My Appalachian Trail Clothing System
Not going to lie. Figuring out the clothing system to take for this hike has been stressful. I know I probably need less than what I think, but I also don’t want to be cold. Do I need camp shoes? Will I be OK sleeping in my Nano Puff or should I get a separate base layer for sleeping? I don’t need a beanie and a Buff, right? I’m not an anxious person, but holy crap, these pre-hike uncertainties got me feeling like my Grandma (If you are reading this Grandma, I love you). I am erring on the side of taking too much, and within the first few weeks I will know what I really need and what can be sent home.
Columbia Long Sleeve Button-up: 7.5 oz; $12
- I like the versatility of a long sleeve button-up. It is excellent at wicking and it can easily be rolled up or unbuttoned when it gets hot. The best part was I got it at Plato’s Closet for $12.
BCG shorts: 5.3 oz; free
- Simple pair of running shorts I have had since high school. They have the built in underwear so I can go commando and feel freedom with every mountain breeze.
Darn Tough Socks: 2.7 oz; $22
- Lieutenant Dan said to take care of my feet, and I sure hope I don’t let him down. I opted for darn tough socks and so far they’ve been darn good socks. I like how they do not smell after using. All in all great socks– they better be for $22.
Moab Merrells low top: 33.4 oz; $39.83
- I got these lightly used at an REI garage sale. I have hiked around 50 miles in them and they don’t hurt my feet, so I hope to get a lot of mileage out of them! If hiking boots and trail-runners had a baby it would be these shoes.
PGA Red hat: 1.5 oz; free
- I found this retro hat in my parent’s attic, my Dad used to rock it in the 80’s I guess. I like the look of it and nothing beats free.
Hopsaaken fanny pack: 2.2 oz; free
- This was my sister’s fanny pack when she was in the peace corps a few years ago. She never uses it anymore so she let me borrow it for the hike. I was pleasantly surprised with how much fits inside of it. I will carry snacks, my wallet, and earbuds in the fanny pack.
Gold Casio Watch: free
- Gift from my friend Ian, my favorite watch I’ve ever had! A simple, digital, water-resistant watch.
Columbia Rain Jacket: 8.1 oz; free sort of
- I’ve had this rain jacket for the past three to four years, so although it wasn’t free, it seemed like it since I didn’t have to go buy rain gear. I want to say it was around $40 but I’m not sure. I am happy with this rain jacket, it is pretty light and it works as good as a rain jacket can. The color is also nice–my mommy says I look handsome in blue. 🙂
Patagonia Nano Puff: 12.5 oz; $139.30
- This was so expensive but that’s what you get if you want to be cool and have a Patagonia piece. It’s crazy because I got it on sale and it was still $139.30. In hindsight I could’ve gotten away with my $10 marmot fleece, but the Patagonia is really warm and compressible. I got the synthetic version so I won’t worry about getting it wet. The zippered pockets are my favorite feature. I’ve had this jacket for over a year now and even though it was pricey, I really do like it.
250 Smartwool Quarter zip: 10.1 oz; $29.83
- Newest edition to my system. I got this at an REI garage sale, and I think this will be very useful in the first few weeks of my hike staying warm at night. Even though I am starting in April, I am banking on having a few nights in the teens and possibly snow. This 100% merino wool base-layer paired with my nano puff, 30 degree quilt, and neo-air pad will hopefully keep me alive and somewhat comfortable. When it begins to heat up I will probably send this piece home.
Nike Tights: 6.3 oz; free
- Had these since ninth grade cross country. These will keep me warm in the beginning. May send them home later, idk.
Under Armour Pants: 7.6 oz; $12
- These pants are super lightweight, and they were only $12 at Plato’s closet so why not? These pants are 60% modal, 36% polyester, and 4% spandex so I am not sure how water-resistant they are. I have only hiked in the rain with my nike tights, so I still need to test these out in the rain, but I think pants will be nice to have especially in the beginning. I could see myself keeping these the whole way and sending my tights home, pants are so much easier to put on compared to tights.
Buff: 1.6 oz; $24.99
- I have tested this out and I am going to use this as my beanie in the beginning. Once it warms up I may cut this in half and use it as a sweatband.
Darn Tough Socks x2: 5 oz; $18 (one was gifted to me)
- One dedicated for sleeping, one dedicated for hiking.
Gloves: 2.5 oz; free
- I found these gloves on my shakedown hike at Taum Sauk. These are like dirt-bike/mechanic gloves and I like how they are grippy and more water resistant than my Mizuno running gloves. I also like how I found them, it makes them feel more special.
Short sleeve Hawaiian Shirt: 5.9 oz; $2.50
- This is my back up shirt to wear on zero days. I love the versatility of button up shirts. When it gets hot I will probably sub in this shirt for my long sleeve Columbia. This shirt is 100% polyester rather than rayon, so it may be more durable than your average Hawaiian shirt. However, I got this 90% off at Kohl’s for $2.50, so if it falls apart I won’t be too distraught.
Baleaf Running Shorts: 3.5 oz; free (Amazon gift card)
- Are you even a thru-hiker if you don’t have short shorts? I love how short shorts feel when I run/hike, and hopefully I won’t scar too many people with my white hairy hammies. I also have a sky blue pair but those make me feel a little too fabulous, so I will opt for the classic black ones.
Crocs: 13.7 oz; $26.99
- These things are so bulky and awkward to pack but I am going to take them anyway. I think it’ll be nice to have camp shoes whenever my hiking shoes are soaked. But I don’t know if I like the way these look/feel hooked onto my pack flopping around. Regardless, I am starting off with these and if I end up not using them I will send them home.
Overall Weight of Clothes: 8.01 Ounces
- This seems like a lot but this is my overall weight for clothing. My worn weight in clothing will usually be around 3.31 lbs (heavy shoes) and my packed weight for clothing is 4.7 lbs. This may be really heavy and I may switch it up further on down the trail but this is what I am starting with at Amicalola Falls.
Overall Cost of Clothes: $327.44
- All in all I think that is pretty good but gosh dangit I could’ve saved like $130 if I would’ve just taken my marmot fleece and not have bought the Nano Puff. Don’t get me wrong, the Nano Puff is definitely a better piece, but $130 better? Nahhhh. Oh well, I’m super rich I just got out of college and I’m preparing for a 5 month long vacation money is not an issue at all.
We will see how well this kit works out and I will most likely do a little clothing update post midway through my hike. Thanks for reading!
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.