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  1. #1
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    Default Warm enough clothing?

    I'm planning on a flip-flop hike starting April 15th at Front Royal, VA, going NOBO; then back SOBO from Front Royal. My layers consist of under armor, short sleeve shirt, long sleeve shirt (both synthetic), micro fleece, and rain jacket. Pants, Columbia convertibles over the under armor bottoms. I'm thinking about an additional (regular medium weight) fleece, but my pack is pretty full. I like to be warm, but I'm thinking all these layers ought to be able to do it. The extended forecast for the 12th through 16th is for mid-60s for highs and low-to-mid 40s for lows with a pretty good chance of rain. Thoughts?

  2. #2
    LT '79; AT '73-'14 in sections; Donating Member Kerosene's Avatar
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    This is similar to what I bring for shoulder season clothing, although I reserve the long underwear for camp. Note that after 3-4 days your internal thermostat will adjust to being outdoors all day. You could swap the microfleece for the medium fleece if you're really concerned, but you could also just hop into your sleeping bag when you get to camp if you're too cold.

    Note that temps above 3,000 feet (the SNP ridgeline) can be quite a bit cooler than in the valley.

    I tend to run warmer, so I would go with your kit. Again, you could upgrade the fleece, or even replace the fleece with an ultralight down jacket to save weight while adding warmth (a synthetic puffy would give you a bit more flexibility in damp conditions).

    Have a great hike!
    GA←↕→ME: 1973 to 2014

  3. #3
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    I'm in the same corundum, heading SOBO from HF on the 19th. It looks like a series of storms will be passing through the mid Atlantic for at least the next 2 weeks. It would be nice to think that will be the end of it, but I suspect not. A break in the cycle for a week would be nice.

    Like you I don't have much space left for a bulky jacket. I trust fleece more then down in the spring. I'll probably go with my 11 oz fleece vest instead of the 16 oz jacket just because of volume and hope for the best. Still trying to decide on my exact top layering. My current selection is very similar to yours.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  4. #4
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    Slo-go'en, we might actually run into each other as I near Harper's Ferry. I won't be pushing too many miles those first few days. My trail name is "Guitarzan."

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    BTW, thanks to both of you for the feedback. I will be buying a down jacket also (warmer and saves space versus my medium weight fleece). And just for insurance. My pack is at 30 pounds so far (without water), so I can afford the weight.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoRoads View Post
    BTW, thanks to both of you for the feedback. I will be buying a down jacket also (warmer and saves space versus my medium weight fleece). And just for insurance. My pack is at 30 pounds so far (without water), so I can afford the weight.
    I was going to recommend a down vest or a decent down jacket because it can still get cold and snow in April. Such an item can also be used as a pillow when stuffed in a sack. Both a vest or a jacket work well in camp to stay warm---and a down vest can even be worn when backpacking to conserve heat if needed---though you may overheat but without arms it won't overheat like a jacket.

    On all my April trips I bring a baselayer top(s) like you along with my merino bottom leggings---and rain shells---for cold April rains. Also my standard turtle fur hat for head warmth esp when sleeping. A pair of fleece gloves.

    I don't even know what "micro fleece" is although in April for my warmth tops I'll bring my Patagonia capilene thermal weight hoody which I suppose is the same as micro fleece. This zip neck top is awesome because the hood allows good sweat management while moving---unzip the neck and remove the hood for cooling effects etc.

    And lest we forget---it does snow in April---both pics taken near the AT around Fontana---

    Trip 76 115-L.jpg
    Here's a surprise snow fall on April 29 in 2008.

    tRIP 182 (338)-XL.jpg
    Fast forward to May 7, 2017 for this extra-ordinary snow event.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoRoads View Post
    BTW, thanks to both of you for the feedback. I will be buying a down jacket also (warmer and saves space versus my medium weight fleece). And just for insurance. My pack is at 30 pounds so far (without water), so I can afford the weight.
    30 pounds without water? Food?

    I'm just under 18 pounds and fretting about it. I would like it to be more like 15. My new pack is 45L with a +10L expansion sleeve at the top. I thought that would be big enough, but it's not leaving much room for food.

    Yep, good chance we'll pass each other at some point. Probably just before you get to HF.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  8. #8

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    I'll be in the same area starting on the 18th going SOBO from Elkwallow. Unless you run colder than average, you should be fine. That's all I carry except I don't carry a micro-fleece and I use a lightweight down jacket instead of a mid-weight fleece. Over a number of years hiking this time of year I have never had any issues. The down jacket only gets used on breaks and in camp.

    It is a screwy time to guess the weather. Last year when I went through Harpers Ferry in late April it was almost 90 degrees. A few days later it was cool and rainy. You'll be chasing spring and as someone else said, it it gets cold, snuggle up in your sleeping bag. I still will have my 20 degree TQ and UQ. I don't swap to the lighter 50 degree quilts until mid May.

    You don't mention rain pants or a rain kilt but those help a lot on cold days. Even down into the forties, I usually hike with just the convertible pants and a light Icebreaker wool LS shirt. When it's hot, I change to the synthetic t-shirt.

    I had the same question about weight. I hope 30 pounds was with a week of food. I'm at 16 dry weight. My old knees still remember hiking with a 45 - 55 pound pack on the AT in the mid-70's. No more of that!

    YMMV, Hope we have better weather than what the long range forecast says.

  9. #9
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    Yeah, it's 30 pounds with a week's worth of food, but no water, so probably 35 completely full. I started out decades ago on my first hike at 63 pounds. Then 55, then 45, then 35, and 30-35 is about average for me fully loaded now. Don't know how I survived to continue this activity at 63 pounds, but swore off taking things like binoculars, 35mm camera with two lenses, CANNED food, etc. The learning curve was steep. With all my layers, it might even be a little overkill, especially since I added the down jacket today. I'll judge by the first couple of weeks, but want to stare down old man winter if he gets a little testy. Slo-go'en, I think you peg it just about right; we'll probably pass one another on my last day before Harper's Ferry.

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