I’ve fine-tuned my Retro Hiking Layers over the years, and they are what work for me. For example, my legs don’t get cold, so I’ll often wear shorts as long as it does not go below 30 degrees.
Yet, I sleep cold, so I take a sleeping bag about 10 degrees warmer than 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 giant down puffball.
Retro Layers on My Upcoming Colorado Trail Hike
I’m taking very few new layers on this upcoming hike in Colorado. Instead, I’m taking my 10-year-old Marmot Wind shirt and my sunhat that has about ten 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 of the list and work my way down. My sun hat is a little ratty. I’ve taken it on every hike, and long ago, it was white. It is now grayish-brown and full of holes, but I can’t let it go. I have an emotional bond with 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 two different styles. Now they are pretty 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 spare clothes at night to keep my bag or quilt clean. My Marmot Dri-clime Wind shirt has been with me for ten years since the PCT and is an awesomely warm, lightweight 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 its years, but it still keeps me warm. Mont-bell makes great lightweight gear that holds up well. I also have one of their zero-degree, stretchy sleeping bags that are AWESOME for a side-sleeping, thrasher sleeper like me.
My hands will be sporting a relatively new pair of waterproof glove liners by Manzella that I found on the sale rack at REI. They are light and challenging, 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 ordinary 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 club when grocery shopping, waiting on rides, taking trailside “breaks,” hitching, etc. I have pockets on my pack’s hip belt, but I inevitably need more room.
If it rains, I have a lightweight pair of tiny Montbell rain pants that pack down to nothing. I don’t think they sell them anymore, but what they have now is 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 downpours to give it a fair shakedown.
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 succeeded 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 returned to Smart Wool. They are reasonably priced, last forever, and I always seem to find them on sale.
I’m biding my time until Duct Tape comes out with a sock.