View Full Version : Cold Weather Clothes

09-09-2018, 16:27
I like to get opinion's on cold weather pants, shirt's, and jackets.I plan on leaving in February or March.

09-09-2018, 19:07
When hiking, same clothes you use normally. I used Columbia Convertable Pants, short sleeve poly shirt with sleeves to make it long sleeves and a Houdini Wind Shirt. After the pants became to large due to weight loss, I used running leggings under Under Armour Shorts. What was more important was the Buff for the neck and the Beanie for holding in head heat. I also slipped on Rain Pants when actually hiking in blowing snow;as well as switching to the Marmot Pre Cip Jacket instead of the Houdini. In camp a Down Jacket and BlackRock Down Cap were added. I survived two Spring NorEaster’s on my 2018 Thru Hike with this set up.

09-09-2018, 20:22
What ever it takes to keep you comfortable at 20 degrees. A decent down puffy jacket is high on the list. Mid weight base layers, top and bottom. A good hat and gloves. Wools socks, Gortex boots. A wool shirt is nice.

09-09-2018, 21:22
A sleep system personally tested to at 20 degrees. Zero might be better.

09-09-2018, 22:50
For an AT NOBO start in those months I'd be looking at a layered system for my lower half and upper half that has some diversity as there's some diversity of weather. What one decides on for apparel should include extremity coverage(gloves/mittens, glove mitten shells, hat(s)( hoods on shell count as a hat in my book, light to med wt merino beanie for sure), multiple pr socks w/ different traits, possible something for over the face) and one's hiking approach. I don't like thinking in terms of one stop pants, shirts, or jackets as primarily one thick heavier one stop pieces. IMHO pieces like this dont get as much use(which goes against a wt saving philosophy) or become quickly thermo regulation uncomfortable... with a constant movement backpacking approach. I like hiking in cooler/cold weather often on the move rather than spending long times in camp even during short daylight hrs. Even in winter I'll hike 12-14 hrs still getting early starts at 6 or 7 a.m. and hike until 9-10 p.m. That movement is what generates the warmth not just apparel. Even at 25* with no wind but sunny skies and dry I like hiking in shorts IF my extremities are protected. Once stopped I'm often in my bag or quilt within 15 mins. Then the sleep system is the primary form of warmth not dedicated "in camp" clothes. I'd be bringing a highly breakable WP shell w/ full chest zip. I'd have a merino Icebreaker or Smartwool 200 to 320 wt LS 1/3 zip top, LS silk base layer, med wt down or synthetic vest, and possibly a merino tee. IMHO a vest of appropriate wt and traits with the appropriate apparel and extremity covering companions works very well for me even in late winter in the east. I may even take along a MB Tachyon wind jacket. I'd have it all on at times on my upper half and at other times start off cool to cold but with extremity coverage and break it down to fewer layers as heat builds and conditions dictate. I'd be ready for frigid winds, snow, slush, ice and single digits at any time w/ a Feb start. Lower half would be convertibles with silk wt thermals. Additionally I may be carrying running shorts to layer over thermals. This looks funny but is more breathable and for one not habituated to long stops works for me. My two pr of socks would be a WP mid Sealskinz or Hanz possibly with thermal properties to go along with low cut WP trail runners like Altra Neoshell LP's for FEB. Not a big fan of bagtex. Mid ht merino Smartwool mid wt socks would be the other pr. Going into late March maybe mid April depending how the weather looks Id look to drop the WP socks and shoes and other cold weather gear. By then I'd be thru hiker shape tough and ready to turn it up into higher gear while lowering kit wt simultaneously. For FEB and early Mar starts I'd have eVent, Ventum, or Neoshell shortie/mid gaiters. Additionally, I'd be carrying chemical heat packs to drop into my shoes and/or shell pockets or inside my mittens/gloves or sleeping bag/quilt. I'd also be using an anti maceration or maceration addressing product.

There are two fields of thought in Feb starts from what I can tell: 1) ditch into town under the most inclement weather while working one's way into their thru hike 2) hit the thru trail ready. I'd be somewhat trail ready for a feb start but when forward progress is most hampered with snow I'd go into town too but make the most of it. By that I mean engage in my personal thru hiking activities that are not directly about hiking miles although a zero or two or maybe three the weather should be nicer in town if at a lower elev so I'd be moving on my zeros i.e.; wouldn't hole up on a bed in a motel in front of the TV or behind a computer. I'd be ready for frigid winds

09-10-2018, 09:08
My partner and I did a lot of cold weather hiking for a few years there. I answered this question a while back, here is a direct link to that answer. I think it all still works.


09-11-2018, 11:25
I started March 12th, 2017

By no means UL, but a baseweight of around 15 pounds.

I started with 2 sets of clothes - hiking and camp/town

Hiking was running shorts, exoffocio undies, and a Patagonia lightweight capilene shirt. 2nd set was the same.

My mid layers were patty thermal weight leggings and hoodie (wonderful items)

Patty Houdini windjacket - this thing is amazing. A luxury item because I could have used my rain jacket, but Man was it comfy. I could throw it over my shirt when it was cold and I was moving and it was usually perfect. If it got really cold, as it did my third day and lasted for a week or two, I put it on over my shirt and thermal and was good so long as I was hiking. After the 2nd week I rarely wore the thermal and mostly used the windbreaker, itís a wonderful layer.

OR Helium - works well enough for what a rain jacket does, which is keep your warmish when itís cold and wet. No rain jacket will keep you dry on the AT.

Patty UL down hoody - I love this thing. Not quite as light as the MH Ghost Whisperer, but has a bigger fit. The ghost has a more tailored fit right at the hips but the patty goes down lower and can keep your butt warm, which I appreciated. Still going strong, too. I may bring it on the pct.

Rain pants - man, I hate rain gear, and rain pants most of all. These were heavy, like, a pound or more, but were a gift from a buddy who worked at the company that made them. Stormr, I think it was. Iím glad I had them for that first week, and they came in handy in the Smokies, also. I hated having to put my leggings on under my shorts and found it easier to, when cold or wet (thirties or lower), just throw the rain pants on over my shorts and that kept my legs warm enough on those frigid ridges. And it kept my leggings dry for camp.

My quilts (hammocker, top and underquilts) were conservatively rated at 20 degrees and were fine for me all but two nights. I usually slept in my camp t shirt and sometimes added the thermal or just left my puffy on and was good. Good sleep socks are wonderful.

A word on weather and your start date;
Ď17 has a fairly mild winter and a strange spring. Feb was like 50s and sunny. My third day, March 15th, we had a crazy blizzard and we got hit with a windchill of -8 halfway up Blood Mountain that night. Just awful, I even had my feet in my pack.
Lots of ppl who started with 30 degree bags hoofed it to Neelís Gap to buy a warmer bag from Mountain Crossings.
They probably sold at least 50 pairs of gloves the day I showed up.