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  1. #1
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    Default Do you need a full base layer and camp clothes?

    I'm trying to put together my ultralight clothing gear list, and I was curious if most people carry a full base layer in addition to camp clothes (merino wool or other). I know some people claim they only hike in shorts, but I know I get cold easily. Does anyone have recommendations for the extent of layers necessary to stay warm while hiking but dry at camp (with as little weight as possible?)

  2. #2

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    Hard tell'en, not Know'en where your going or when your going there. If it's the middle of summer, probably not. Any other time, probably yes.

    Base layers are often used as sleep clothes and rarely used as hiking clothes unless it's really cold out, like below freezing. Otherwise you quickly over heat.
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  3. #3

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    Great question! Where and in what season do you plan to hike? It sounds as if you’re asking about a clothing list for cooler temps?


    In cooler weather, my practice is to keep my camp clothes separate from my hiking clothes because my camp clothes are also my sleeping clothes. It can be a life saver to have dry sleeping clothes so if you need to hike in a base layer and you also sleep in a base layer, I would pack an extra set.

    When camping, I wear Patagonia mid-weight base layers, a homemade down skirt, and a down jacket.

    When hiking, I wear pants, a long-sleeved base layer shirt (usually light to midweight) and a 200 weight fleece. I generally don’t get cold when hiking (but get very cold once I stop). The key is moisture management so you must tailor your choices to minimize sweating.

    (I recently bought a Patagonia micro-D 1/4 zip fleece and it is very warm...and 6.6 oz! This will be worn while hiking but can be layered under my down jacket at camp if it’s very cold).

  4. #4
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    I generally never carry more than two sets of clothes: one for hiking and one for camp/sleeping
    Cold weather (early spring) I hike in athletic leggings and a tee and sleep in merino baselayers (while if cold while hiking, I can layer up by adding my rain gear and, in extreme cases, my puffy)
    Moderate weather (late spring/early fall or any time I can expect warm days and cool nights) I hike in a tee and shorts and sleep in merino baselayers
    Warm weather (e.g. July and August on the AT in the mid-Atlantic) I hike in a tee and shorts and sleep in a lightweight tank and shorts, and I leave the baselayers at home.

    I always carry my puffy even in summer because it doubles as my pillow, so I'm always prepared for a random cold snap or the occasional over-air-conditioned restaurant/grocery store in town.
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  5. #5
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    A very subjective question because what works for me might not for you, everyone deals with cold and heat differently. I typically hike in shorts and a light long sleeve down to about freezing temperatures. Any colder my base layers go on or my rain gear for extra warmth. But like what has been mentioned by others moisture management not sweating is paramount. And one i have a problem with i just wanna go. Other than that for me my base layer is in my dry bag for camp and sleeping. Warmer months no base layer needed.( using rain gear for warmth while hiking is easier to regulate heat and i base layer for sleep/camp.
    Last edited by JNI64; 07-11-2020 at 15:39.

  6. #6

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    My advice is to make a cold start.If you are dressed warm and comfortable when you put on your pack and start out,then you are wearing too much clothing and will begin to overheat,perspire,and get your hiking clothes wet.Only you can say what is right for you but I know from experience that you Must have dry clothes to change into once you get to camp in cooler weather.I personally try not to eat in mine.Day clothes,whether damp or not will go in a nylafume bag and stay under my quilts so they won't be frozen or cold in the morning.And don't forget to loosen up your shoes in freezing weather so you can put them on in the morning.

  7. #7
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    Default

    Thank you! I will be doing a nobo thru hike so a little bit of the shoulder seasons will be included

  8. #8

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    Not knowing the time of year this hike will take place, where it will be, and at what elevation(s), it's difficult to assess what needs may exist. Given little information about that, "If there's a doubt, there is no doubt" would apply. Base layer clothing does not weigh much or have a lot of volume, having that gear and not needing it beats not having the gear and needing it.

  9. #9
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    Really is a tough question as we all know the weather in the mountains in shoulder season can be like a " box of chocolates you really never know what your gonna get".

  10. #10
    Garlic
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    Since the word "ultralight" is used in the first sentence, I'll throw in this advice. Every piece of clothing you carry should be able to be worn at the same time, as part of a coordinated layering system. This doesn't necessarily negate the "two sets of clothing" concept though. If your "sleep clothing" is a base layer of a jersey and long johns which you may or may not need when hiking, you're complying with the idea. You'll do that for the first month of an AT NOBO hike, for instance. In the summer, you may ship that layer home because you don't need that "sleep clothing" any more. As many others have said, it all depends on the season.

    In another example of going ultralight, I no longer carry a puffy jacket "for camp" on a thru hike. A decent camp jacket not only weighs a couple of pounds, you need a larger pack for the volume. When you stop and camp, you have a sleeping bag or quilt to keep you very warm. It's very unusual to need to wear a heavy, puffy jacket while hiking, and if you do, you stand a chance of wetting out the insulation and making it useless. I have a couple of lighter layers that can be combined to replace a jacket, and are more flexible for most thru-hike conditions. And one can be sent home for a summer season.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  11. #11

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    My lady friend whom I hike with a lot wears "leggings" during the shoulder seasons. She prefers these to hiking pants. They seem to be popular with woman hikers these days, I see a lot of them on the trails we day hike. Unless you have a really nice butt to show off, I'd suggest you also wear shorts over them She has a fleece lined pair for the winter.
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by mollyramona View Post
    Thank you! I will be doing a nobo thru hike so a little bit of the shoulder seasons will be included
    For a thru hike carry only what you will hike in. I carried two sets of clothes. One was camp clothes for first two or three nights out of town. Then camp clothes were hiking clothes until next town and laundry stop. Two base layer shirts and your fleece can get you through a cold night. Donít carry more than you can wear at one time on the coldest night. Even wore my rain jacket one night.

  13. #13
    Garlic
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    ...Unless you have a really nice butt to show off, I'd suggest you also wear shorts over them ...
    This reminds me of a saying I heard decades ago--If you're past your 30s, Lycra is probably not your friend. And this is certainly not limited to only one of the sexes. In the biking world, there's an acronym: MAMIL (middle-aged men in Lycra).
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Unless you have a really nice butt to show off, I'd suggest you also wear shorts over them She has a fleece lined pair for the winter.
    oh my, I can’t believe you said this. ALL women have the right to wear leggings. We are not here for your viewing pleasure.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Traffic Jam View Post
    oh my, I can’t believe you said this. ALL women have the right to wear leggings. We are not here for your viewing pleasure.
    All Butts Matter!!!!

  16. #16
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    Yeah they're not like the triple crown views of va, they're not here for your viewing pleasure!!!!

  17. #17

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    Pigs........

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    My lady friend whom I hike with a lot wears "leggings" during the shoulder seasons. She prefers these to hiking pants. They seem to be popular with woman hikers these days, I see a lot of them on the trails we day hike. Unless you have a really nice butt to show off, I'd suggest you also wear shorts over them .
    The first half of this comment is an example of a man attempting to be helpful in the women's forum. (Not necessarily succeeding, as I'm confident the OP didn't need a guy to point out the existence of "leggings" as if the term was from a foreign language.)

    The second half is an example of an instance where maybe the man should have thought twice about whether his opinion was relevant before posting it. Is a man's opinion on the appearance of women's butts in leggings relevant to a conversation about comfortable, lightweight clothing for backpacking as a woman? (It's not.)
    Ah, Whiteblaze.
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  19. #19

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    Please accept my apologies for my apparently insensitive remarks on leggings. I didn't mean to sidetrack this discussion.
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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Please accept my apologies for my apparently insensitive remarks on leggings. I didn't mean to sidetrack this discussion.
    Of course! Thank you.

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