What to Wear/Pioneer Clothes


*We have had a lot of questions regarding the dress code especially with the shirts. We would like all Trek participants to wear long-sleeve button shirts…no T-shirts please.


Dressing in pioneer clothing can have a tremendous impact on the spirit of the trek.  The following is a short description of how pioneers dressed and it is our hope that the youth will dress likewise for the trek.


Men’s clothing:

Men’s shirts worn loose.  Plain colors were common, but stripes or plaids were also used.  Light colors will be coolest.  Choose something larger than a regular fit, with long sleeves.

Pants were also worn loose.  Wool or linen were used.  Corduroy, twill and canvas pants are good choices.  Trekkers in our day find that wool is to hot but that cotton work great.  Colors include blue, black, gray, browns, especially beige and tan.  Choose rather loose-fitting through the crotch and thigh area to add comfort In walking.

Suspenders; Men’s pants were held up by suspenders that were buttoned on the outside of the waistband, and crossed in the back.

Hats:  Men’s everyday hats ranged from pilot caps, straw hats, wide-brimmed low felt hats, or round crowned hat.  No ball caps allowed.

Women’s clothing:

Dresses/Skirts/Long sleeve button down shirts or blouses: Fabrics were cotton in solid colors or small print.  Bright colors were popular (especially bright yellow)  Blouses and long skirts, dresses or jumpers can be used.  Pioneer trekkers now have found that dresses and skirts should be mid-calf or above top of a hiking boot in length (so the girls do not trip over their skirts while pulling). Spandex shorts or bike shorts worn under the skirts help with modesty and especially with chafing. Don’t leave home without them!


The standard apron was six to twelve inches shorter than the skirt length.  It gathered at the waist and tied.  The  bib attached at the waist and was pinned to the dress bodice at the top two corners.  Hence, the name pinafore (Pinned at two of the four corners).  Daytime aprons were made of calico remnants.  Sunday aprons were made from white fabric and did not have a bib.  For trekking today, large deep pockets are important to be able to carry different items along the trial.   Here’s a pattern you can use:  http://handcart-trek.org/patterns/Aprons.pdf

Bonnets; Women wore bonnets whenever they were outside.  They were made of cotton with a deep stiffened brim and back ruffle to protect the neck.  They could be white, plain colors or a print, but they never matched the fabric of the dress.  Today, bonnets or straw hats for the girls are important, they need to have something they will wear to protect them from the sun.

Bonnet Patterns (PDF-243KB)

Shoes; For both  women and men, shoes need not be “period” style.  Comfort is most important.  Do not wear new hiking boots unless you have taken at least two months to break them in.  Bring two pair, so if one gets wet or cause blisters, the other pair can be worn.

Socks; Pack clean socks for each day.

What NOT TO Wear
Blue jeans, baseball caps, tank tops, t-shirts, tight/short dresses, brand new shoes.