Why You May Want To Wear Something Bright When Hiking

There is somewhat of a debate in regards to what colors are best for hiking and outdoor gear. Some people believe it's best to buy bright colors to stand out from their surroundings, while others think it is more polite to blend in. The blending in camp opts for colors like tan, brown, gray, and dark green and believes these colors interfere less with the enjoyment of others and decrease the visual pollution — not only for real-life views but also in photos. No one likes taking a gorgeous photo of mountain scenery only to discover someone wearing a neon orange vest in the middle of it later on. However, while blending in can be polite, there are also plenty of reasons why it might be a good idea to wear at least one bright article of clothing while hiking.


Firstly, bright clothing can look more visually stunning in photos because the contrast between your clothes and the background is more intense. However, the most important reason why you may want to wear bright colors is for your own safety. Bright colors are easier to spot if you are ever in a dangerous situation and require rescue. Also, during hunting season, bright colors will identify you as a human and not a deer.

Bright colors are better for search and rescue

While no one expects or wants dangerous situations to happen to them, the truth of the matter is that it is important to always be prepared for emergencies. One way to do this is to wear at least one article of bright clothing while hiking difficult or remote trails so that you are easy to spot. This way, if you require rescue, emergency services will be able to find you more easily whether they are individual SAR agents on the ground or helicopters from above.


Which colors stand out most and are best to wear while hiking will depend on the area you are in as well as the season. For example, if it is the middle of summer and you are surrounded by green leaves and foliage, colors like neon orange, red, and magenta may work well. However, if you are hiking in the deserts of Utah or Arizona, you may want to go for cyan blue or bright green. According to a Redditor who claims to have previously worked for Search and Rescue, "ultrabright" shades of blue and orange work best.

There's a reason hunters wear orange

It is especially important to wear bright colors while hiking during hunting season. Hunting seasons vary depending on the region of the United States you are in and the animal that is being hunted. Because of this, it is essential to know when your local hunting season begins and ends and whether or not the trail you will take crosses through hunting grounds. If you are hiking through an area where hunting is allowed, it is best to wear "blaze orange" as it is not a color found in nature and can be seen better than other colors, even when there isn't much light, per Citizen Times. However, if you don't own neon orange clothing, you can also opt for red or yellow.


Even if you are in a forested area where hunting is not allowed, you should still be careful of poachers. Unfortunately, while it doesn't get much media covered, poaching protected animals is still a problem in the United States. If you live or hike in areas with commonly poached animals like the American black bear or bighorn sheep, you should take extra precautions.