Hiking Hairstyles: Practical Looks for Outdoor Adventurers

hiking hairstyles

When preparing for a hike, your hairstyle may not be the first thing on your checklist, but choosing the right one can significantly enhance your outdoor experience.

The ideal hiking hairstyle keeps your hair off your face, minimizes knots, and withstands the rigors of the trail. Whether you have long, medium, or short hair, there are practical and stylish options to accommodate your length and texture.

Selecting a hiking hairstyle is about balancing functionality with comfort.

Simple ponytails and braids are favored for their ability to stay intact over miles of varied terrain, while options like the messy bun or claw-clip twists offer quick fixes that can be adjusted throughout your journey. These hairstyles are tailored to withstand the elements while also making it easier for you to wear hats or helmets.

Considering short hair? You’re not excluded from the challenge of maintaining a manageable look while hiking.

Half-up styles, low ponytails, and even incorporating headwear, like baseball caps, can prove effective for keeping hair in place.

Whatever your hair type, there’s a hiking hairstyle well-suited for your next outdoor adventure.

Choosing the Right Hiking Hairstyle

choosing right hiking hairstyles

When selecting a hairstyle for hiking, you need to consider both practicality and comfort.

The right choice can manage your hair effectively while accommodating different lengths and weather conditions.

Considerations for Different Hair Lengths

Long Hair:

  • Ponytail: Keeps hair off your neck and away from your face.
  • French Braid or Dutch Braid: Distributes weight evenly and minimizes tangles.
  • Braided Bun: Secure and keeps hair tidy even on windy trails.

Medium Hair:

  • Low Ponytail: Simple and practical.
  • Bubble Braids: Adds style while being functional.
  • Messy Bun: Quick to do, especially if you’re in a hurry.

Short Hair:

  • Half-Up Messy Bun: Works well if you have enough length to gather some hair up.
  • Baseball Cap: Helps manage shorter layers while protecting you from the sun.
  • Headband/Bobby Pins: Keeps bangs and shorter strands out of your face.

Assessing Weather Conditions


  • Choose hairstyles that allow you to wear a hat or a beanie for protection.
  • Opt for styles that cover your neck or apply sunscreen to exposed areas.


  • Secure your hair in braids or a low bun to prevent it from becoming tangled.
  • Use headbands or caps to protect your hairstyle against gusts.

Hair Management on the Trail

  • Elastics: Ensure you use no-slip hair ties that can withstand activity without causing breakage.
  • Hairbrush/Comb: Pack a small one for detangling if you’re on a multi-day hike.
  • Accessories: Claw clips and bobby pins are lightweight and can help with quick fixes.
  • Preparation: Pre-braiding your hair can make it easier to manage before starting the hike.

Essential Hairstyles for Hikers

hairstyles for hikers

When embarking on a hike, choosing the right hairstyle can enhance your comfort and manageability.

Specific styles like braids, ponytails, and buns offer functional benefits while on the trail.

Braids for Function and Style

Braids serve as a versatile option catering to various hair lengths and types.

A classic simple braid works well to keep hair tangle-free and contained.

For longer hair, fishtail braids or French braids offer added style along with functionality.

Double French braids balance weight distribution, preventing discomfort from constant hair movement.

  • Side braids or a rope braid can be practical for medium-length hair, ensuring strands are away from the face.
  • If you have short hair that can’t be fully braided, braiding the front sections and pulling them back can minimize distraction and keep your vision clear.

Cornrows offer a long-lasting, secure hairstyle that keeps all your hair close to the scalp and out of the way, which can be especially helpful for multi-day hikes.

Ponytails for Comfort

A ponytail is one of the easiest and most convenient hairstyles.

Adjusting the ponytail’s position can cater to different preferences and needs:

  • A high ponytail keeps hair off your neck and allows for airflow, perfect for intense hikes or warmer weather.
  • A low ponytail is suited for activities that require a helmet or hat, like a cap ponytail, which combines a low ponytail with a baseball cap for added sun protection.

To minimize hair movement, use a sturdy hair tie for your ponytail, ensuring it stays in place as you move.

Buns to Manage Volume

For hikers with voluminous or long hair, buns provide an effective method to manage bulk:

  • A messy bun is a quick option that adds a relaxed look while ensuring your hair is compact and off your neck.
  • Opt for a low bun if you’re wearing a backpack with a high collar or a hood to avoid interference between your hair and gear.
  • For a more secure and sporty version, consider a braided bun, which combines the convenience of a bun with the secure hold of a braid.

Each bun style can be adapted based on the hair length and type, ensuring that all your hair is neatly tucked away, preventing it from obstructing your view or getting caught in equipment.

Accessories for Hiking Hairstyles

accessories hiking hairstyles

Choosing the right accessories for your hiking hairstyle can enhance both the functionality and fashion of your look.

Accessories help manage your hair throughout the hike, ensuring comfort and practicality.

Headwear Options

  • Hats: A hat shields your skin and eyes from the sun. Consider a baseball cap for a casual and effective sun barrier that can also keep your hair in check. For colder weather, beanies are ideal; they warm you up and can be worn over most hairstyles.
  • Headbands: Designed to keep hair away from your face, wide headbands offer a comfortable grip and can complement various hiking hairstyles. They are practical for any hair length and come in moisture-wicking materials ideal for active use.

Functional Hair Accessories

  • Bobby Pins: A hiker’s small yet significant tool, bobby pins secure strands that might escape from buns, braids, or ponytails. They are lightweight, virtually unnoticeable, and a must-pack item for your trails.
  • Hair Scrunchie: Essential for placing your hair in ponytails or buns, a good hair scrunchie reduces the risk of hair breakage and entanglement with branches or gear.
  • Kerchief: Multi-functional and stylish, the kerchief can be wrapped around your hair or neck for added sweat management or protection against the sun and dust, serving as both a practical and aesthetic accessory.

Practical Tips and Techniques

tips hiking hairstyles

When you’re on the trail, having a reliable hairstyle that can withstand the day’s activities is essential.

It’s important to use the right hair products and techniques to ensure your hair stays manageable and out of the way during your hike.

Creating Durable Hiking Hairstyles

Selecting the Right Products:

  • Dry Shampoo: Prior to styling, apply dry shampoo to your roots for volume and to absorb excess oil. This helps hairstyles hold better throughout your hike.
  • Hairspray/Texturizing Spray: After styling, spritz a light layer of hairspray or texturizing spray to provide extra hold and prevent flyaways.

Styling Your Hair:

  • Hiking Ponytail: A classic ponytail is a go-to for many hikers. Make it durable by using a sturdy hair elastic and consider wrapping a small section of hair around the elastic to protect against snags.
  • Braids: For long hair, braids like French or Dutch styles distribute hair weight evenly and prevent tangling. They can be more secure than a simple ponytail.
  • Layered Ties: If you have thick or long hair, use multiple hair ties down the length of your ponytail or braid for additional support.

Quick Fixes and Adjustments

On-the-Go Solutions:

  • Extra Hair Ties: Always carry extra hair ties on your hike for quick fixes if your current style loosens.
  • Mini Hairbrush: A mini hairbrush or comb can help smooth out any knots or tangles that develop, making readjustment easier.

Maintaining Your Look:

  • Bobby Pins: Keep a few bobby pins handy to quickly secure any stray hairs or to pin back layers that may fall out of your hairstyle.
  • Refreshing with Dry Shampoo: If your hair begins to look limp or oily, a blast of dry shampoo can revive your hairstyle and absorb sweat or oil build-up.

Remember, when you’re hiking, the practicality of your hairstyle is crucial. Moisture-wicking headbands can also be combined with your hairstyle to keep sweat off your face. The goal is to enjoy the hike without hair distractions.

Hairstyles for Extended Hiking and Backpacking

extended hiking hairstyles

When spending numerous days on the trail, you need hairstyles that will keep your hair manageable and out of the way.

Opt for styles that can endure the rigors of backpacking and require minimal upkeep.

Hairstyles for Multiday Treks

For multiday treks, choosing a hairstyle that can last without the need for daily redoing is essential.

Bubble Braids offer a playful yet practical approach.

They are easy to create and can sustain their look over several days:

  1. Start with a high ponytail.
  2. Add hair ties every few inches to create “bubbles.”
  3. Gently tug the hair between ties to achieve the bubble effect.

Another option is the Half-Up Messy Bun, which keeps hair off the face and neck while allowing some hair to flow naturally, ideal for when you’re on the move but still want a touch of style:

  • Pull the top half of your hair back.
  • Twist it into a bun and secure with a tie or pins.

Low-Maintenance Styles for Long Trails

When embarking on long trails, convenience is key.

Go for low-maintenance styles that look good while being practical.

An Easy Low Ponytail works well:

  • Simply gather your hair at the nape of your neck.
  • Secure it with a band and you’re good to go.

It’s versatile and easy to refresh without the need for a mirror.

For those looking to keep hair completely out of the way, consider braiding your ponytail after securing it, to further prevent tangling and keep it tidy through wind and weather.

Maintaining Hair Health on Hikes

maintaining hair health hikes

When venturing into the great outdoors, maintaining hair health is crucial.

Confronted with elements like sun and wind, finding the right balance between cleanliness and protection is key for your hair.

Cleansing and Conditioning on the Go

To keep your hair clean without access to showers, consider dry shampoo.

It’s a convenient solution to refresh your locks, absorbing excess oils and impurities. Simply apply to the roots, massage through, and comb out any residue.

For longer trips, pack a shampoo bar; they’re compact, long-lasting, and eco-friendly.

Pair with a conditioner bar that is gentle on your hair and can help in detangling and moisturizing strands post-cleanse.

  • Shampoo Choice: Consider biodegradable options if you’re washing in nature to minimize environmental impact.
  • Conditioning: Use a leave-in conditioner for added moisture, especially when facing the drying effects of wind and sun exposure.

Protecting Hair from Natural Elements

The sun can be harsh, potentially harming your hair’s structure.

Protect your hair by wearing a hat or applying hair products with UV protection to shield against damaging rays.

For the drying effects of the wind, use a leave-in conditioner or hair serum.

This added layer of protection can keep your hair from becoming dry and tangled.

  • UV Defense: Use products infused with UV filters or wear a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Barrier Against Wind: Opt for products that offer a protective coat around hair strands, reducing the risk of breakage and knots.

Advanced Hiking Hairstyling

best time hiking North Georgia

Embarking on a rigorous hike often calls for a hairstyle that not only looks good but is highly functional.

Advanced hairstyling for hiking allows you to express your creativity while ensuring your hair is secure and out of the way throughout your challenging trek.

Decorative and Complex Braid Techniques

To add a touch of elegance to your hiking look while keeping hair tamed, try incorporating decorative and complex braid techniques.

The reverse French braid—also known as a Dutch braid—offers an intricate look and works exceptionally well for those with layers, keeping hair tips secure and preventing them from sticking out.

Braid Styles:

  • Reverse French Braid
  • Fishtail Braid
  • Four-strand Braid

To achieve a braid that lasts, start with damp hair and use a texturizing spray which provides grip and hold. A small elastic is ideal for maintaining the braid’s end without adding bulk.

Hairstyle Variations for Experienced Hikers

For hikers who are accustomed to long trails and changing conditions, hairstyle variations like twists and updos combine practicality with style.

A three-strand braid can be the foundation for several versatile looks.

Updo Ideas:

  • Braid into Bun: Transform your three-strand braid into an updo by coiling it into a bun at the top of your head.
  • Twisted Halo: For mid-length hair, twist the sides and pin them back to form a ‘halo’ that keeps hair away from your face and neck.
  • Braided Crown: A more advanced style, where you braid around your head, securing it in place with bobby pins discreetly.

To ensure your hairstyle holds up during vigorous activity, utilize bobby pins that match your hair color, and apply hairspray or a similar product for extra hold. Remember to apply sunscreen on any exposed scalp to protect against sunburn if your hairstyle is particularly tight or pulled back.

Frequently Asked Questions

hiking hairstyles faqs

When planning your hairstyle for a hike, it’s crucial to consider practicality, comfort, and the ability to withstand the elements.

Below you’ll find tailored advice for different hair types and lengths that will help keep your hair managed and out of the way while you enjoy the trails.

What are some practical hiking hairstyles for short hair?

For short hair, a half-up messy bun or low ponytail works well to keep strands off your face. Wearing a baseball cap can also be effective in securing flyaway hairs and providing sun protection.

Can you recommend sturdy hairstyles for those with long hair on a hike?

For long hair, French braids and Dutch braids are reliable styles as they secure hair close to the head. A simple, low ponytail is another sturdy option that prevents tangling and can be easily managed when on the move.

How can I style medium-length hair comfortably for a day of trekking?

Medium-length hair can be fashioned into a variety of styles, such as bubble braids or a braided messy bun, which are both secure and fashionable. A beanie may also be worn to keep hair out of your face during colder months.

What are some easy and quick hairstyles suitable for hiking?

Quick styles include the classic ponytail and the versatile messy bun. Both can be done in a matter of seconds and will stay put through most activities, making them perfect for hikers who want a no-fuss solution.

What are the best ways to manage curly hair while on an outdoor adventure?

Curly hair can be managed on hikes by tying it up in a high ponytail or a pineapple bun, which keeps the curls intact and off the neck. For added protection from the elements, try using a headscarf or bandana.

Are there any specific hairstyles that can withstand wind and activity for fine hair when hiking?

Fine hair benefits from styles like double French braids or a low messy bun since they offer a secure hold. Incorporating hair accessories such as headbands or clips can also help to keep fine hair from becoming unmanageable in windy conditions.

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