Hiking Safely #4 — Clothing

 

Deutsch: Offizielles GORE-TEX® Logo

Deutsch: Offizielles GORE-TEX® Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Marmotjacket008Marmotjacket005

The first thing to remember is that “cotton kills.” This may sound dramatic, but that’s what you often hear from hikers and outdoor people. You need to wear synthetics such as nylon or Gore-Tex if you are going to work up a sweat in rainy weather and in cold temperatures. Soaked cotton doesn’t keep you warm and contributes to dehydration. Synthetics wick up sweat and moisture and keep the body warmer.

If you wear soaked cotton, when you stop to camp those clothes will stay wet on your body. They take a long time to dry, and you will remain cold. After a long hiking day, one of the first things I do is change into dry clothes. It’s a great feeling. In the morning, I remove those dry clothes and save them for that night. If clothes from previous days aren’t completely dry, I’ll wear them anyway, just so I can always have a dry change at night to sleep in.

The pictures show my Marmot shell. I’ve said before that a rain/storm shell is my most important piece of clothing. It keeps me dry; it retards the wind and cold. Note the zipper-adjustable vents. No matter where I go, short hike or long, whether the day is sunny or warm, my shell is in my pack for when the weather changes.

The thing to be mindful of are the extremities–fingers and hands, toes and feet, head. You need to keep these areas warm and as dry as possible. I have light Gore-Tex gloves that I usually wear separately, but I can also use them as liners under heavier mittens. You can use an extra pair of socks as mittens if your handwear is lost or drenched. I always carry extra socks because wet socks and blisters go together, and I want my feet to be dry and warm. That’s a Gore-Tex baseball cap under my hood in the pictures. I’ll switch it for a knit ski hat if it gets really cold. I’ve read that there is a lot of heat loss from an uncovered head.

Keep dry, keep warm, and you are on your way to hiking safely.

Advertisements

Hiking Safely #4 — Clothing

Hiker clothing--staying warm and dry

Camping and Backpacking--staying warm and dry

Deutsch: Offizielles GORE-TEX® Logo

Deutsch: Offizielles GORE-TEX® Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first thing to remember is that “cotton kills.” This may sound dramatic, but that’s what you often hear from hikers and outdoor people. You need to wear synthetics such as nylon or Gore-Tex if you are going to work up a sweat in rainy weather and in cold temperatures. Soaked cotton doesn’t keep you warm and contributes to dehydration. Synthetics wick up sweat and moisture and keep the body warmer.

If you wear soaked cotton, when you stop to camp those clothes will stay wet on your body. They take a long time to dry, and you will remain cold. After a long hiking day, one of the first things I do is change into dry clothes. It’s a great feeling. In the morning, I remove those dry clothes and save them for that night. If clothes from previous days aren’t completely dry, I’ll wear them anyway, just so I can always have a dry change at night to sleep in.

The pictures show my Marmot shell. I’ve said before that a rain/storm shell is my most important piece of clothing. It keeps me dry; it retards the wind and cold. Note the zipper-adjustable vents. No matter where I go, short hike or long, whether the day is sunny or warm, my shell is in my pack for when the weather changes.

The thing to be mindful of are the extremities–fingers and hands, toes and feet, head. You need to keep these areas warm and as dry as possible. I have light Gore-Tex gloves that I usually wear separately, but I can also use them as liners under heavier mittens. You can use an extra pair of socks as mittens if your handwear is lost or drenched. I always carry extra socks because wet socks and blisters go together, and I want my feet to be dry and warm. That’s a Gore-Tex baseball cap under my hood in the pictures. I’ll switch it for a knit ski hat if it gets really cold. I’ve read that there is a lot of heat loss from an uncovered head.

Keep dry, keep warm, and you are on your way to hiking safely.

Thru-hikes are expensive

DSC_7918-1: More hikers

Image by stannate via Flickr

English: Appalachian Trail tag Français : Marq...

English: Appalachian Trail tag Français : Marque d’un sentier des Appalaches (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re gearing up for a major thru-hike this spring, make sure you have enough money set aside for the undertaking. Thru-hikes are expensive. Over the years, I’ve met hikers, usually young people, who had simply run out of money and had to give it up. On the Appalachian Trail in 2003, I remember one hiker ran out of money just as he crossed over from New Hampshire to Maine.

Let’s consider the Appalachian Trail, 2178 miles long. The days of averaging a dollar a mile are long gone, although it can be done. Twenty-four years ago, Roland Mueser, in his later book, Long Distance Hiking–Lessons from the Appalachian Trail, came up with an average cost of $3200.00 dollars or about $1.50 a mile. But that was 1989.

The above averages included equipment, food, hostels and campgrounds, motels and boarding houses, restaurant meals, travel, phone, mail, equipment and clothing along the way (new footwear, for example), and miscellaneous items. He’d sent out a questionnaire to all the thru-hikers that year (1989) and also found that younger and older hikers spent the same amount of money.

So what about today? Figure about $2.50 a mile, or $5500.00 for the A.T., and that is conservative. One recent blogger said he wouldn’t feel comfortable unless he had saved $10,000 for the hike.

The problem of added expenses arrises when you take extra time in towns along the trail. And who doesn’t want to get clean, eat hardy, and get extra sleep after a rough week in the wilds? I couldn’t wait to get into a town. I had trouble sleeping in hostels and preferred a private room. Early on during my treks, I’d hit town and leave the next morning, but somewhere in the middle of every thru-hike I’ve done, I’d start taking zero days. I loved taking that extra day to rest, read, and let my body catch up.

Put any extra money aside. It would be a shame after all your planning and training to fall short because you ran out of money.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Waterfall

Appalachian Trail thru-hike

A. T., New Hampshire