Retro Layers

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I’ve fine tuned my clothing layers over the years, and they are what works for me.  For example, my legs don’t really get cold, so I’ll often wear shorts as long as it does not go below about 30 degrees.  Yet, I sleep cold, so I take a sleeping bag that is about 10 degrees warmer than what I need, and as everyone hangs out in their wind shirts on summer nights, before heading for their tents/tarps, I sit around chatting, looking like a big down puff ball.

On this upcoming hike in Colorado, I’m taking very few new layers.  In fact, I’m taking my 10 year old Marmot Wind shirt, and my sunhat that has about 10 holes in it, since it also makes an excellent fire and stove mitt when moving my cooking pot.  My socks have been around a few years, which might explain the blisters, and my Exofficio hiking shirt, well I don’t even remember when I bought that.

I’ll start at the top and work my way down.  My sun hat is a little ratty.  I’ve taken it on every hike, and long, long ago it was white.  It is now a kind of grayish brown, and full of holes, but I can’t let it go.  I have an emotional bond to it.  I have to keep it hidden or it will get thrown away.  I also carry a fleece hat with a few burn marks.  My hats serve many purposes.

I think I bought My Exofficio shirt when they sold like two different styles.  Now they are quite trendy and far more attractive.

I sleep in a very light thermal shirt.  I ONLY sleep in it.  I like having a clean set of light clothes at night to keep my bag or quilt clean.   My Marmot Dri-clime Wind shirt has been with me for 10 years, since the PCT, and is an awesome warm, light weight layer.  It has pockets, and they no longer have pockets, so I suspect it will also be ratty before being retired.  I have to have lots of pockets.

My outer, insulated jacket is a Mont-bell down jacket that weighs about 5 ounces, and it is also showing it’s years, but still keeps me warm.  Mont-bell makes great light weight gear, that holds up well.  I also have one of their zero degree, stretchy sleeping bags that is AWESOME for a side sleeping, thrasher of a sleeper like me.

My hands will be sporting a fairly new pair of waterproof glove liners by Manzella, that I found on the sale rack at REI.  They are light and tough, and I’ve not been able to find anything else like them anywhere, so they will probably eventually fall into the ratty category also, or as I always counter with, “WELL WORN, not RATTY.”

As I said, I have to have pockets, so I have the common khaki hiking shorts.  I put my maps, knife, money, ID, etc., in them.  I’ve never kept these things in my pack since I can be a little absent minded sometimes about where I leave the pack when grocery shopping, waiting on rides, taking trail side “breaks,” hitching, etc.  I have pockets on the hip belt of my pack, but I inevitably need more room.

If it rains, I have a light weight pair of Montbell rain pants that are tiny and pack down to nothing.  I don’t think they sell them anymore, but what they have now are probably even lighter.

Another special mention to my new Light Heart rain jacket, that I already discussed in this post.  I look forward to some good torrential down pours to give it a good shake down.

Finally, my very delicate feet.  I’ve tried every sock made since I am blister prone.  I tried liners and they made no difference.  I had pretty good success with Injinji (socks with toes), but I kept getting holes around the seams.  Darn Tough socks are good and I love their service.  I could go on and on about many other brands, but ultimately I came back to Smart Wool.  They are a good price, last forever, and I always seem to find them on sale.  There are a lot of good brands now, and if on the hunt for good socks check out this article that Green Belly just posted, with a good review of multiple brands.

Actually, I’m biding my time until Duct Tape comes out with a sock.

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