What to Wear for a Hot Air Balloon Ride

Going on a hot air balloon ride is an exciting experience! If you’re a first-timer, there are some things you should do to be prepared. This article covers what to wear for a hot air balloon ride.

Good clothing for a hot air balloon ride includes protective footwear, headgear, sunglasses, and layers. Hot air balloons don’t fly in inclement weather, so no special clothing is required. What to wear for a hot air balloon ride changes depending on the location, time of year, and time of day.

Knowing what to come prepared with can make all the difference in your hot air balloon ride adventure! You don’t want to be caught surprised at 1,500 feet in the air!

Happy Feet, Happy People

It’s a proven fact that happy feet make happy people. Most outdoor activities require some sort of footwear, and hot air ballooning is no different.

Open-toed footwear is probably never a good idea when going hot air ballooning, and this isn’t just because you might get your toes stepped on. You’re going to be looking for tennis shoes or boots with good socks.

If it’s warmer when and where you’re going ballooning, tennis shoes are the way to go. If it is going to be cooler, consider getting some boots and tall socks.

Hot air balloons almost always take off from a field, and they often do so in the early morning. You should be prepared if there has been rain recently or for the morning dew.

Because of this, it’s important to get some shoes that are water-proof or water-resistant. It also means you could get your shoes muddy, so don’t bring your brand new Jordans.

Because it’s possible that your feet could get wet, bringing an extra pair of socks could be a good idea.

Also, while many hot air balloon ride services will take you right to your launch site, it is possible you may have to do a little hiking to get to your balloon. It is also possible that you may have to do some hiking after you land.

Hot air balloon pilots will always try to land in an ideal location, but be prepared to potentially land somewhere rocky of with tall grass.

Many modern hot air balloons will have a little gate or door to let you into the basket, but many still do not. Be prepared to hop into the basket. Again, heels or flip flops probably aren’t recommended.

Eyes, Ears, Mouth, and Nose

Having taken care of your feet, now its time to focus on your head and face. This is an area that is easy to ignore but is actually vitally important in hot air ballooning.


The first thing to come prepared with is sunglasses. Sunglasses are useful while hot air ballooning for so many reasons.

A commercial hot air balloon will fly between 1,000 and 3,000 feet in the air. This will give you some awesome views, and you want to protect your eyes to see those views!

Many hot air balloon rides take place around sunrise or sunset to take full advantage of seeing the sun. This can be a beautiful experience, or it can be a blinding experience.

Having sunglasses will also protect your eyes against anything that may fly into the basket.

Most of the time up in the air you won’t feel the wind because you’ll be traveling the same speed and direction as the wind. However, it’s not unheard of for a bug to find its way up there.


Having a hat is another good idea. If it’s a little cooler outside, you might get something with some fuzz. If it’s warmer, a baseball cap would be perfect!

When it’s cold, it’s especially important to cover your ears. We all know what it’s like to have your ears hurt because it’s so cold outside. Hopefully, hot air ballooning never gets that cold, but it just could.

Having a hat will also protect you from the sun, just like a pair of sunglasses. Bringing some sunscreen could be a really good idea!

In many cases, the burners will be just above your head. Some people feel uncomfortable with the heat produced by these burners, especially for taller passengers!

A hat can help mitigate the heat while being extra fashionable!

In the case of both hats and sunglasses, you want to bring something that definitely won’t fall off. Again, the wind shouldn’t be an issue once you get in the air, but still, get something that will stay on.

Many a hat or pair of glasses has been lost peering over the side of a hot air balloon. Be careful up there!

Layers on Layers

This suggestion is a little more conditional, but also very flexible! Bringing lots of layers can be a good idea at almost any time of year. This is especially true during the cooler seasons.

Temperature can be such a temperamental thing sometimes, so layers are a good option because of its flexibility.

Because many hot air balloon rides take off in the morning to see the sunrise, it may be cold at the beginning of your ride and warm up later. The inverse could be true of hot air balloon rides later in the day!

For those interested in winter hot air ballooning (yes, that’s a thing) be prepared for the cold, but also be prepared to be surprised!

Sometimes it can warmer once you get in the air because heat rises. So it’s very possible you’ll start your winter adventure all bundled up, but then need to lay off some layers!

Hot air balloons do not fly in rain or storms, so you won’t need to worry about making a rain jacket one of your layers. Having one of your layers be hooded is a good idea though for extra warmth.

Even if your ride takes place in the summer, I would suggest considering a windbreaker of some sort. While there will be some times this obviously won’t be necessary, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared!

As in most cases, deciding on layers comes down to being sensible. Often a light jacket would do just fine, but sometimes you might want to bundle on a hoodie or two!

Keep an eye on the weather leading up the day of your hot air balloon ride, and then dress accordingly!

How to be Miserable

Ladies, I have to apologize before we get into this last section. It’s a lot easier for men to get dressed for a hot air balloon ride. I don’t make the rules here, I just write about them.

That having been said, there are some definite don’ts when it comes to dressing for a hot air balloon ride.

The Four Don’ts

First, don’t wear a skirt or dress. There’s so much that could go wrong. From getting into the basket to freak updrafts, skip the cute skirt or dress.

Pants or shorts will be much more help getting on and off of the hot air balloon, especially if you tip over during landing (which does happen).

Second, don’t wear flip flops, heels, wedges, moccasins, water shoes, sandals, slippers, ballet shoes, or clogs. We already covered this point in enough detail, so I’ll leave it at that.

Third, don’t wear a large hat. If the brim is longer than 6 inches, its too long. You don’t want to smack one of your fellow passengers in the face every time you turn around.

Leave the sun hat at home.

Fourth, don’t bring expensive or extravagant jewelry. This isn’t because you should be afraid of it being stolen. Hot air balloon heists don’t have the same colorful history that train heists do.

This is actually because you don’t want to drop it off the edge on accident. It’s also because you’ll likely be in an enclosed area where it would be easy to get the more extravagant jewelry caught on someone or something.

At the end of the day, just use common sense. If you’ll follow the above tips, you will show up well prepared for your hot air balloon ride! There’s no need for you to test the four “don’ts” to see if they’re true.

Dress well, be safe, and have fun up there!

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

Recent Posts

outdoortroop-21 outdoortroop-20