Friday, December 19, 2014

My Post Hike Gear Review (Pt. 2 - Clothing)

(My complete gear list)

Hiking Shirt - Columbia Silver Ridge Long Sleeve Shirt

I think I wore that shirt every single day for my entire trip. So it's 152 days on trail, adding a couple of days before I started, down in San Diego. That's pretty impressive.
On the trail, I always wore long sleeves. I don't recall a single time I folded the sleeves up. Even in the hot desert, it was never too hot for me. This way, I also didn't use any sun tan lotion for most of my hike - with arms and legs covered, and having a buff over my neck, I only rarely put some on my face. That was a big bonus, as putting on sun tan lotion is always a pain.
The material is very light and feels nice against my skin, and it dries quickly. The shirt was of excellent quality - I didn't have a single tear or seam falling apart. The only indication it was used constantly for 5 months is the way the color faded a bit. I would definitely wear a similar Columbia shirt for my next hike.

Hiking Pants - Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Pants

Same as the shirt - Wore the same pair of pants throughout the trip, and I don't have any complaints about them. No tears, no seams falling apart. The only problem was my weight loss - I had to pull the belt really tight, and somehow manage the excess material around my waist so it won't bother me too much. I should have bought a smaller pair somewhere half way through, but I wanted to hike in the same pair for as much as I could. I'm silly that way.
Same clothes for the entire trip. They held up very well.

Boxers - Exofficio Give-N-Go

I had two pairs of those boxers, and I switched between them all along the trail. I admit I was not switching every day... It all depended on when the next laundry is expected, and how hot and uncomfortable I felt with the pair I was currently wearing. Through most days, they worked just fine, though I did have the occasional chafing and raw spots here and there.

Hat - Columbia Bora Bora hat

And here's the hat.
A very nice and comfortable hat. I think I can count on one hand the amount of days I didn't wear it (some rainy days up in Washington). Even in the blistering heat, I was never always comfortable with it over my head, with the small mesh allowing some wind to chill my head.
It took me well over 2 months to figure out I don't need the annoying string attached to it. I used to just put it behind my head (and not under my chin), figuring I might use it in some very windy conditions. But after hiking over half the trail without actually needing it, I finally cut it. The elastic cord around the head worked just fine for keeping the hat in place.

Beanie - ZPacks Micro Fleece Hat

I started without any beanie, and quickly discovered I am losing a lot of heat from my exposed head, during the night (My quilt doesn't have a hood). I bought the ZPacks hat at the ADZPCTKO for $10, and it did the trick. Warm enough for all the nights on the trail, and I also hiked with it a couple of times. Great value.
The Ghost Whisperer Anorak

Wind Shirt - Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Anorak

The link above is to the hooded jacket, but I had an older version, with no hood, and only half zip in the front.
I carried it with me for rain and wind protection in the first third of the trail, up to Kennedy Meadows. I figured I wouldn't have many rainy days in the Southern California desert, and I was right. I remember maybe 2 days of actual rain, and I probably put it on while hiking maybe twice more to protect me from some cold winds. It did the trick.
I now carry it with me every day, just in case a sudden rain will catch me unprepared. The minimal weight makes it very comfortable as a last resort.

Rain Jacket - Marmot PreCip

A great rain jacket, which I keep on using since my days on the AT, 12 years ago. In 2008 I bought a new jacket, since my old jacket was peeling on the inside, but I've used it since 2008 and on the PCT, and it performed wonderfully. I had just a few rainy days on the trail, and I really liked all the different venting options the PreCip offers to deal with different temperatures and rain types.
In the hot and rainy days of Northern California I sometimes took off my hiking shirt completely, and just put on the jacket. I admit - it doesn't really feel comfortable against the skin. But with the pit zips open, and the front zip also only part way closed, there was enough ventilation to prevent too much sweating, and enough protection at the top to prevent getting wet by the rain.
And here is the infamous PreCip
In the cold rainy days of Washington I used to close it all tightly around me. But it was still easy enough to open up the Velcro at the cuffs, to allow some air inside, or open the pit zips again a bit later, when the rain wasn't as strong, and sweat was starting to build up. It really does fit many different rainy scenarios.
I also used it in camp, at the evening, when it was not cold enough to put on my insulating jacket. And last but not least - even in the coldest nights, when I put on everything else to keep me warm, I'd keep the PreCip crammed inside its own pocket, and used it as a pillow.

Jacket - Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic Hooded Jacket

I was really happy with this jacket. Even at the desert, the nights were chilly enough for me, so I used it in camp on many evenings. It also performed well as a pillow, when I wasn't using the hood to keep my head warm. In some colder nights I wrapped the empty sleeves around my neck and shoulders. I think I Actually wore it during the night only once or twice.
Their down jacket is even lighter, but I figured I carried enough dead geese, and the synthetic insulation will hold better in case it gets wet.

Base Layer - Columbia/Marmot

I wore the base layer on most nights in my tent, and they kept me warm enough through most of them. On the colder evenings I'd put them on right when I got to camp.
I can't find the exact Marmot base layer pants I have, but both the pants and the shirt are nothing special. I think most light-weight warm-ish base layers would function similarly.

Socks - IceBreaker/Injinji

I started with two pairs of IceBreaker Hike+ socks, which worked just fine up to Wrightwood (Mile 369). They started having holes in them, so I ordered a three pack of Injinji's toe socks to there. It took a short while to adjust to the different feeling, but after a while they felt natural, and my feet didn't have any more serious blisters. I switched between the Trail and Run and whatever else models of Injinji, getting new socks in Lone Pine (Mile 788) and Belden (Mile 1289). I think the 3 pairs from Belden lasted all the way to the end. Impressive.

Shoes - Merrell Moab Ventilator

I started the trail with a pair of Merrells I used in Israel, and also hiked around the Mont Blanc with them. They were still in pretty good shape (~150 miles on them, I'd guess). I had some blisters at the beginning
New shoes and socks