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How much clothing
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David Vo
How much clothing on 08/12/2011 01:06:21 MDT Print View

I realize it's a matter of opinion and is totally up to me but I'd like to get an an idea, a feel, for what the Lightweighters (is that a term?) feel is the appropriate amount of clothes for x nights. I am planning a 3 day, 2 night backpacking trip. It'll be on the Central Coast of California. There likely will not be storms or anything. Counting the clothing I arrive in, how much extra do I need to bring? I don't mean jackets or coats. I mean, how many shirts/tops, pairs of underwear, socks etc. I've looked at gear lists and it seems like besides extra jackets or shells stuffed into a pack, most people don't bring any change of clothes. They just wear what they have on them on day one. Is this accurate? After a while, it seems kind of gross.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: How much clothing on 08/12/2011 01:17:54 MDT Print View

"After a while, it seems kind of gross."

I'm not sure what you mean here, David.

You need to pin down your target a little better. "On the Central Coast of California" doesn't mean too much, other than it is somewhat mild. Summer or winter? Rainy season or dry season? What elevation? All of those factors should help you determine a temperature range. It is typically coolest just before dawn, and it is typically warmest in the afternoon.

I figure out what the temperature range will be for where I am going (e.g. +70 F down to +40 F), and I figure the layers I need to accomplish that comfortably. Then I allocate at least one extra warm layer that is for a last resort, because you never know for sure when a rogue storm is going to hit that blows all of your predictions out of the ballpark. So, I carry a down vest (maybe six ounces) around with me and almost never wear it. Or, if my sleeping bag is doing poorly, the vest can get used inside the bag. Otherwise, it is my pillow.

If you are going on a longer trip, then you may choose to bring an extra synthetic t-shirt along. Then you can rinse the dirty one while you wear the extra. For a short trip, I generally don't bother. Changes of clothing are highly overrated.


David Vo
Re: Re: How much clothing on 08/12/2011 01:51:06 MDT Print View

Hi Bob,

Good point. I would say highs in mid 80's and lows in the low 50's though the 40's might be a possibility. I guess the short of your reply is that you don't pack a change of clothes ... just outter layers just in case.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: How much clothing on 08/12/2011 05:11:19 MDT Print View

Before I came to BPL, I brought a change of clothes for a trip like you're taking, 2 nights out. I get where you're coming from, because on hot weather dayhikes, I'll bring a change of clothes and leave them in the car so I have something dry/clean to put on for the drive home.

But when I posted my first gear list on BPL, which had a change of underwear and shirt, it was quickly and rightly pointed out to me that I'd just be putting clean clothes on my filthy body, so what's the point?

I change clothes after a day hike so I'm not wearing damp, sweaty clothes in the car. Out on the trail, in temperatures you're describing, I'll just clean off in a stream, river or lake. Wash up, rinse off and then continue on hiking feeling cooler while my clothes dry out.

I do bring a spare pair of socks for sleeping,(liners, maybe 1.5 oz for the pair) because socks do get kind of grimy.

Psychologically, maybe it helps to carry a spare pair of underwear, and that only costs you 2-3 oz, but if you bring a whole new set of clothes, that's another pound you're adding to your pack.

Michael Barber

Locale: Western NC Mountains
RE: How much clothing on 08/12/2011 06:25:23 MDT Print View

Usually, even on an overnighter I'll take an extra t-shirt to sleep in. Sometimes in the smokies it's just so hot that I've been soaked all day through sweat and humidity. A nice dog bath and a relatively clean shirt to sleep in is nice. This would be less of an issue for me in cooler weather.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
clothing on 08/12/2011 08:40:54 MDT Print View

Invest in woo. When I use to wear a lot of synthetics, it was the smell that prompted me into bringing extra clothes.

I personally bring enough baselayers so that they can all work together to form a modular system. I usually hike in a short sleeve merino T, and running shorts. When I get to camp I slip into merino long johns and a merino long sleeve shirt that add extra warmth to my quilt. If it ever gets cold during my hike, I wear the same long johns under my running shorts, and hike in the same long sleeve merino shirt that I slept in. I don't bring hiking pants because they only serve one purpose and are generally heavy. A combination of the above can give you a good mix of different outfits for different conditions, will provide you a change of clothes, and is highly functional IMO

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: clothing on 08/12/2011 09:10:17 MDT Print View

spare socks, underpants, and shorts

base layer (long sleeve shirt and pants - good for sun and insect protection), insulated vest (thicker version for colder weather), eVent jacket, fleece hat, gloves - that's all I carry down to 20 F

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: How much clothing on 08/12/2011 10:40:11 MDT Print View

It wasn't that long ago (in the past 100 years) that most people in America only had one or two pairs of clothes so it isn't like you "need" a change of clothes. I hike where it is very wet and humid so things don't dry, therefore I generally take the lightest long underwear I can find 2.4oz top 3.6oz bottoms, and a spare pair of socks for camp/sleeping. In the morning I put on my damp hiking clothes and get hiking, lets face it: I am dirty and smelly putting clean clothes on isn't going to fix that, not to mention I might not see anyone else on the trail, and if I do, they are likely dirty and smelly too.

David Vo
good advice on 08/12/2011 11:06:38 MDT Print View

I am a big fan of merino and own many pieces so the investment is not a barrier for me. I just tend to overprepare so I am trying to get a feel for what I can get away with. So it seems at least one member brings a change of underwear/socks but most don't. I am sure you guys are right. Just two nights, 2 days of hiking, are not going to kill me.

Joey Dawson
(inabag) - F

Locale: Northern VA
Re: How much clothing on 08/12/2011 11:39:19 MDT Print View

Other then what I am wearing while hiking in 3 season I carry the following extra: socks to sleep in, extra undies to sleep in, and a merino long sleeve hoodie, and a puffy jacket. I don't carry extra shorts/shirts at all.

David Vo
Re: Re: How much clothing on 08/12/2011 13:09:53 MDT Print View

Why do you need extra underwear and socks to sleep in? You mean so you have a change of underwear or do you wear double socks/underwear when sleeping?

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Re: Re: How much clothing on 08/12/2011 13:41:42 MDT Print View

One thing I learned from these forums is not to carry more clothes than I can wear at one time (with the exception of an extra pair of dry socks, for sleeping). Some pieces mostly stay in the pack (down jacket, rain shell), although the rain shell is usually part of my pillow, and wearing the down jacket to bed lets me carry a lighter quilt/bag. I wear merino bottoms for sleeping and in the morning before starting out for the day (usually too warm to hike in). The last few trips, I've used pants instead of shorts, which I find comfortable even in hot temps (no humidity where I like to hike), and I appreciate the extra sun/bug protection. A thin (150 wt) merino LS top works well for me, and the windshirt I just got is an amazingly versatile piece--I can see why they are recommended so often on the forums.

In my experience, there isn't much difference between the way clothes smell after one day of hard hiking and several days. On me, synthetics take on an unbearable reek very quickly, and merino (while not exactly laundry-fresh) isn't too bad, even after days on the trail.

Like a lot of members, I have a gear list posted under my profile, with clothing listed as either "worn" or "carried." Other people's lists have always been a great resource for me.

Edited by DavidDrake on 08/12/2011 13:43:05 MDT.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: How much clothing on 08/12/2011 14:11:20 MDT Print View

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: How much clothing on 08/12/2011 14:23:57 MDT Print View

When I went on my second trek in Nepal, I was going to be out on the trail for twenty days, so I had one synthetic t-shirt to start in, and then two more packed. After a couple of days, that first one had an aura about it, so I rinsed it out in a creek and changed to the second one. Once the first one was rinsed, I had to let it dry, but the sun had already gone down. So, I hung it over some ribs between the inner tent and the outer tent to dry overnight. In the morning, I had a block of ice. Hmmm. So, I threw it into a plastic bag and carried it around with me until I could find a place to dry it in the sun. After a couple of more days, I had moved to the third t-shirt, so I rinsed the second one. Meanwhile, the first and second ones stayed either wet or frozen until I found a nice sunny rock wall to spread them on. They got dry, but they also picked up the distinctive odor of yak dung. So, I had to start the rinsing all over again.