The Inevitable Gear Lists! Part 2: Clothing, Shoes, and Rain Gear

Category is:  Hiker Trash Realness!

(ok, so maybe I’ve watched Pose a couple times…)



Nope, still not sponsored by any shoe company, or clothing manufacturer. I walk the line between ‘Women’s’ and ‘Plus’…as if once you’ve got that full figure, you’re no longer a woman. Puh-leez. This could very easily be a 1500 word rant about the clothing industry, especially the outdoor clothing industry, but I shall hold back and save that energy for Katahdin. Well, with one exception.

Let’s continue, shall we?  In an effort to keep the brain from chasing the cheese wheel down the hill (see my last post for that reference), I’m going to break this up into the following categories:  Footwear, Headgear, Rain Gear, Tops & Bottoms, and Undergarments.

FOOTWEAR:  Saucony Peregrines (currently wearing 10s & 11s)

Come on, now that’s a sexy shoe.

Why I chose it/Why I like it:  I definitely fall into that category of Weekend Warrior. I also fall. And trip. And attempt things my body does NOT want to do. I have a matching set of ankle braces, been through physical therapy for a righteous injury to my Achilles tendon, and almost ripped my Peroneus tendons completely in half. As such, boots do not work for me. I need a lot of wiggle room in my ankle area. Trail runners it is! I need not only a wide toe box, but also a tall one, too. Something like that is a little more difficult to find. I ruled out all the Altras and Hokas, but Brooks and Sauconys usually work well. I love the Peregrines. I have worn them since the 7s; the 12s were just released.  They have killer tread, hold up pretty well on all the slick rock, and can take a beating.

I will also be carrying a pair of camp shoes, whether I bring them along for the whole ride or just in warmer weather is a decision I still have to make.  No, I won’t be wearing Crocs, for a lot of the reasons listed above. My preferred camp shoe is the Chaco Z/Volv X2. Let’s be honest, my preferred anytime shoe is Chacos. Yes, they are heavy. I like them because they are supportive enough to hike in, ford a river (just not the Kennebec!), and I can wear them during town days.

HEADGEAR: Buff headwear & Under Armour visor

My cold weather Buff set up.

My warm weather Buff setup.

Why I chose it/why I like it:  I have a big ol’ melon and a ton of hair. My lion’s mane is partially how I got my trail name, after all!  As such, hats are generally very hard to find. I find a visor to be extremely helpful in rainy weather for keeping my hood in check, and I can wear it over or under my usual braid.  I carry three buffs. Yes, three, and there is a well established way I use them.  I feel very much like a character in Demolition Man, ‘he doesn’t know about the three seashells?’ I have a short headband style buff, a traditional one, and for my early start I’ve added a Polartec Buff to my set. Most days, I have on at least one, if not two. The short one is almost always around my neck, and which I’m wearing as a hat or headband depends on the weather. I like Buffs for their versatility. Usually I wear my hair in a braid during the day and sleep with it in a yoga bun, and they accommodate my hair regardless. Also, they are perfect for ear protection during mosquito season!

RAIN GEAR:  Enlightened Equipment Visp and REI Co-op Minimalist GTX Mittens 2.0

Why I chose it/Why I like it:  As stated previously, EE gear makes me very happy. I went through a lot of back and forth communication with their customer service before purchasing the Visp. Part of why I like it is because of their layering system they developed. They intend for the Visp to be used with the Torrid, their synthetic puffy(which I also have and LOVE), and sized the Visp up slightly. There’s no wondering, “I bought a large Torrid, do I need to order an XL in the Visp?” Nope. Anything that makes my brain hurt less, I am definitely down for.  In warmer months I may switch to the old trusty Frogg Toggs poncho for more ventilation.  I used one for my 450 mile LASH in 2019, and it held up great and I used it as an extra layer of insulation under my air pad in shelters and on cooler nights.

I chose the rain mitts for two main reasons. 1. Price, and 2. Fit. There are only so many pieces of gear I can spend top dollar on and still have enough for a beer in town. Rain mitts were not one of them. They do the job well enough. An odd thing I use mitts for is sleeping, and this is why fit was more important. As a side sleeper, I almost always have one hand either up by my pillow or up by my face, exposed to cold air. The Velcro tabs allow me to keep them just tight enough to stay on and keep my hand warm, while not making me act like a dog in winter with a new pair of booties. Take a moment with that visual, please.

TOPS & BOTTOMS:  For tops I have Smartwool 250 long sleeve base layer (for sleep), Smartwool 150 short sleeve base layer (for cooler hiking temps and later for sleeping), Appalachian Gear Co All-paca hoodie(mid layer) , LIVI activewear short sleeve top. For bottoms I have Smartwool 250 base layer pant (for sleep), The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 pant, capris, and Bermuda shorts.

Why I chose it/why I like it:  My choice for my base layers is simple. I don’t want to be cold. I’ve slept in 150 layers and was ok down to about 40 degree temps in a 30 degree bag. I have found Smartwool to be worth the money. It does the job, and while form fitting, it does not feel tight, something crucial for those of us with dangerous curves ahead. When trying out a million and one tops to hike in, I decided to try a 150 top in cold weather and it works in a layering system or on its own. I may switch to the LIVI top in warmer weather because it has a looser neckline, but I am not excited to go back to stinky synthetics. On my LASH, my mid layer was a Columbia jacket. I loved it because it had thumbholes in the sleeves, it was super comfy to sleep in on colder nights, the hood was nice and fitted when it was zipped all the way, and was lightweight enough. I did NOT like how much it held odor. For this hike I decided to find something else. While I could have gotten friends in Colorado to go pick up the ubiquitous Melanzana hoodie, I decided to go with Appalachian Gear Co.’s All-paca fleece hoodie because I had heard that they were a little longer, something I like in a jacket. I have ZERO regrets. My all-paca has quickly become my favorite piece of clothing.

Hiker Trash fashionista!

As for bottoms, here’s where we start to get into my grumpiness with the fashion industry. I usually shop in plus size stores and sections, except when it comes to pants. Because all plus size girls are apparently at least 5’10 and are made entirely of hips and booties.  Yeah, that’s not me. Apple shape, thy name is Tdee. I have slim hips and legs like a horse, and if there’s enough stretch, I can manage. The Aphrodite 2.0’s have become my everyday pants. In colder months I wear the full length, but once the green starts showing up on the trees, I switch to the capris. I like the capris length because the hem is elasticized and adjustable. I can leave them long for mosquito protection, or hike with them at knee length. I am still searching for the perfect shorts. I managed to snag a pair of Aphrodite Bermuda length shorts, but apparently they are a unicorn because everything else out there is currently 3″ 0r 5″ inseams. CAN A GIRL GET SOME 7′ INSEAMS, PLEASE?? My thighs don’t like each other enough to go shorter than that.

UNDERGARMENTS: Darn Tough Midweight Socks, Cacique Extra Soft Hipster Panties, & a rant.

Why I chose them/Why I like them: Socks were a no brainer. Darn Tough is comfortable, durable, easily found off trail, comes in fun colors/patterns, and then there’s that lifetime warranty that cannot be beat. While stationed overseas, every time I had to exchange socks, they had no issues with the amount of time it took to get the old socks, and we always got a ‘Thank you for your service’ note in our box. Little things like that go a long way with me.

I tried the Ex Officio panties that show up on everyone’s gear list. I just wasn’t a fan. I have been buying the vast majority of my undergarments from Cacique for decades. As the saying goes, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ The super soft line is very lightweight, dry quickly, and come in a variety of cuts for different shapes. It might also be extremely morale boosting to have some flowers or polka dots on underneath all the hiker grime.

Then there’s the bra hunt. Small rant commencing in 3…2…1…

Remember that plus size category? This is where I fall into it. After trying on SEVENTEEN bras in just one store, and not finding one, I have some opinions, and I believe I speak for other bodacious babes out there. We don’t want much. Hiking is not running or gymnastics or trampoline aerobics.  We don’t need steel reinforced cages to walk up and down hills all day. However, we do need just a bit of fabric. Maybe some straps that are more than 3/4″ elastic. And most definitely something that won’t stretch out by the end of the day. I still find it difficult to believe that we have come up with fabrics that allow people to go into space or jump out of airplanes safely, yet we haven’t come up with a bra that gives a little bit of comfort and coverage. And then sell it in the stores (REI, I’m looking at you and your ‘extended sizes sold online’), so all of us curvy gals can cut our shopping time down and get back outdoors. I’m pretty sure getting to Katahdin is going to be less daunting than bra shopping. End of rant.

Thank you for hanging in for this gear list! I know it was a doozy. Next up, Part 3: Kits (toiletries/electronics/first aid).


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Comments 4

  • Cheryl James : Feb 5th

    Great post! I feel you’re frustration in shopping and finding clothes that fit somebody with curves. I gave up trying to find a bra that fit. I sew my own clothes. When I hike, I only wear bras that I’ve made. It’s not an option for most.

  • meits : Feb 6th

    for sports bras that are lower impact i recommend girlfriend collective – still affordable, but durable and best – made out of recycled bottles. i have a few of them and some are more suited for low impact (yoga) to high impact (HIIT, running) and hiking 🙂

  • Beth : Feb 11th

    Oh my the sports bra. Per orthopedic surgeon I need to wear a zip up sports bra. My last purchase – I had two blisters from my pack and the plastic adjuster. I am on a FB older women hikers and bras have been a big discussion. Still looking for one that is right for me. Best advise test drive your bra.


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