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  1. #1

    Question What are you wearing?

    Hi, I'm needing to reduce my pack weight. Just starting to backpack the southern Appalachians. Please advise on what you wear for women's clothing spring/fall multi-night backpacking trips? Estimated temperature range: 70-30 degrees.


  2. #2


    I sleep cold and here in NH night temps can easily drop in the mountains, especially at night.

    silk long underwear and long sleeve shirt (usually just when sleeping)
    tech wick short sleeve
    tech wick long sleeve
    fleece vest
    down jacket similar to this Super light weight packs tiny
    winter hat
    rain jacket
    thin rain pants - will warm me right up and easy to throw over clothes
    and I have goretex lined 'snow' pants if I am worried about real bad cold
    hiking pants
    thin gloves

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  3. #3
    Registered User misprof's Avatar
    Join Date
    Auckland, New Zealand


    I also sleep cold but hike hot. I hike in tights that I converted to shorts til the temps drop to 40ish.
    So my shorts 2 oz.
    silk short sleeve top (wicked cheap at thrift store)
    silk base layer bottom and long sleeve poly top (sleeping)
    thermal top and bottom
    merino sweater
    down vest
    rain jacket from marmot (REI garage sale)
    Diy rain kilt
    Winter hat
    and gloves
    bandana to keep face warm.
    If you are hiking in the south during the fall please remember to have something of your clothes be blaze orange and do not wear anything that is white or grey esp. hat or gloves.
    Have a great time.

  4. #4


    I wear not-to-tight tights much like cross country ski wear. Sporthill has temperature ratings on their skiwear pants. I have worn silkweight longjohn bottoms, not tops. If I expect cold weather, the silkweights are merino. I rely on the vest, not snug armholes, for upper body warmth I can ventilate. I have mock turtleneck 1/2 zip tops for ventilation with exertion. If I expect cold weather, it is merino. I wear a synthetic shell, because I am active. If less active, because it is a camping trip, I have an ultralight MontBell down jacket. In the campsite I make my food from inside the sleeping system, if chilled because I am inactive. I do not use a hood. I wear a beanie. I have a balaclava, if I need it. If I wear the balaclava, it is for a cold night. I have a second pair of socks, to change out socks if wet.

    In general, I only wear merino for the earliest and the latest "shoulder seasons". I do not rely on synthetic, unless it is "silkweights". The medium weight synthetic are not experienced as warm, for me. Try Hot Chili Peppers. If "warm" then many of the synthetic underlayer or mid-layer will work well for you.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Portland or


    In the Appalachians with such a variable on temp and precip its all about layering. Here's my GF's system, On the bottom it looks like Icebreaker tights for sleeping, cool mornings and nights, under her Purple Rain hiking skirt for easy on/off while hiking. She also has a homemade rain skirt similar to the MLD ones. Up top is a her regular hiking tank under an icebreaker long sleeve base. She also has a synthetic puffy which would probably be better than down in the Appalachians as well as an O2 rain jacket to layer with.

  6. #6


    Thank you for all of the wonderful advice
    I do hike hot and sleep cold.
    So the silk thermals do just as well as the wool? Is one more wicking and quicker drying?

  7. #7


    Silkweights are synthetic. They are good sleepwear for keeping the sleeping system clean. If down, imperative. No matter what insulation, helps keep odor-free. Use a groundsheet like Gossamer Gear polycryo. It packs so small, no excuse not to have it. It is inexpensive, as well.

    Silk is warm, only to the extent it keeps "insensible moisture" against your skin, which is important if really cold. I reside in Montana. In my experience, really cold starts at 5 F. However, that is active. Not in the sleeping system. I like silk/wool for that. I can no longer find that to wear.

    I wear soft merino. Not all merino wool is equal. Find soft merino. Online retailers will list their merino thread and the softness will be included in the description. Icebreakers 150 works for me.

    I sleep warm, anyway, active just before getting in to sleep, having food to digest (digestion is warming) and sipping a little water. These are my strategies, if feeling cold.

    It doesn't have to be Icebreakers, I found on sale in Portland, OR. I have found soft merino online at Hagloffs, and, others. I seldom buy retail, preferring last year or two in production, last season, or discount.

    I am updating my website products links. I am not finished with rainwear. Rainwear is first. In working my way thru I find other items I know are quality. I have seen more brand name labels with the thread size and thread count and soft merino description.

    If still feel cold, the sleep system is inadequate.

    Better sleeping pad? Maybe XTherm? Packs well. Especially, Small. Maybe Exped Downmat? Packs reasonably well, if XS.

    Down booties, in your sleepwear? Not me, but some do.
    Last edited by Connie; 11-19-2014 at 09:33.

  8. #8


    I saw this at shop National Geographic.

    Women's New Zealand Wool Quarter-zip Pullover $32

  9. #9


    Huge wool fan here! I have varying weights of shirts and layer them when cold, then disrobe until comfortable while hiking. I wear a kilt year-round, and wear wool leggings and/or Polartec Power Stretch tights depending on how cold. This gives me a ton of flexibility if it gets hot or if temps drop.

    I also carry a lightweight down sweater with hood, wool and waterproof gloves, and fleece buff.

    Sounds like a lot, but my total pack weight (with food and water) for a shoulder season long weekend is about 25#.
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