How to Choose Outerwear for Summer

How to Choose Outerwear for Summer | The American Outdoorsman

Summer is upon us, and many are spending more time outside than ever before. With social distancing requirements, enjoying the outdoors is the perfect way to stay safe this summer. Another essential safety tip is preparing for time spent outside. With the right outerwear for summer, you can prolong the fun and stay safe!

The Importance of Outerwear for Summer

For many of us, as the temperatures warm in the spring, we complete an annual ritual of storing our winter clothing until the fall. It’s common to think that the heat of the summer requires nothing more than one loose, breathable layer, but that’s not true! Summer outdoor clothing still includes outerwear; it’s just more particular and not as massive as other seasons.

The Elements

Having proper outerwear for summer has a lot to do with environmental elements. Even in the hot summer months, temperatures can fluctuate dramatically. If you’re hiking, mountaineering, hunting, or camping, you might be in areas of higher altitudes. And nighttime temperatures can drop significantly at higher elevations.

Storms are another reason to consider outerwear for summer. Sure, winter weather brings about blizzards, but unexpected summer storms full of thunder, lighting, and high winds are difficult to predict. It’s vital to prepare for drops in temperature, rain, or cold winds.

Insulated Jackets

It might seem surprising, but those who hike or camp in the summer months often bring their trusty winter puffy vests and jackets. That’s because high-altitude hiking, camping, and hunting usually begin early when temperatures can still be near freezing. If you’re camping, then nighttime temps can drop to below freezing, even in August. And for some high elevation states like Colorado or Alaska, summer storms can also result in snow flurries.


A general rule of summer outdoor clothing: never leave home without a raincoat! Luckily, many are compressible and comfortable to stuff into your backpack or even your pocket. The fact is that summer storms can sneak up on us, and staying dry will keep you safe and protected. In some states, drizzly summer hikes are the norm, so you’ll want a raincoat anyway. But for others, summer rains come and go quickly, so you can easily peel off the coat and stick it back in your pocket. 


Ponchos are a great alternative to raincoats, especially if you want to protect your gear as well. Ponchos can wrap around your body and your backpack while keeping both you and your essential equipment dry. Most include a hood to protect your head and face, and many versions are clear. A transparent poncho maintains your vision better than a bulky raincoat.


Another key for summer outdoor clothing is layering. With temperatures fluctuating throughout the day, wearing or packing layers is ideal. For some climates and activities (like hiking or hunting), excellent choices include fleece or soft-shell jackets. For other sports in hotter climates, a simple long-sleeved shirt or flannel will do the trick. Layers give you the option to put on or take off something when it gets cold or hot, which is ideal for summer weather.