Well, it's time to pull out the summer adventuring gear...
My recommendation is to pull it out & try a short hike first, unlike what I did this weekend, & trusted my memory & went on a multi day backpacking trip.
While it was an epic, super fun weekend, turns out my memory isn't as good as I'd like to think it is & I had a few gear hiccups.
The old adage "there is no bad weather, just bad gear" rings true, especially when you realize the gear isn't up to snuff.
Hiking through deadfall is no fun no matter the gear, but the point is that if you are wearing & using gear that is not optimal you could be having a better time. Blisters & cold feet are simply no fun.
Over the next couple of weeks I'll write a series of entries regarding clothing & shoes for Alaskan hiking adventures. Let my hiccups be your learning experiences : )
Let's start with the good, my baselayers!
Tweaked over the years with what has been available in the market as well as fit & of course color, & where I'm headed (conditions, weather & how much I'll sweat), in general, my fave for backpacking on the Coast continues to be Merino.
Why do I like Merino while hiking? Well it just breathes with me better for an activity such as hiking, & I like to go on hiking trips with friends. Why does that matter? Well, let's just say I can get sweaty at times... so having something that doesn't hold odour means a lot to me. While synthetics wick liquid moisture away, merino moves it away from your skin while it is still a vapor. Plus it stays warm if it does get wet, either in the rain or on the boatride back home.
Icebreaker, Smartwool & Patagonia (blended with Capilene for the best of both worlds)all have fantastic options that we carry. Things you'll want to consider is weight & most importantly, fit. Especially on bottoms the fit is key. You don't want to realize that they don't really fit 3 miles in on an uphill of a 4 day 30 mile trip.
So, try lunging around the store in them! If that feels good, the next step is to try them with both your quick dry hiking pants - bring your favorite pair into the store with you! You'll also want to make sure they work with your body & your rain pants, so bring those in as well.
The next step is to take them home & see how they integrate with your other gear. As far as bottoms go, this is really important to me, mostly because my butt gets cold easily so I need to make sure it's layered up, which can lead to multiple waist bands that can also interfere with my hip belt on my pack. Let me tell you, there is little worse than blisters on your hips (this is also why I love merino - it breathes easily so it discourages those pesky sores).
In my experience, it seems like men have less issues with this & I think it's probably because we ladies have hips that are a bit harder to design around. While we tend to hate bulk around our true waist, the lower rised options we love for certain activities just don't always work when you add another waistband & a hip belt & definitely not if you want to add a belt to the mix to hold your pants, knife, etc on.
Guys... let us know what you think & ring in on the conversation in the comments below!
SO... if it isn't perfect while tromping up & down the stairs at home, BRING THEM BACK! Because they certainly won't be fab when they are also wet, you're lost & you're running late for your water taxi!
You'll also maybe want to think how you'll be wearing them the most & how that will effect the interaction with your socks & boots. If you will be skiing in them in the winter, wear tall hunting boots with them, or prefer higher socks, you may want to consider a boot top legging, cropped so that you don't have a lot of bulk in your boots. These are also a good option for those with Petite legs.
Keep in mind that I don't just mean bottoms as in leggings. For years I was miserable because I'd wear synthetic or cotton (what was i thinking?!?! didn't learn the adage cotton kills for awhile, must have been the city girl in me...) underwear with my merino leggings & the combo just didn't mesh well... Nowadays I love the lycra/merino blend of the GT series from Icebreaker. While Arc'teryx & Smartwool also have great options, I find these fit me the best, & if they don't fit good, I'm not a happy camper.
Come visit us today & we can help you find the perfect fit, as well as the perfect fiber for your activity! Because being a happy camper is the point. & we live in a place made for happy camping.
Now you know what my undies look like, chime in below & let me know what your faves are & why!
Such a solution eludes me up top. I have yet to find a merino sports bra that fits me. But for those that fit them, Icebreaker & Smartwool have some great options!