View Full Version : Layering Question

12-05-2002, 17:50
I'll start my AT thru-hike in early April 2003. Let me know what
your opinions are about layering for that time of year in Georgia. I
know I will need a base wicking layer, an insulating layer (fleece),
and a windbreaker.

What I'm trying to sort out is the insulating layer. Here are the
options I've narrowed it down to:

--one 100 wt fleece pullover
--one 200 wt jacket or pullover
--both a 100 wt pullover and a 200 wt jacket--I would
send the 200 wt home when no longer needed
--2 100 wt fleeces, one a pullover and the other a jacket

Please let me know what you think. If you have other ideas about a
layering system, feel free to list those. I posted this same request on the backpackinglight yahoo group and received a lot of really helpful responses. Just curious to see what you think. Thanks in advance for the help!


Trail Yeti
12-05-2002, 23:13
last year I started in March but this is what I took for my cold weather gear. 1 Toboggan (that's a beanie or a hat for all you Yankees that can't speak proper english)
Patagonia LW Capilene, Patagonia MW Capilene, Patagonia R2 Pull over,
Marmot Precip Jacket, gloves, running tights and a coolmax tshirt.
I hiked in the tshirt or LW Capilene. YOu don't need much when you are hiking because you stay warm by moving.
Hope this helps.
Trail Yeti

12-05-2002, 23:29
Here are my favorite materials...

Gore-Tex Pac-Lite Shell Waterproof/Windproof Materials
Gore WindStopper Fleece
Duofold Polypro Polypropylene Baselayers

Right now I'm using...

Duofold expedition weight polypropylene pants & zip turtleneck. ($50)
L.L. Bean Gore Windstopper All-Conditions Fleece Jacket ($100)
L.L. Bean Gore-Tex Pac-Lite Pants & Jacket ($380)
OR Gore-Tex Pro Modular Gloves ($110)
TNF Gore-Windstopper High-Point Hat ($40)
Smartwool Medium Weight Socks

I'm Still looking for some winter Gaiters that I like. I don't like form fitting gaiters like the OR Crocs. I want something a little loose. During the summer I wear any synthetic wicking shirts/shorts, and keep my L.L. Bean Raingear with me. They are similar in performance to the Marmot Liquid Steel Shell, but have no insulation (only shell), and are about 20% lighter on top of that due to the pac-lite material (which is still just as waterproof as XCR).

12-06-2002, 05:50
while hiking staying warm aint too hard. I use a long sleeve thermatec shirt and winter jogging pants. below 40 I add a medium wool sweater gloves and hat as needed. above 70 I switch to shorts and a t shirt.

12-06-2002, 06:11
in camp staying warm is a different matter. I carry a set of thermals and a bag and pads ect. It is the combination that keeps you warm and not the components. You could for example skip the extra clothing and carry a heavier bag or carry more cloths and less bag. You will also be affected by your shelter choice. Since I hammock, my pad choice is actually more important then what bag I carry. Also I prefer a hat while hiking and a balaclava for sleeping.

If you have the time, test out the different choices in a location that isnt to far from safety. Experiance gained by shivering at 4 am will help you decide far better then any specific reccomendations. :D

other things that can affect your sleep are hydration and diet.if you dont have enough of either you will be cold no matter what you take:eek:

12-06-2002, 08:59
Obviously there are variables.

But, for the insulating layer only, I'd just take the 200 or 300 weight fleece jacket.

I usually don't wear anything on over my legs other than polypro and cordura pants.

Using a jacket, it's easy to zip it open when you get warm, and zip it back up when you cool off. You don't need to take off your pack like you do with a pullover.

You will probably be warm enough while hiking. It's in the morning and evening moving around camp when you get the most chilled.

12-06-2002, 09:23
Every hiking environment is different, so I layer differently in different areas/seasons. From my experience, the following is important...

1. Wicking layer next to skin (Polypropylene or Silk).
2. Insulation layer (Synthetic Fleece or Wool).
3. Breatheable Water/Wind Proof Shell (Gore-Tex or Coated Nylon).

I never layer more than 3 articles of clothing. I find that it restricts movement, makes you uncomfortable, you don't hike as fast, and you get cold & miserable. Instead I vary the thickness of the bottom two layers. I use a long sleeve polypropylene shirt in the summer/spring/fall, along with nylon convertible pants/shorts. I also carry my LL Bean fleece jacket and Rain Gear, even if it's in the high 90's with clear skies on just a day hike. You never know what can happen. In the winter I use expedition weight polypropylene. Along with my Fleece jacket and rain/wind gear, this keeps me warm all the way down to 0* comfortably. I have fleece pants for an insulation layer for my legs, but I never get cold enough to use them. Just remember these layers... wicking/insulation/water&wind shell. It's also smart to carry an extra wicking layer in the winter to swap into.

12-06-2002, 10:13
In general, I always carry a medium weight thermal top and tights and a insulated pullover. I prefer the insulated pullover to fleece, finding it a bit warmer than 300 wt. fleece and a bit lighter than 200 wt. fleece. I usually have a T-shirt and nylon pants as well and a Frogg Toggs pullover. Liner gloves and a warm hat round out my standard gear for staying warm during moderate seasons during the year. That is, I carry this stuff, plus maybe another T-shirt and a pair of shorts, along with a bandana for hiking spring through fall. If I was to start in March, this is probably what I would bring, although I would seriously think about bringing another thermal top. You want, always, to have something warm and dry in your pack to change into at the end of the day. Staying warm while hiking usually isn't too hard. Staying warm when you stop can be.

For winter hikes, I delete the pullover, and add a down jacket, fleece pants, extra set of heavyweight thermal underwear, and warm gloves. I also take a softshell jacket for hiking in. In this case, I tend not to take the Frogg Toggs for shorter trips since the softshell is fairly water resistant and in colder weather precip. tends to be in the form of snow rather than rain. For very cold weather, I add the pullover back.

SGT Rock
12-06-2002, 11:28
My system that works at least down to 7* F.

Normal hiking - down even into the 40s if it is dry and/or no wind:
Nylon shorts and a coolmax T-shirt. Sock liners with running shoes.

Hiking below 40 or in camp below 50.
Army polypro underwear or powerstretch pants and shirt (new stuff). A second pair of sock liners, polypro glove liners, and a knit hat.

Hiking below 0 or in camp below 30.
All the above plus field jacket liner and pants. A pair of wool socks and mittens with a polypro neck gaiter.

Add to that a par of ProVent rain pants and jacket for wet weather, and Seal Skinz socks and OR rain mittens. These can be used as a wind breaker as well.

In camp below 10.
Climb into sleeping bag and live from inside it.

That all said, I find personal warmth requirements to be very individual. Some people hate cold with a passion, while others deal with it as just another weather situation. I know hikers that would rather carry a 2 pound down jacket to deal with 30 degree weather and would rather overdress and sweat on a 40 degree hiking day than go in just a T-Shirt. But I've also know people that can stound around on a snowy day in just shorts.

Add to that the fact that you can acclimate to cold weather after a while, or through poor nutrition you can go the other way on a hike and get cold easier. The best thing you could do is figure out what you wan to wear, then try it on a weekend shakedown hike in real cold weather.