Monday, February 13, 2012

Gear in Review - Clothing

The List
REI shorts
REI Convertible pants
North Face synthetic T shirt
Minus 33 T-shirt
Stoic Base Layer
Synthetic Boxer briefs
3 pairs of wool socks
2 pairs of sock liners

REI Down vest*

Long Underwear*
Turtle Fur knit hat*
Fingerless Mitten gloves*
Ear/Neck thingie*

Cold weather gear

The Story
I have expounded on the virtues of the Packa before. And I will do so again! This piece of gear will be used daily as a pack cover on the (hopefully occasional) rainy day it will also be my rain gear. In camp it can either be strung up like a tarp or sat on to keep me bum dry. I found the Packa at Trail Days and Cara bought me the gear for Christmas and it looks as if it lives up to the (self generated) hype. Now all I gotta do is actually get the chance to use it! Cedar Tree, the thru hiker that invented and sells the Packa, gives it a warranty of 2000 miles, and from everything I've heard stands behind his product 100%. Not only do I like the idea of supporting a small shop and a former thru hiker, the product itself is is totally a great idea. Every feature a rain coat has it has, every feature a poncho has it has, every feature a pack cover has it has - except it has none of the draw-backs of any of those products!

I will be starting in early April. The day rushes toward me! From all I have heard, people starting in late March into early April can expect cold weather and at least the possibility of snow until they hit Damascus, VA, north of the Smokies. If my schedule holds true I will be passing thru Damascus during the second week of May. I have plans to send home the items followed by an asterisk when I hit town. The climb up Mount Rogers should be easy breezy!

Warm weather Gear

Much clothing will be sent home when it warms up. I will be keeping a long sleeve shirt for the occasional chilly night and to change into while I wash my other clothing. Same with the pants (that can also be shorts). A change of clothes will be nice, and they are light. Also, having relatively clean camp clothing will be important, as well as having something to wear while washing my clothing is important.

I will be playing around with this the next few days to see how it fits into my pack, But this is generally what I take winter camping. I have been warm (or hot while hiking) with this gear into the teens. I may also trade out the sleeping bag once I hit Virginia, but that is covered in another post! I have packed what I want and left what I don't think I'll need. The dry compression sack with the clothes is smaller than a soccer ball and includes the chamois cloth that will serve as my towel. I left out from that the clothing on my back and a couple layers that I will be wearing or putting at the top of the pack for quick retrieval.

I have seen people wear hiking kilts, and some ultra-lighters with only the clothes on their backs. Then my brother says he would wear jeans because that's what he wears every day anyway, so why change it up? Clothing, like most everything else, is a matter of preference. This is one of the reasons I love the Appalachian Trail, there is no right way to do it. If you walk from GA to ME who cares how heavy/light fast/slow fat/happy you are?!

What are your experiences? Do you have a hiking 'uniform' you put on?