View Full Version : March hiking clothes?

11-14-2015, 22:53
I am starting a small section hike March 1st and I am not sure what clothes to wear. Warm I am assuming. But any suggestions on layers?

Smooth & Wasabi
11-14-2015, 23:53
Of course it depends on where you are hiking and your body. Assuming you are in the southern mountains i would do something like this for me:

WPB shell: jacket, pants, lightweight mittens

base layer: lightweight long sleeve and boxer briefs (synth or merino)

nylon hiking pants

hooded wind shirt

midlayer: light fleece (hoody for me)

hands: liner gloves x 2 (or 1 plus light fleece mitten)

head: buff, beanie

insulation: Hooded puffy, mid weight base layers (heavy if you run cold)

feet: 2 light wool, 1 heavier sleep, 1 pair vapor barrier liners

11-15-2015, 15:07
In the winter I am a big fan of alternating long sleeves and vests.

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11-15-2015, 23:22
Cut and paste of something I wrote a few years ago here:


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 very cold, 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.