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    Default Cold Weather Clothes

    Hey everyone happy new year. I have a question on clothes to start the trail with since i will be starting in March (hopefully!!! I'll know pretty much for sure on Friday) I grew up in Texas where we may get 1 inch of ice maybe on a day or two during the winter, and I now live in Cali where the high today was 72 (I promise I am not bragging) So I've not lived in a cold climate area since I was 2 years old. I want to make sure I have adequate clothes to keep myself from freezing but I want to make sure i don't over do it. I currently have a pair of capilene 3 pants and half-zip long sleeve shirt. I have a capilene 1 short sleeve shirt. I have a pair of columbia convert pants, and 2 pairs of smartwool medium cushion socks. I will be acquiring this week a north face triclime jacket with the removeable heatseeker inner jacket and "waterproof" vented outer jacket. I was thinking of adding either a button down long sleeve shirt or a wool/fleece sweater and i plan on adding rain pants. Can you all give me some advice??

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    Hi Liz,
    Thanks, I hope your year is a safe and happy one in all respects.

    I live in Canada so cold I have experienced since a kid.
    For warmth choose mitts not gloves.I wear waterproof mitts with removable fleece liners.
    When cold and wet and windy wear both.
    When cold and dry and calm wear liners only if you want.
    Sandalwood

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    Quote Originally Posted by maxNcathy View Post
    Hi Liz,
    Thanks, I hope your year is a safe and happy one in all respects.

    I live in Canada so cold I have experienced since a kid.
    For warmth choose mitts not gloves.I wear waterproof mitts with removable fleece liners.
    When cold and wet and windy wear both.
    When cold and dry and calm wear liners only if you want.
    Sandalwood
    Thanks I did forget to mention the Hands and Head aspect. I haven't decided on what kinda hat i want. probably a beanie that has the longer sides to cover my ears. For my hands I currently have a thin pair of glove I plan on using as a lining for a mitten i have yet to find.
    If you never try you've already failed ~ Me?? Somebody else??

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    I brought a down jacket which I was glad to have. Need a good warm hat and balaclava too (the wind can be a problem). I also had three pairs of socks.







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    Quote Originally Posted by maxNcathy View Post
    Hi Liz,
    Thanks, I hope your year is a safe and happy one in all respects.

    I live in Canada so cold I have experienced since a kid.
    For warmth choose mitts not gloves.I wear waterproof mitts with removable fleece liners.
    When cold and wet and windy wear both.
    When cold and dry and calm wear liners only if you want.
    Sandalwood
    Are mitts really more effective than gloves? What type of mitts?

    Learn something new everyday,
    Kirby

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    First off, it is always hard to reccomend clothing for anyone since this is a very subjective area in gear. While one person can walk around in snow in just shorts, another can be wearing a parka and long johns in the 40s and still be cold. There are tricks and techniques with staying warm and using clothing that is more than just what to bring. Knowing when to take things off and when to put things on is also key to staying as comfortable as you can.
    Quote Originally Posted by lizincali View Post
    Hey everyone happy new year. I have a question on clothes to start the trail with since i will be starting in March (hopefully!!! I'll know pretty much for sure on Friday) I grew up in Texas where we may get 1 inch of ice maybe on a day or two during the winter, and I now live in Cali where the high today was 72 (I promise I am not bragging) So I've not lived in a cold climate area since I was 2 years old. I want to make sure I have adequate clothes to keep myself from freezing but I want to make sure i don't over do it.
    Based on what you are saying I am going to assume you are going to get cold easy - especially when it gets wet.
    I currently have a pair of capilene 3 pants and half-zip long sleeve shirt. I have a capilene 1 short sleeve shirt. I have a pair of columbia convert pants, and 2 pairs of smartwool medium cushion socks. I will be acquiring this week a north face triclime jacket with the removeable heatseeker inner jacket and "waterproof" vented outer jacket. I was thinking of adding either a button down long sleeve shirt or a wool/fleece sweater and i plan on adding rain pants. Can you all give me some advice??
    Get a wool watch cap and a neck gaiter or scarf you can make a face wrap with.

    Get some light polypro or wool glove liners and a pair of fleece mittens.

    I'd also have a pair of very warm socks to wear around in camp that don't make the hiking day use. Something to stick on after you stop hiking to help keep the feet warm.

    I'd also go ahead and get some light rain pants. You will probably send them home later.

    Last thing, for some extra leg insulation you may want one more layer of fleece or something like that. I always like to reccomend Army surplus field pants liners because the are warm, cheap, pack down small, and are lighter than the same level of thickness in fleece. You can keep them around until you know how well you will handel the cold weather then you can send them home if you like.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kirby View Post
    Are mitts really more effective than gloves? What type of mitts?

    Learn something new everyday,
    Kirby
    Yes they are. The combined area of your hand and fingers are all in the same heated space as opposed to 6 seperate areas - also less surface area for heat to disapate out of mittens than gloves. I reccomend OR P300 fleece.
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    But I believe, yes I believe, I said I believe
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    Quote Originally Posted by SGT Rock View Post
    Yes they are. The combined area of your hand and fingers are all in the same heated space as opposed to 6 seperate areas - also less surface area for heat to disapate out of mittens than gloves. I reccomend OR P300 fleece.
    I tried googling that, I could not find anything, do you think you could point me to a website?

    Kirby

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kirby View Post
    Are mitts really more effective than gloves? What type of mitts?

    Learn something new everyday,
    Kirby
    I've done a short study of gloves and mittens and I've used both. A good pair of winter mittens(gauntlets)can run $150-200, but then again, a nice pair of wool/fleece mittens are much cheaper and still warm. In really cold weather I agree with maxNcathy that mittens are the way to go. There's nothing quite like slipping on a pair of mittens when standing around out in the snow.

    With that said, on my winter trips I just take a pair of gloves, two pair actually, one light and one heavy. Allows one pair to get soaked/frozen and keeping the other for emergency warmth, etc. A whole thread could be devoted to gloves and mittens, much less to all the clothing layers you're interested in.

    If someone hasn't mentioned it yet they will, and it's about getting a balaclava for head warmth. They can be either a Patagonia fleece-style or an Icebreaker merino wool style. I am really attached to my balaclava! Sleep in it, and it forms a baselayer to another fleece watch hat in extreme conditions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kirby View Post
    I tried googling that, I could not find anything, do you think you could point me to a website?

    Kirby
    Looks like they don't make the P300s anymore. Here is the closest thing they have on their website: http://www.outdoorresearch.com/home/...s/liners/70762
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    I've done a short study of gloves and mittens and I've used both. A good pair of winter mittens(gauntlets)can run $150-200, but then again, a nice pair of wool/fleece mittens are much cheaper and still warm. In really cold weather I agree with maxNcathy that mittens are the way to go. There's nothing quite like slipping on a pair of mittens when standing around out in the snow.

    With that said, on my winter trips I just take a pair of gloves, two pair actually, one light and one heavy. Allows one pair to get soaked/frozen and keeping the other for emergency warmth, etc. A whole thread could be devoted to gloves and mittens, much less to all the clothing layers you're interested in.
    I do a combination. I wear a pair of light polypro or wool gloves as liners with mittens over the top for when it gets really cold. You can pop the mittens off real quick and have some hand protection while you do fine tasks then stick the mitten back on. In reality you could just use an extra pair of socks in a pinch if they are not all dirty and/or wet.
    If someone hasn't mentioned it yet they will, and it's about getting a balaclava for head warmth. They can be either a Patagonia fleece-style or an Icebreaker merino wool style. I am really attached to my balaclava! Sleep in it, and it forms a baselayer to another fleece watch hat in extreme conditions.
    That is why I like a watch cap and a neck gaiter. When it is really cold you can wear the two together like a balaclava but you have more flexability of how to wear the items.
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    I use one of these: http://www.actiongear.com/cgi-bin/ta...Fresults%2Etam

    with a standard fleece watch cap. Together they can be a balaclava or seperately they can be a neck warmer or a headband or whatever...
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizincali View Post
    I will be acquiring this week a north face triclime jacket with the removeable heatseeker inner jacket and "waterproof" vented outer jacket.
    Looks like these jackets weight 3+ pounds? That's a lot of clothing weight. My recommendation would be a separate synthetic or down insulating jacket and separate rain jacket. You should be able to save over a pound doing this. Maybe more, depending on what you go with.

    Here's what I took/wore on a late October/early November hike from Unicoi Gap to Winding Stair Gap, and it worked well.

    Wearing: long sleeve Capilene 2 T-shirt, short sleeve Icebreaker wool T-shirt, nylon convertible pants, Capilene 1 baselayer pants. (I removed/added layers as the temperature changed. The extra baselayers were nice in the early mornings while hiking, but I usually shed them halfway up the first mountain and put them back on when I reached camp in the evenings.)

    In pack for camp: Icebreaker Skin200 long sleeve wool T-shirt, Icebreaker Skin200 wool leggings, Big Sky Products primaloft insulated jacket. On the colder nights I wore the wool items over the Capilene items I wore when hiking. It was nice not to have to remove warm clothing to add more.

    Also, I took polypro gloves & a fleece cap, which were sometimes worn while hiking, but mostly used for camp. And two pairs of wool socks - one for hiking and one for sleeping only, and a single spare pair of underwear.

    Plus Dri-Ducks rain jacket & chaps I made from the pants when their rear seam ripped. The Dri-Ducks were fine for my short (1 week) section hike, but I'd probably take something more durable for a longer hike.
    Last edited by River Runner; 01-02-2008 at 00:10. Reason: To add additional info

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    liz,

    OK, first you need to think about two separate situations -- hiking, and camp. You'll need different clothing for these two activities, as you'll generate lots of heat while hiking, and none while sitting around a cold campsite.

    Hiking clothes for cold weather require different layers, so you can handle a wide range of temperatures. I like a 4-layer system:

    Base Layer -- a lightweight, long sleeve synthetic or wool top, a zip tee or crew neck is fine. It should wick moisture, and not be very warm all by itself. I really like the lightweight Icebreaker merino wool, but any synthetic is also fine.

    Windshirt -- I was amazed at how much use I got out of a lightweight windshirt. One of the single-layer 3-ounce wind shirts is great to put on over your base layer for windy, cool hiking conditions. If you are cold-natured, you might try the Marmot Driclime windshirt, which is slightly heavier and warmer. This combo should be all you need for actual hiking in cold weather, unless it's raining or snowing (see below).

    Insulation -- Not for hiking, but for rest breaks, lunch, and camp. A puffy insulated jacket is great here, either down or synthetic. Try to keep this around a pound. I really like the Patagonia Micropuff Parka with the hood, or the Montbell Alpine Light Parka, in down, also with a hood. This could be a 300-weight fleece top, but fleece is bulky and heavy for the warmth.

    Shell layer -- waterproof, and somewhat breathable. A Marmot Precip jacket is fine, and not too expensive. If you have the cash, a Montbell Peak parka is more breathable, at twice the cost. You'll wear this layer if it's very cold, or raining, or snowing. It adds a lot of extra protection around camp, too, in bitterly cold weather.

    That's for the top half of your body. For the legs, a similar system is useful, though I find my legs don't get as cold as quickly. I usually wear light weight long johns (base layer) and hiking shorts, wool socks, and trail runners. I add waterproof/breathable gaiters in snow and mud. I also carry rain pants (shell layer) and sometimes light weight wind pants (wind layer).

    The key is that you can mix-and-match your layers to meet the weather conditions. Sometimes you might hike in shorts and a base layer top, other times you might add the wind shirt, or you could be wearing everything except your down jacket on the coldest days.

    Now we get to camp clothes. You'll be sweating carrying a pack up and down the mountains, even when it's very cold outside. You'll likely arrive in camp with damp or wet clothing, and when it's cold, that's a recipe for hypothermia. So, you need some dry clothing in your pack. Here's a list:

    Top: a dry base layer, can be heavier, like a microfleece zip tee. Then you can add your windshirt, insulation layer and shell as needed. Some people bring a very light vest, down or fleece, as well. (This vest can be wrapped around your feet at night inside your bag.)

    Bottom: In cold weather I usually carry fleece tights for camp, which I can wear under my wind pants or rain pants. I also bring dry socks -- in winter these are nice thick wool socks for sleeping.

    The key is to keep these layers absolutely dry inside your pack while hiking. When you get to camp, quickly change out of your wet clothing and into the dry (taking the opportunity for a quick cleanup with wipes or a damp bandana). Hang the wet clothes -- you'll be putting them back on in the morning. If it's verycold, you can consider taking your damp clothes to bed with you to dry out overnight -- better than putting on frozen clothing in the morning.

    Oh, and I forgot hands and head. I completely agree with TipiWalter -- I carry two hats and two pairs of gloves, one heavy and one light. I wear the light set hiking, and the heavy set for camp and/or serious storms.

    (Note that many experienced hardcore hikers don't carry camp clothes, or gloves, or extra anything. You'll probably hear from them in response to this post. You may, after some cold-weather hiking experience, agree with them and send all your camp clothes and extra stuff home. But it's probably better to have nice warm dry clothing in March in the Georgia mountains.)

    Finally, a closed-cell foam sit pad is one of the more useful things you can carry with you. It doesn't need to be any larger than your, er, sitting area, and weighs less than 2 ounces. You'll sit on it at rest breaks and around camp, to insulate you from the cold ground. At night you'll put it inside your sleeping bag under your feet for a surprising amount of extra insulation.
    Ken B
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    bigcranky pretty much has some great pointers and they should be studied or copied and read at leisure.

    On a recent backpacking trip as I was climbing a long steep mountain, I was thinking about clothing layers and this came to me:

    The Four Top Layers:
    baselayer: t-shirt/thin silk turtleneck
    midlayer: polypro/merino long sleeves
    outer layer: fleece/wool jackets/sweaters/rain jacket
    extreme outer: down jackets/vests

    The Four Bottom Layers:
    baselayer: shorts
    midlayer: shorts with thermal bottoms(merino/capilene)
    outer layer: thermals with rain pants/hiking pants
    extreme outer: down/fleece pants over merino/capilene thermals

    I try to keep it simple and by getting into a system of 4 categories, I could better understand layering and clothing options.

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    I think you got it covered Bigcranky. Nice post.
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    Big Cranky nailed it. All I can suggest is to use a hooded microfleece like the Patagonia R1 ( I have its predecessor-9oz.) or the Cloudveil hooded fleece. I wholeheartedly concur with the windshirt idea.

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    Thanks for the kind words.

    The 4-layer system is great because it can be adapted for much colder or warmer conditions, by varying the specific articles of clothing. For example, in March in the NC mountains I would bring my 12-oz Micropuff pullover as an insulation layer, and a 3-oz wind shirt. In January, I would take a monster 25-oz down jacket, and my 11-oz Driclime wind shirt. Same principles, warmer layers for colder conditions. In June I might carry just the 3-oz wind shirt and a 4.5-oz down vest for insulation.

    I would love to have a hooded microfleece top for camp and as a base layer in very cold conditions. Need to keep my eye out for that.
    Ken B
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