In the previous chapter, we examined the work of human thermoregulation, touched on the topic of layers of clothing, and, as a base layer, sorted out the purpose and types of thermal underwear. Now it was the turn of all the rest of the clothes.
Despite all the variety of outdoor clothing, I will try to reduce its selection to universal principles. Nevertheless, they will be typical only for walking trips under load, that is, without taking into account mattress exits and light LDPE, where there are no restrictions on the carried weights, accumulated energy deficit and cold fatigue, and the load is either unstable or insignificant.
The attitude of our tourists to the membrane is twofold. The audience is categorically divided into two groups. The first membrane rejects in every possible way, declaring its complete unreliability and calling it a marketing product. The second - the membrane worships, worships it and uses it in any hikes, regardless of the nature, region and temperature overboard. The latter often use the same jacket all year round, including in the city.
At forum battles, well-read fans pour out numbers and rubbish of test protocols, break spears over the advantage of hydrophobic and hydrophilic ones, beat their foreheads for Gore-Tex and Dermizax, simultaneously pouring mud at Pertex. At the same time, giants like Decathlon are selling massively inexpensive clothes with the declared "waterproofness" and "breathability" - actively producing dissatisfied tourists among those tourists who dared to buy their first membrane there.
Let's not figure out what kind of membranes are in terms of type and layer structure, since this is a topic for a separate material that is not always necessary for most users. Let's also leave behind the design and brands. Let's consider the functionality itself and answer the question "to take or not to take?"
First, let's see what a "non-working" top layer of clothing is.
Outerwear must remove steam from the inner layers or directly from the body to the outside. If it does not cope with this task, we get banal overheating and a drop in performance. And the more intense the load, the more pronounced the overheating.
Finding breathable clothing is no problem. It is pleasant and healthy to walk in it in dry weather. But, it does not protect well from the piercing wind. And almost no protection from the rain. You can, of course, sing praises to tarpaulin, but it's damn heavy and dries badly.
Since bad weather is precisely the main problem of a traveler, tourists, until recently, often solved it at the expense of clothes with a polyurethane coating. Such clothes protected from rain and wind, but absolutely did not breathe with all that it implies. That is, it is possible to be in a bivouac, but it is still uncomfortable to go. In addition, the water resistance remained low anyway, rarely exceeding 3000 ... 4000 mm/H2O.
Membrane fabric is an attempt to create a product that neither gets wet/blown out, and breathes, allowing you to avoid overheating in general and low comfort in particular.
Of course, an insulated sports suit will look great, but clothes and shoes for trekking are primarily about functionality and safety. For a detailed breakdown of your hiking wardrobe, see our article.
When choosing basic clothing items for winter and autumn trekking, keep the basic principles in mind.
Pay attention to the natural and weather conditions of the places where you plan to go. This will determine how long the trousers are or what material the jacket you will buy from.
Comfort is determined individually, but there are some general rules. Forget about cotton - you will sweat while hiking and cotton is not sweat-wicking. The result is wet things and cooling of the body. For trekking in winter and autumn, choose clothes made from merino wool, polyester and nylon to feel comfortable.
Besides the material, the fit of the tracking clothing is also important. Don't buy tight-fitting silhouettes without elasticity.
Remember, quality self-trekking equipment is expensive. Choose versatile items that suit different purposes. For example, light long-sleeved hiking shirts for the base and trousers with adjustable legs.
Hiking won't be comfortable or enjoyable without warm and moisture-repellent underwear. Choose polyester, merino or nylon instead of cotton for trekking. Such materials wick away moisture well and prevent skin irritation. Choose comfortable sports bras in the right size so that cups and straps don't pull or fall off anywhere.
When preparing for a summer trip, it is important to choose not only the right equipment, but also clothes. What to travel in summer? The choice of clothing for a hike depends primarily on the area where you plan to relax - whether it will be mountains with large temperature drops or plains with more stable weather, forests, steppes, river, sea coast, etc.
When choosing clothes for a hike in the summer, you do not need to purchase the latest collection of well-known travel brands, but you should not take unsuitable clothes with you. Of course, special trekking jackets and pants/shorts are lighter and wick away sweat well, dry quickly or do not get wet at all, but this does not mean that you will not be able to choose clothes for a hike from a regular wardrobe.
Please note that when choosing the amount of clothing for a hike in the summer, take into account the duration of the trip. If it is only with a couple of overnight stays in nature, then significantly reduce the number of things, and for longer ones, choosing an extra T-shirt or a pair of socks will not hurt.
Start your hiking outfit from the bottom layer, which is your underwear. Choose a pair of quick-drying briefs depending on how long you are resting. Consider the length of the trip and the ability to arrange for a light wash. Panties must be comfortable, otherwise they will simply rub it when walking or cycling for a long time.
Also prepare 3-4 pairs of thin socks. Special trekking socks are very comfortable, have no seams, allow the skin to breathe, but their presence is not required, this is a matter of comfort. If we are talking about long and more serious hiking trips, the ability of socks not to chafe is very much appreciated, therefore, it is preferable to opt for special tourist ones. Those who get cold at night can also bring a pair of warmer socks for sleeping.
As already mentioned, you need to choose clothes for the hike depending on the weather conditions. If the temperature difference is not planned, or your route will not run in the mountains, then you will hardly need sports thermal underwear, although non-winter models made of thin material perfectly wick away sweat, and during the night they can act as pajamas. If there is no such underwear or a strong cold is not expected, then bring along a regular long-sleeved T-shirt, which can also act as pajamas.
By the way, do not forget to bring a swimsuit or swimming trunks, if your route will run near water bodies, you will probably want to refresh yourself in a clean river or lake after a long walk.
If there will be no special difficulties with the calculation of socks and panties, then with T-shirts, pants and shorts you can get confused and get too much. The choice of these clothes for the summer hike, again, depends on its duration. Regular T-shirts made of quick-drying fabric for a short trip will only need about three pieces. A variant with synthetics or thermal shirts is possible, the former dry faster, and thin thermal shirts generally keep the skin dry. It is advisable that one of the T-shirts is long-sleeved (you can replace it with a shirt), it will protect both from the coolness and from the scorching sun rays.
Shorts will be an indispensable choice of clothing for a hike in a hot season. Do not take models made of denim or other dense fabric that can cause a lot of inconvenience when walking for a long time. Choose for a trip only shorts made of pleasant to the touch and light fabric, short leggings will do.
When it comes to choosing pants for a summer hike, some will suffice, but let it be thin sweatpants made of quick-drying material. If you are planning a mountain climbing, then it is better to choose warm pants, ideally trekking (storm) or sports insulated with fleece.
The winter hike is fundamentally different from the summer variant in the weather conditions. However, those who decide on such an event for the first time need to understand that these are not just beautiful snowy landscapes and casual conversations in front of a fire after a long day's running. In reality, this is a difficult physical and psychological test that requires considerable preparation before shipping. Traveling tourists need to know how to dress, what equipment to take with them, and what to be prepared for. All this helps to focus on the process itself, the beautiful places that can be seen, and not on how cold it is to make the transition.
When a traveler thinks about what to take with him, the first thing that comes to mind is clothes and shoes. For long, difficult transitions, it is extremely important to dress for the weather, and in the case of harsh conditions and low temperatures, this is simply necessary.
The main principle in the selection is the multi-layered clothing. This is necessary for combining clothes based on physical activity, temperature, etc. In addition, due to this, an air gap will form between several layers, which will allow you to retain heat. Even a few thin sweaters will always be better than one warmest sweater. Things simultaneously perform several functions: they protect from the wind and prevent overheating.
The task of the upper layer is not to be blown through by gusts of wind and not to allow moisture to pass through. However, it is not necessary to wear membrane clothes for this. They protect from rain, but in winter this is practically not required, and not every membrane can remove moisture during frost.
The choice of a jacket is based on the following criteria:
It is worth taking puffs to the mountains: they do not allow the body to freeze even when spending the night not in a tent.
Hiking pants are high-waisted to help keep you warm and protect your lower back. For walking days, the semi-overalls format is preferred. These models have ventilation holes to help dissipate heat during intense transitions.
The inner layer is formed primarily due to thermal underwear. It absorbs moisture and does not interfere with active movements during transitions. Thermal underwear should consist of a set: a jacket and pants.
When choosing between what to take with you on a hike: mittens or gloves, you should take into account the current temperature. In severe frost, gloves do not protect hands from the cold, so it is better to take mittens. It is unusual to use them at first, but they can also be climbed, photographed, and belayed. Mittens should be worn with tops - special membrane gloves that are not blown through.
Dress properly for a hike, prepare for everything and at the same time not carry with you a myriad of unnecessary, and most importantly heavy things - a rather non-trivial task, and for a beginner it can easily turn into several days of doubts and headache pain. In this article, we will try to determine the basic requirements for clothing on a hike and already established approaches to the formation of your hiking wardrobe.
The selection of clothes for a hike is different every time and is based on the expected conditions and your personal characteristics, but still there are several basic principles:
This is a layer that adjoins directly to the body and is represented by different types of thermal underwear (or, more precisely, functional underwear). The main task of this layer is to drain sweat outward and thereby maintain a feeling of comfort and reduce heat loss in cold weather and/or not interfere with the natural thermoregulation of the body (depending on the type of functional underwear). As you well know, when exercising, the body produces excessive heat and sweating is triggered to avoid overheating. Sweat evaporates from the surface of the skin and cools the body.
There are 2 main characteristics of thermal underwear: sweat-wicking (or moisture-wicking) function (when thermal underwear comes into contact with the skin, sweat is absorbed, but due to the special qualities of the fabric, it is not stored inside, but transported to the outer surface of the thermal underwear and is evenly distributed over it for rapid evaporation) and the ability to retain heat. These parameters depend on the composition of the fabric and the weave of the fiber. Accordingly, depending on the main purpose, thermal underwear is divided into retaining heat, removing moisture and combined. In addition, each manufacturer has a wide variety of models created for a specific use (for example, sports, everyday wear, and so on) and each model has its own name. It is worth mentioning that thermal underwear made from synthetic materials copes better with moisture removal, and models made from natural materials retain heat better.
When choosing thermal underwear, you need to pay attention to the quality of the seams, thermal underwear should fit snugly enough to the body, but not restrict movement, while bending/squatting, the lower back should remain closed.
Often represented by fleece or wool sweaters of different weights.
The main requirements for this layer are heat preservation and, ideally, also non-obstruction of moisture passage from the outer layer of thermal underwear into the environment. Recently, wool has been used less and less, giving preference to fleece (synthetic wool) for its convenience and durability. The most famous brand of fleece fabric is Polartec®. Polartec® fabrics are often referred to as one of the “100 Great Things”. This company has the widest assortment of fabrics - more than 200 types of fabrics in 9, which in turn are divided into 3 categories according to their main purpose.
For insulation, you should pay attention to clothes made from Polartec® Classic and Polartec® Thermal Pro® materials. olartec® Classic is divided into 100, 200 and 300 series based on its ability to retain heat and is the standard for warm, lightweight and breathable materials. It has been the choice of professional athletes for the past 20 years. Polartec® Thermal Pro® is the most functional and technically advanced insulation material from Polartec®. It achieves the best ratio of material weight to its ability to retain heat. The selection of a specific material (read warmth) is strictly individual: someone in a sweater from the 100th series will be hot, and someone will freeze in 300k. From experienced tourists it is worth learning this advice: it is better to take several low-density fleece items with you than one warm one. Thus, you can better match the insulation to the weather conditions for the most comfortable well-being. In addition, it should be borne in mind that while walking you will warm up due to movement and too warm a fleece will not bring comfort, but at a halt you will need to warm yourself more thoroughly. And it's simple - to change into a dry thing, and letting the running clothes dry is a wise idea. When choosing, you need to be guided by the same principles as when choosing the size of thermal underwear.
If you are planning a hike at low temperatures and there is a question about additional insulation, it makes sense to take a closer look at down jackets - down jackets and sleeveless jackets. They are lightweight and keep the temperature perfectly. The only drawback of down is that it loses its properties when wet. There are synthetic alternatives to fluff, they are devoid of the main disadvantage of fluff, but in other characteristics they still lag behind. When choosing, pay attention to the type of down: duck down is a little worse in properties and less valuable, goose down is the warmest and with proper care will last a very long time. The quality of the down is determined by the Fill Power characteristic, the higher it is, the higher the quality of the down - more elastic, less weight, better warming. For active tourism, choose puffs with Fill Power from 550.
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