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I'm a noob and an old one at that but I would like to ask a question of all of you who hike and camp all year round. Is there clothing that can be used to cover all 4 seasons (or 3)? I don't want to wind up with a wardrobe of seasonal stuff if there is a particular brand that can handle almost all weather conditions.


Highlander52
 

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ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒ&
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Practice layering. Several layers of clothes--adjusted for the season. Stick with cotton or wool if you can.
 

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free man
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Stay away from cotton! It gets wet and stays wet forever(then it gets really heavy, cold, and chafes like crazy). The only cotton I carry when extended backpacking is a bandana.

Synthetic is the way to. Wool works awesome but..its relatively heavy and bulky for long pack trips(but very fire resistant, fwiw) imo. I'll get flamed for this from the wool crowd, but oh well.

Think 3 layering systems.

Top system:Shell->Totally wind and waterproof, BUT BREATHABLE!!(no cheap coated shells!) Holds heat in while keeping the wind from pulling away ones body heat thru the otherwise very breathable under layers. Features like pitzips, mesh pockets, etc all help when more ventilation is needed(when climbing, working, etc. but can be zipped up when one is dorment).

Mid system:=super breathable insulating layers->thicker breathable layers like fleece(fleece is super light but somewhat bulky like wool, so choose wisely. But works awesome for insulating. When layering, don't get Windblocker because thats what your shell is for, and the redundency will only add weight, bulk, and less breathability otherwise=unwanted sweat. Fleece can be soaked in a stream..then shaken out..and immediately worn with no ill effects. Wool gets heavy when wet, and takes forever to dry compared to syn fleece). This mid layering can be 2 layers if needed, like a mid weight top under a fleece vest, etc.

Next to skin base layer system=wicking layers-->poly Pro syn. Lots of versions. All come in light, mid, and heavy weight versions. Depends on the conditions.

all 3 layers work together to stay warm, but also getting the moisture(sweat) to the inside surface of the breathable shell as easily as possible.

Add/subtract from these 3 basics. ie:vests, heavier/lighter mid layers, shell, or base.

For pants, I like knee/arse reinforced "trailpants" w zipoff knees. =2 garments in one. Add a shell over that(I like lightweight full zip pants here, like the Marmot Precips at only 12oz wt), and base under for when the conditions dictate.

With in all this, my lightest stuff of course is short sleeve shirt and shorts. Typically other then that, 3 light bottom layers(shell, pants, base) and 4 top(shell, vest, light fleece tech T, base) will cover from 100+ degrees, to the teens or lower if one is working.

Colder? Always have means to cover all exposed skin. Gloves(the relatively large vein covered area on the back of the hands loses huge amts of heat, not unlike the top of the head). Neck, face, head.
 

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Yes there is. Though for winter you will need a bit more gear. Now this is what I use, but doesn't mean it will be perfect for you. However, it is along the right lines of the outdoor gear that you would want if you are an avid Backpacker. Not needed if you are just out for a weekend camping trip in a park somewhere. Cotton is just fine then.

For trousers I wear Switchbacks from the Boy Scouts of America. They are a good light weight and thin trouser that wicks sweat away, and drys quickly. They are convertable cargo trousers, meaning the legs zip off to create shorts. They have nise zip pockets, with drainage holes in them to let water out when I am crossing rivers or lakes. These trousers also have I believe a 40 or 50 UV protection from the sun. $40 USD
http://www.scoutstuff.org/BSASupply/ItemDetail.aspx?cat=01RTL&ctgy=PRODUCTS&c2=UNIFORMS&C3=TROUSERS&C4=&LV=3&item=900SBP&prodid=900SBP^8^01RTL&

For a shirt I wear an REI Mojava Tech Men's Long Sleeve Midnight Shirt. I LOVE this shirt. It is a of a heavier nylon, which is very comfy and a bit dressy in appearance. Which lets me use it both outdoors, and to events where I need to look nice. A bonus for me when I am traveling across Europe or Asia. It has zips under the arm pits to let extra air in to breath, as well as one in the back of the shirt. The neck band flips up and there is a bit of velcro to expend it further. This is to protect your neck from the sun. It has two breast pockets, that are very flush with the shirt. In the left pocket is a hidden pocket for sunglasses, while the right one has a hidden zip pocket for items such as plane tickets, passports, identification documents, medical documents, etc. The pocket is VERY deep. The sleeves roll up and attach at the bicep with a button to be held up. A very nice feature. This shirt has around a 50 UV protection from the sun. $60 USD
http://www.rei.com/product/746977

For socks I wear a pair of smart wool cross walk socks. They are great, the wool is nice and soft and does not itch. They suck of sweat nicly from my feet, and dry fairly fast over a fire. Just don't put them to close. You'll feet will thank you after a 10 mile hike. Socks like this are expensive usually costing 10.00-20.00 for just a single pair. I only carry 2 with me, one that I am wearing, and an extra set in my pack. I am planning on buying 1-2 more pairs for my longer world travel trips. $13 USD per pair.
http://www.rei.com/product/720689

Underwear I wear ExOfficio Boxers. These synthetic boxers are amazing. Very comfy, quick drying, and they actually eleminate oder fairly well. I went with black, as when traveling it is better to hide any dirt or stains that come from adventuring. They are easy to wash in any stream or sink. I own only one pair, though I do plan to buy 1-2 more pairs at a later date. $25 USD per pair.
http://www.rei.com/product/684397

I have a black under armor sleeveless shirt, which i use as my base layer. this wicks away moisture very well, and is quiet comfy. It is also a synthetic material like all of my other clothes. You don't need a sleeveless one, but a synthetic undershirt can be a big help on those warmer of days. $25 USD

Always kept in my pack for those cold days or nights. And part of my winter gear is a British wools commando pullover sweater. This thing is great for warmth and pretty comfy. Though it is real wool so it does happen to itch if you don't have some sort of clothing under it. The under shirt helps big here as they it's only your arms itch and that isn't as bad as your chest and back trust me. Keep in mind that when wool gets wet it is able to keep 90% of is warmth. I don't know the price of these as mine was a gift. The American military wears a sweater basically exactly like this one, which you can buy at just about any surplus store. Mine was a gift however, but expect to pay around $15-20 USD for one.
http://www.surplusandadventure.com/images/product/main/commando_pullover.jpg

I also keep a set of black bottoms and tops Underarmor Thermal Long Johns. These are of a synthetic material and far superior to the cotton ones. Can get these at just about any sporting goods store, and there are hundreds of different brands. Underarmor is not the best, just the pair that I happen to have. Prices do range, so dont' freak out at the heavy price of $100.00 that my set costs (that is for both).

For boots I wear a pair of columbia trail hiking shoes. These are not boots, as they do not have ankle support. I perfer these as they are more comfortable then hiking boots, and are great when climbing rocks, running, or crossing streams. They're fairly well water proof (have had them almost fully submerged and my feet were dry), and very sturdy. If you like the traditional hiking boot more, there is nothing wrong with having those. Just make sure you have them nicly broken in before you dare touch a trail. Mine cost around $60 USD.

For rain gear I have rolled up in my pack a Stearns Tactical Sport Parka shell in Red. I love this jacket. I have worn it during a hurricane and been perfectly dry. As well during winter this serves as my outer shell, and keeps me very warm and dry. The jacket has many pockets on both the outside and inside for storing of gear. It looks presentable when walking through town as well. I especially am fond of the hood. It is the first hood that has been done correctly, as it fits just over your head, and then has a stiff brim that lets the water flow down away from your face. This allows you to have your perefial vison better. $100 USD.
http://www.stearnsflotation.com/dyn_prod.php?p=STR8787&k=78038

Stearns Tractel Sport Lite Trousers. These are the rain bottoms to the jacket, and are very nice. They're warm, and wick moisture away very well. 50 USD
http://www.stearnsflotation.com/dyn_prod.php?p=STR8779

A normal every day pair of swim trunks. Which you can find anywhere. Nothing fancy about them, except mine go to just above my knees. Combine these with the under armor undershirt and I have perfect beach wear. Hey, never know when you're going to go for a swim. As well trunks can be used as trail shorts, or underwear. Don't ask me why, but I even bring these in winter.

A kangaroo hide Barmah hat. This hat is a nice wide brim, waterproof hat that protects my head, neck, and face from the sun. It also is capable of being folded up to fit into a pocket. And can later be retrieved and it pops right back into it's original formation. This product is from Australia.

A smart wool beanie. I carry both my Barmah hat, and this. The beanie is great to keep your head warm on cool nights, and when you go to sleep. You lose the majority of your heat through your head, and when you are sleeping outside this makes a diffrence. I like to wear this at night when I sleep. Helps keep me warm, and keeps any ticks out of my hair. Note, being a smart wool product it does not itch. $25 USD.


I believe that is it for my 4 season clothing. During the winter I will wear the thermal long johns as my base layer usually with the under shirt under those. My second layer is my british commando sweater, my third layer is a fleece zip up vest, and my outer layer and shell is my rain jacket. Meaning during winter I add one piece of clothing to my upper layer. The rain trousers work as a snow pant as well, however I do own a pair of snowboaring trousers that I usually take instead. They are far warmer, and great for snow activity. As well I appreicate the zip pockets found on the snow pants. However for some extra warmth, I will wear the rain pants under these snow pants. The fleece vest cost around 40 USD and the snow pants were over 100 USD.

OH! For gloves. I bring a pair of leather work gloves. Keep my hands warm, as well as protects them when collecting fire wood, cooking, and moving logs about in the fire pit. For winter I'll bring along a pair of wool or fleece gloves, and then have a heavy synthetic outer mitten shell. I still take the leather ones with me to protect against fire as they do not melt.


THINGS TO ADD TO MY LIST:

Winter boots - My trail shoes are not ment for winter, though they work to a degree. I usually wear a pair of U.S. Army jump boots from my days in the military, however the traction on them suck. I do plan on buying a new pair of good winter hiking boots. I've just have't settled on a pair. As the prices are steep 140 USD - 400 USD.

Gaiters - More for winter, though my snow pants have a built in gaiter. A back up item I'd like to get and try out. Not an item at the top of my to buy list, but maybe someday I'll try them out. However, there are also gaiters for snake attacks. These I WILL buy when I leave for any area that has snakes. However, Wisconsin doesn't have venomous snakes, except for a timber rattler and that is located at the edges of the state in the rockier elevations. Cost around 60 USD.


Oh and of course I always bring a good pair of sunglasses, for all 4 seasons. You don't want snow blindness trust me.

Well that is about the gist of all my clothing for all 4 seasons. It may seem like a lot, but it's really not. As I wear all of it, or take it off and toss in my pack till I need it. I know some people who bring out 3-4 stes of extra clothing. This is totally not needed. Maybe bring an extra set of trousers if you happen to have some, or a pair of shorts if you don't have convertables or just don't want to bother unziping the legs. I do have shorts that I use when I am kayaking, however hiking if I want shorts I just wear my swim trunks.

I hope this helped, and doesn't scare you off from the amount of clothing or costs. Keep in mind I buy gear that is ment to last and serves multiple functions. There is cheaper gear out there, and some ligher, that will get the job done just as well. My only major advice, go with synthetics and stay way from cotton. Unless you living in the desert where cotton is fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Appreciate the info and your quick response. I now have many great ideas of what I need to wear hiking and camping. Sounds like you have been doing this a long time.



Thanks
Mike
 

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My clothing selection is pretty much the same all year, except for certain insulating layers, which would be left home during the warmer weather.

Lightweight base layer, midweight layer, insulating layer (sweater or fleece or something like a Montbell Thermawrap jacket), wind shirt and pants, rain gear, hat, gloves. All would be either synthetic, or some wool thrown in (my base layers and socks are wool). I always bring camp shoes too (Croc knock-offs).

Everyone's tolerance for cold varies, but layering is the way to go for anyone!

Just avoid cotton in colder, wetter climes.
 

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Wool rules and is getting easier to find again. I will admit though I'm a sucker for Carhart bib overalls. Things are great and durable, avoid buying them from outlets or getting seconds, I tried to save 10 bucks and it really wasn't worth it.
 

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living in newengland i am use to the 4 seasons. GORETEX is a life saver. Get yourself a good Shell Jacket that is Goretex. You can always layer under it and it will keep you dry and windproof.
 

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Simple guide for clothing.


1. Wicking base layer. This means things like workout t-shirts or longsleeves made out of synthetic materials. This will be against your skin.

2. Insulating middle layer. This can be added to or taken away depending on temps.

3. Windproof shell to seal it all in. This CAN be waterproof but I suggest a separate waterproof gear because even the MOST breathable still isn't very breathable and can make you sweat. The shell holds all the warmth in.

You can add or take away from the middle layer to adjust for the temperature. This is a basic layering guide for just about anything.

Middle layers should generally be fleece or wool.
 

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For low budget warm weather clothing, the %100 polyester miltary cold weather underlayers are good and inexpensive. Fleece is decent for underlayers, It is somewhat waterproof. It does absorb water slowly and is hard to dry out. A goretex outer layer is great, waterproof and quick to dry. My survival items lean towards hunting use. I have the cabelas multi-layer goretex system. I got the jacket and pants on sale for about $400. If picking something camo colored, pick something the color of the tree trunks where you go, greys dark browns. For about 100-150 you can get the military ECWS outer layers. Overall for winter stuff, try bibs or coveralls. Trying to keep your kidney areas warm while sitting in pants/jacket is tough. for extended winter outing a baclava is great for a hat. Covers your neck and mouth good. Overall, layering is good. When you walk/work in the winter you overheat and sweat is full layers. The sweat makes your clothes wet and you become very cold when you stop using much energy. Boots are very important. 400 grams minimum insulation for winter. Pick something that stays water proof up to 8 inches. When trying out boots, bring a pair of thick socks with you and try walking on something which makes your ankle twist a bit. Give you a decent idea what the boots will feel like in the woods. Those 10-15 dollar a pair of fancy socks, well worth their price. I Like the wigwam ones.

Another consideration in areas with tick and other insect related diseases. Look up bugskins in cabelas website. They have these nylon pantyhose style undergarments that keep the bugs out. I live near the epicenter of lyme disease. This is going to be a very challenging part of survival in some areas. Knowledge, constant skin examination, and a good sized supply of antibiotics is going to be a lifesaver. You may think your ok in the winter with these, but they thrive on deer and small game. Deer tick name came from the deer mouse not the deer. They thrive more on small animals because of low brush contact. Big consideration for me becuase I small game hunt alot.

Another person said it well, long sleeves and pants for summer. I used to work as a life guard in the summer, long term sunburns sucks. Full brimmed hat keeps the nose and ears from roasting. Something that wicks out sweat well is going to be good. Long term sweat on skin leads to rashes.
 

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For my BOB, like at least one set of all-nylon BDU shirts and pants, such as the 5.11 Tactical offerings. They work in both warm and cold weather, and they dry fast. Durability and abrasion-resistance are excellent. Something to change into when the soft, comfy cotton BDUs get soaked...
 
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