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  1. #1
    Registered User StorminMormon's Avatar
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    Default Need help with Gloves, Hat, Socks

    I don't do a lot of winter hiking and I've already mortgaged the farm to get a few things I really needed. I'm down to the last 2 or 3 items and I'm trying to "buy smart". I want something nice, that works - but it don't want to spend a ton of money.

    Of course, for socks - I'll make concessions to have a very comfortable pair. So I don't mind putting a few extra bucks into socks. For my hat and my gloves - I'm not looking to go as cheap as possible, but keep in mind that these things will probably only get used 2 or 3 times in a year...so, I don't want anything made of gold (you know what I mean).

    So, my criteria are - I'll be hiking in November around Hot Springs, NC and I might do something in the Smoky's in January (or possibly Mt. Mitchell).

    Let me know what you think. Even if it's just to say "make sure you're gloves are waterproof...or make sure your hat is made of fleece and not "whatever".

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    For gloves, I recommend that you don't get gloves --- get mittens. Much warmer. Unfortunately when I lost one mitten on the AT this year, every outfitter I went into seemed to only offer gloves, or if they did have any sort of mittens they were big, bulky, heavy things designed for the ski slope.

    To save money, look to see if you have something like an Army/Navy surplus store. It's been some time since I've been in one of those, but I recall finding trigger-finger beefy wool mittens for not too much.

    I'm not sure what you can do for a mitten shell, though one really cheap option is to just make do with a pair of bread bags for those times when you really need a wind/waterproof shell.

    Hat: no strong opinions here. If you're hiking but not backpacking, then the dynamics are a bit different. For just daytime use, I generally have a pretty lightweight brimmed hat, and I'll add earbags (sort of a spiffy update on earmuffs) if cold/windy enough to warrant that. I'd certainly get some sort of synthetic --- or wool if you tolerate that well --- hat for warmth, just to wear at a break or for an emergency, however.
    Gadget
    PCT: 2008 NOBO, AT: 2010 NOBO, CDT: 2011 SOBO, PNT: 2014+2016

  3. #3
    Registered User The Cleaner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianLe View Post
    For gloves, I recommend that you don't get gloves --- get mittens. Much warmer. Unfortunately when I lost one mitten on the AT this year, every outfitter I went into seemed to only offer gloves, or if they did have any sort of mittens they were big, bulky, heavy things designed for the ski slope.

    To save money, look to see if you have something like an Army/Navy surplus store. It's been some time since I've been in one of those, but I recall finding trigger-finger beefy wool mittens for not too much.

    I'm not sure what you can do for a mitten shell, though one really cheap option is to just make do with a pair of bread bags for those times when you really need a wind/waterproof shell.

    Hat: no strong opinions here. If you're hiking but not backpacking, then the dynamics are a bit different. For just daytime use, I generally have a pretty lightweight brimmed hat, and I'll add earbags (sort of a spiffy update on earmuffs) if cold/windy enough to warrant that. I'd certainly get some sort of synthetic --- or wool if you tolerate that well --- hat for warmth, just to wear at a break or for an emergency, however.
    Mittens are better also hard to find but if you're out in the winter you will need a good pair it can get really cold&nasty.I always carry 2 pair ,a cheap fleece type for hiking in cold dry weather but if it's cold&raining or snowing I've got Mountian Hardware Epic gloves which are pricey but I don't like cold hands.On more than one trip my hands became so cold that I could hardly light a lighter to get my stove going just to thaw them out.For hats there are many types of fleece beanies which you can wear under your parka hood and also wear in your sleeping bag.Wool is sometimes cheaper but some people develope an itch factor.The bottom line is that staying warm isn't cheap but once you're hypothermic you'll wish you had maybe spent a few extra bucks....winter camping is great if you have proper gear...

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    I'm with Brian on the gloves vs mittens thing. Gloves do nothing for me, but mittens are warm and toasty. I like convertible mittens because they give me the warmth of mittens, yet the top easily comes off for those times when I want the full dexterity of bare fingers.

    For hats, I've become a fan of the Jardine Bomber hat.

  5. #5
    See you at Springer, Winter 09' Chance09's Avatar
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    Socks are easy. Go with Darn Tough Socks. Lifetime Warranty. I've hiked over 5,000 miles in them (not the same pair) and haven't had a blister. When they get holes in them you go to the store and exchange them anywhere they're sold.

    For hot weather hiking I like the coolmesh cushion 1/4th length. They're the only sock that keeps my feet from sweating. Otherwise i'd go with the merino wool with the cushion on the bottom only for hiking.

    Talk to them if you want about it. Best customer service from a sock company i've ever had.

    My socks got holes in them on the PCT and i called them up cause i couildn't find darn tough socks anywhere and asked if i could exchange them. They said ya mail them in and we'll replace them. If i'd have done that I would have had to get socks for while they were in the mail and i didn't want to do that and told them so. I'd rather hike in my darn tough socks with holes than any other sock. they said no worries keep them and we'll just mail you a pair.
    AT - Georgia to Maine '09
    PCT - Mexico to Canada '10
    CDT - Canada to Mexico '11


  6. #6
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    Another vote for surplus mittens. If you're lucky you can find both shells and liners (get extra liners). The trigger finger is handy for many things besides shooting. Iv'e used these in way below zero weather with wind and snow. You cant beat them.

    Here they are!
    http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/c....aspx?a=484005

    Great deal.

    FB
    Last edited by Feral Bill; 10-17-2010 at 17:32.
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  8. #8
    Doting Membrane Skidsteer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StorminMormon View Post
    I don't do a lot of winter hiking and I've already mortgaged the farm to get a few things I really needed. I'm down to the last 2 or 3 items and I'm trying to "buy smart". I want something nice, that works - but it don't want to spend a ton of money.

    Of course, for socks - I'll make concessions to have a very comfortable pair. So I don't mind putting a few extra bucks into socks. For my hat and my gloves - I'm not looking to go as cheap as possible, but keep in mind that these things will probably only get used 2 or 3 times in a year...so, I don't want anything made of gold (you know what I mean).

    So, my criteria are - I'll be hiking in November around Hot Springs, NC and I might do something in the Smoky's in January (or possibly Mt. Mitchell).

    Let me know what you think. Even if it's just to say "make sure you're gloves are waterproof...or make sure your hat is made of fleece and not "whatever".

    Thanks!
    Wool, wool, and wool.

    Gloves, hats, and socks are are three clothing choices that are always wool for me.
    Skids

    Insanity: Asking about inseams over and over again and expecting different results.
    Albert Einstein, (attributed)

  9. #9
    Registered User Lyle's Avatar
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    Socks: Mostly wool, not so thick as to make your shoes ill-fitting. Remember too tight will cut off circulation and make your feet more vulnerable to cold. I generally wear the same socks winter and summer while hiking. For camp, have dry wool socks. Down booties are also a blessing when it really gets cold.

    Gloves: I like light or medium weight wool gloves (cheap raggwool work well) with a nylon shell mitten. This combo is very versatile and allows you to adjust for warmth or need for dexterity. Have hiked in below zero temps with this combination with no problems.

    Hat: I like wool or acrylic knit. They breath well and if it's windy, you add your rain/wind jacket with the hood and you stay toasty. I dislike fleece hats for winter, ok in three season. In winter I generally wear the hat 24/7, and the fleece seems to trap more moisture on your forehead. I've ended up with chapping that I don't get with a knit hat.

    Keep in mind, it takes much less to keep you warm while moving. Your feet are amazing little furnaces while hiking, so don't go overboard on heavy socks or insulated boots.

  10. #10
    Registered User Wags's Avatar
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    yep, like others have said, wool gloves from your local army surplus. $5 a pair

    yep, like others have said, wool socks (darn tough or smartwool) expensive but worth it

    i prefered to buy a balaclava to a hat, as i feel it serves more purposes...
    " It's what people know about themselves inside that makes 'em afraid." ~Clint Eastwood, High Plains Drifter

  11. #11
    Registered User Boothill's Avatar
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    been wearing Smartwool socks for many years now and it's hard to go wrong with them, own about 20 pairs and will never be without them, very good socks

    boot

  12. #12

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    The best pair of gloves I ever had were a pair of fleece fingerless gloves, size XL. I could pull my fingers in when I needed more warmth and stick them out when I needed to use my bare fingers. Unfortunately, I lost them on the PCT in Washington.

    I made a Ray Jardine bomber hat. It's a great hat. I like the cord to keep it on my head. I use it to stay warm in my hoodless quilt. I can get overheated thanks to that hat. If it's really cold outside, I use it as a layer with another hat. Yes, I've been that cold.

    Socks are pretty fungible. So long as they are wool they seem to work well. I have thick and thin, crew length and shorter, with toes and without. They all work well for me.
    Some knew me as Piper, others as just Diane.
    I hiked the PCT: Mexico to Mt. Shasta, 2008. Santa Barbara to Canada, 2009.

  13. #13
    Registered User LIhikers's Avatar
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    For really cold weather I use a pair of light weight gloves under a pair of microfiber mittens. And for rrrrrrreally cold weather that combination goes inside of an outer nylon shell mitten.

  14. #14
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyle View Post
    Gloves: I like light or medium weight wool gloves (cheap raggwool work well) with a nylon shell mitten. This combo is very versatile and allows you to adjust for warmth or need for dexterity. Have hiked in below zero temps with this combination with no problems.
    That's the combo I use in all four seasons. Works like a champ. The surplus store has some wonderful cheap gloves for ~$4/pr. Add a simple nylon shell and I'm golden.

    Any inexpensive hat should be fine for winter use. I have a wool/acrylic blend hat I use for winter here in CO. I always pack a polypro balaclava as it is versatile (neck warmer, light hat, full face coverage in needed) and it is my only hat for three season use. (I do occasionally wear a fleece hat though for day use or just because it is handy as one is always stashed in my jacket. )
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  15. #15

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    I found that a pair of cheap polypro liner gloves under good semi-snow repellent mittens worked well. You will need to be able to operate a stove or pump with something over your hands and this is tough to do while wearing mittens. However, for most other sorts of activities, mittens are warmer. Expensive glove liners are very nice, but mine always ended up with food smells on the fingers and seemed to very attractive to mice, if I didn't destroy them myself with a small lighter mishap or such.
    I used an expedition weight balaclava and the attached hood of my goretex jacket for a hat. You'll also want sunglasses and some sunblock for your face, as the snow can be blinding and burn you quickly. It shouldn't be a problem down south, but if it's really cold out, take a pair of cheap tinted swimming goggles for you eyes. I never had a problem with this, even in the bad year that I started, but it is a cheap solution.
    As for socks, I didn't spend a lot to keep my feet warm. Some ziploc bags or breadbags worn over your socks will keep your feet warm. Bring an extra pair of socks, as your feet will be wet every day when you bag them, but if you're marching through snow, you boots will become soaked and refreeze every night anyway. Change your socks, dry out the bags and re-cover your socks when you make camp and switch to camp shoes (sandals won't freeze as solidly and are easier to get on when frozen).

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