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#150543 - 05/18/11 06:21 PM Clothing
jrutter Offline

Registered: 05/18/11
Posts: 2
Hello, I'm new to backpacking, but I love doing my own research and I have been taking a class just to make sure I don't end up lost in the woods somewhere wink
Anyways, I understand the concepts of layering and good materials to wear (aka, not cotton) but I am having a hard time choosing what clothing articles to buy and pack. I will be mainly backpacking for long weekends in the pacific northwest region. What articles should I bring, and what is a waste of pack space? Currently I already have long underwear (silk), two pairs of convertible pants, a wicking t-shirt, a fleece jacket and rain gear, what else should I bring, or is anything I have listed above not necessary?
PS (I'm a 22 year old female, so ladies advice would be great smile Although any is appreciated! )

#150544 - 05/18/11 07:20 PM Re: Clothing [Re: jrutter]
BZH Offline

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 902
Loc: Torrance, CA
two pairs of pants is probably overkill. Especially if your rain gear contains a pair of pants too. Other than underwear to change into, it looks like a good setup

#150565 - 05/19/11 10:28 AM Re: Clothing [Re: jrutter]
Slowfoot Offline

Registered: 04/22/05
Posts: 159
Loc: Missouri
I've heard that silk does not dry fast, but I don't have any experience with it. A lot of people don't need long underwear unless it's really cold, but I wear mine while hiking a lot, even into the low 60s if it's cloudy and windy. If you only wear it to sleep in then it won't matter how fast-drying it is.

For colder weather you might want a down or synthetic insulated jacket for rest stops and camp. You may get recommendations to replace your fleece with the jacket. I always bring a fleece because I hike it in a lot. I tend to be colder than most people, and I also hike slow and stop frequently to look at things, so I wear more while hiking than a lot of people would.

Some people may also recommend a windshirt, but I just use my rain jacket for the same purpose. It used to spend 90% of trips in my pack, and I decided to start using it since I bring it almost every time. For some people a rain jacket is too hot to hike in, but for me it's usually not the case.

Some things you will just have to figure out for yourself based on your hiking style and the temperatures. It doesn't hurt to have a little extra the first few times until you figure out what is comfortable for you, but you really don't need duplicates of anything except socks and underwear.

#150566 - 05/19/11 11:52 AM Re: Clothing [Re: jrutter]
JPete Offline

Registered: 05/28/09
Posts: 304
Loc: Eastern Ontario
jrutter , Think about a light, long-sleve shirt. I no longer carry one (use my rain jacket), but cooler weather, bugs, sun, etc. could all make it attractive. Best, jcp

#150567 - 05/19/11 12:06 PM Re: Clothing [Re: jrutter]
OldScout Offline

Registered: 03/17/03
Posts: 501
Loc: Puget Sound, Washington
And now for a contra opinion: I always take two pairs of zip-off pants because I always hike hot (even if cold out. Mostly in the WA Cascades) and I sweat easily and profusely. This means at the end of the hiking day my clothes are totally sweated out. So upon hitting camp the first thing I do is quickly set up camp and then go swimming (usually snow melt lakes) before I cool off with everything on in order to rinse the clothes out. Why the second pair of pants? To then put on nice, clean (relatively), and dry clothes for camp. Those clothes dry out over night and I put them back on the next morning. I wouldn't take the silk long johns unless you sleep in them as pjs.

PS. Welcome to the site.

Edited by OldScout (05/19/11 12:08 PM)

#150568 - 05/19/11 12:09 PM Re: Clothing [Re: jrutter]
BrianLe Offline

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Washington State, King County
I suggest that you have a look at Mark Verber's site.

I guess the other thing is to build your clothing set incrementally; go on a hike, see what others have, what you wish you had brought instead, fill in that hole. Of the items you mention, the long underwear might be useful for sleeping, but I personally can't wear longjohns on any but the coldest days; your metabolism (and pace) might be different.

I do suggest you consider some sort of long sleeved hiking shirt, all-synthetic (not a cotton blend) from REI or the like (careful, even at REI some long sleeved button-up shirts are a cotton blend).

Pacific NW: I live there too, WA state. If in the Puget Sound area, consider going on some backpacking trips with the Mountaineers. If in the Portland area, the Mazamas. In general, just see what others are wearing/carrying, ask how they like what they have and why.
Brian Lewis

#150577 - 05/19/11 01:43 PM Re: Clothing [Re: jrutter]
billstephenson Offline

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3915
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Welcome to the Forums!

I generally hike in cold to cool weather. In cool weather I start the day with long underwear and cheap nylon zip-offs over them. If the day warms up and I start to sweat I pull the long underwear off and if it gets really warm I might zip off the legs on my nylon pants.

If it's cold, I'll start the day wearing a pair of fleece pants (pajama bottoms) between the long underwear and zip-offs. That keeps me cozy warm down to 0F.

Since the fleece pants are always between layers when I wear them while hiking they stay pretty clean and dry, so I sleep in them too.

For the upper body I wear a standard cotton T-Shirt, a long sleeve fleece shirt, and either a down jacket when it's cold, or a rain jacket if it's cool. I peel them off depending on the temps. Depending on the expected weather, sometimes I'll bring a long underwear shirt too. I usually sleep in thermal shirt and/or the fleece shirt.

If I expect to do some wet crossings I bring a second pair of nylon zip-off pants, and a full set of thermal underwear, and keep them in a lightweight dry bag.

Besides a change of socks, for a 2-3 day trip that's all I bring.

But, really, as others here have said, how much you wear to be comfortable in different temps and conditions is a personal thing. Test your clothes before deciding what to bring.

One of our longtime members here, Jim Shaw, recommends you suit up in all your rain gear and go stand in your shower for 10 minutes to see how dry you end up. Hard to argue it'd be better to find out later. wink

Since you're new to backpacking, I'll say the most important thing to know about clothing, I believe, is to be sure to take the time to adjust it as necessary.

That seems like a simple rule, adjust your clothing as necessary, but it's also easy to ignore. Once you're in that groove of hiking you may find you really don't want to stop, and you end up soaking wet before you do. Don't do that.

Don't succumb to that urge to keep hiking when you know you should stop and adjust your clothing.

And, while it has nothing to do with clothing, sharing trip reports with pictures of where you've been with us is also important smile

"You want to go where?"

#150580 - 05/19/11 03:22 PM Re: Clothing [Re: billstephenson]
jrutter Offline

Registered: 05/18/11
Posts: 2
Thanks everyone! Now I have plenty to think about wink This has been very helpful, and yes I will definitely post trip pictures after a few adventures. smile Thanks everyone!


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