If your feet aren’t happy, you’re going nowhere
Most important is a good pair of hiking boots or walking shoes. Running shoes or trainers is fine but if it rains you will get wet feet. Quick dry fabrics (like merino wool or polypropylene) are better than cotton or denim. Try to avoid jeans. A warm jacket, hat & gloves are a good idea for cold weather. We have walking poles use if you don’t have your own. The sun is very strong in Beijing and it’s easy to get burnt. A sunhat and sunglasses are a good idea too.
You can use these guidelines to determine what to bring while hiking Great Wall accordingly. Make sure your clothing, equipment are up for the trip to enjoy a hopefully hassle-free excursion!
Clothing for Hiking
What clothing you’ll need depends what season you are traveling, where and how high the Great Wall you’ll be hiking, and local weather and temperatures. Your clothing should work as a system which wicks aside perspiration, insulates you against the cold and protects you from the wind..
Layering is highly recommended to wear in cool or cold weather like December, January, February in Beijing. Rather than taking several heavy and warm garments, it’s advisable to bring and wear several lighter layers.
The best time to put on or take off layers while trekking the Great Wall is at the first sign of being cold or being overheat. Your body will let you know when you’re overheated or under heated. If you wait too long, your clothing may get drenched with sweat — and then upon, you’ll be more susceptible to chilling and more difficult to warm up when resting, especially during a windy day on Great Wall.
Your first layer close to your skin should wick perspiration away from your skin to keep you dry and warm. In summer often only the base layer will be necessary in Beijing. While in winter, better pack warm clothing before you leave.
Cotton has a truly serious problem with hiking although cotton clothing is favored by lots of people. The moisture from sweat may slow up the insulating ability of cotton clothing on a dry day, cotton is often considered as unsafe to wear, especially next to the skin. In mountain areas where cold weather is common — which includes Jinshanling, Jiankou, Mutianyu, Simatai etc where you will hike.
Comfortable boots can protect your feet from injury, provide comfort and support for the feet and ankles while hiking rugged sections of the Great Wall. Good hiking boots will serve you for many years. You may feel uncomfortable for hiking while wearing boots that come up much higher than the ankles. All in all, a light-to-medium-weight boot will be the wise choice for trekking Wild Great Wall.
Heavy synthetic or wool socks are highly recommended by many Great Wall hikers. A heavy sock gives extra cushioning in your boots, offering some additional protection and reducing the impact of each step.
Liner socks are recommended when you plan to hike unusually rough sections of the Great Wall such as Jiankou and Gubeikou or have new boots. Liner socks will minimize any rubbing and friction on the feet — reducing the possibility of blisters or sores, and offering a bit of extra warmth in cold weather.
Loose-fitting pants is a good choice rather than jeans. Roomy nylon pants helps you stretch your legs at quite an angle while hiking uphill or downhill. Pants brings you maximum comfort and freedom of movement.
Shorts are good for warm or hot weather– providing the maximum amount of freedom for your legs. As Jiankou and Gubeikou are somewhat overgrown in summer, wearing shorts make you expose to possible unfriendly plants ((poison ivy, thorny bushes). Shorts are best for wide and/or well-maintained Mutianyu, Badaling. Convertible pants allow you to zip off the pant legs and quickly convert the pants to shorts.
Sweaters / Fleece
Fleece and other thick synthetic garments are very suitable for hiking the Great Wall. Synthetic clothing is lightweight and durable. They’re better at absorbing sweat and some of them wick moisture away from the body. On a Wild Great Wall Adventures trips in early spring or autumn, bringing a fleece sweater will keep you comfortable during your hike.
Windbreaker is highly recommended in cool, windy weather like Beijing in autumn. A good windbreaker will offer protection from the rain, an excellent barrier to the wind and warmth after you reach your summit and start to cool down, keep you comfortable during your descent.
Cap or Hat
Outdoor hat help you avoid extensive exposure of your skin to the sun in summer. Be careful in strong sunlight and covering your head will keep you comfortable. In summer carrying a sun hat is advisable when the sun’s rays are more direct and potentially damaging in Beijing.
Walking Stick or Hiking Poles
Hiking poles are especially good choice for those who have had knee problems or leg injuries. Weather or not to use walking stick is a matter of personal preference. It’s easy to acquire a makeshift hiking stick along the Great Wall by finding a fallen branch of the suitable size, some is left by hikers.
The benefits of a good day pack for day hiking are truly massive. A day pack provides enough room for everything you’ll need on a day hike: water, extra clothing, rain wear insect repellent a camera, etc. A pack leaves the arms and hands free and make your hike most enjoyable. It should give several years or more of service.