View Full Version : clothes for March start of AT.

08-30-2006, 23:25
I have a question that someone here on Whiteblaze may be able to answer for me. I do not seem to remember seeing this question ask anywhere else. I was wondering about the weight of early spring hiking from GA to MA.

I was trying to determine if it is better to use lightweight garments and use more layers. I have notice in a few places that 2 lightweight undergarments are sometimes lighter than a midweight. I also read in a Hiking book that it is better to use lighter weight garments and use more layers, for exampple 4 layers instead of 3 as most people use during March and April.

The book said that due to the heating of the air bertween the garments the lighter weight with more layers are just as warm with lighter weight over all. Has anyone tried this?


Jack Tarlin
08-30-2006, 23:34
There are several advantages to layering. First off, it gives you more ability to adjust your level of warmth; you can add or remove layers as you see fit. If you have only one thin layer and then a very large one for supplemental warmth, I suspect you'll frequently find yourself too warm or too cold, and very seldom, just right.

Another advantage to several layers is that it provides you more "emergency" clothes. If your only real warm garment is, say, a thick fleece, and if it gets a good soaking, you're pretty much screwed as far as warm clothes are concerned.

I think a system that involves several layers is the wisest course.

08-30-2006, 23:35
A few layers is good. Especially since you can be flexible. however, keep in mind, when you are walking, you don't need many clothes. It is when you stop that you need to put something on. Do you want to be putting on 4 layers every time you stop? Depending on what kind of temps you are used to can matter also. I would recommend a 200 wt. Windbloc Fleece jacket that you can easily put on and off for your stops, and perhaps a lightweight and heavyweight set of polypro long underwear for sleeping and in camp. i personally would start with the heavyweights, and switch over to the lightweights after the Smokies, but i am perhaps used to a little more cold than you are coming from PA.
Windbloc fleece is amazingly warm. Frogg Toggs is also a layer that you can use even for sleeping in. But remember, all your layers need to be breathable, the more breathable the better. good luck and have fun.
ps. remember cotton kills!

Kaptain Kangaroo
08-31-2006, 22:58
Started my thru-hike this year on March 3. Clothing layers were t-shirt, light weight fleece pullover & a Frogg Toggs rain jacket. Had several snowstorms in March & never wore more than the T-shirt & rain jacket while actually hiking. In camp I added the fleece & was warm enough most of the time. I did get cold a couple of times but this was after sunset so I just got into my sleeping bag.
It's hard not to pack too much clothing in the beginning, it is not until you are out on the trail that you realise how little you really need to be both comfortable & safe (your tent & sleeping bag is the ultimate cold weather outfit!)
By taking more layers you will at least be able to mail home the stuff you find you don't need.
Kaptain Kangaroo

08-31-2006, 23:24
long underware thins and thicks and rainwear and shorts and tee and socks and brief . only one of each but 3 socks. and never town clothes.

Appalachian Tater
09-02-2006, 12:40
I carried a wool cap even during the summer.

A hat lets you easily regulate your body temperature. For instance, if you wake up cold in the middle of the night, you can put it on without getting out of your bag.

Best of all, you can wear it when you start hiking in the morning and then when you warm up, stick it in your pocket without having to stop to remove a fleece jacket. You can stick it back on at breaks or when the trail isn't so strenuous.

Also, for a mid-March start, a long sleeve shirt with buttons or a zipper at the neck works great and also lets you easily regulate your temp.

If you carry a fleece jacket, make sure it is of good quality. I had a cheap one that was bulky, heavy, and not very warm.

hammock engineer
09-02-2006, 12:57
I am planning on 3 layers. It may be over kill, but I'll figure it out as I go. I will also suggest sleeping only clothes. That way if you get wet you will have dry warm clothes to sleep in. I am planning on starting about the same time. I am also planning on hitting the long trail in October. The weather should be similar. As of now I will have.

mid weight tops and bottoms (mainly sleeping)
windproof softshell jacket and pants
rain jacket and pants
t shirt

I might add a fleece pullover if the weather outlook is too cold. This system may be overkill, but it is a good start.

hammock engineer
09-02-2006, 13:00
Forgot to add 1 pair socks on and 2 in the pack, windproof hat and face cover, OR mittens and liner gloves.

I love the cold weather, just hate being cold.