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Which if any Mid layer for AT in March
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James Reilly
(zippymorocco) - M

Locale: Montana
Which if any Mid layer for AT in March on 09/19/2012 08:57:16 MDT Print View

Hi all, I would am stuck on a clothing issue and would love some input from those familiar with hiking late winter/early spring in the Appalachians. I feel like I need one more layer but really don't know what it should be.

In the below list is there anything I shouldn't be carrying or anything I should be carrying when I start my Appalachian Trail thru-hike this spring. My concern is primarily a mid layer. I have a Patagonia R1 that I could though in the mix but it seems a bit heavy.

Currently I carry or wear the following items:

Ibex Indie Hoody
Ibex T shirt
Icebreaker 150 bottoms
MYOG windshirt
MYOG supplex pants
Feathered Friends Daybreak down jacket

Darn tough socks
Alpaca sleep socks
Zpacks fleece beanie
possomdown gloves.

MYOG Cuben rain jacket and kilt

My sleeping bag is a WM ultralite

Thank you for looking and considering,


Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Which if any Mid layer for AT in March on 09/19/2012 09:03:02 MDT Print View

I think that's perfect. That's very similar to what I took for a hike there last March. I wouldn't take anything else.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: Which if any Mid layer for AT in March on 09/19/2012 11:22:17 MDT Print View

+1 to Ben.

You have a good layering setup and I would just carry what you have. Your kit is versatile enough for most conditions.


wool on 09/19/2012 17:05:00 MDT Print View

I know wool has a resurgence in popularity due to reported "thermoregulation", but it really doesnt dry worth a darn compared to fleece or polyester. The AT is wet. Very wet.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: wool on 09/19/2012 18:02:59 MDT Print View

When are you leaving - March?

Agree with MB on the wool. I love it because it doesn't stink whatsoever, but man it NEVER dries. It's like wearing cotton. I usually take a plain ol' $20 lightweight fleece. Dries fast, warm when wet, and stinks like crazy.


Edited by ViolentGreen on 09/19/2012 18:05:11 MDT.

Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
t2 on 09/19/2012 18:28:47 MDT Print View

I'd take a light powerdry hoody like the mec T2 or patagonia cap4 in place of your indie. My medium T2 weighs 6.5 oz, thats half of an r1 in the sam size. The light powerdry grid would work well as a base or mid under sustained cold rain. I agree with the above poster, 2 wool shirts will soak up a lot of moisture on the AT in march & will be slow to dry. A light powerdry grid will wick mch better. I went with the T2 over the cap 4 b/c the pat was too boxy for me at 6'1, 175. The mec fits perfect & is a lot cheaper.

James Reilly
(zippymorocco) - M

Locale: Montana
Synthetic on 09/19/2012 19:41:04 MDT Print View

Thank you for the comments so far.

I was considering the cap 4 as an additional layer but did not think of it as a layer instead of wool. I too have loved using wool because it doesn't stink and feels nice, In Montana drying has never been a concern. I have not hiked in the south for some time and don't have a good memory of what the wet and humid are really like.

Is the MEC T2's available in the USA? shipping on one of those from Canada is kind of high and then it talks about additional custom charges and such.

Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
your call on 09/19/2012 22:29:49 MDT Print View

i got mine shipped to the US. Shipping + customs was $15-$20 total, but I think the T2 is like $50 so not too bad all together. I like wool a lot too. I'm sure you'd be fine with what you've got, using a powerdry + light wool base would just be a little lighter/better performance. I just recently switched to this combo but I think I'll use it for all seasons. For only a couple more oz, its a much more versatile solution for staying dry/warm/cool depending on conditions.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
syn vs wool on 09/20/2012 13:04:56 MDT Print View

I think on the march that a wool t-shirt and a wool mid-layer could be a little less successful as far as staying dry vs a syn midlayer combined w/ a wool base layer

as far as warmth, I think a Cap 4 would be as warm (or possibly warmer) as the Indie- they just came out w/ a new Cap 4 Hoody that looks pretty nice, unfortunately as it is new the prices I've seen are all full retail- much too spendy IMO at full retail

personally I'd go w/ what you have, I've used a thin wool base layer w/ my Indie plenty and it's been fine, could it be improved on slightly- possibly, but not enough to justify purchasing a new mid-layer at a high cost- when I find one of the new Cap 4's at a low price I'll let you know :)


James Reilly
(zippymorocco) - M

Locale: Montana
Capilene on 09/20/2012 19:32:04 MDT Print View

I went down to the "Trail Head", one of our local shops to look at the capilene options and maybe determine my size in Patagonia's line. However the location (mall) I went to only carried women's and children's clothing. I'll try again tomorrow at their main location. I don't think I would drop $100+ on a new layer but I wanted to see what it's like in case one show's up on Swap or if Mike find a deal somewhere (thanks mike).

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: Which if any Mid layer for AT in March on 09/20/2012 19:49:05 MDT Print View

I wear wool baselayers on the AT in all seasons, and it's fine. Really. Yes, the AT is wetter than Montana, and more humid (man, I was shocked at how quickly I dried off after wading around Lake McDonald in Glacier), but very light wool has worked well in my experience.

Your list looks fine. The down jacket is a great idea - I've carried several different models and finally saved up for a Western Mountaineering Hooded Flash jacket. Over a l/s wool base layer it's perfect in March in the Southern Appalachians. If you are starting in very early March, you might consider a microfleece pullover zip-tee for use around camp as a mid layer, or on very cold days hiking. There can be some days when just a base layer and a wind shirt are not enough.

Enjoy the hike. That's a great time to be on the trail.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
BUT... on 09/20/2012 22:19:24 MDT Print View

Just don't get sweated up using that down jacket. And take rest stops every hour to dry off the back where your pack rests.

A good synthetic insulated jacket may be better for the AT.

P.S. March on even the southern AT can have some very cold weather and snow in the higher elevations. I've been uncomfortably cold at 16 F. with 2 synthetic T shirts, one LS nylon shirt, a light fleece vest, hat and a PacLite parka while hiking as fast as possible to generate heat. And this was an early Auust morning near Kennedy MEadows on the PCT. Would have loved to have had my down jacket then!

Edited by Danepacker on 09/22/2012 18:55:33 MDT.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: BUT... on 09/21/2012 07:11:06 MDT Print View

hopefully the down jacket only comes out at camp or protracted stops- it's definitely not something you want to hike in

your mid-layer (and or wind shirt) should be more than sufficient on the move

Edited by mtwarden on 09/21/2012 19:40:27 MDT.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: BUT... on 09/21/2012 18:53:33 MDT Print View

Why in the world would one hike in one's insulation layer, down or synthetic? Hiking, at least for me, generates huge amounts of heat. I wear shorts in the winter around here, and a l/s base layer and a wind shirt is good down to 30F or so (depends on the wind.) The down jacket is for breaks and camp, and to extend the warmth of a down sleeping bag at night.

James Reilly
(zippymorocco) - M

Locale: Montana
RE: Down, pat cap 4 etc on 09/22/2012 17:51:44 MDT Print View

I have never felt the need to hike for very long in my down layer even in the Montana Mountains. Occasionally I'll hike out of camp a mile or two before shedding it. It's pretty cold when that happens. I will consider losing a merino layer for a synthetic but the down will remain.

I went out to see the Patagonia cap 4 today and was impressed. I could see switching my Indie for a cap 4 but not at the $119 price tag. The Indie was only $40.00 on REI's clearance. Hopefully these will show up on the deal sites before spring. We'll see.

James Reilly
(zippymorocco) - M

Locale: Montana
Alright, I totally reconfigured. on 10/07/2012 22:41:15 MDT Print View

Thank your for the suggestions. I am now trying a new system. It is this: Patagonia merino 1 Long Sleeve followed by the new Capilene 4 Hoody (couldn't wait for the price to drop), topped off with the Daybreak down jacket. I will also carry a lightweight short-sleeve T by ibex. I have taken it out one night and was more than warm at 20 degrees. I think it may be a winner. And the drying times are certainly better than the heavier wool I have. Of course the heavier wool will still come out in Montana as the temperatures drop but for the AT I think this combo is a winner.