What to Wear to Walk the Great Wall of China in Summer

Best Tips on How to Dress for Summer Great Wall Hike

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If you are planning on walking the Great Wall of China this summer, it’s important you know what to wear. Although the Great Wall appears as sleek as a modern mall in some photos, there are realities to ancient stone structures and summer conditions to manage. Being well-dressed for your Great Wall excursion may enhance the experience.

Footwear for Traversing the Great Wall

When deciding on a suitable pair of shoes, you will first need to consider the type of Great Wall walking you are planning. It’s true that there are plenty of smooth areas for visitors to enjoy the breathtaking views and snap selfies. You could definitely wear comfy open-toe shoes in those areas. But if you are planning any type of Great Wall jaunt, upping your footwear game will be imperative.

Many sections of the Great Wall are rugged like Jinshanling, Gubeikou, and some are joined by natural barriers such as steep hillsides. In effect, walking the Great Wall is more akin to hiking a mountainside in some areas. That means you will need to choose between firm action-wear sneakers or lightweight hiking shoes.

Given the Beijing temperature runs anywhere from 80 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and dips into the low 70s at night, anticipate bringing a clean pair of socks as well. Be sure to select a pair of hiking shoes that support your ankles when crossing uneven stone and rubble.

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Clothing to Manage the Beijing Summer

It’s crucial to keep in mind that the Great Wall was not designed like a theme park. In other words, there are substantial distances between guard towers and other places offering shade. These are items worth considering.

  • Select a Hat: Start your apparel decisions with a wide-brimmed hat that will keep the direct sun off your face and neck. It’s also a good idea for the hat to be made of a material that allows air to flow through it for additional comfort.
  • Sunglasses: The Beijing sun can be quite bright, and the light stonework can act as a reflective surface. A quality pair of UV protective sunglasses are a must.
  • Comfortable Shirt: A loose-fitting or T-shirt ranks among the better options for walking the Great Wall. A stylish, but practical, sundress could also be a viable option that protects from the sun’s rays and delivers cool comfort.
  • Shorts or Pants: The decision to go with hiking shorts or pants may best be considered against the duration or time of day you plan to experience the Great Wall. A relatively short walk in the early morning might make more sense to wear a pair of loose-fitting pants. However, if you plan a significant trek, quality hiking shorts are the way to go.

Like any summer outdoors experience, it’s essential to protect exposed skin with appropriately-rated sunscreen or sunblock. Carry snacks and enough water to remain hydrated in a backpack and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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