm part of the surroundings and not an intruder. I don't wear camo, just "natural" colors - green, brown, grey.
I also wear an orange hat most of the time, for my safety. 

Edited by jensaito
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I'm with you on "I'm part of the surroundings and not an intruder". Blending in makes me feel more at ease and more connected to the land; if safety is not an issue. Thanks for your feedback. 

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  • 11 months later...

I used ot work in the field all the time.  When I lived in Wyo the hunting season lasts from Sept to Dec.  I would just always wear an orange vest all the time.   

It depends a lot of where you hike.  In the East people talk about stealth camping and hiding from other people. 

In the West, I like having a yellow tarp so I can find it easily.  I like to go where others don't.   It is okay to wear brighter colors so others are aware of your presence. I like blue a lot because it is somewhere between bright and not so bright.  It is a good idea to have something bright in your gear for backcountry trips.  I mentioned a yellow tarp.  I have purple sleeping bag.  I used to have one that was red on the inside.  If you are ever in a situation where others might be looking for you, bright colors are a real asset. 

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