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  1. #1

    Default Summer Section Hike - Clothing/Gear?

    Hello all! I am a newbie to the AT, planning a section hike in Virginia this upcoming June. I had a question related to clothing since I will only be hiking during the summer months and haven't hiked on the AT before. What kind of clothing should I plan on bringing to suit the weather in June in Virginia? I'm thinking particularly about nights, since I tend to feel cold often and do not know if shorts will suffice for an evening in Virginia.

    Basically, I want to lose as much weight as possible by not packing extra clothing on my back if I don't need it, but I also do not want to worry about being uncomfortable/cold in the evenings. What clothing would you suggest I wear/bring?

    Also, is there any other "typical" gear that is frequently found on lists that you would suggest ditching for a week-long summer hike?

    Thank you in advance!

  2. #2
    GoldenBear's Avatar
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    Cool We're birds of a feather!

    Like you, I hike only in warm months.
    And June in Virginia can DEFINITELY get warm.

    > I tend to feel cold often and do not know if shorts will suffice for an evening in Virginia

    In general, protecting your legs from cold is not a big issue, simple because they are in almost constant motion.
    More important is to keep your torso and FEET warm *AND DRY*.

    First rule can NEVER be forgotten: AVOID COTTON.
    Once cotton clothes gets wet, you may as well throw them away, as they will never do you any good again.
    Wet cotton socks will give you blisters, a wet cotton shirt can (literally) kill you.

    Second rule is wool for both feet and torso. Thick wool socks are a must, as is a wool undershirt -- preferably merino.
    I used to recommend synthetics for undershirts until I found that they stink to high heaven after one day of hiking.
    I do recommend liner socks to ensure that your feet do not rub directly against wet wool.

    Third rule is ALWAYS carry rain gear. Even if Jim Cantore says, "Absolutely, positively, no chance whatsoever for even drop of rain in the area where you're hiking," plan on a downpour.
    And makes certain it's waterPROOF, not water RESISTANT. My nylon windbreaker keeps me dry for about five minutes of drizzle, but that isn't so great when it rains hard for ten minutes.

    Have one shirt you wear for hiking and one you wear after you stop for the night. The former will inevitably be wet & dirty at the end of a day, and that is NOT what you need when you are trying to stay warm. I also have an undershirt that I wear ONLY when I go inside my sleeping bag, but that's just me.

    If cold is a problem for you, consider carrying a warm hat for the evenings.

    I carry a nylon windbreaker for cool evenings, but some people get by with using their rain gear as a wind breaker. I just found it didn't work for me.


    This is just a start, and I'm sure others will have better ideas.

  3. #3
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    one thing you can do for fun- research historical climate data for the particular portion of Virginia that you plan to visit.. Google " weather damascus june " and something useful will likely turn up. In central Virginia, it could be approaching 100 degrees in June and then a T storm dumps some hail and it drops to low 60's. I'd recommend some lightweight long pants for evening warmth , and a line of defense if the ticks are numerous. Maybe a light fleece or long sleeve top too. Entirely possible you won't need it-you could wrap up in your quilt or sleeping bag instead. What do you wear when its raining in Ohio in June?

  4. #4

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    http://www.wunderground.com is a good place to find historical weather data. I would highly recommend spraying all of your hiking clothing with permethrin. It is a natural bug repellent that will keep the mozzies and ticks off of you which will make your night not be ruined by bugs. As far as your "warm" gear goes, think layers. I would think in the summer, a synthetic under armor or other work out type polyester shirt with a second layer of a fleece would be fine at night. If you need one more layer, a lightweight option that you can also carry for rain gear are frogg tongs ultralight dry-ducks http://www.froggtoggsraingear.com/DriDucks.shtm. That will also work as a wind breaker. If you start with the weather web site to find out the potential highs and lows you might experience, you can plan your gear accordingly to how you feel. I am hot at 70 degrees, where you might be looking for a sweater. It is all individual.
    Whether you think you can, or think you can't--you're right--Henry Ford; The Journey Is The Destination

  5. #5

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    Thanks for your feedback! I'd read a great deal about synthetics (and no cotton), but hadn't thought about merino wool clothing outside of socks so I'll look into that as well! And it also makes sense to carry a dry shirt for the evening, which I hadn't really considered either.

    As for rain gear, do you think that rain pants are a necessity? I plan on making sure I have whatever I need to keep what is in my pack dry, and to get a jacket, but I have read that some people feel rain pants aren't necessary and that they aren't often very breathable, so I was just wondering what you thought about that.

    Thanks again! This is very helpful

  6. #6
    GoldenBear's Avatar
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    Are rain pants necessary?

    > do you think that rain pants are a necessity?

    For summer hiking, I wouldn't carry them. Your legs are going to get wet in a heavy rain almost no matter what you do, so just endure.

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