My Wandering Wardrobe: What I’ll Wear While I Hike
This article is the other half of an article I published about gear. Feel free to check them both out to get an idea of what I’ll carry on my back for half a year.
I leave tomorrow for the trail. TOMORROW. I’m kind of freaking out, but in a good way. This will be my final post before I hit the trail. After this, my posts will actually be from the trial.
I spent a lot of time reading articles and reviews about what clothing works best for the AT, and I’m super happy with what I ended up with. I’ve used everything on shakedown hikes and I know it will serve me well on the trail. The big theme here is no cotton. Everything wicks moisture and dries fast.
A basic, awesome backpacking bra.
Breathable, quick drying undies. The ladies may especially appreciate these.
One of the most popular socks on the trail, for good reason. Comfortable (the toe seam is hardly noticeable), cushioned, and durable.
Until recently, I never used sock liners. Now I’m never going back to not using them. For me, they help prevent blisters and wick moisture better than without.
I was having a hard time figuring out my winter/shoulder season hiking clothing, but I love what I ended up with. This is warm but has a zipper for venting, and because it’s Merino wool it won’t smell as much as synthetics.
I was originally going to hike in some sort of “swishy” nylon hiking pant, but I am so much happier with these. They have two pockets of good size that you can actually access (a problem with most women’s clothing), move with my body seamlessly, and feel great. As a bonus, they also make my butt look stellar.
Once the warm weather hits I’ll send the above home and pick up shorts and a T-shirt. I’m going to pick those out once I’m hiking though and just get them sent to me.
Melanzana W’s Micro Grid Hoodie – 9.8 oz
The hype is real! This $69 fleece is light and comfy AF. It’s not perfect, though. It’s really hard to get a hold of (only available for purchase at the store in Leadville, CO), and in all honesty, it really needs a venting option for when you work up a sweat hiking uphill. I modified the hoodie by adding a quarter zip to it. Now I can vent as needed and its perfect.
This sucker was a gift over a decade ago and it’s still going strong. Is it an offensive bright pink? You bet! Is it a bit heavy for a down jacket? For sure. But I already owned it and it’s super warm.
These gloves are thin enough that I can maneuver whatever I’m holding easily, but warm enough to help keep my hands comfortable. They also work on smart phone screens.
Having a clean set of clothes for when I get to camp to sleep in is clutch for me. They’re drier and therefore warmer than sleeping in my hiking clothes, and it keeps me and my bag smelling much better. I wear these year-round and add insulating layers if it’s below freezing.
Darn Tough Vermont W’s Socks – 3.2 oz
Altra Lone Peak 4 W’s – 17 oz
One of the most popular shoes on the trail for good reason. I’m so glad I made the switch to these from hiking boots. I’ve taken them out for about 100 miles so far, and no blisters, not even on the first day.
Buff – 1.3 oz
I used to use bandanas, but I’ve given those up for a Buff. It’s a staple on the trail for good reason. It’s a multifunction miracle worker that has too many uses to list. But I’ll list a few anyway: greasy hair cover, pillow cover, ear warmer, hand protector when touching a hot pot, etc.
Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles – 8.6 oz – this is more gear than clothing, but I count it as “worn” because it’s in my hands, not in my pack.
Sun Hat – 2 oz
Lightheart Gear Rain Jacket – 5.2 oz
Light, mechanically waterproof (no chance of ever “wetting out”) and has pit zips for venting. Everything I need and nothing I don’t.
Ultimate Direction Ultra Pant V2 – 3.7 oz
These are lightweight wind/rain pants. They’re just for the cold months and will get sent home as soon as it warms up.
MLD eVent Rain Mitts – 1.1 oz
I’ve read so many blogs from AT thru-hikers that said cold and wet hands = misery. There is a lot of rain on this trail, and I’d like to keep my hands sorta happy. Only downside is you have to seam seal them yourself, which isn’t hard, just annoying.
MLD Superlight Gaiters – 1.7 oz
I almost didn’t bring these, but if we get snow in the Smokies (or elsewhere) I know they’ll be worth it.
And that’s it. All the clothing I’ll be wearing for half this year. It’s crazy how little we can get by with once we realize what we actually need. All of these items “spark joy” for me in a big way. I’ll report back on how everything worked out once I summit Katahdin!
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