Clothing Systems

Our clothing is designed to work together in a system. Here are the various parts to the system:

Shell Jacket & Pants: These are made of a lightweight, breathable nylon and are used throughout each day. They work well as "starter" clothing to wear in the morning chill as we break down camp and begin hiking. Since they breathe well, they work well until the sun gets too powerful. They can be worn directly over the skin in warm weather to serve as protection from bugs and brush. They function well as mosquito protection as they are too thick to be penetrated, and can even be too slippery for ticks to climb on. The legs and waist of the pants have elastic which prevent ticks and other bugs from crawling inside. All this means we aren't required to carry chemical repellents. Dave uses the original "Ray-Way" GoLite Bark jacket and Trunk pants. Jared uses the GoLite Virga jacket and Reed pants.

Breathable Shirt: Ray Jardine recommends a long-sleeve, buttoned polyester shirt. While this has many benefits, there are many more synthetic fibers in production today that are lighter, stronger, and offer more ventilation than traditional polyester. We choose shirts that weigh around 5 ounces and breathe well. This shirt becomes the primary layer, so it's important to find something with adequate ventilation.

Hiking Shorts: After miles and miles of hiking, it's only natural to experience chaffing around the legs. A great solution to this is to wear bike shorts as the base layer--they're lightweight and close-fitting, preventing the legs from touching each other with each step. They are very thin and will dry easily while hiking. We both wear some sort of shorts over these: Dave wears impact-resistant climbing shorts while Jared prefers convertible pant/shorts.

Insulated Jacket: This item isn't always required, depending on the time of year and the location. It functions as additional insulation, worn at night underneath the quilt. When hiking in weather that might only require donning the jacket right before sleep, consider leaving it at home. Don't forget that the quilt can be used outside of the tarp to much of the same function as a jacket. Don't bring more than you truly need, but make sure you're confident without it before leaving it at home! We typically don't bring an insulated jacket on Sierra hikes during the summer, but sometimes the late summer can bring unanticipated snow and cold.

Rain Jacket: This item is made of a silicon-impregnated nylon, much like the tarp shelter. It does not breathe well, so is difficult to use while hiking except while in very cold weather. Still, it's a very necessary item through late spring and early fall, and for unpredictable summer storms. The jacket can also serve as added warmth when worn during extra cold nights.

Rain Pants: These are rarely used except for in the worst of rain storms. Still, similar to the rain jacket described above, there is good reason to have them along.

Socks: Thin socks work best. They breathe well, don't cause extra sweat, and dry quickly. Thin socks, when combined with ventilated running shoes, mean that stepping in a creek or hiking in the rain don't put a damper on the day. Additionally, drier feet mean a reduced risk of blisters or fungal growth. Double up pairs if your feet are cold. Dave prefers DeFeet Wool-E-Ator socks while Jared uses Wigwam wool socks.

Beanie: A lightweight fleece beanie functions well during the night to retain body heat. It can be pulled over the face for added warmth, or to keep bugs from bitting. In the mornings, they're worn as we start hiking so that a heavier jacket isn't required, and because they can instantly be pulled off when the body suddenly realizes it's too hot.We both use homemade fleece beanies following Ray Jardine's simple design.

Mittens: We've made these out of the same lightweight fleece material as our beanies. They're worn to sleep and during early morning hiking. Breaking down camp in the morning can leave the fingers numb for a while, which is why it's great to have a warm pair of mittens to put on right after handling the freezing tarp stakes. Don't think of these as a luxury--there's not much to them--but they sure are helpful!

Sun Hat: Nerdy-looking? Yes. Useful? Absolutely! A good sun hat is required when hiking lengths above the tree-line, where there is little natural protection from the sun. Without a sun hat, sunscreen is required to avoid burning the face and back of the neck. We usually forget to put on sunscreen and get burnt, but also it's a hassle carrying the stuff and smelling like it all the time. Jared uses the Tilley Air Flo Hat and Dave uses the Headsweats ProTech Hat.

Head-Net: Any simple no-see-um mesh mosquito net will do. This, combined with the shell jacket and pants, means that the whole body is protected from those irritating mosquitos. We can avoid using bug spray, especially in the evenings, by suiting up with the final touch of the head net.

Lightweight Hiking Concepts