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  1. #1
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    Default Shelter ettiquette - nighttime dress

    I generally tent so it does not matter so much what I sleep in. and in cold weather I generally sleep in pants and shirt anyway so if I get up in the middle of the night it does not matter. But in hotter weather I would likely sleep in boxers and may not even be entirely covered by a light quilt. Is that acceptable in a shelter or do people sleep in clothes all night and /or dress inside their bag if they need to get up in middle of night? How similar or different is it at a hostel?

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    MuddyWaters's Avatar
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    On trail im wearing clothes, dont take off usually. Although long pants might get removed in bag or quilt. Im wearing compression shorts for underwear , and have no problem walking around in them after dark or in hostel after everyone goes to bed.
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    On trail im wearing clothes, dont take off usually. Although long pants might get removed in bag or quilt. Im wearing compression shorts for underwear , and have no problem walking around in them after dark or in hostel after everyone goes to bed.
    +1. I think few people care, are discrete and take no notice. In the dark, who cares?
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  4. #4
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    it's just skin.

  5. #5

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    Nobody cares after roughly day 2. Boobs and weeners, big deal.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllDownhillFromHere View Post
    Nobody cares after roughly day 2. Boobs and weeners, big deal.
    Men will discretely turn away when a woman is changing clothes. At least most of them. You just don't want to turn around at the wrong time or you might see something you really didn't want to

    I'd say most, if not everyone sleeps in their skivvies. I sit on my sleeping bag, take off my shirt and slide off my pants, then go right into the a bag. It depends on the temperature whether or not to put on additional clothes if I need to get up in the middle of the night for a pee.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  7. #7
    illabelle's Avatar
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    The hardest situation is when it's raining. Everybody wants to be in the shelter. Can't go into the woods to change from sweaty clothes to dry clothes without getting soaked.

    I remember climbing SOBO up Sugarloaf one afternoon. Part way up the steepest part, we looked across the misty valley and saw rain on its way. We had maybe a two-minute warning. Quickly put on our rain gear as the first drops started. Continued on up the mountain through quiet woods and across open areas with wind-driven rain and sleet. It was cold. By the time we arrived at the shelter, I was chilled and very damp. Four guys were in the shelter, and rain continued. I got out my dry clothes, sat on the edge of the platform with my back to the guys and did what I had to do. I have no idea if they looked away or looked down or pointed and laughed at my middle-aged overweight body. Whatever. Maybe I would care more if I were hiking alone.

  8. #8
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    At Wiley Shelter one always dresses for dinner. Black tie preferred.
    "It goes to show you never can tell." - Charles Edward Anderson Berry

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by illabelle View Post
    ...I got out my dry clothes, sat on the edge of the platform with my back to the guys and did what I had to do. I have no idea if they looked away or looked down or pointed and laughed at my middle-aged overweight body. Whatever. Maybe I would care more if I were hiking alone.
    Exactly. A friend of mine did something similar, she said, "guys I'm changing, this is happening, look away or not." And then changed. As noted, most people will simply turn away for the 30s it takes to swap clothes.

  10. #10
    Registered User ScottTrip's Avatar
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    On my hike especially during the cold months in the shelter we had an agreement. We did change out of our damp clothes to dry sleeping clothes. When we had man and women in shelter we would simply take turns. Men would step out turn our backs and let the women change, then same went was our turn. It sounds silly but some are very modest and it is simply being nice to each other...

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    They say the trail makes everyone a philosopher, so here's my short speech:

    Isn't it funny to reach out for the purity of nature and at the same time behave like a puritan?

  12. #12
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    Yeah, but this is America...

  13. #13
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    i previously said it's just skin. and it is just skin...

    ...but i suppose that nowadays, you gotta worry about being facebooked or youtubed or snapchatted or whatevered...

  14. #14
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    I occasionally went down to underwear and put on some dry sleeping shorts when it was really hot. I warned any women who were nearby. Sometimes they looked away sometime they just kept doing what they were doing. Nobody really cares especially if you have been on the trail for a while. Of course it could also be that no one is going to get excited by an old guy stripping down.
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    Generally I find that no one is looking my way unless I'm in a conversation. It's usually dim, if not dark. I usually quietly and quickly change under those circumstances and take a small risk someone will happen look my way and see something they don't want to see. That seems less creepy and awkward than announcing to everyone I'm going to change. Seems that most others take this same approach.

    And bathroom breaks after everyone is down for then night are generally in whatever I'm sleeping in, which depends on how cold it is.

  16. #16

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    I did a blog on trail shelters, tips on using them and etiquette. A necessary evil sometimes.

    https://www.artemisonthetrail.com/shelters/

  17. #17
    Registered User ChrisMek's Avatar
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    This year on a section hike through Connecticut, several people sitting around the picnic table at the Stewart Hollow Brook Shelter. There were 2 women, and 4 men, when out of the blue, one of the women said "I am changing out of my pants." then with hardly enough time to look away, she just dropped them and did her thing. Nobody there had a problem with it and nobody gawked at her either. Its just something that needed to be done and we all understood the situation.

    After a few days of hiking, I think that necessity overrides modesty!

  18. #18
    MuddyWaters's Avatar
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    Thread was about sleepwear.
    But women (possibly men too) will often take opportunity to change when opposite sex is gone to privy, hanging bearbag, etc.

    Im usually a little noisy and slow returning, because ive caught an eyeful a couple times. Not all pleasant either.
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Thread was about sleepwear.
    But women (possibly men too) will often take opportunity to change when opposite sex is gone to privy, hanging bearbag, etc.
    Im usually a little noisy and slow returning, because ive caught an eyeful a couple times. Not all pleasant either.
    That is a good strategy. Thoughtful and considerate for all involved.
    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

  20. #20
    Registered User StubbleJumper's Avatar
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    I sweat like a pig when I hike, so I almost always need to change into drier clothes before I sleep. I just do it. People will see what they will see. That's part of life on the trail. To date, no women have been so impressed that they've blue-blazed me for the next couple of days . In fact, if I were looking for women, the better strategy would probably be to not expose my body!


    Now turning to the question of sleeping clothes: I always want to sleep dry. If my bag is plenty warm for the prevailing air temperature, that means underwear and a t-shirt. If it's cool-ish, that means long underwear and a t-shirt. If it's cold relative to my sleeping bag, then it's long underwear and a fleece. If it looks like my bag will be barely adequate (or possibly inadequate), it's long underwear, socks, a t-shirt, a fleece, my puffy, and a beanie.

    Do what you need to do and don't worry about the rest.

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