Layering Your Clothing

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Hiking in McDowell County is always a little tricky because the weather when you start is usually not the same when you finish.  Planning what to wear (and I don’t mean “Does this make my butt look big?”) is an important part of the hike.  Here’s some general information that might help make your day hike a little more comfortable.  Start at your skin and work out.  Try to think about how good or bad the weather might be during your outing and pick what you think is best.  It’s always a guess.


  1. The wicking layer – long underwear top and/or bottom; I like capilene.  Silk is good.  No cotton.


  1. The insulating Layer – sweater, wool or synthetic fleece; pile jacket, etc.; long pants; no cotton.


  1. The outer shell – waterproof raingear, top with a hood and bottoms if you like them, coated nylon, Gore-tex, etc.


  1. Warm hat – wool, bunting, or fleece material.  I think it’s important to cover the ears – some disagree.  Also consider a hat or cap with a brim to help with the sun.


  1. Gloves or mittens – plenty of choices here.  No cotton.  The new light weight ones are very good.  I still like leather.


  1. Hiking boots – broken-in and water-proofed.  For me, foot protection is one of the key elements of the hike.  If my feet are wet or uncomfortable, I don’t enjoy the outing.  Take time to waterproof your boots.  Another trick is to bring small plastic bags to wear over your socks inside your boots if you see that water is going to be a factor.


  1. Socks – even on a day hike, an extra pair might make the difference in how much you enjoy the walk.  A good method is to wear a thin wicking sock under a thicker wool sock.  I have found that this method adds to foot comfort and takes any extra slack out of the boot when I walk.


  1. Fair-weather hiking clothes: – hiking shorts, t-shirt, hat for the sun, etc.  Cotton is ok.  That’s my favorite way to travel.  If you know the route, that may be all you need, along with a walking stick or trekking poles.  But if you’re not sure of what is ahead, some of the above might be worth considering.  –Jim--