View Full Version : 2 or 3 pairs of socks?

05-23-2005, 00:00
How many pairs of socks should I carry on my thru hike this summer? 2 or 3?
And, in addition, since I am going sobo on June 1st, whould I be bringing warmer clothing to get me through ME NH and VT? Does it get that cold at nite/during the day?


05-23-2005, 04:12

I'm starting a SOBO June 8, good luck on the mountain being open (late spring)

I'm personally taking two pairs of socks/liners and an extra dry pair for around camp. i like having dry socks at camp, and I have more socks ready to be mailed to me when my socks starts to wear out.

Good luck with your start, and mabey I'll be able to meet up with you at some point.


05-23-2005, 05:48
~~~And, in addition, since I am going sobo on June 1st, whould I be bringing warmer clothing to get me through ME NH and VT? Does it get that cold at nite/during the day?

thanks. Mike,

Pasted below are Observer's Comments taken from www.mountwashington.org (http://www.mountwashington.org) , logged yesterday evening. Although we didn't get snow in the valley, I scraped frost off my car windows 2 or 3 times last week.

From www.mountwashington.org (http://www.mountwashington.org) :

06:51 PM Sun May 22, 2005 EDT

It's a surreal feeling to shift seasons in a day, which is what it seems we did when we arrived on the summit last Wednesday. It has snowed every day since then, with a significant storm last night into today, that has now tapered to freezing drizzle. Friends in lower places don't seem to comprehend that we're still in winter up here. For example, a call home yesterday resulted in "You've got to be kidding me" when told it was snowing.

We have spent our days learning the ins and outs of recording the mountain's legendary weather, as well as preparing the summit museum and gift shop for the tourist season that was supposed to start yesterday.

Only a few brave (and some foolish) hikers visited the summit today, quickly stocking up on warm weather gear before making the trek back down to the valley, and comparatively balmy temperatures near 50. The weather isn't looking any better in the near future, with storms lined up for the entire week. It's unclear whether it will remain cold enough for frozen precip though. As the next storm approaches we're expecting high winds, possibly in excess of 60 mph between now and Wednesday.

Andrew Freedman and Amanda Waylett - Summit Interns

05-23-2005, 06:20
How many pairs of socks should I carry on my thru hike this summer? 2 or 3?
And, in addition, since I am going sobo on June 1st, whould I be bringing warmer clothing to get me through ME NH and VT? Does it get that cold at nite/during the day?

Short of a really great Blue Cheese Burger with a nice slice of Red Onion, nothing makes for a better noon break than a fresh pair of socks. It's a big morale lift, does your feet a world of good and gives you a chance to catch any hotspots that may end up blistering. For me 3 would be an absolute minimum, 4 would let you have a pair for sleeping/reserve.

05-23-2005, 06:26
2 pair of socks...(both light-weight summer socks)

you NEVER need more.... :D

05-23-2005, 07:15
I'm with Nick.

As a SOBO, me thinks the chances of your feet getting and staying wet are greater than for a NOBO. Wet feet arent the end of the world, but they do increase your chances of blisters dramatically.

Unlike those going north, you won't have the opportunity to hit an outfitter right away to make adjustments.

Can you put wet socks on in the morning. Sure, that's part of hiking. On the otherhand, there might come a day when starting out with dry socks (even if they get wet in an hour) might make all the difference in the world.

Is that possibility worth an extra few ounces for you? Who knows.

Rick B

SGT Rock
05-23-2005, 07:36
I carry two pairs of liners for most summer hikes. One for hiking and one for camp. If the weather is a little cooler I'll add another pair so I can layer. I don't carry regular socks except in cooler weather since I am happy to just hike in liners.

05-23-2005, 07:50
i wear 1 pair and carry 2 pair in my pack:cool: neo

05-23-2005, 07:58
Socks are light. Why not 3 or 4 pairs? Assuming that you are someone who does not wash out socks on a regular basis, it's a long ways between laundrymats.

05-23-2005, 08:18
Three. This will enable a rotation system in wet weather.



05-23-2005, 08:22
It was always the drying time that killed me. My socks seemed to never dry out once they got wet. Overnights were seldom enough to dry my socks out properly and they dried poorly on the back of my pack. I started the trail carrying something like 7 pairs of socks and liners....WAAAAY too much. Virtually a stuff sack of their own. I always started the day with dry socks, but 60 minutes in, regardless of weather, my socks were wet again. So I stripped down to only 4 pairs of socks (including one pair that was ONLY for camp and town use). My feet were still pretty much always wet, but I wasn't carrying so many pairs of wet socks in my pack.

Of course the lighter weight the socks you wear are (such as lightweight shoes make possible) the faster they will dry and the less likely they will be to get sweat soaked. My feet are actually drier (all in all) since I switched to lightweight, ventilated boots. Everything may soak out in a rainstorm, but they dry in no time flat and my feet don't sweat nearly as much.

05-23-2005, 08:36
What has always worked for me is ...wear one, carry two.


05-23-2005, 09:15
Three pairs of liners and mid-weight Smartwools. Two to alternate, one for camp. If you get a non-rainy day you can clip wet socks to the outside of your pack to flap in the breeze while you're hiking and dry by mid-day. Changing out socks mid-day is not gonna happen every day, but when it does, worth the effort!

Ramblin' Rose
05-23-2005, 18:35
Early June in the "100 mile wilderness" I think I would be happier with 3 pairs of socks - Its been a wet spring which will guarantee a lot of muddy sections. May as well be prepared to do some slogging on the treadway knowing that you'll have atleast one or two dry pairs to change into.

05-23-2005, 19:30
I'd say 3 for sure. I'd never go out on an extended trip with less than that. That includes the ones I'm wearing though, so 2 in the pack.

1 pair i use ONLY for camp. This is the pair that stays dry and warm for camp and never gets used to hike in. The other 2 pairs get rotated for hiking, giving the other pair a chance to dry out.

I pack pretty light these days, but socks is something I don't skimp on.

05-23-2005, 20:57
3 pairs...wear one have one hopefully drying and the third for camp and sleeping....damp socks at night can make your feet cold.

05-24-2005, 09:49
Socks?!?! Pffffffffffft.

Next thing you're going to tell me is you wear shoes too.

Amateurs.... ;-)

-- BW

How many pairs of socks should I carry on my thru hike this summer? 2 or 3?
And, in addition, since I am going sobo on June 1st, whould I be bringing warmer clothing to get me through ME NH and VT? Does it get that cold at nite/during the day?


05-28-2005, 16:41
I find that even rotating 3 pairs of mid-weight socks (1 wearing, two hanging off pack) doesn't allow them to dry. People, correct me if you've had better luck! So if dry feet is the concern, consider lightweight socks, such as Smartwool Mini-Crew socks. Then either 2 or 3 pairs should be enough -- not including camp socks -- depending on the humidity of your hike.

05-28-2005, 17:01
i read a trick that worked for me to dry socks overnight. Pour boiling water into your nalgene, if you carry one. wrap the socks around the bottle and they will dry overnight. I did it in winter and had the bottle in bag with me as well...so i was warm and my socks were dry

05-28-2005, 19:20
Mike, an important thing to consider is YOUR feet. This will help you make the adequate decision for YOU. For example, I am a current Thru-Hiker and have never had a blister (at least not on my feet), ever. I've done a lot of hiking, and have been audacious enough to brake in new footwear with tough days. Back in April my father and I ended up hiking 22 miles, through several inches of snow, over the course of almost twelve hours. Obviously my feet were soaked all day long, and I was wearing liners, Smart Wool socks, and full-on boots. Even this torturous event yielded no adverse affects on my feet, aside from a little dead skin.

But this is me. My father, on the other hand, will get a blister on his heel, or under a toenail, for no apparent reason and not notice it until he checks his feet at the end of the day. And then of course there is everyone in-between the two of us.

So think about how your feet react to the elements you are going to subject them to. Perhaps you need the extra padding of a thick sock, the protection of a high-top leather Gore-Tex boot, and sock liners. In my opinion this is the "safest" route to take initially if you are uncertain. However, very few people need all of this once they become accustom to long-term hiking. I personally wear thinner Cool-Max style socks and decent trail runners, and usually wear sock liners to keep my feet dryer.

If your feet do not do well wet, then three socks would be a minimum, liners would be essential, and careful selection of foot wear a must to get shoes on your feet that will dry quickly and are best at keeping water out to begin with. If your feet are rocks and refuse to blister, then you can get away with two pairs of lightweight socks, or if you're really into going light, just one pair (although I don't recommend this, in case you blow through a sock a long way from town), and then roll with the lightest shoes you can find.

And finally, donít forget about bedtime. If you want socks on your feet at night you will probably want one extra pair of socks just for that purpose. Good luck, and donít let it overwhelm you. If you still cannot decide, take three pair. Itís easier to send one pair home later!

GA -->ME 2005

05-28-2005, 23:39
I always brought 4 pairs of socks with 2 pairs of liners. That way I could hike for 4 days and have a clean pair each day. I would wash one pair of liners at night in my cooking pot and they would dry in a day. I used shampoo to wash the liners because you do not need a lot of rinse water with shampoo.

note: 4 pairs of hiking socks an 2 pairs of liners weights about 14 ounces.