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  1. #1

    Thumbs up UL SoBo Thru-Hike clothing. What all do you need?

    It seems the answer to this question varies largely upon whom you ask. So, I'm setting out to get as many opinions as possible.

    I'm planning a 2012 SoBo AT Thru, and I'm interested in what clothing I should start out with, what I'm able to get away with in the summer months, where I'll be able to shed some extra pieces, and where I'll have to add things back on.

    I'll start with what I already own and hope will be useful (weights are found online because I don't currently own a scale):

    Rain upper: Marmot Precip (14 oz.)
    Insulation upper: Patagonia Nano Puff (10.2 oz.)
    Base layer T: Patagonia silkweight (3.6 oz.)
    Underwear (x1): Patagonia LW Boxer (2.5 oz.)
    Night-time long underwear: Patagonia LW Bottoms (6.5 oz.)

    Now for things I've been considering picking up (suggestions welcome!):

    GoLite Siksiyou hiking pant (9 oz.)
    Patagonia Cap 2 (?) LS Shirt (5.6 oz.)
    GoLite Dakota wind shirt (4 oz.)

    Other:

    Winter hat
    Baseball cap
    Socks (x2)
    Trail runners

    Intentionally forgoing:

    Rain bottoms
    Gloves

    This is to go along with an REI Sub-Kilo (20 deg.) sleeping bag, which I've found has never left me chilly at night. I think I could trade the LS shirt and pants for shorts and another t-shirt sometime during the summer.

    Any commentary is appreciated!

  2. #2

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    No edits on this forum, huh?

    A few things I wanted to add:

    1) I've probably forgotten something (as evidenced by this post).
    2) I'm tentatively planning on leaving June 1st. Maybe later in June.
    3) I have a Patagonia soft shell I could use as another layer if I need more warmth, but at 23 oz. I hesitate to bring it.

  3. #3
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    Haven't been there overnights, but hike next door in New Brunswick. Did a 50 mile cold wet buggy hike of the Dobson Trail in early June, with night-time temps down to 40F. I would think for Maine you would need to be prepared for 30F. For that I would bring about 55oz of clothing, not counting shoes, shells, or shorts. Some of that can be used only at night, but you should be prepared to be able to wear all of your clothes at once, with even coverage, including shells, if you have to. Try to avoid heavy and redundant shell weight. It is the insulation that matters, as long as you have at least the one effective shell layer. If your rain shell is a poncho, you should also have a light wind shell to miniget maximum warmth when you need to minimize venti

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    If your rain shell is a poncho, you should also have a light rain shell to minimize ventilation when you need to get maximum warmth out of your clothing, which is only for the most extreme you are planning for, which you might not even get but need to be prepared for. For pants, either rain pants or wind pants or hiking pants, or even just longish hiking shorts and one pair of knee socks.

    Days are long, which helps, but you need a good night sleep if you want to make the most of it. There is a case for skimping a bit on clothes as long as you are well covered for cold wet nights, because you can do most of your hiking after things warm up a bit, and before it gets to cold. A 20F bag is a good choice, and I wouldn't skimp too much on clothes, but try to keep some of it just for sleeping unless a serious emergency. Be prepared for bugs. I had to keep moving. Could not stop even to change socks. You can cover alot of ground in bug season though.

    I am a year round tarp/bivy guy, but I will bring a tent next time for Maine or New Brunswick in June.

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    Ditch the pajama bottoms.

    You don't need 4 long sleeve tops in the summertime. Ditch at least 2.

    Ditch the winter hat. Or add gloves to your kit. Winter hat and no gloves makes no sense.

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    While I've never have been thru hiker, this is very close to what I would carry for temps down to mid 20's (including what you're thinking about adding). I might add 2oz sil rain chaps, and 1oz nylon sil mits (just a little added warmth for cold wet windy days) and prolly send home as temps rose. I also carry 1oz light liner socks for sleeping.

  7. #7

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    No offense, but I'm not sure what some of you guys are reading...

    JAK:

    My rain shell is the Marmot precip. It has nice pit zips that can add breath-ability when needed and can also be closed if necessary. I mentioned I'm looking at grabbing a good pair of hiking pants.

    Camping Dave:

    Where are you getting 4 LS tops? I only listed one. In fact, the only item I'm bringing two of is socks. Thirty percent of body heat is lost through the head and neck, so I don't think it's a terribly smart idea to ditch the winter hat in favor of gloves. Both is probably the best idea, but I was wondering what I could get away with because my rain layer does have great chest pockets (my favorite pockets of any jacket I've had.)

    Pyroman53:

    Sounds like gloves should probably be added. Did you have a brand in mind when you mentioned those gloves and chaps? Also, liner socks for sleeping? I was thinking my thicker pair would be for sleep.

    Thanks for the suggestions everyone, and I'd love to hear more. I don't mean to sound defensive, but it seems if you don't play some defense you'll end up bringing everything "just in case."

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    Nick if you are still looking for that golite windshirt check here http://www.campsaver.com/dakota-wind-shirt-men-s
    39.00 only in xl, great deal and the jacket runs small

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    No offense taken. I was speaking more generally.

    Winter hat is a good idea, even in summer. Thinner in summer, but same idea.

    9% of the surface of your body is head and neck. The skin temperature remains closer to body temperature in this area also, as with the crotch area, and armpits, and center of upper chest. Other areas are allowed to drop in skin temperature, especially the hands. Lower limbs more so than upper limbs. So you are bang on that a hat is more important than mitts, especially since you can always put your hands somewhere warm, or wear a spare pair of socks on them. If you dress evenly, with limited ventilation, only 10% of your heat loss should be from your head and neck, without counting respiratory heat loss. If you don't where a hat or neck tube, then you can lose 30% or 50% or even 70%, depending on how well insulated the other areas are, and how cold it is.

    So you want even coverage in thickness of clothing, including head and neck, even in summer. This only matters when you are wearing all of the clothing you have brought on your trip, for the coldest conditions you have prepared for, when less active. Obviously when you are more active, or it is warmer than the coldest you have planned for, you will delayer, and you do not have to delayer evenly. In fact it is better to dress unevenly most of the time, so you don't have to delayer as much, and so your lower legs and hands and neck and face are more free. Since you aren't running or skiing or doing some other event where you only bring the clothes you are wearing, there is no sense dressing most efficiently all the time, since you have to carry everything anyway. But you want to have even coverage for the small fraction of time where you do have to wear it all.

    So what is the weight of all your clothing, not counting shoes, shorts, and shells? As a general rule I like to have 1oz of clothing for every 1 degF below about 85-90F. For 20-25F, that would be about 4 pounds. I include all three socks, as I can wear two at once, and one as extra mitts. I make sure all my layers fit comfortably and effectively, even though I rarely have to wear them all at once. That way whatever combination I am wearing should fit well. I don't always layer from the inside out either. Most of the time I wear my wool sweater without anything underneath it, or over it. Keeps it dry, and saves me from packing it.

    Thicker layers in winter. Thinner in summer. Fewer in summer also, but still full even coverage when needed.

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    Mittens $49 http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=37&products_id=51Rain
    Chaps $45
    http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=32&products_id=77
    I wouldn't say you should do anything...just sayin what works for me. I use a poncho so I thought the chaps might be nice addition, but I haven't used them yet. Been lucky with weather since I got them last year.

    The mittens worked great in 30 degree 30 mph winds. Just enough to cut the wind chill when hiking. I actually bought them after hiking in some cold rain when using hiking poles my hands got numb. I used to use a couple stuff sacks for those rare occasions, but then I stopped carrying a pack cover and I need the stuff sacks doing their job in my pack. In camp, pockets work fine.

    At 3 oz total for the above, for now I'm carrying them.

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    [QUOTE=nickbreid;1225740] Also, liner socks for sleeping? I was thinking my thicker pair would be for sleep.QUOTE]
    I carry 2 pair reg socks, (one pair to wear and one pair washed and drying on my pack). Thus, its not unusual that both pair are wet at same time. The liner socks stay dry and clean in pack just for sleeping. They're very light (1oz) so not much pain there. My bet is that after about three weeks on trail, I'd ditch them, but since I'm a week-long hiker for right now its nice knowing I've got dry socks to sleep in, however light they might be.

  12. #12

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    Bags: I had seen that and wish it was my size! I'm somewhere between a small and medium usually, so no matter how small it runs I don't think the XL would work. Alas, there are several 4oz. windshirts that fit the bill... I'll find one cheap before June.

    JAK: Before the rain shell, whatever hat/mitts I come up with, and socks, I've only got about a little over 2.5lbs. of clothing. A little under your rule of thumb. Although I don't expect it to hit the 20s except for when I'm cozy in my sleeping bag. I do have the benefits of living in New Hampshire and being 22. Even in December, I hardly ever grab any outwear besides the Nano Puff when I'm out and about.

    Maybe I'll make sure the hat I get is a balaclava to ensure extra neck protection as well.

    Pyroman: Those seem like good suggestions. I've definitely seen those gloves mentioned around -- they seem to be exceedingly popular. I've never used trekking poles so far, but I'm planning on getting some for this trip. Won't be able to stuff my hands in pockets if I'm planning on utilizing those.

    The chaps would unfortunately leave my boys unprotected, as my rain shell doesn't come past my waist. I've been checking out the Zpacks Cloudkilt, which is only 10 bucks more.

    Having done a bunch of week-long trips being wildly unprepared, I've fared trememdously well with less-than-complete rain protection. Thinking about a thru-hike, though, I suppose it would be worth the money and weight to have a good long-term solution for legs and hands.

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    That's a good point. Depending on your hiking style, and time of year / length of day, you can usually skimp a little on either the sleeping gear OR the clothing, as long as you don't skimp on both. Similarly you can go a little primitive on shelter OR sketchy on rain gear, but not both. A good general rule though is not to go too heavy on shells and skimpy on insulation, or the other way. Also, I really thinks its a good principle to be able to wear everything at once, for the worst conditions you are to be prepared for, like the historical daytime low for the coldest month and region and elevation you will be hiking. In you case, it sounds like around the freezing point, and if you do get frost you can always sleep in a little, or break camp quickly and move fast until the day warms up a bit. So for say, 35, my guideline would be 50oz, or just over 3 pounds. Some of that can be sleeping gear, and only used for hiking if you get a historic low, or close to it. Have fun.

    The other rule of thumb I use is 10% for head/neck, 10% for hands and feet, 35% lower body, 45% upper body, again not counting shoes, shells, or shorts. Have fun with that also, and feel free to make up your own rules, and change them on the fly as I do. The other nice thing about living further North is you should have lots of opportunity to test things out without having to head for the hills, especially this time of year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nickbreid View Post
    No offense, but I'm not sure what some of you guys are reading...

    Camping Dave:

    Where are you getting 4 LS tops? I only listed one. In fact, the only item I'm bringing two of is socks. Thirty percent of body heat is lost through the head and neck, so I don't think it's a terribly smart idea to ditch the winter hat in favor of gloves. Both is probably the best idea, but I was wondering what I could get away with because my rain layer does have great chest pockets (my favorite pockets of any jacket I've had.)
    Raincoat, upper insulation, windshirt, LS shirt. that's 4.

    And like I said the first time, it makes no sense to take a winter hat and no glove.

    A word of advice, since you asked: go hiking now when it's cold to figure out what you need. Getting some hypothetical kit reviewed on the internet is pretty useless. But good luck.

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    With a June start, think black flies: add a headnet, DEET, and treat pants with permethrin.
    For above tree line in ME and NH, I'd say add rain pants because of the danger of hypothermia in a cold 35 degree rain. I'd carry wool mittens or gloves at least to VT, though you could use extra socks in an emergency.

    I'd also add long pants and long sleeve shirt nylon, more for bugs than warmth with something like a Pat cap LS shirt for warmth. I'm not sure if bugs can bite through the Pat cap shirt (treat with permethrin??).

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    I think your layering system looks pretty solid. I'd skip the wind shirt and get the Cap 2 L/S and the Go Lite hiking pants. Then do as your thinking - send home later. Not sure what your winter hat is, but I'd suggest going with a balaclava of some sort - like you mentioned above - or a Buff. can come in handy. I'm no fan of rain pants, but if it's pouring and cold my thighs tend to get achey when drenched for long periods of time. so if i think i'll encounter those conditions I bring the ULA Rain Skirt. Your Sub Kilo should work well for you - good bag - accurately rated. If you want to shave a few more ounces you could take the Marmot Essence (6.0 oz) instead of the Precip and go with the Cap 1 L/S instead of the Cap 2. Both very solid pieces of gear.
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    Everyone is spot on, but since you are starting in Maine, on June 1, if you don't prepare for black flies & mosquitoes, you will be miserable on your thru start... head net, deet, permethrin. Just as snowleopard stated. the black flies are planning their attack as we speak, preparing for another thru hiking season, and they are very good at what they do! nuff said.
    "How can something this hard be so much fun".

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    Another thing to be ready for in June up there is mud. I found it necessary to wash socks often, or my feet would have problems. Wet and clean was OK, mud was hard. Luckily there was plenty of clean running water.

    I think gear is less important than how you use it. If you let stuff get wet and filthy and don't take care of it or don't know how to keep your sleeping clean and dry, it doesn't matter what you carry.

    Ditto on the black flies and mosquitoes. Long sleeves, long trousers, and a head net will preserve your sanity. I ended up there in June on my NOBO thru, and my head net and light nylon shirt and trousers saved the day for me.

    I thought the weather was very mild (and very wet) that month, but I don't know what the extremes are. I never needed anything close to a puffy layer. No long underwear for sleeping, either, just a light jersey for hiking. Everything stayed pretty wet and filthy most of the time. I did carry a thin cap and glove liners (look at the Campmor.com liners), and used them some mornings above treeline. I don't go very many places without those glove liners.

    I finished my hike in mid-July, and it seemed like the conditions were just getting nice for hiking then. The flies were going away, the mud was drying up, and the fords were abating somewhat. If I were planning a SOBO, I'd wait until July.

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