Zip Lining is exhilarating. It’s even better when you can do it over a jungle canopy. There are a lot of vacation places where you can go zip lining, like Mexico, Costa Rica, Hawaii, or really anywhere. Zip Lining has grown a lot over the past decade, and most places now have courses set up. Whether you’re going on a zip lining tour on vacation or in your home town, you need to wear the right clothing.
Wear close toed shoes (not sandals), long pants or at least knee-length shorts, and a shirt that covers your stomach to keep your harness from rubbing uncomfortably. A helmet is usually a must for ziplining, but will be provided by any tour company. In cooler seasons and locations, wear a good windproof jacket.
Zip lining is a ton of fun, and is definitely bucket-list worthy. It is a very safe activity, especially when done through a reputable guide company. My first experience zip lining was back and forth across a ravine in a jungle outside of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
How to Dress for Ziplining
It is important to keep in mind that you need to be covered up enough that the harness and rope don’t press into your skin, but also wear thin enough clothing that you won’t get too hot on the approach hike (especially in hot and humid areas like Hawaii or Mexico).
Do not wear any extremely baggy or loose clothing, as it could get caught up in the equipment. Additionally, long hair should be pulled back and any necklaces or dangly jewelry should be removed. Don’t wear glasses unless they are very secure and strap to your head. This is so they don’t blow off in the wind.
When I went zip-lining in Mexico, I imagined zipping over the jungle at high speeds. It was much more of a tame, moderate speed than I was secretly wishing for, but it’s still exhilarating and fun.
Zip lining is not necessarily an extreme activity (even young children may be on your zipline tour), but you should still plan ahead with the correct clothing for your adventure. (If you’re looking for something a little more exhilarating, try sky diving or bungee jumping.)
Zip lining is really fun and definitely worth it, especially when you’re vacationing in a new place. Is there a better way to get to know the landscape then to fly over the top of it?
Obviously the angle of descent and length of the zipline will impact how fast you go, so speed will vary. Some are much more adventurous than others.
Zip Lining in Warm Locations: A lot of zip lining excursions around the world occur in warm locations and climates. If this is your case, your best bet is to wear thin breathable shirts and shorts that cover at least the area a harness would rub on (mid-thigh to hips).
The provided harness goes around each of your legs and up around your waist. If the harness is on bare skin, it may be uncomfortable. This is why we suggest wearing long shorts, capris, leggings, or pants. I recommend tucking your shirt into your pants so that your shirt doesn’t bunch up and let the harness press into your stomach and back.
Zip Lining in Cold Weather: Several ski resorts have recent installed zip lines. I remember hearing the whining noise of the zip line at Sundance Ski Resort in Utah while mountain biking there during the summer. Dress in layers, with the top layer being a windproof jacket. In extreme cold, wear a pair of ski goggles to protect your eyes.
Wear shorts or pants that have zipper pockets. This way you can bring your phone (wallet, keys) along with you without worrying about them falling out. Many places have lockers you can leave your valuables in.
Depending on the type of ziplining that you do, you may need gloves. These will always be provided by the zip line company if required. You will usually wear thick leather work gloves so that you can brake and adjust your speed.
If there is rain in the forecast, or if you are in a location where monsoon storms are likely, bring along a lightweight rain jacket. Most ziplines will run during the rain if the participants choose to go.
What Shoes to Wear for Zip Lining?
Just because you’re on vacation in a tropical area doesn’t mean you should wear your flip flops everywhere. Most guide companies won’t let you wear flip flops on their zip line excursions, or if they do you have to remove them for the actual zip line.
Imagine flip flops coming off of someone’s feet and falling down into the jungle canopy! It’s important to wear shoes that are secure on your feet. Most tours include some type of hike to get to the zip line course too, so you want to be able to walk a ways over rough terrain.
Not all places make you wear close toed shoes, but the majority I’ve looked at do suggest it. They recommend or require close toed shoes because of the risk of tripping and falling near an edge and because of the hiking on uneven surfaces required to get to many of the platforms or cliffs.
Additionally, if you choose to swing upside-down while ziplining there could be a chance your feet would brush up against the cable. Tennis shoes (sneakers) or hiking boots would be perfect for zip lining.
Helmet for Zip Lining
Helmets should always be worn when zip lining, due to the inherent risks involved. You’ll be moving quickly, and your head is something you want to keep intact. Helmets protect your head from accidentally bumping into anything hard. People with long hair should wear it in a way so that it is back and out of the way so that there is no chance it could interfere with the equipment.
All reputable guide services will require that users wear helmets, and they will most likely provide them. For more information on the helmets we use and recommend, see our Recommended Gear Page-Helmets.
Can you Wear Glasses While Zip Lining? No one will make you take your glasses or sunglasses off to go ziplining, but they will all recommend it. You will be flying at high speeds, and will probably be looking all around watching scenery whip past. Your glasses will probably fall off unless they are strapped to your head or secured with a lanyard. Wear contacts to go zip lining, and wear sun glasses with a lanyard.
Can you Wear Jeans Ziplining? Jeans are a great idea for zip lining because they are thick enough that they will protect your legs from the harness; however jeans are probably too hot to wear in tropical climates. Light weight travel or adventure pants work just as well, and breathe better for those locations.
Do Zip Lines Have Weight Limits? Zip lines do not have weight limits; however the harnesses that you need to wear might. Check in with the tour company to confirm the maximum size of harnesses that they have. They restrictions would be around thigh and waist circumference.