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  1. #1

    Default Clothing Shakedown

    Hey folks, Iím starting nobo in mid-May. Since Iím getting such a late start, Iím not sure what to expect in terms of weather and bugs. Iíve had good luck with this clothing set up hiking the Sierra Nevada, but nearly 3.5 lbs seems excessive for the conditions Iíll be facing on the AT, right?

    Bottom
    Running shorts w/ liner- 3.5oz
    Hiking pants + Compression shorts- 10.4+3.5=13.9oz
    Top
    REI Tech T-shirt (x2?) =3.5oz
    REI ľ zip Fleece =8oz
    ArcíTeryx Cerium LT down puffy =10.4oz
    OR Hellium HD shell= 9.2

    I could save 10oz by swapping the pants for a second pair of shorts; but will it be worth it for the bug and weather protection? I wasn't planning on bringing rain pants.

    Iím not sure about the puffy. Iím afraid itís going to be almost TOO warm, but it only weighs a few oz more than a fleece. Think one fleece is enough? Or skip the fleece and go with the puffy?

  2. #2

    Default

    socks, hat?
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  3. #3
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    Default

    Where it all if it gets chilly. You are right. The puffy will not be used much other than in camp. If you are in the habit of getting into camp into your sleeping bag/quilt soon after setting up the puffy may not be needed until if you dwaddle into late Sept mid Oct. FB asked a valid question that relates to your apparel question. What about your extremities? I'll ask any rain gear for the bottom half? Just gonna get wet? Could be with your start date a lite wt synthetic vest like a MB Thermawrap(latest version), Pat Nano, TNF Thermoball, etc would be more useful than a puffy.

  4. #4
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    Seldom

    The AT is much easier to pack for than the Sierra. It is much warmer at night and seldom windy like it is out west. Your gear list is way beyond what you need for the AT (at least until you hit the Whites late in your hike).

    1. Drop the convertible pants entirely.

    2. Replace with silk weight bottom base layer just in case you really need it (unlikely). It can be used for sleeping to keep your bag clean.

    3. Drop the down fluffy.

    4. Take a very lightweight rain/wind shell.

    5. Drop the fleece also it is not needed.

    6. Add in a silk weight top which you can wear under the shell if it gets a bit chilly and like before you can wear that sleeping.

    7. Rain pants are not needed.

    8. A really light knit hat is not a bad idea.

    9. Sleeping bag is only needed for maybe May and then when you get to the Whites (I mailed mine home and had it sent back). I used a silk weight bag liner to sleep in with my base layer if I needed more warmth. My PCT bag is a 15 deg my AT bag is a 40 deg to give you an idea of the difference.

    In the early days of your hike you 'may' need to wear your tee and the base layer top. If it is raining most likely the tee under the rain shell - the base layer would be too hot. When you are hiking you generate a lot of heat and only if it is unusually chilly will you need to add that. Once it warms up there is no need for rain gear at all. Just let it rain on you - it is a free shower. It does not get cold (say below 40 deg) at night along the AT once you are into June and most times it is way hotter than that. When you hit Vermont you might start needing warmer stuff but even then not much. You should have warmer gear after Hanover. You will almost never need to wear the base layers except in camp when eating or sleeping.

  5. #5
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    Default

    A fleece over a Tee and under a Marmot DriClime hooded jacket should cover your bases. If it's gonna be humid take baby powder

  6. #6
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    Wyoming, so you're telling him to hike wet in the rain in only shorts, tee or base layer, soaked footwear, and a shell with no insulating torso layer..even if it was a reliably dry UL synthetic fall back torso piece like a 5-6 oz vest AND no sleeping bag/quilt? RISKY even in summer on the AT. When that works UL great. It's super. But leaves little margin for comfort, warming up when needed(it will be needed even on the AT in summer), and layering versatility. That's a somewhat advanced very light apparel set up with advice to not have a sleeping bag/quilt to quickly get warm and dry in should the need arise particularly as you're advising all the way into New England where he'll likely be in Sept-Oct. There are times when wind, even if it be a light one, can pick up in summer and a chill occur magnified by being drenched on the AT. Summer east coast rains can last for multiple days with only shorts and a silk wt sleeping layer to change into for bottoms with minimal torso warmth(there's nothing to insulate for the torso in your scenario) can make for a chilly even miserably wet multi day experience. In consecutive days of rain attempting to keep one shirt and one of the bottoms dry means always being wet risking being chilled when not gung ho on the go go go.

  7. #7

    Default

    I don't think wyoming is too far off with a lot of that, except I would want the fleece to go with rain/wind protection.
    A lightweight pant could be useful for tick & bug protection at certain points, as well as on a few chilly nights (could mail that later for the north-east)

    So, with your list, I would cut puffy, take fleece, probably not bother with pants until later on. A lighter rain/wind shell could cut some weight

  8. #8
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    Dogwood

    I have a lot of experience hiking the At as I lived 1/2 mile from it for a couple of decades.

    He is starting Mid-May. And stated that he is an experienced Sierra hiker. So he is not a newbie and he is not leaving early in the year but later. One can also assumed (I think) that he is not going to be a slow hiker being experienced and slow hikers do not start mid-May. I would expect he is finished 1 Oct.

    After GSMP in a couple of weeks he is well into warmer weather and lower altitudes. Until he hits Vermont this is what I carry during that time of year. It is perfectly adequate gear.

    knit hat
    baseball hat
    Rain/wind jacket
    Running shorts
    2 pair of day socks
    full base layer.
    air mattress
    tent
    bag liner
    sleeping socks

    I mail home the following once I am certain that the warm weather is set in. And I have it mailed back once I think the weather is turning.

    Sleeping bag 40 degrees
    bag liner - I often carry a mid weight bag liner when it is colder and switch them out. I have been know to carry the two bag liners for a time also.
    fleece gloves
    wind/rain pants

    When I hit New England (and by this I mean at least the border of Vermont) I add in a warm layer top. Fleece is my preferred 100 wt.

    Yes I do walk in the rain without cover unless it is chilly and then I put on the rain shell. I know that I am going to sweat under it so it will not keep me dry (there is no way to keep dry walking in the rain with a pack in the mountains in my experience) but I will be warmer then due to the trapped heat. Other than that I let it rain. I have walked all day in the rain that way many times. On my 06 thru I was rained on 41 times - sometimes all day - and I put on the rain jacket a couple of times.

    I can think of 1 time when (during the time I specified) this set up was not adequate and I started to get too cold. What did I do? I stopped in the middle of the day and set up my tent, got in, switched to sleeping set up, ate a bunch, and went to bed. Started up the next day.

    Perhaps the OP is not ready for this and I may have assumed he had more experience than it seemed. But this does work.

  9. #9
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    It was surmised you weren't just regurgitating something you heard but something you were intimately experienced. You're certainly offering a viable workable option...applicable as a general rule for all people all the time is what I questioned. I'm noting some different things about the OP's situation ie; being from Cali and saying " not sure what to expect in terms of weather." I noted as you did the OP is familiar with hiking the Sierra. The Cali Sierra weather is not the AT summertime weather. I was assuming he wasn't familiar with hiking wet in heavy rain for possibly several days on the east coast. That's where I was coming from.

  10. #10

    Default

    I live near the middle of the AT and here's what I find works best for me:

    Hiking clothes: baggy nylon shorts, poly t-shirt, thin socks, breathable shoes, sun glasses, bandanna to wipe sweat off forehead clipped to shoulder strap. Note: a ball cap is too warm to hike in most days.

    Camp clothes: extra shorts, extra t-shirt, extra socks. Note: your hiking cloths will be wet from sweat or rain and take about an hour to dry in the summer due to the high humidity. Underwear takes 2 hours to dry... I recommend shorts with a mesh liner and no underwear.

    Chilly weather clothes: long sleeve light weight poly 1/4 zip running shirt, very lightweight (dessert) nylon pants. These could be replaced with a baselayer top and bottom. I just like the greater wind resistance of the above for the extra warmth and greater durability of the pants for sitting on the ground or logs.

    Sleeping gear: 8x10 tarp, bug net inner tent, 40 degree sleeping bag (early season), 100 at fleece blanket (transition season), polyester sheet (summer). I like a tarp instead of a tent because it's breezy - and often 80 degrees at night. But I still need a sheet to stay warm around 2 am - because after a month or two in a hot climate your blood thins and you get colder easier.

    Rain gear: poncho. Note: it rains a lot, and very intermittently, so something you can pull on/off while walking is nice. It's also very hot and humid - so anything that is breezy is good.

    Note: this list is for a May start. A February start would need gear suitable for 25-45 degree temps for the 1st month, and 40-75 degree temps for the 2nd month.

  11. #11

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    Default

    All you need is:
    What you wear to hike
    Plus puffy appropriate for camp
    Plus 1 pr spare socks
    Plus long underwear
    Plus fleece gloves and beanie
    Plus a very light fleece for cold days hiking
    Plus raingear

    How anyone can write a book about it is beyond me

    And the lightest available of each works fine
    So do the cheapest

    Your carried clothing can be 1 lb
    Plus 10-12 oz for fleece
    Anything more is stuff you think you want, not need
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 03-09-2017 at 15:56.

  12. #12
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    The Smokies can get surprisingly cold in the summer. In mid-May the temps dropped to below 25 a couple nights, winter's last ditch effort to get a word in before summer took over I guess. MuddyWaters' suggestion above is what I was going to suggest as well.
    AT '16: 1,378 miles GA-NY

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  13. #13

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    Thanks everyone for the awesome feedback. Super helpful. I suppose I should have been more specific; I consider myself an experienced hiker, and I grew up on the east coast but I haven't done any longer backpacking trips out there, so I’m mostly trying to fine tune my clothing. I'm in ultra-marathon shape, so I'm hoping to move pretty quickly.

    Sounds like I can leave the puffy behind, but I’m reluctant to start out without at least the fleece (I can always ditch it later.) So, t shirt for hiking, (maybe a long sleeve baselayer?) a fleece for camp, and the rain shell. On the bottom, just running shorts and a pair of tights. Am I going to freeze in the smokies at the end of May/beginning of June? As for headgear, I was planning on a baseball cap with a buff over my ears.

    Am I crazy for skipping rain pants? I was just planning on getting wet and drying out when the rain stops.

  14. #14
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    That's what I'm saying. Sometimes the AT summer rain doesn't stop for days. I'd want, and advise, having something warm and preferably dry to change into when you do stop. Since you said you're going to be moving quickly and if you're hiking long days without long stops the hiking wet on the AT in summer can work. If it doesn't change it up at some pt.

    I know some will say just hike totally drenched. That can mean different things to different people. Hiking drenched while still being able to be comfortably warm yet not too hot can be a fine line to thermoregulate effectively under changing weather(temps, variable winds, elevations, exposures) and LD backpacking approaches.

  15. #15
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    My 10 cents: Black clothes dry out faster than light coloured clothes but retain daytime heat making it warm to wear. You can roll down long sleeves if you cold, but short sleeves are short sleeves. A thin synthetic base layer should dry out quickly although I wouldn't get too close to a fire unless you know how to treat burns. If you have the resources HH sells an awesome base layer that works like a bomb under a Marmot DriClimb hoody. The two are made in heaven. You can thank me later. With liner cloves thrown in they all weigh less than a toilet roll. A fleece is always a solid option. You can add some women's nylon stockings if you worried about your legs.

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