Clothing Advice for the Appalachian Trail

clothesThere are four main things to consider when selecting the clothes you will bring with you for thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail:

What kind of weather will I be hiking in?

How much added weight will my clothes add to my pack?

How easy are the clothes to clean?

Are the clothes durable and will they withstand being worn over and over for six months?

Cold weather hikers should dress in layers with an under layer, an insulation layer and a protective shell. When the weather is extremely cold, the under layer should be a polypro or polyester long sleeve top and a polypro or polyester set of long-johns. The long-johns should fit snug to the ankle and the top should have a zip T-neck seal. Polypro and polyester are good water-repellents, ultimately decreasing the dangers of hypothermia. The insulation layer should be either a medium weight wool or a fleece sweater. The protective shell should not be insulated, but should be waterproof, breathable and wind-resistant. Gore-Tex is good for this. Your shell should also be long enough so that it doesn't ball up under your pack.

Many thru-hikers wear a cotton T-shirt and loose-fitting shorts in the summer months. Many prefer jogging shorts because they are cool, light and easy to clean. In contrast, long pants give more protection to your legs, have deep pockets and dry quickly.

Most thru-hikers wear two pairs of socks. They wear a thin liner of polypropylene, Orlon, or nylon and a thick wool outer sock. The idea behind two pairs is that the rubbing will occur between the two socks and not on the skin.

About the Author Steve Burge:
Steve Burge was the original founder of AppalachianTrail.com. He was a teacher for many years before starting a web development firm.
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