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  1. #1
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    Default March NOBO clothing

    Greetings, all.

    Planning March 3 start NOBO. Put in many miles hiking around the world, but haven't done too much in cold weather. My layering plans for top: wiking base layer, Flylow hiking shirt, puffy, rain cover. Bottom: longjohns for coldest days.

    Any advice/guidance on whether this sounds right? Also would *very much* appreciate any suggestions on best gloves to handle cold as well as rain.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenway View Post
    Greetings, all.

    Planning March 3 start NOBO. Put in many miles hiking around the world, but haven't done too much in cold weather. My layering plans for top: wiking base layer, Flylow hiking shirt, puffy, rain cover. Bottom: longjohns for coldest days.

    Any advice/guidance on whether this sounds right? Also would *very much* appreciate any suggestions on best gloves to handle cold as well as rain.
    My best advice would be to see if you could wait until April or May.
    The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
    Richard Ewell, CSA General


  3. #3

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    That's a good start for hiking, but what about camp or when those layers get wet?

    What would you be wearing in Central Mass in early March? You'll need the same in NC. It's as much winter in the mountains of NC as it is in Mass during March. GA can be reasonably mild, but your only there for 7-10 days and then you get into the real mountains.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  4. #4
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    The best gloves to handle cold, strong winds, as well as rain for me depends on whether I'm using trekking poles and shell or outer apparel has hand pockets. Since I've had frost nip several times from winter hunting and fishing experiences yrs ago(dont like numb hands), dont typically use trekking poles, have excellent balance and walking mindfulness even with hands loosely held in shell pockets, and protecting extremity(hands, top of head, feet) as well as core warmth is paramount in early Mar on the AT and part of my overall apparel layering approaches for utmost diversity to address this transitional weather month as well as April I tend to reach for a shell with hand pockets. That said, for early Mar AT starts I prefer a two part liner and WP shell outer glove. I've used as liners: Zpacks Possum wool, Smartwool Liner Tech merino/acrylic, and other thin light nylon inners(for when hands are in shell pockets in heavy rain). For outer glove/mitt shell I've used: Outdoor Research Pertex Shield + WP shells that suffice when hands are mostly in pockets and for wind shells alone(this is the same WP membrane used in the OR Helium II rain jacket but no seam sealed), MLD rain Mitts and Zpacks Vertices rain mitts.


    There are other combos that may suffice to depending on variables. Sometimes a WP glove of appropriate wt and warmth like made by SealSkinz or Serius or reversing the WP layer to an inner using Nitrile gloves as the inner or possibly even outer(if liner is thin enough) and a warm glove outer that may get wet. Some seem to get along with bread bags as a spontaneous on the fly response to inclement weather both on feet and hands. I've done this too but have found better more durable less potentially problematic ways IMO than bread bags.


    Shell choice also plays a role. For example, on WB ponchos are ballyhooed. I myself dont like these for the cold rain and wind. I save a poncho for wet warmer calmer conditions. A UL(the lightest wt) rain jacket that also doubles as a wind jacket is what I prefer for Mar. I also wear a rain jacket as part of my sleep wear adding warmth to my sleep system. A rain jacket is not just for the rain! Wearing a poncho my lower arms tend to get soaked so arm rain 'chaps ' are what some may wear.


    You should expect and prepare for a diversity of weather scenarios for March going into mid April: freezing temps, ice, frigid high winds, maybe some snow accumulation(a definite possibility, early on the more so!) perhaps followed 2 days later by high 70*-low 80*s, humidity, no wind, sunny clear skies, and having to dump heat.

    Last edited by Dogwood; 10-23-2019 at 15:48.

  5. #5
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    Add mittens and a balaclava to the kit. Definitely some light weight liner gloves. I carry both almost year round. A hard shell is a nice option compared to raincoat, if its raining hard enough to wear a raincoat you are going to get soaked with or without a rain coat. A hard-shell stops the wind and breathes far better than Goretex, although Goretex Pro does breathe better than regular Goretex (albeit much more money) Make sure any tops you carry have very generous pit zips, even if its cold out if you are working hard you need pit zips to let out heat and perspiration.

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    Bring enough money to pay for motel/hostel stays while waiting out any big storms.

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    Your clothes are fine
    Your sleep system is what you need to dial in

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Add mittens and a balaclava to the kit. Definitely some light weight liner gloves. I carry both almost year round. A hard shell is a nice option compared to raincoat, if its raining hard enough to wear a raincoat you are going to get soaked with or without a rain coat. A hard-shell stops the wind and breathes far better than Goretex, although Goretex Pro does breathe better than regular Goretex (albeit much more money) Make sure any tops you carry have very generous pit zips, even if its cold out if you are working hard you need pit zips to let out heat and perspiration.
    What are you defining as a hard shell? I'm struggling to come up with an example of any traditional high end hard shell that doesn't use some version of Gore Tex.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBOW! View Post
    Your clothes are fine
    Your sleep system is what you need to dial in
    Thanks, DBOW. For past few years, I've been using 20-degree quilt and NEMO Tensor sleeping pad. Figure some early nights on AT might press the limits, but this is my sleep system plan.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenway View Post
    Thanks, DBOW. For past few years, I've been using 20-degree quilt and NEMO Tensor sleeping pad. Figure some early nights on AT might press the limits, but this is my sleep system plan.
    Yes, that will press the limits - by a lot and a lot of the time.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Yes, that will press the limits - by a lot and a lot of the time.
    Really? I would disagree with you.

    I would add in one of the down hoodie's for use with the quilt and a thick pair of sleeping socks. But with those and his other gear...He has a puffy, longjohns, a rain jacket, gloves. Add those in and he should be good to 0 degrees. Especially if he is in a tent or tightly setup tarp. I used to spend a couple of weeks on the AT during Dec/Jan with a setup not much different than the above and never had issues with being cold.

    If you are really concerned then add in a silk bag liner and mail it home when the weather gets better (it will add about 5 degrees to the quilt).

  12. #12
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    I stated from Springer on March 7th. I wore shorts and thin shirt when I was hiking. That said, I did change into fleece underwear top and bottoms when camping. I did have several days/weeks of snow and very cold weather in March and early April. You just have to be ready for any cold at that early start. So pack a little more that you would like then when you get to Harpers Ferry mail it home, then get it back in New Hampshire. That is what I did and it worked out well.

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    Very helpful. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenway View Post
    Greetings, all.

    Planning March 3 start NOBO. Put in many miles hiking around the world, but haven't done too much in cold weather. My layering plans for top: wiking base layer, Flylow hiking shirt, puffy, rain cover. Bottom: longjohns for coldest days.

    Any advice/guidance on whether this sounds right? Also would *very much* appreciate any suggestions on best gloves to handle cold as well as rain.


    I think youíll be ok, but youíll be cold sometimes.

    Which puffy are you using?

    I started on March 12th in 17 and we had some days in the low 20s early on.

    I had a lightweight Patagonia capilene t shirt as my base layer and wore their thermal weight hoodie (basically like a mini grid fleece) over it, which was often enough while really moving. If it was in the 20s Iíd wear my wind jacket over both and that was always enough - those climbs really warm you up.

    A few nights I got really cold and would wear my puffy over the same fleece Iíd hiked in (it was so cold it never really rained so it was dry enough) and wrapped my quilt around me at camp, and wore my puffy to sleep.

    The boring answer is to put your hiking clothes on and go for some hikes this winter when itís around freezing and see how you feel. Remember your pack is going to be almost another layer itself.

    If youíre not comfortable, adding some more ounces for a fleece isnít going to be the end of the world, and youíll have a chance to dump it in three or four days. That hiker box at mountain crossings is really something.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shrewd View Post
    I think youíll be ok, but youíll be cold sometimes.

    Which puffy are you using?

    I started on March 12th in 17 and we had some days in the low 20s early on.

    I had a lightweight Patagonia capilene t shirt as my base layer and wore their thermal weight hoodie (basically like a mini grid fleece) over it, which was often enough while really moving. If it was in the 20s Iíd wear my wind jacket over both and that was always enough - those climbs really warm you up.

    A few nights I got really cold and would wear my puffy over the same fleece Iíd hiked in (it was so cold it never really rained so it was dry enough) and wrapped my quilt around me at camp, and wore my puffy to sleep.

    The boring answer is to put your hiking clothes on and go for some hikes this winter when itís around freezing and see how you feel. Remember your pack is going to be almost another layer itself.

    If youíre not comfortable, adding some more ounces for a fleece isnít going to be the end of the world, and youíll have a chance to dump it in three or four days. That hiker box at mountain crossings is really something.
    I would think that with an early March start you wouldn't want to dump any warm clothing that might be needed to stay warm in single digit temps/storms just because you haven't needed it yet - until you're through the Smoky's plus some - no matter how warm you've been for a few days before hitting Mountain Crossings.

  16. #16

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    You are OK when you are hiking, that's not the problem. It's when you stop that the problem begins.
    I would recommend including a down sweater (if not a full blown down jacket) and merino wool, head to toe.

    This stuff is light and you can send it home later, but it's worth it's weight in gold believe me.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    I would think that with an early March start you wouldn't want to dump any warm clothing that might be needed to stay warm in single digit temps/storms just because you haven't needed it yet - until you're through the Smoky's plus some - no matter how warm you've been for a few days before hitting Mountain Crossings.
    Correct, I was referring to extra clothes brought as a just in case/unfamiliar with cold situation.

    For reference I kept my cold weather gear till southern Virginia

  18. #18
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    I have a sample size of one... so take my comments with a grain of salt.

    When it was cold, I typically hiked w/ the following clothing: Buff, knit-cap, wide-brim hat, S/S undershirt (wool), long-sleeve hiking shirt, mid-wt liner gloves, GoreTex overmitts, 100-wt fleece vest, LW Wind Jacket, running shorts, hiking pants, wool socks, & trail runners. I was able to handle down to the teens w/ this setup. I didn't stop much until I reached camp. It I did stop, I'd throw on my rain gear - top & bottom. I wouldn't stop long. Then, I'd start going again. If I started to tire, I'd simply hike slower to keep the body metabolism up until I reached camp.

    At camp, I had an additional S/S undershirt, Mid-Wt long underwear (top & bottom), dry socks, synthetic puffy jacket, and running shorts (if needed). I made sure my camp/sleep clothing was always dry. I put my wet shoes & socks in a dry bag & put it inside my 15-deg sleeping bag. My shoes never froze solid (like some hikers experienced).

    My absolute worst hiking day was in early Apr going into the Smokeys. Freezing rain (liquid) that froze to the vegetation after it fell. I worried about hypothermia big-time. I prayed to not twist an ankle or incur some other injury that would cause me to stop. It even took me 5 min to open a Snickers bar. Couldn't get my fingers to work. Do not underestimate the cold in GA/NC/TN in March/April.
    2013 AT Thru-hike: 3/21 to 8/19
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  19. #19
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    I would at least add another sweater or fleece, a hat/beanie. I'd throw in a nice merino base layer, too. IMHO, a 20 degree quilt will be pushing it a lot of nights, even in a tent, so I'd toss in a bag liner for March & April. Total for those 3 items: about 20 ounces. I've never heard anyone complain about being toasty & dry when it's snowing or cold drizzlin' outside.

  20. #20
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    I am starting 2/12 so a couple weeks before you. I plan to have 2 base layer shirts I can wear if needed and a half zip Also I plan for a light fleece which I may hike in at times when very cold. My puffy would be just for around camp at night or while sleeping. And I have mid weight long johns for sleeping or very cold hiking.

    for gloves I have smart wool liners, some glove mittens I picked up at Cabelas and if very cold/windy I will use my rain shells over the mittens.

    As for sleeping, I looked a both average and record cold temps in Georgia. I will be bring a 20 deg bag and a 40 deg quilt to supplement the bag. Eventually the bag goes home.

    These may not be the lightest choices, but I am used to the weight. I also expect to be spending nights at shelters when conditions warrant.

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