Food for thought regarding clothing and gear for Walkabout
Remember that in the wilderness whatever you bring in comes out with you. The more stuff you bring the heavier your pack will be. This is not a trip to be concerned about making a fashion statement or not wearing the same thing twice. I hiked in a pair of thrift store green wool pants and cotton T-shirts for many years. I’ve learned a few tricks since then but don’t stress about looking cool. We will all be dirty, so get used to it. Don’t be afraid to call or email us with questions or concerns.
When packing you should be thinking about three layers: 1) base, 2) insulation and 3) water
- Your base layer should be something made from synthetic fibers, polyester, at the lest 50 poly/50 cotton. This layer helps pull moisture away from your body to keep you cool when you’re working hard on the trail and warm in cool conditions.
- The insulation layers’ job is to keep you warm in cold conditions. A pull-over or zip-up fleece jacket is a great option. A wool sweater is good option as well. A cotton sweatshirt is NOT a good option.
- Your wind and water layer needs to be ready to take on the variety of unexpected weather conditions on Walkabout, including wind, rain, light rain, heavy rain and snow. Also made of synthetic materials, rain gear needs to repel rain and block wind. Rain gear can also be very expensive. In 2000 the Gore company lost their exclusive patent so there are many less expensive Gore-Tex –like jackets and pants available; they just don’t say Gore-Tex. You don’t have to drop $300 on a new jacket. See if some one will loan you one or find an inexpensive alternative to REI. A non-plastic poncho is a good option as well.
There is a saying in the backcountry that “Cotton Kills.” Though extreme, cotton could “kill” you and your group's experience when you get wet. Cotton feels great to wear when dry but loses its insulating qualities when wet. It absorbs many times its weight in water, wicks perspiration very poorly, and takes a very long time to dry. Look for clothing made from wool, polyester, polypropylene, nylon, or spandex. Check Target, Walmart, Marshall’s, T.J. Maxx, outlet stores, or thrift shops for clothing. Also, look at these online stores for deals:
A general rule of thumb regarding how much clothing to bring is you should be able to wear all of the clothes you bring at once (minus underwear and socks). You might have to do this if we encounter cold weather conditions, so test it out prior to your first cold night in the backcountry.
Contact Dave Johnstone with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Be Smart. Plan Ahead. Be Prepared.