Guest Post by my Honey—Loral Pepoon
I don’t like to be cold, and I wanted to have a good time because I knew how much my hubby was looking forward to this hike on the last day of his favorite month. It was supposed to be in the 50s and raining for a portion of the day.
What I wore on my lower half
I especially don’t like my legs to be cold. Last year on a day in the Smokies when the temperature was in the 60s, I had tried a pair of yoga pants from Old Navy as a base layer and a fall pair of loose hiking pants, and I was cold.
This year, I added silk long underwear from Land’s End under the yoga pants, and those same fall hiking pants. Since I am about 10 pounds heavier, the pants were more form fitting. I also had to wear thin rain pant as a top layer to keep me dry. I didn’t expect them to help keep me warm, but I think they did.
I was never too hot to be uncomfortable, but if I had to repeat it, I think I would take off the yoga pants, and just do the silk long underwear, the fall hiking pants and the rain pants. It seems as if you have higher quality material in your clothes, less layers are needed.
I also have amazing footwear. I have Ahnu Hiking boots that are water proof, and wore a pair of smart wool socks from REI.
What I wore on my upper body
I went out and stood on my patio a bit before we left home to gage what I needed—and I was cold. I wore silk long underwear, a long sleeve t-shirt with a hood, a high quality very thin coat from REI, a form fitting, stretchy jacket, and a thin, but high quality wind breaker/rain jacket for rain from EMS (Eastern Mountain Sports).
I WAY over did it. I took off two layers—the two jackets in the middle after less than 10 minutes on the trail. Again, with the silk underwear, fewer layers are necessary.
I also had a stocking cap and touch tec gloves, which I also took off.
Finally, I had a bandana wrapped around my neck. I had that the whole time, and it really helped with breathable warmth when necessary. I will never go on a hike without one now.
I learned that it is important to be warm during the first 10 or 15 minutes until your body warms up. If I had to do it again, though, I would bring one extra jacket for warmth, and still bring the hat and gloves, just in case.
I had also underestimated how helpful the windbreaker/rain jacket was for warmth—I thought I just needed it for the rain. My rain jacket has great velcro up around the neck and strings to adjust the hood to tighten it. It also has velcro around the wrists. That feature is so helpful. When I didn’t feel like wearing gloves, I could pull my hands up in the jacket to keep them from getting wet.
What I learned
My husband was pleasantly surprised when I said that I learned that I could get warmer comfortably, which meant I could go out when it was colder. I told him that as long as there wasn’t ice on the ground, I could probably be comfortable down to about 30. He was thrilled—and asked to record my words. Now I have said it here…so I have to at least try.