My clothes are the core of my hiking and backpacking. Each piece is selected carefully. The pieces are all part of a system that can be easily combined and worn together.
My basic criteria for choosing the clothes I have is effective, lightweight, and affordable. They have to get a lot of bang for the buck.
Certainly I may have compromised a bit with the ability to keep warm, but warmth is relative. The above pieces (see lead picture) are what I used on two recent trips, one to Washington and the other to Texas, where the temperatures ranged between the high 20s to low 30s. Typically speaking, however, my normal hiking temps are in the 40s.
1… Item 1 is my baselayer made by Elementex. It is Merino Wool midweight at 250. Reasons I chose Elementex
- It is wool so it keep odors at bay. Important after dropping in to a town after a few days in the wilds.
- It is enexpensive at under $40 (I know $39.99, but hey it’s still under $40)
- Wicks moisture away well enough
- light enough at 7.2 ounces
My baselayer is my hiking shirt. I don’t use a shirt over that. When I start to get cool, I put on the fleece.
2… Item 2 is my fleece midlayer sold by REI Co-Op. It is the REI quarter zip fleece
- Cost at the time I bought it was under $30. [Looks like REI no longer carries them]
- Quarter zip pullover was to help eliminate drafts full zip fleeces often have and also the extra weight of full zippers
- weight is only 8.25oz
While REI may no longer carry them, lightweight fleeces can easily be found inexpensively at Walmart, Target, Thrift stores, etc.
3… Item 3 is my down puffy from UNIQLO. I rock it on top of my fleece and baselayer when the temps get a bit much for just the baselayer and fleece.
- I bought mine for $69.99, but as of this writing they are on sale for $59.99. It is nearly impossible to by a down puffy for this low price.
- Very lightweight and super compact It weighs only 8oz
This puffy is one of my most prized pieces of gear, because of it’s warmth to cost ratio. Other puffy’s most often cost more than a $100 and up to several hundred dollars.
4… Item 4 is my Frogg Togg Ultralight rain jacket. In my area I really don’t need it all that often, but with extremely low weight I just have it in the pack.
- This jacket comes as part of a suit with pants for the crazy cost of $23 or less [I throw the pants away. I don’t use them
- It comes in at a crazy low weight of 5.9oz
- compresses really small
People who really use frogg toggs say they rip and tear easily compared to other more expensive jackets, but it is common clothing among some thru hikers, including triple crowners.
The sizes are crazy large. I imagine Frogg Togg does it so it can fit over your other layers. To give you perspective I have a size medium in mens, and it fights like it’s a X-Large or even XX-Large. I think I am going to order a Woman’s Large and see how well it fits.
5… Item 5 are my Darn Tough socks. I rock to pair of these, one on my feet and one in my pack to change into after a long day hiking
- Made of wool so keeps odor at bay
- Awesome Lifetime warranty
- cushioned sole
- light enough at 2.24oz each pair
- Price is reasonable enough for it being wool and having a lifetime warranty… $15.99 each pair
- They aren’t the cheapest, at $120, but their comfort, performance and lightweight make them awesome
- They weigh only 22oz
- super cushioned insole
- Exoskeltean reinforces the light fabric, which makes it easier on your feet when descending hills
- Very Breathable which dries fast after getting wet
7… Fleece Beanie. I shave my head so this thing is really awesome
- I bought mine at a 7-Eleven somewhere, but the one I linked to is only $3. It doesn’t get cheaper
- very leight at 1.8oz
8… Fleece gloves. In cool temps they really make a difference on your hands
- Inexpensive at $10 or under
- light enough at 2.5oz
Things of note
- That is all the clothes I carry. Outside of extra socks, I don’t carry any other change of clothes, not even under garments. In the event, I need to dry my baselayer of sweat. I will hang it up while I wear my REI fleece.
- I didn’t include the lower garment, shorts, because they often change. The one thing they have to be is cut above the knees so I can prevent chafing at the knees. my normal pair weighs 9.4oz. There are lighter options, but I’m happy for now
- I didn’t list the ball cap I normally wear, for the same reason as the shorts… it changes often, but usually 2.7oz
- I don’t take extra underwear. I only have the boxer briefs I wear for hiking. If I need more than that, I go commando
- Each piece is part of a complete system that is lightweight, affordable and effective
- In my pack, the combined max weight of the clothes I carry on my back is 1.79lbs
- What I wear (trail runners, hat, baselayer top, socks, shorts, and hat) at a basic weighs 2.72lbs
Hope you guys find this write up useful.