What to Wear on a Hot Air Balloon Ride
If you’re planning a hot air balloon ride, it can be difficult to know what clothes to wear since the weather might not always cooperate with your plan.
To help, this guide will give you some advice on what to wear and what not to wear on your hot air balloon ride, so you can make sure you’re comfortable, prepared, and looking good in your photos.
Make sure you check out our post on how to prepare for a hot air balloon ride for more helpful planning tips.
The Right Shoes
Make sure you wear shoes that are easy to slip off and on, so you can step out of them once you’re in your capsule. You’ll be sitting on an inflated cushion in your shoes, so make sure they don’t rub or poke you uncomfortably anywhere.
On top of being essential for ballooning, comfortable shoes will also prevent blisters and calluses. After all, you need as many layers between your feet and the elements as possible!
For extra insulation, some people like to wear two pairs of socks. Also keep in mind that it will get colder at night, even when it’s hot during the day (especially at higher altitudes).
Bonus Tip: Bring boots or other active footwear along if you think you might want to take a stroll after sunset.
The Right Clothes
Before you start shopping for some fancy new threads, keep in mind that many hot air balloon companies have dress codes for their rides. Always be sure to check out the agency or booking website to see if there are any policies or dress requirements.
The key is finding clothes that are warm and lightweight—ideally, it’s best to choose one or two items from each of these categories: long sleeves, pants, socks and headwear. Be careful with bringing loose-fitting hats as one strung gust of wind could make it rain from the heavens.
If you plan on dressing up for your flight, try and leave tight fancy clothing at home! You’ll need to be able to move around comfortably in your outfit.
From there, think about layering. Wearing multiple thin layers instead of one thick layer will help trap heat while also making it easier for you to regulate temperature while airborne.
Just make sure whatever extra layers you bring aren’t too bulky. Some hot air balloon operators require passengers to carry all bags with them during flights so nothing can obstruct views of the countryside below.
The Right Accessories
Plan on bringing plenty of water and a high-resolution camera. Then, ask yourself, "Do I really need to bring this?"
In general, you should bring only what you need and leave everything else at home. Unless you’re willing to get down from your hot air balloon ride early (and risk being charged for an incomplete ride), don’t bring anything too cumbersome or distracting. After all, you're flying to take in views you normally wouldn't see! If you have kids, have them leave their handheld games and toys in the car.
One of your top priorities is to protect yourself from sunburn—especially if you’re flying high into an area with little cloud cover. Bring plenty of sunscreen and reapply regularly, as well as sunglasses for eye protection.
With any travel, it's important to be prepared. Hot air balloon rides are not exempt from this. There are a number of different factors that you should take into consideration and monitor before making a final decision on what to wear.
A hot air balloon ride in the Swiss Alps is vastly different than taking a hot air balloon ride in Albuquerque.
Consider where you are visiting, the sights that you are planning on viewing, and other geographical components first. You can always consult your tour operator for local insight.
Time of Year
Consider time of year when choosing what to wear. Most hot air balloon rides take place between March and November. In different parts of the world, those seven months can have extreme temperature variations.
While time of year is something to take into consideration for pre and post flight plans, don't get fooled by thinking "It's August and I'm going to be flying in the desert!"
We still recommend bringing some additional layers to combat the altitude. You can always take layers off, but if you don't bring them, you can't put them on.
As your scheduled hot air balloon ride approached, pay attention to local weather updates. Your operator will also keep you informed of potential bad weather that could cause cancellations.
It's very rare that a pilot will launch a balloon if rain is in the forecast. With that being said, weather can be very unpredictable. Pilots are trained to handle high wind and rainy situations, but they can't control what you wear. Pack accordingly and monitor weather updates to ensure comfort.
Hot air balloon rides are popular for many special occasions. If you're planning a hot air balloon engagement or celebration, you're going to want some pictures to remember the day. So, looking like you rolled out of bed isn't always an option.
With that being said, you can still dress up and be comfortable. One important thing to take into consideration is that some of the best photos are taking at launch from the ground. This is a great time to shed some of your layers and look extra spiffy for the camera. As you ascend into the sky, button up a jacket and take some snug photos with your friends and family.
Balloon flights are a great way to see the world from a new perspective. The flight takes you high above the ground, where the view is spectacular. However, many people are hesitant about flying in one because they worry about the cold temperatures. Is it really cold? Do you need a coat to fly up in the sky?
Don’t worry, balloon rides aren’t cold. Here’s why:
- The flame that burns inside hot air balloon, called the burner, holds enough heat and power to heat the balloon’s interior to a certain temperature. This temperature is just hot enough to keep a person in the basket warm.
- Since hot air balloons fly with the wind, you won’t feel wind chill.
- While the air does get colder with higher elevations, hot air balloons aren’t flown extremely high. They are usually flown between 1,000-3,000 feet off the ground. For each thousand feet you go up, the temperature drops only a few degrees. Paired with the burner heat, you won’t notice that much of a difference compared to ground temperatures.
Generally, a hot air balloon ride is warm though this does depend on time of year and location. With that in mind, we suggest always dressing a little bit warmer. It's always easier to take off layers than it is to put them on (especially when you don't have extra layers with you).
Flying in Style
Hot air balloons are often recognized for their bright, vibrant colors. Take this into consideration when you're planning an outfit, especially if you're focused on getting shots for "The Gram." You want to compliment the main attraction and highlight of the shot--the beauty of the envelope, as well as the landscape.
Look to wear more neutral colors to give that hot air balloon an extra pop. Take a look at your operator's website and social media to get a look at their photo gallery. Learning the landscape will be helpful in making you look like a fashion icon.
At the end of the day, don't sacrifice style for comfort. Bring a jacket and dress warm. There will still be plenty of photo opps!