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PCT clothes help
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Bradford Childs
(Ford22) - F
PCT clothes help on 06/02/2011 14:34:38 MDT Print View

Planning a PCT thru for 2012 NOBO early May-Sept. Wondering if this gear will be warm enough. Also should I adjust my clothes throughout the trip or just keep pretty much the same stuff for the duration of the trip?

Patagonia Cap1 LS shirt
Synthetic convertable pants
Smartwool Adrenaline crew sock
Thin fleece LS (~100wt probably) or longunderwear top
Hot Chilles underwear bottoms
Montbell Thermawrap
Thin fleece Balaclava
polypro glove liners
Marmot Mica W/B jacket
W/B rain pants (for WA only maybe)

Planning to buy a 20 degree down sleeping bag (currently own a 32 degree). I plan to use a Ridgerest foam pad. I sleep pretty cold.


Edited by Ford22 on 06/02/2011 15:04:20 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: PCT clothes help on 06/02/2011 14:37:53 MDT Print View

Ford, you might want to state approximately when you intend to start and finish, and whether you are northbound or southbound. That would make a lot of difference in clothing warmth needed.


Jack Grabïtt
(Ttraletrasch) - F

Locale: PNW
nice. on 06/02/2011 14:39:17 MDT Print View

this,is awesome.
I see alot of lists like this, im wanting to make my list a bit more like this. big ups:)
I would do the same I think afa rain pants, but do you plan to use the ridgerest full-length?

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
PCT clothes help on 06/02/2011 14:52:09 MDT Print View

Your list looks very similar to mine. A few thoughts:

When it's too cold to hike in just your shirt, what's your second layer? I don't know whether or not the Mica is breathable enough to use as a windbreaker, and a fleece might be too warm. So, you might consider a windshirt (which will only add 3-4 ounces). I wore mine a LOT.

Also, why the light fleece and the Thermawrap? For me, a fleece would be too warm to hike in on all but the coldest days on the trail. And it duplicates the function of the Thermawrap. Maybe ditch the fleece?

If NOBO on the typical thru-hiker schedule, add rain pants or a rainwrap in Sisters or Ashland.

FWIW, I'm a cold sleeper and used a 32-degree Summerlite the whole way (+ a silk liner and I slept in a bivy sack ).

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: PCT clothes help on 06/02/2011 14:52:26 MDT Print View


Edited by annapurna on 06/02/2011 15:48:56 MDT.

Bradford Childs
(Ford22) - F
Re: PCT clothes help on 06/02/2011 15:12:30 MDT Print View

Nick: I use a torso length ridgerest and a small piece of closed cell foam for my hip bone (I'm a side sleeper) and then I use my pack (ULA Conduit with rain gear stuffed inside) for leg insulation.

Scott S: I have been using this thin fleece to replace my long underwear top. They were both around 8oz and felt the fleece was warmer (may not be true). When its cold and rainy I wear my fleece under my jacket. I also wear my fleece in mornings for the first 30 min or so. The Mica is super thin and so I have no problem using it like a windshirt when the fleece isn't warm enough in the wind. I think wind shirts sound wonderful but I have trouble justifying more money for something that adds weight. Also I wonder if the bivy and liner are equal a 20 degree bag.

Edited by Ford22 on 06/02/2011 15:23:58 MDT.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: PCT clothes help on 06/02/2011 15:32:06 MDT Print View

It might keep you warm enough, but personally I would have a thin down jacket or something similar at least for So Cal. It's really cold in So Cal. Don't let all the talk about the big bad desert make you think it's always hot because it's not. I was snowed on Memorial Day weekend for 4 days in 2008. I was iced on this Memorial Day weekend on San Jacinto. Here's a picture:

Ice on trees on San Jacinto

I was also rained on with hurricane winds for a few days two weekends ago and I've been rained and hailed on in the Mojave desert in 2009. If nothing else, my jacket helps me extend the range of my bag. I bounced it for a while in the hot summer months.

If you want to go with what you have, it will may work out just fine or you can always pick up another layer somewhere, too.

Bradford Childs
(Ford22) - F
Cold SoCal on 06/02/2011 16:00:21 MDT Print View

Thanks for the warning! I guess not taking the MLD Speedmid shelter is out of the question then. The Montbell Thermwrap is a synthetic version of a light down jacket.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: PCT clothes help on 06/02/2011 16:45:19 MDT Print View

Here's Mount Laguna on May 9th of this year.

Stephan Doyle
Re: PCT clothes help on 06/02/2011 17:08:23 MDT Print View

Like others have said,

I'd ditch the fleece (windshirt instead)
Thermawrap is heavier and not quite as warm as Montbell's UL or EXL jackets

Bivy adds ~5º, liner less. You might be able to get by with a bivy + silk liner instead of buying a new b.

Bradford Childs
(Ford22) - F
Wind shirt, second layer on 06/02/2011 17:49:01 MDT Print View

Ok so let's assume I get the 20 bag because my other is worn out. Maybe the best option be to get a Montbell UL Down Inner and a ~3oz wind shirt. Would I still need a second thin LS top? What do you do when it is cold during hiking? I know from experience on the CT that I was freezing with a just a Capilene1 LS and my Mica rain jacket hiking relatively fast in cold rain.

Edited by Ford22 on 06/02/2011 17:50:52 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Wind shirt, second layer on 06/02/2011 18:06:51 MDT Print View

"What do you do when it is cold during hiking?"

Walk faster.


drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: Wind shirt, second layer on 06/02/2011 18:16:19 MDT Print View

+1 for walking faster, and also make sure to eat enough to keep the furnace burning hot.

Bradford Childs
(Ford22) - F
Hike faster on 06/02/2011 18:42:14 MDT Print View

So that's what I would usually say but I'm hiking with my girlfriend. However, it is likely that she would be able to speed up enough for me to stay warm. Let's assume I can hike fast/eat enough to regulate heat. Do I still need a 2 layers of base on top or should I do: base LS+windshirt+downjacket+W/B jacket?

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Hike faster on 06/02/2011 18:44:18 MDT Print View

"So that's what I would usually say but I'm hiking with my girlfriend."

Tell her she looks fat in those hiking pants, then run. You'll both stay plenty warm......

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Hike faster on 06/02/2011 19:09:13 MDT Print View

What about:

(1) One S/S base t-shirt, like a 150wt wool.

(2) One L/S 1/4-zip mid-layer (like a Cap 2 Lightweight Zip Neck, around 5-7 oz). Layer this over the t-shirt if you are really cold and you aren't going to sweat too much b/c of temp or hiking pace.

(3) A windshirt.

(4) A down jacket for camp, sleeping if really cold. Think about the Montbell UL Down Parka, a piece I just got that is really nice. A few extra ounces for the hood.

(5) Mica or a Driducks rain jacket stays in the pack, unless it is a sustained rain.

Keep gloves, windshirt and hat/balaclava in an outer pocket of your pack and add these first as needed. Start with the windshirt in light rain.
Keep whichever shirt you aren't wearing accessible near the top of the pack. You get several combinations with the t-shirt, mid-layer and windshirt.
Keep Mica stored in the pack, bringing out in sustained rain.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Hike faster on 06/02/2011 19:35:31 MDT Print View

"Let's assume I can hike fast/eat enough to regulate heat. Do I still need a 2 layers of base on top or should I do: base LS+windshirt+downjacket+W/B jacket?"

Ford, nobody here can begin to answer this question.

Only you know how heavy your pack will be, how tired you are, what the weather will be, how much uphill you have, how fast or slow your metabolic rate is...

When I am along the JMT in Central California in the middle of summer, I am wearing a thin sun shirt with a fleece shirt over that. As soon as I stop walking, I have a down vest and a down inner jacket with a rain shell over that. At least I know that my metabolic rate isn't what it used to be.


Stephan Doyle
Re: Wind shirt, second layer on 06/02/2011 20:36:55 MDT Print View

My wind shirt is my "second thin LS top."

I've found that I stay comfortable down to the high 20's with a windshirt and a lightweight merino base layer. My eVent rainshell keeps me comfortable a little lower. Colder than that, I'll suffer a little bit before it warms up.

For /ME/, an extra layer is superfluous.

If you are looking for an extra layer, something like an R1 would be best - breathable while on the move, and still a fair bit of warmth if you can add a layer over it to cut the wind. Melanzana ( was just recommended around these parts as a lighter and cheaper R1 alternative.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
PCT on 06/02/2011 20:52:10 MDT Print View

I think Steven's suggestion is a pretty good one, pretty versatile and while you could probably get by w/ just a long sleeve top- the small hit in weight AND factoring the length of the trip AND the wide variety of weather- that's probably the route I'd go

Bradford Childs
(Ford22) - F
Second base layer. on 06/03/2011 11:05:21 MDT Print View

"tell her she looks fat in her pants"... probably very effective, but potentially dangerous when trekking poles are present! Too funny!

Thanks for all the help guys! Based on what you all have said I think that I will do a LS base+2nd thin LS (~5-6oz possibly hooded)+windjacket+down jacket+W/B jacket. I think that will give me the most versatility while only gaining about 1-2oz overall. I really like the idea of the windshirt to protect the W/B membrane! Even though I was careful, I think I wore out the inner membrane in my Mica jacket on my Colorado trail thru :(

Wind shirt lovers: Any personal favorites or just look for something around 3oz and on sale?