Clothing to Keep You Safe and Warm

Time on the land can be uncomfortable and even very dangerous if you aren’t ready for the weather nature sends to greet you.

On a summer day in the alpine, all four seasons can assert themselves. The hiker who is prepared with good clothing, equipment, and attitude can actually enjoy the weather experience. Ill-prepared hikers, especially those wearing poor quality or cotton garments, can be in for a lifethreatening experience.

Modern outdoor clothing of good quality is extremely durable, light in weight, and packs up into a very small package. Some pants and jackets pack up into one of the pockets, designed as a stuff-sack. Pants, jackets, and vests need to be waterproof and breathable. Products manufactured with Gore-Tex or other membrane water-barrier material will also fill the role as rain-gear.

If a garment is not waterproof then an additional set of rain gear is essential. Rather than wearing clothing with built-in insulation, dress in layers so you can take off or put on clothing as needed. Much of the time, your vest will be in or tied to your pack, and should be available to put on quickly when a chill starts to set in. Always carry gloves and take a fl eece or wool toque as a backup to the peaked caps we all wear.

Pants should be loose fi tting and have bibs, if possible, because they cover most of your torso, where all your heat is generated. They should have side zippers in the legs to allow venting and also allow the pants to be put on or taken off without removing your hiking boots. There should be additional patches over the knees, the inside the ankles, and on the backside area. These spots get the most wear and tear and will last longer if reinforced.

Bibs are available in which the front zipper opens all the way from the top of the chest, down between the legs, and up to the waist in the rear. This allows the wearer to take a bathroom break by undoing the total length of the zipper without needing to remove any other clothing.

Jackets should be at least hiplength to prevent them being pushed up by a backpack. They should be very generous in size to accommodate layering.

A drawstring hood should cover the bottom part of your face but should not be detachable, because it will get lost. The fulllength main zipper should have two toggles to allow the bottom of the zipper to be opened for venting or sitting down. This main zipper should be covered by a Velcro or a dome fastener fl ap to make it more weatherproof. All pockets should close with zippers and remember, an inside chest pocket will keep your papers dry.

Try wearing some inexpensive gators to keep all those sticks, stones, and other things from getting into the tops of your boots.

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