View Full Version : Leaving in April. What temps to expect? Clothing?

02-25-2015, 19:25
Hi again everyone. I'm going over (again and again) my pack trying to lighten my load for my April 7th hike. It seems lime the heaviest things I have are my clothes. Everything else I have is fairly light... Osprey Exos, BA seedhouse sl1, kelty cosmic down 20, thermarest xlite.. Etc. Unfortunately, I can't afford to spend a ton on ultralight weight clothing and it seems what I have is what's giving me weight issues. So clothing wise, what are you bringing on your hike? What temps can I expect to encounter if I'm leaving Springer on April 7th? This will be my first long distance hike and I decided to do it a lil over a month ago. :) (no the movie wild had nothing to do with my decision... Lol) Any input would be much appreciated. Thanks everyone.

02-25-2015, 19:30
As of right now, I plan on bringing a light/med baselayer, convertible pants, 2 pairs of spandex type underwear, 3 merrino socks(1 for sleeping), ems fleece, 2nd pair lightweight base layer for sleeping, short sleeve lightweight moisture wicking shirt, a similar short sleeve for a town shirt, frogs rain gear(lightweight cheapo), and a cabelas insulated jacket with hood that weighs about a pound and a half. Oh and a hat, gloves, and balaclava. Is this overkill? Should I eliminate anything? Any advice would be much appreciated. :) thanks

02-25-2015, 21:08
leaving Apr 7th, you can still expect temps into the 20s in north GA and NC. If we get a late cold front, maybe the teens along the ridgeline. Of course it could be spring like and balmy. You should get to the Smokies by Apr 21st or a few days later, depending on your pace. Above 5,000 ft elevation along the AT in the Smokies, even in late April it can be 20s to 40s at night, even possible to get a late snowstorm in those mountains in late April. You probably won't be clear of snow til May. Expect the unexpected in the mountains in April.

02-25-2015, 21:16
I will also be leaving April 7th (see you out there!).

Here is what I am taking: http://www.geargrams.com/list?id=19945

Side note: I get very cold, very easy below 40*. So I may have more than what most people may recommend for April.

02-25-2015, 21:56
Your list looks pretty reasonable. I left 4/4 and encountered two storms with blizzard conditions in the high country, in the Smokies and on Mt Rogers, still in April--overnight temps in the teens, blowing snow. Either prepare for camping and hiking in that, or bring a lot of money to sit the storms out, if they come, in town.

Your experience counts more than what's in your pack. The clothing you bring will become totally worthless in the first hour if you wear it incorrectly. If you put on all your layers and your raingear and hike uphill, it will quickly become saturated with sweat, no matter how little it weighs or how much you spent on it. In one of those storms in the Smokies, I walked past Newfound Gap with my ten-pound baseload, warm and comfortable, to camp further on that night, while dozens of miserable-looking hikers with heavy loads were hitching into Gatlinburg to sit out the storm. Obviously, the amount of clothing carried wasn't a factor.

02-25-2015, 22:36
I've grew up in PA and have done some hiking on the AT there, and have done a megaton of hiking in Hawaii. I'm pretty good at layering. Was pretty sure it could get into the 20s. I guess rather be a lil overprepared and carry the extra weight than shave ozs and freeze. :) Thanks for the input eveyone!

Spirit Walker
02-25-2015, 22:43
The 1 1/2 pound jacket could be replaced by something lighter. Is the fleece another jacket or a shirt? That is probably ditchable. Long underwear bottoms are rarely needed when hiking, at least for me, because I get so hot when going uphill. So keep one pair to sleep in until you are past Grayson Highlands, but drop the other. Do you have rainpants or shorts to wear while doing laundry? Shorts are also handy to sleep in when it's warm since you will probably get up in the night and to change into at the end of rainy days.

02-25-2015, 23:15
I have a light pair of shorts I can bring. The fleece is a pullover.. But it would be the only long sleeve I would have besides my imitation capilene type base layer. The fleece is light too. I do have a very lightweight but warm vest I could bring instead of the jacket. And raingear that can double as windbreaker. 20s dont bother me.... But 20s with wind do. Brrrr

Tipi Walter
02-25-2015, 23:28
A couple years ago we had the hottest March on record in the Southeast. It was hot and I was carrying goose down. Not to say you won't need your geese. It will also get cold and maybe snow. Certainly snow around April 7.

ALSO---bring your bug headnet. They'll start up on warm days in March.

02-25-2015, 23:43
I go pretty light, LAST April I started mid Smokies (Newfound Gap), and it was before freezing overnight, the year before I was a bit north of that and hit freezing weather as well. So, what I bring works for me, but may not work for you ... never the less ... here is what I'll be bringing as I head out on the 7th from Springer.

I will be wearing: short-sleeve ultra light shirt, Crag-hopper quick dry pants, quick dry briefs, darn tough socks, toe-sock liners, hat, leather belt ... 6#

I will have packed: extra toe sock liners, 2nd pair of quick dry briefs, long sleeve synthetic shirt, super light weight shorts, beanie hat ... 15 oz

....since it is early spring I will also be carrying liner gloves, and ear muffs ... 3 oz

---depending on the forecast I will probably bring my heavier Marmot Paclite Shell (16.8 oz), instead of the Marmot Micro (8.2 oz) I normally carry, and I may bring a pair of lightweight long-johns (5 oz)

If it gets REALLY cold ... below freezing when I'm not sleeping ... I will use my down quilt under the shell as a "coat"

I keep it pretty light and hike to stay warm ; )

02-26-2015, 08:56
...I keep it pretty light and hike to stay warm ; )

This is my approach as well, but it takes a little risk and some experience to do that. I understand that I don't have much in the way of a backup plan if something goes terribly wrong. I will take that risk for myself, knowing my experience, in my desire/need for a lighter load, but I wouldn't want to put someone else in a risky situation.

You need to stay well-fed and hydrated while hiking in minimal clothing in harsh conditions. Sometimes it's very hard to stop for water and food if it means getting cold and shivering for a while. But it's so important. Sometimes it means loading your pockets up with snacks so you can eat while hiking.

It might also mean putting on wet clothing on a sub-freezing morning to keep your sleeping insulation dry, and that's a very hard thing to do sometimes. On the AT, I camped with people who were dealing with two layers of frozen clothing. They're the ones who bailed out. The same day, I met an experienced hiker loping happily along in shorts and a light jacket. Again, I think it's more about your methods than what you pack.

02-26-2015, 09:04
I had morning AM temps of about 10F on my thru, and sure I must of slept thru single digit temps as well, my bag is rated to 18F (middle Euro number), I also have a high natural resistance to the cold and can work and sleep in low temps far more comfortable/with less clothes then most other people.

My cold weather gear, which worked fine for me was:

Hiking clothing system: Low top boots with low gaitors, hiking socks, underwear, short sleeve wicking shirt, light weight fleece, light weight fleece longjohns, convertible hiking pants, Frogtoggs jacket and pants, hat and fleece gloves.

In Camp/shelter sleeping system (different from above): socks, crocks, bathing suit (not used much but just a change of clothes which can be used as a second set of pants when needed such as laundry day or if the other one got soiled), t-shirt, down puffy jacket, seeping bag, tent which I wrapped around my sleeping bag in shelters.

I tried to keep sleeping and hiking gear for their intended purpose and in their categories. This gave me 2 sets of gear so if one became unusable I could still be comfortable. If I had such a failure such as soaking my hiking gear my backup solution would be to change into my dry sleeping gear inside my tent and get inside my bag and stay warm and dry as a worst case (this gear is stored in a dry sack)

The crossovers: On occasion I would wear my down puffy in the early AM hike till I got warmed up then packed it away (if there was no rain - I needed to keep it dry). Also many times I would sleep in my hiking gear if it was also dry, only changing into sleeping gear if the hiking gear was wet or (overly) dirty.

02-26-2015, 09:07
When you are moving it doesn't take much to keep you warm. When you are stopped you have sleeping bag/tent.

Windproof/waterproof layer - Precip top and bottom
Insulation layer - 100 wt fleece 3/4 zip pullover/ 100 wt fleece pants
Base - silk wt polypro top and bottom
Balacava, fleece mittens and shells

In addition I carried some down booties for sleeping. My sleeping bag was WM Highlight 35. I saw temp in low 20s and wore everything a couple of nights.

02-26-2015, 09:58
expect cold nights in the 20's with warm days in the mid 50's with lots of rain and expect to see snow in the GSMNP

02-26-2015, 10:42
From my 2001 AT thru-hike journal: April, 15, 2001. 5" snow at New Found Gap. Spent the night at Ice water Spring shelter. Temp down to 8 degrees.

02-26-2015, 10:49
Left around the 7th last year and it was a WET start RAIN in buckets. A mid weight base layer was only used at night way too warm while hiking. Had to zip off lower legs shortly after start in the am and drop the fleece in the pack also, I wore a long sleeve that I would roll up and down as needed for wind and when stopping. Nights got cold ice formed and a little snow one night not to bad. At night if I had to I was ready to wear everything I owned in layers,.... base mid weight, convertible pants with legs on, shirt with sleeves down, fleece, rain gear (marmot precip) with pants 12 oz down jacket was a last resort, a HOT WATER BOTTLE NALGEEN made 18* night with 30* bag no issue for me, always have hat and wool gloves (mil surplus liners)

Tipi Walter
02-26-2015, 11:38
This was taken near Cheoah Bald on April 30, 2008. Yes, a late season snowfall at 5,000 feet. It happens.

I take my full winter kit in April, except for maybe my microspikes and down mittens.

Harrison Bergeron
02-27-2015, 10:45
Being a Texan, this cold-weather hiking thing is a little new to me, so I'm struggling.
This is my current clothing list (which seems to change every day) for a Mid-April start:

Worn oz.
Boots 51.8
Hiking socks 2.1
Liner socks 1.8
Convertable pants 11.4
Polyester SS Tee-shirt 5.6
Bucket Hat 2.0
Underwear 3.9

Rain gear
Packframe Poncho 14.0
Dri Duck pants 4.5
Silnylon gaiters 0.5
Rain mittens 1.3

Cold weather gear
Houdini Wind shirt 3.9
Light fleece pullover 9.0
Primaloft Jacket (camp) 16.5
Fleece hat (camp) 2.0
Bacalava 1.9
Wool Gloves 2.6

Camp clothing / sleepware
Capilene 2 long johns 12.1
Shorts 2.6
Fleece slippersocks 2.4
Fake Crocs 8.4

Hiking socks (2 pair) 4.2
Liner socks (2 pair) 3.6
Underwear 3.9

Total pack weight, clothes 5.8 lbs

I recently added the Houdini, hoping it will be sufficient as a wind breaker. It replaces a Precip that I don't really need for rain because I prefer a poncho. There is no long sleeve shirt. I have an 8oz LS tee and a 7oz nylon fishing shirt that I can't decide between and keep putting in and taking back out because they both seem too light to be of any use if it's actually cold enough for long sleeves while hiking. But lately I'm hoping the Houdini might replace them both if I actually feel the need for long sleeves. The fleece is for serious cold weather hiking (and I also keep putting it in and taking it out). I think if I make it myself I can get it down to 9oz. The combo of the Houdini and fleece would then be the same as the Precip they replaced.

Any comments?

02-27-2015, 18:59
I departed April 4th last year and saw a little of everything (except snow). I would recommend starting out heavy then figure out as you go what you don't need then ship it home. I wouldn't say you are way overweight with what you listed, you may need to get through some cold weather early on so the extra couple of pounds may come in handy.

02-28-2015, 11:19
Capilene 2 long johns 12.1
Any comments?

You sure? My pair is more like 4-5 oz.

Harrison Bergeron
02-28-2015, 21:30
You sure? My pair is more like 4-5 oz.

Bottoms are 6 oz, top is 6.1. I'd kill for a set of 5 oz long johns, but I bet you're just talking bottoms and you're not size XL. "backcountrygear.com" lists the bottoms alone at 5 oz.