We’re no strangers to the concept of function over fashion here at LifeBrite Active, but hiking is one of those activities where people typically agree with us 100%. Hiking enthusiasts will buy the most expensive (albeit hideous) hiking boots if they promise to provide the best ankle support and be the most comfortable on the market. They’ll order the top-rated hiking pack in the worst shade of brown if it guarantees to be the lightest and sturdiest on the market. Why is this? Because hikers often place their focus on how well certain pieces of attire will benefit them. If it will improve their experience and increase their overall safety, then function wins over fashion every time.
An aspect of hiking safety and functionality that’s often overlooked when it comes to attire is the color of the items we wear and carry with us. We understand that many people enjoy the tranquility and serenity that a hike through the forest or canyons can bring, or the aesthetic that calm earth tones provide to your social media feed, but when it comes to safety –your clothing and hiking accessories should really be as obnoxious and bright as possible.
Bright Is The Right Choice
Ever wonder why hunters gravitate to the bright orange vests and hats they’re often pictured wearing? Well, not only is it law in some states to wear safety orange while hunting, but also because none of these hunters want to be mistaken for what they’re hunting. Earthy tones like green, gray, brown, and black are the primary colors of game animals and the habitat they live in. When it’s hard to distinguish what you’re looking for from its surroundings, a hunters' eyes rely on movement. Wearing bright colors not typically found in nature such as bright yellow, bright red, bright pink, or bright orange can help a hunter distinguish you from their intended targets.
Depending on where you live, hunting seasons may open and close throughout the year while open season on certain game may be year-round. Bright colors increase your visibility and distinguish you from your surroundings. Our eyes are naturally drawn to contrast so choosing a bright shade that contrasts with the environment you’re in makes it easier to be seen –for example; bright red or bright orange stand out really well in a green forest.
What If I’m Hiking Where Hunting Is Prohibited?
Bright colored clothing still provides an added layer of safety if you get lost. While the number changes from year to year, on average around 2,000 hikers get lost each year while hiking. This leads to numerous Search and Rescue (SAR) operations. In the event that a search and rescue mission must be organized to locate and extract you, anything you can do to aid in their ability to see you is a good idea. Brightly colored, high contrast clothing paired with flares, or reflective signal mirrors can decrease the time it takes for SAR to locate a lost or injured hiker. The longer a person is missing, the higher the likelihood they will succumb to any injuries or environmental hazards in the area.
When it comes to search and rescue, the color opposite of the color wheel of the terrain you're in is what is most easily distinguished. Drone SAR devices are programmed to search for human torsos as well, so it's best to wear your brightest colors over the top half of your body. Topping it off with a brightly colored hat is just icing on the highly-visible-hiker's cake.
We’ve compiled a short list of items that can help you stand out while you get out and #livelifebrite on your next trek. Links below: