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best base layer for an AT thru hike??
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Timm DeSalis
(timmy_toes) - F

Locale: philly
best base layer for an AT thru hike?? on 12/26/2011 21:02:03 MST Print View

Trying to keep my back down im looking to get the best weight/warm ratio i can get. these will be worn as a baselayer in the day and slept in at night. Not sure what to get here looked at blends of arcteryx or even the silk REI offers or maybe the Patagonia ones. I just dont know whats best for me. Im starting early April going north. Thanks for any help in advance!

Stephan Doyle
Re: best base layer for an AT thru hike?? on 12/26/2011 22:33:50 MST Print View

Personal preference.

Lots of folks like Patagonia's Capilene line. You'd want a 1 or 2 (2 is more popular, they do the same thing really but different ways, comes down to personal preference).

My preference, though, is wool. Doesn't dry out as fast as a synthetic and will take longer to dry (might get some more moisture in your bag), but infinitely more wearable in all but the hottest environs. I have a 160g/m2 hoody with a half-zip and thumb loops made by I/O Bio Merino, but similar tops exist.

Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
+ 1 on wool and the i/o bio hoody on 12/27/2011 00:05:11 MST Print View

For a through hike especially, I'd take wool. I start smelling pretty wretched after like a half day in capiline, but a lot of people like its drying capabilities. The blend of merino and cocono fiber in Rab's new baselayer is supposed to dry a lot faster than pure wool:

I also like the half zip hoody with thumb holes as a do it all garment. Ads a lot of warmth in the mornings and evenings, but is cool enough even when its hot when you roll up the sleeves and unzip it.
ignore the weird modeling.

James Stewart

Locale: New England
base layers on 12/27/2011 07:24:55 MST Print View

I'm in a similar situation as you, although I plan on leaving a month earlier. My plan is to bring two base layers for the beginning, plus a short sleeve. I'm thinking something like cap 2 or a lighter merino or blend in a long sleeved 1/4 zip for hiking in etc. and then a merino hoody like above (maybe even something thicker like the Ibex Indie) that I can keep for sleeping or double up on layers if it's cold. Once temps warm up, likely after the Smokies, I'd probably send one of them home and just rely on my puffy for break/around camp warmth.

Has anyone had experience with any of the wool/syth. base layers? I've been looking at the Pata Merino 2, and that seems to be the best of both worlds. More stink-free than synthetic, faster drying than full merino, and overall pretty versatile. I'll have to check out that offering from Rab too.

Edited by Jstewse on 12/27/2011 07:26:13 MST.

Chris Muthig
(cmuthig) - M

Locale: Georgia
Wool on 12/27/2011 07:29:24 MST Print View

I hike in Georgia and NC mostly along the AT. How long do you spend hiking it?

Come April, it isn't very cold in the SE. By the end of April, it is hot.

I've got the Cap 1 long sleeve and short sleeve shirts. I really like them, but they smell awful after only maybe two hours of hiking. The only time I can smell myself in the woods is when I wear those shirts. For this reason, I plan to move to wool this spring for my base layers.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
advice, not experience on 12/27/2011 09:32:56 MST Print View

i haven't thru'd so i can't comment from experience, so keep that in mind.

I would be concerned about the durability of wool on a thru. You'll be wearing that shirt for like 5 months and washing it quite a bit along the way. I'd wear wool for a week, but if I was planning a thru hike i'd go with synthetic...

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: Wool on 12/27/2011 14:11:40 MST Print View

I use very light wool base layers year 'round in the Southern Appalachians. For cold weather use, including three section hikes of Georgia, I carry one short sleeve and one long sleeve layer, in 150-wt merino wool, and one boxer brief and one long john in the same fabric. In hot weather I wear the short sleeve layer, skip the underpants, and carry a dry s/s shirt for camp and sleeping.

Wool is comfortable over a wide range of temperatures, and it doesn't stink like synthetics.

Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
durability on 12/27/2011 16:52:37 MST Print View

agreed, the shirt probably won't last the full five months, but worth it IMO anyway. Patagonias wool/synth blend is exellent. Also with them if the shirt starts getting holes in it etc you can just send me it back for a reapir or replacement, no charge.

James Stewart

Locale: New England
Pata wool blend on 12/27/2011 17:24:39 MST Print View

Yeah I've been thinking that dropping the dough on the merino 2 will be the way to go, is the drying time significantly faster? I'm curious about that Rab base you linked to as well, that looks like a solid option too, but I think Capilene will be more durable, and Patagonia does have a good return/warranty policy.

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: best base layer for an AT thru hike?? on 12/27/2011 20:00:37 MST Print View

I love merino, but i did go through 2 merino shirts on the PCT this year and finished in a cotton t shirt. To do it or the AT again, I would hike in a button up hiking shirt and carry a light merino base layer with a puffy and rain coat for the top layers. I have had a good experience with Icebreakers.

Timm DeSalis
(timmy_toes) - F

Locale: philly
thanks on 12/28/2011 08:33:27 MST Print View

Thanks everyone for your help!

I do have a nice button for hiking which is polyester and have the UL puff layer and a UL rainshell. I think Ill try the blend that Patagonia offers since they have a good return policy and love to return broken things. Also will be wearing a s/s as a base layer all the time unless sleeping. This has helped me get the one lace piece of gear i needed and couldn't pull the trigger on, thanks so much!

Seth Brewer
(Whistler) - MLife

Baselayer used for 2011 Thru on 12/28/2011 20:36:53 MST Print View

I started from the approach trail on March 29th this year wearing a 1/4 zip short sleeve Icebreaker t-shirt. I was warm when it was cold. It kept me cool when it got hot. It did smell a bit like wet sheep when it got wet, but better than my synthetics. It "lasted" about 1,500 miles and then got thrown out with 18 holes in it (mostly in the back / shoulders / waist from pack abrasion) but I picked it up on eBay for $30 so I'm not complaining. Not cheap brand new but super awesome as a base, and I would wear exactly the same thing starting during that time. If it get cold I'd throw on my fleece hat and synthetic liner gloves with my MLD overmitts and keep trucking -- if it get really cold and windy I'd throw on my rain coat. My 2 cents. Have fun, and yes, if I could I'd do it again this coming's that addicting.