Clothing Suggestions? - HST

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Hiker Dev
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Clothing Suggestions? - HST

Post by Hiker Dev » Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:26 am

Hi everyone,

Long time lurker, first time poster here. Not sure if this is the correct forum so forgive me if it's not!

I am planning a HST trip with a buddy of mine for mid-July this year and am wondering if you all have any suggestions for clothing to bring.

This will be my first week-long trip into the Sierra so I would love some input regarding temperature and how much or how little clothing I might need.

Thank you all!








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c9h13no3
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Re: Clothing Suggestions? - HST

Post by c9h13no3 » Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:36 am

I carry pretty much the same three layers year round for pretty much any trip: base layer, bomber puffy, waterproof shell. On some light & fast day trips, I'll skip maybe the rain gear if the forecast is good.

My base layer does get warmer or cooler as the seasons change, and I'll pack a warm hat and mittens if it's colder. But yeah, layers. And make sure whatever you're hiking in doesn't chafe!

And you also may want a bug hoodie or a head net. July is probably still peak skeeter season.

One last thing: welcome :)
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Re: Clothing Suggestions? - HST

Post by commonloon » Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:18 am

I try to think about and fulfill the follow use cases:

1) Hiking all day. Generally shorts, t-shirt (non-cotton), etc. Must be comfortable for all day walking.
2) Walking thru bug infested meadows ;-) As c9h13no3 mentioned, a "Bug hoodie" can be really really important. I like to use a Outdoor Research Echo LS or a windshirt, preferably treated with Permethrin. If the bugs are really bad then a headnet and some light pants as well.
3) Thunderstorms. July is prime time. I use a poncho or rain jacket+kilt during the summer, but it's personal preference. Some eVent, etc. over mitts are nice to have. They'll keep your hands warm so if you need to put up a shelter while the T-storm is raging then you can use you fingers.
4) Stream crossing. I prefer trail runners than drain well + some climbing balm on the feet, but this is another item where personal preference varies a lot.
5) Camp clothes for evening and early morning. "Puffy" + some pants, etc.
6) End of day or early morning hiking. Some light gloves and a beanie + a windshirt or LS (see bugs).
7) Sun protection. Sunscreen and sunglasses are a must.

Hope this helps.

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Re: Clothing Suggestions? - HST

Post by CentralCalHiker » Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:00 pm

Patagonia Tropic sun hoody is my favorite hiking shirt.

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Re: Clothing Suggestions? - HST

Post by wildhiker » Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:16 pm

I've discovered during 50 years of Sierra summer backpacking that I really don't need that many clothes. If the weather is really atrocious, I bail or don't go at all. If it's too cold to stay up at night, I just go to bed. I try very hard to find a campsite that will get early sun and if it's really cold in the morning, I stay in the tent until the sun hits. All my layers are relatively thin, but give a lot of warmth if you put them all on. I prefer fleece to down since fleece will retain some warmth even if wet. I also don't like to just get dirtier and dirtier, so I bring some extra clothes to wear while I wash out the main items. Finally, I prefer to sleep in only underwear and a t-shirt and use everything else as part of my pillow! Of course, if the nights are too cold for my 25 degree bag, I will put on some of my other layers at night. So, here is my list (and weights).

Normally wear while hiking:
Boots and 2 pair socks (thin liner and cushioning outer) - actually never weighed, about 3 lbs total.
Nylon underwear (ordered from Walmart) - dry fast when I wash them - 1.5 oz.
Nylon shorts - dry fast if wet and pretty tough - 10.5 oz.
Synthetic wicking t-shirt - got mine at Costco - 5 oz.
Sun hat - like a stiff brim so the wind doesn't flatten it - 3 oz.

Carry to add as conditions warrant:
Nylon long-sleeve wind-shirt - can also use by itself if need more sun or bug protection - got this at Costco, too - 7 oz.
Lightweight long nylon pants - just pull right over my shorts if cold - 8.5 oz
Very lightweight poly fleece long sleeve pullover - 6.5 oz.
Black Diamond light fleece zip sweater w/ stuff sack - 9 oz.
Marmot gore-tex rain jacket (splurged on this one - seems more breathable than the non-goretex coatings) - 11.5 oz.
If i EXPECT difficult stream crossings, I bring an old pair of Teva sandals just for crossing - 13 oz.
Thin silk gloves - 1 oz.
Fleece stocking cap - 2 oz.
Very light synthetic long-sleeve t-shirt to sleep in - 5 oz.

Extra clean clothes to alternate while I wash out the others. I generally stop early enough in the day that my fast-drying synthetic clothes can be rinsed out and dried.
Extra nylon underwear - at least one pair, up to 2 more on long trips - 1.5 oz. each
Extra inner and outer boot socks - or wear at night if really cold - 4 oz.
Extra synthetic wicking t-shirt - 5 oz.

-Phil

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Re: Clothing Suggestions? - HST

Post by Hiker Dev » Wed Jun 10, 2020 9:37 am

Thank you all for these great replies! They've been very helpful.

Have a great summer season everyone :) Maybe I'll see some of you on the trail!

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Re: Clothing Suggestions? - HST

Post by Wandering Daisy » Wed Jun 10, 2020 10:37 am

It is OK to start with too many clothes as a newbie. Evaluate what you really needed and then eliminate the less used items as you become more confident of your backpacking skills. After your first season you should have a good idea of what you prefer. Years ago I took a fellow with me who insisted on wearing heavy cotton jeans. I insisted he also take nylon wind pants. After three days, with damp jeans that weighed a ton and were too restricting, he dug a deep hole and buried the jeans! Only his own experience could convince him.

Everyone is different and you need to dial your clothing into your own preferences and needs. For example, I do not like nylon next to my skin; I prefer a very light thin cotton T-shirt (Walmart 3oz, $3, woman's). I have not seen equivalent t's in men's. I wash it every day and it dries in about an hour. My hiking shoes are sufficiently comfortable, that I do not take camp shoes or wading late season; Sierra conditions seldom requires wading and you can wade in your hiking shoes (take out insoles) if needed. I am a big fan of cotton bandanas; many uses including first aid (and a face mask if needed nowadays). I also prefer baseball caps for hiking so I have good side vision. I am not one to sit around after dark- just get in my sleeping bag. I always take: head net, 3-oz fleece balaclava. On longer trips your hands can get a beating, particularly if you use trekking poles. Gloves that you can wear hiking such as fingerless bicycle gloves or garden gloves help. A light wool layer and 100-wt fleece are my main insulation layers; the 4-oz down sweater is what I wear the most, but I do not count on it 100%.

I do too much off-trail and bushwhacking for shorts. Hiking pants with zip-off legs are a good compromise if doing both trail and off-trail. Any long legged hiking pant should be unrestricting and not pull on your thighs or knees while walking, yet not so floppy that they get hooked on branches or brush your legs every step. PCT hikers often use yoga leggings, but they are on the trail; stretchy technical climbing pants are an upgrade but very expensive.

Hiking clothes go on sale regularly so there is little need to pay full price. Remember that last years model that is now on sale, WAS the latest and greatest a year ago! I have also found some perfectly suitable nearly new hiking shirts at Goodwill.

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Re: Clothing Suggestions? - HST

Post by SSSdave » Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:15 am

Image

Heat won't be a problem but cold and wind could. Also increasingly before August, dressing for protection against mosquitoes has value in covering up open skin and is very dependent on locations. Early summer, traveling across expanses of snow mid day requires covering up as ultraviolet radiation is strong at high elevations especially where it reflects off the ground. If traveling off trail at mid and lower elevations, brush is common, where more robust pants help protect skin. Black flies are uncommon except at lowest stream canyon elevations. High exposed areas can be unpleasantly windy at times that can make porous otherwise warm clothing ineffective. Thunderstorm weather tends to vary considerably often absent for weeks but sometimes conversely occurs at times over weeks and when so some rain gear is essential. Above picture from August 5, 2017 at 10,200 after 4 inches of hail.

If the time you plan on hiking is not late June through August, you ought state such as temperatures may be colder depending on what the jetstream is doing. Above 10,000 feet, snow is possible in the Sierra Nevada any month of summer although such is not common, and usually melts within a day or two, especially before mid June or after early September. Occasionally in some high basins above 10,000 sunrise temperatures may dip down to below freezing, especially early season before landscape snows have fully melted away. That tends to happen after calmer clear sky conditions when radiation cooling causes sumping cold air from higher slopes to flow down into valleys with air dam choke points. As a landscape photographer, I am out at such times frequently so am much more aware of such versus most others here. I also prefer to start hiking days at dawn.

Although one can get by skimping on clothes that is especially popular with late rising, long distance ultralight enthusiasts, that does limit those like photographers, animal and bird behavior watchers, and fishermen that may have reasons to be out early mornings or during cool weather late
.

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Re: Clothing Suggestions? - HST

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Jun 14, 2020 2:34 pm

It is unlikely you will have snow mid-July in the Sierra. Thunderstorms are more common but of short duration, however, you can get extremely wet and cold if caught out in one near the top of a pass! Clothes that dry quickly help- in fact higher quality hiking pants will dry as you walk down the trail after getting wet. There is a bit of a backup if you are in a group of hikers since you can share clothing if needed in an emergency.

Rain gear is my frustration. Often I do not bring rain pants but always a rain jacket. The lower cost coated nylon jackets work fine as long as you do not plan to walk for a long period of time in the rain- they do not breath so you get wet from condensation inside. However, some of the "breathable" jackets especially if very light, even if very expensive, are only water resistant in a light rain and will soak through in a heavy downpour. After trying many different types of rain gear, I still have not found what I feel is the "perfect" solution. :( Lately I am experimenting with an umbrella. Staying warm is critical; staying dry is not, as long as you can be warm when soggy. Human skin actually is very quick drying! If hiking in shorts and you get a sudden rain storm, it may be better to keep your other clothing dry in the pack while walking, and then you will have warm dry clothes when the rain stops.

Soggy is OK if the item dries quickly. In general, wool and fleece stay a bit warm when wet, but fleece dries quicker. You can also test the dry time for your clothing by washing it all the same time, hang side by side, and just see which items dry quickly. Since you do not have a washing machine when backpacking, use a low spin cycle or just wet the clothes and wring out by hand. I have done this for all my clothing and it is sometimes a surprise which items do better.

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