View Full Version : Will I be warm enough?

05-02-2011, 12:35
I'm planning on getting on the trail around the first of August. I'm trying to get the last of my gear lined out and I'm hoping to get some feedback on my clothing.

Nike running shorts

Older Kelty wind/rain jacket. (pretty basic hooded nylon jacket)

Coldpruf Platinum Midweight Underwear, wool/poly blend - (long sleeve shirt and long johns)

Wally world "dry star" long sleeve. I couple sized too big, makes for a nice moderate weather shirt, easy to roll the sleeves up if it get hot. Fits well over long johns.

Lightweight fleece gloves

Generic lightweight stocking cap

1 pair mid weight smart wool socks, 2 pair lightweight running socks.

I've been looking at picking up some rain pants...for rain as well as the chilly mornings.

I keep looking at my clothes and think that I'm going to be cold. I'm not used to the mountain temperatures so it's hard to anticipate what to expect. I'm definitely going to add some sort of pants to the equation, but will I need something else for my upper body?

I've got a 20 degree bag which I've always stayed pretty warm in, so I'm not much worried about the nights. Just not sure what to expect during the days especially at high altitudes.

I'd love to see others clothes lists for their CT hikes.


05-02-2011, 15:17
I don't see an insulating layer on your list, such as a down sweater or fleece. I think what you have will be fine while you're on the move, but you may want a layer to put on while pitching/breaking camp.

Personally I'm bringing a Melanzana Micro Grid Hoodie and debating whether to also bring my Montbell UL Down Inner.

My current clothing kit (subject to change between now and July)

Golite Yunnan Pants (I burn easily so prefer pants)
REI Endeavor LS shirt
Under Armour 9" Mesh boxerbrief
Injinji wool socks
Sunday Afternoons Adventurer Hat

Ibex SS Woolies T
Melanzana Micro Grid Hoodie
First Ascent BC-200 Jacket
Mountain Hardwear Epic rain pants (part of sleep gear when below freezing)
Wool Sleep socks

maybe the Montbell Inner....

Hope this helps a bit.

05-03-2011, 12:26
I concur with palumbo - the one place you might be deficient is a more-insulative upper layer. I carry a Western Mountaineering Flight Jacket (down jacket, 12 oz) for around camp and cold mornings, but this may be overkill for you.

There were several mornings on my thru when it was frosty and in the low-30's...

05-03-2011, 13:03
This thread is timely as I'm also looking at a SOBO CT hike starting July 23. I've already concluded that my 45* down bag cum 15* Sea-to-Summit liner isn't adequate for expected cold nights so I'm bringing my winter bag.

My major need at this point is rain jacket - my Marmot is totally shot and beyond re-waterproofing. My rain pants and pack cover are new.

05-03-2011, 14:25
Depends on your hiking style.

I use a lined windshirt and do not take an extra insulation layer. BUT, I tend to not hang out in camp and move all day. If I am in camp, I'm generally in my 20F sleeping bag. YMMV.

As for the sleeping bag itself, yeah..a 45F bag probably won't cut it. Gets cool at night even in the summer!

05-03-2011, 15:38
Mags, I'm making extensive use of your CT website in my planning. Thanks again for this service to hikers.

05-03-2011, 20:28
I second your comment cookerhiker. Mags site has been a very valuable planning resource. I'd certainly be lost without it!

Thanks for pointing that out guys...I usually carry a lightweight fleece for over my base layer when packing up. Just slipped my mind.

I like to hike - I don't spend a whole lot of time playing around camp. I'm break my tarp down as quickly as possibly, get loaded up and on the trail. Then stop an hour or so later if I'm having a hot breakfast.

Thanks for the pointers guys. It seems like the next few months won't go by fast enough!

Highway Man
05-03-2011, 22:21
Your major outwears are probably fine. I'd like to add a pair of ultra light gaitors as the trail is pretty dusty when it's dry.

05-04-2011, 20:44
You need to carry full on rain gear. (Jacket and pants) August and September are the wettest summer months in the San Juans. Sometimes shorts are just too cold, so zip off pants are great. I carry a lightweight (Montbell) down jacket to improve my chances of staying up past 7PM. (it doesn't always work) You will probably be very uncomfortable in a 45 degree bag but in August a 32 degree one should be enough.

You are going to love it. The Colorado Trail is fine!

BTW, Mags wrote a really good chapter in the newly released version 8 guidebook about ultralight backpacking. It is spot on. You should get the book.

05-11-2011, 19:44
Heya...on the rain issue.

So I get it rains everyday in the afternoon, or so I hear. How does that affect your plans and/or mileages?

Are we talking hours of rain at high elevations, or are we talking about a 30 minute bomb that descends on you but then clears?

Talking in the height of summer, so let's say mid-July onwards, am I going to be setting up and breaking camp in the rain 5 days a week?


05-11-2011, 22:01
Rain in the western stretches of the CT can be quite variable, from a clear day to a brief afternoon thunderstorm to rain that starts in the afternoon and lasts into the night. If there's a typical, it's probably a short afternoon thunderstorm with mostly clear skies by evening. Breaking camp in the morning in rain is unusual -- and repeated days of sustained rain more unusual yet.

Rain didn't affect my mileage much, though there were a couple of times that I had to wait for an hour or so for an electrical storm to pass before cresting a pass or ridge.

05-12-2011, 00:13
I had no idea that August so rainy in Colorado! It's nearly our driest month here in Illinois.

I just picked up a new Marmot precip jacket for a very reasonable price so that's going to be going with me. I've never owned a pair of rain pants before...I'm leaning toward not taking any, but I would rather not be miserable...

05-12-2011, 09:28
Get the pants. There is a high probability that you will be miserable without them.

Rain at high elevations is really cold and often comes mixed with sleet. It is usually punctuated by lightning and you may have to sit it out for a while. Sometimes the sleet will accumulate like snow. Besides freezing your tail off, sleet on bare legs hurts. I would also suggest carrying some lightweight gloves that stay warm when wet.

It is awesome if you are prepared but not much fun if you are not.

05-12-2011, 10:22
Until you've got enough experience in those conditions to know exactly what you need for your skills and hiking style, you should add a warm jacket and rain pants. I had both on the CDT and was mighty glad to have had them.

05-12-2011, 10:41
I've been training in the foothills above Denver for the last month, hoping that the cold on the divide in July won't get much worse than the unseasonably cold May we've been having (mid 20s overnight). I'm finding the rain pants are amazing for extending my 35 degree sleeping bag (WM Caribou) down into the 20s, even too warm sometimes. They're great multi-use clothing.

05-12-2011, 11:30
Until you've got enough experience in those conditions to know exactly what you need for your skills and hiking style, you should add a warm jacket and rain pants. I had both on the CDT and was mighty glad to have had them.

First, thanks (as always) from the kind words from everyone.

Here's a similar article I wrote to what Bear Creek alluded to...

Basically, it is what Colter said, if you go really light, you better know what are you doing! :)

FWIW, I always take my liner gloves (wool surplus) and simple shell mitts. This combo lets me ride out a lot of bad weather. I take light rain pants as well.

In the CO summer, the rain typically comes in the afternoon and clears out by early evening. It is one of my favorites times of the day. Everything seems so clear and the smell in the air is awesome. Add in the light of the sun breaking through the clouds on the mountains, and it is photography nirvana. :)