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What to Wear in Yosemite (Spring-Summer)

Yosemite is located in Central California and has what is termed a “Mediterranean climate”. That means we have warm days and cool nights. So what should you bring to wear? Well, really, that depends on the season but the key is to think “layers”.

Spring/Summer
During the Summer and Spring it’s not uncommon to have afternoon thunderstorms with hard rain and hail. Temperatures can drop quickly so you’ll want to bring some warm clothes. Here is a short list of what I bring for a day trip (bring several sets of everything but the boots and sandals if you’re staying multiple days).

Hiking Shorts (Cargo Shorts)
T-Shirt
Long Pants
Light Jacket With Hood
Polar Fleece Jacket or Vest
Polar Fleece Pants
Long Sleeve Shirt (essential to help prevent sunburn and keep you warm when it gets cold)
Socks (couple pairs in case they get wet)
STURDY Hiking Boots
Sandals (my personal preference for driving and hanging out in the Village)
Wide Brimmed Hat (to keep the sun off the ears so I don’t get sunburned ears or skin cancer)
Polarized Sunglasses (a must!)

Here how it works: As you get colder don’t change an article of clothing out for another, simply layer it on top of what you already have on. For instance: adding the Long Sleeve Shirt on top of your T-Shirt. If you get colder try putting the pants on over your shorts. Polyester or rayon pants from a workout/warmup suit work very well for this. If you’re still cold remove the pants and add the Polar Fleece pants then replace the Long Pants. If it starts to hail or rain throw on the Polar Fleece Vest or Jacket and the Light Jacket with a hood.

Remember the goal is to be warm, but not sweating. If you get too warm unzip or take something off.

All these things fit in my Mountainsmith daypack with lots of room left for a water filter, food and camera gear. Take them with you on the trail. It could just be what saves your life if something happens and you’re forced to spend a night in the woods.

Note to the fashionistas: No one will give a crap how you look when you’re dead. The silver fabric BeBe (or whoever makes it) jacket with the rhinestones may look nice while you’re out on the town, but is useless when it comes to helping maintain your core temperature if you’re stuck in the woods overnight. Look on the bright side though, if you do insist on wearing it your body will be easy to find and you’ll be the best dressed corpse they’ve ever rescued.



About Loyd: For over 30 years I've enjoyed hiking, backpacking, fishing, photographing and exploring Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada. More About the Author. View author profile.