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Thread: Clothing System

  1. #1

    Default Clothing System

    I will be going out on the Colorado Trail this summer, probably starting out mid-June. I will be on the trail anywhere from a week or however long it takes me to complete the trail, just depends on my summer work schedule. I know this is about a month earlier than everyone suggests for doing the CT. I'm wondering what kind of weather to expect at that time and also need some suggestions on my clothing system since I've never backpacked in a mountainous area being from Texas.

    After doing quite a bit of research on BPL and other blogs I am looking to take a longsleeve 1/4 zip capilene 2 shirt, a nike windshirt,driducks rain jacket, and a Marmot Zeus jacket. Is this appropriate for the conditions?

    On the bottom I will be bringing Under Armour boxer briefs,capilene 2 pants, and some REI convertible pants. Is this enough on the bottom and will I need the bottoms to my driducks?

    Thanks for the help guys! Lots of questions to come on this trip.

  2. #2
    Colorado Trail '07 / JMT '12
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    Default

    bmor, the weather itself isn't too bad the 2nd half of June, especially if you start from Denver where the early days are at lower elevation. The clothing you're describing should be adequate.

    The challenge in this timeframe is that there's a reasonable chance you'll encounter snow drifts, possibly some deep ones... just depends on how much total snowpack we get and how quickly it melts out. Starting the 1st of July would be a more sure bet, but if you don't have that flexibility you should go for it anyway!

  3. #3
    Garlic
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    Default

    That clothing looks appropriate at least for an experienced hiker, and experience counts as much as clothing. You need to be able to keep stuff dry and not sweat through everything on your climbs and in your shelter.

    I would take lightweight rain pants on a CT thru hike, but wouldn't say it's critical.

    As Hole-in-the-Hat says, the weather isn't the issue in June, it's the trail conditions. Not just snow in the high elevations, but ice and mud and swollen creek crossings down lower. Not really hazardous with some care, but it makes slower and more difficult travel. Some years, June weather can be preferable to July weather, depending on summer "monsoon" patterns.
    "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

  4. #4

    Default

    Take a little bit more clothes with you in mid June. It still can be cold in the mornings and evenings high up. Send them home if you're really sure you don't need them. My setting is pretty much close to yours. I had a long base layer, a T-shirt, a light fleece pullover, and a REI rain jacket on for about ten times in the mornings in late August, and felt cold when packing. And I wore gloves to break up my tent.

  5. #5

    Default Ct

    Thanks for the help guys. I have a little flexibility with start date but a later start date will limit how much of the trail I will have time to complete. I was wondering about the necessity of a t-shirt. I was thinking a lightweight longsleeve baselayer would be good, but i'm not sure if a t-shirt is necessary.

    Also what type of gloves did you wear and did you bring any type of headwear to keep warm? Since I'm new to hiking at high elevation I'm unsure of the night time summer temps and how cold to prepare for.

    I feel fairly comfortable with my clothing layers, its not much different than what I bring when I'm backpacking in the winter in Texas.

    What kind of mileage were you guys able to do? Once again the mountains will be new to me and I'm sure will slow me down some but i would like to get in as many miles as possible.

  6. #6
    Colorado Trail '07 / JMT '12
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    I would definitely take a lightweight fleece hat. Ounce-for-ounce, insulation on your head is a good investment. I'd also recommend fleece gloves or mitts since they provide some insulation even if wet.

    I like wearing a short-sleeve poly jersey on warm days, but you should be able to get by with your long sleeve base layer -- you can always pull the sleeves up for more ventilation.

    Typical temperatures on the trail for mid-June to mid-July are ~55-75 daytime high, and ~25-40 nighttime low.

    I averaged 18 miles a day on my hike -- it will depend a lot on your conditioning, pack weight, etc. I think 18/day is a little more than average, though there were a number of others who were faster. Remember that the average elevation is around 10,000', and there's a lot of up and down. For my hike, that meant about 2700' vertical gain on an average day.

  7. #7
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    Default

    You can see the gear I used for the CT (and other trails) here:
    http://www.pmags.com/the-evolving-ge...%E2%80%93-2006
    I always bring a hat, liner gloves and shell mitts for all my CO hiking FWIW.

    MPD (and my 'infamous' pie chart) here:
    http://www.pmags.com/colorado-trail-...-per-day-hiked



    Coming from Texas, ideally you want to spend a day or two acclimating in Denver and then start off relatively slowly (no more than 15 MPD perhaps) until about Kenosha Pass at 10k feet. After that? See how your body feels and proceed accordingly.
    Paul "Mags" Magnanti
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    The true harvest of my life is intangible...a little stardust caught,a portion of the rainbow I have clutched -Thoreau

  8. #8

    Default Acclimitization

    I was definitely planning on some acclimitization time. I am actually more worried about that than anything. Those elevations will be new to me and I'm curious to see how my body reacts to the change and the kind of mileage I'm able to do.

    Should I expect the elevation difference to affect my appetite?

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bmor831 View Post
    Thanks for the help guys. I have a little flexibility with start date but a later start date will limit how much of the trail I will have time to complete. I was wondering about the necessity of a t-shirt. I was thinking a lightweight longsleeve baselayer would be good, but i'm not sure if a t-shirt is necessary.

    Also what type of gloves did you wear and did you bring any type of headwear to keep warm? Since I'm new to hiking at high elevation I'm unsure of the night time summer temps and how cold to prepare for.

    I feel fairly comfortable with my clothing layers, its not much different than what I bring when I'm backpacking in the winter in Texas.

    What kind of mileage were you guys able to do? Once again the mountains will be new to me and I'm sure will slow me down some but i would like to get in as many miles as possible.
    I was wearing the T-shirt for the first a few days, then found out I got bad sun burn. So I just wore the two together for most of the time on the tail as it was pretty chilly at high altitude in August. A light fleece beanie and a pair of medium heavy fleece gloves should be OK. Be prepared for the night temperatures below 32^F. A 20^ sleeping bag is appropriate.

    I did it in 30 days including 4 zeros. Slow down to enjoy the scenes if you have time. I think your appetite at high altitude is only associated with whether you have AMS. Mine regained normal after the sickness was gone. AMS started on me at about 9,000'. You should spend more days below 10,000' in the first week, and drink a lot of water.

  10. #10
    Registered User 300winmag's Avatar
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    01-01-2010
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    Default More clothes

    What Highwayman sed, "... take a little more clothes."

    I'm starting July 1st to do the southern half. I'm taking lightweight polyester long johns suit and my Eddie bauer down jacket for cold nights that my WM Megalite 30 F. bag can't handle and crispy mornings. Also light fleece gloves and a light fleece Peruvian style OR hat for nights.

  11. #11
    Registered User
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    Default Elevation and Hydration

    Drink water, more than normal. Emergency person recently offered this simple explanation. Higher elevations are dryer. With every breath you exhale more moisture. You dehydrate quicker at higher elevations. Gotta drink more water to avoid dehydration. Staying hydrated is one key to acclimatizing.

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