Fourteen years of dreaming and two years of planning. That's what it took to finally get to hike the Applachian Trail. I'll never forget standing on top of Springer Mountain in Georgia that Easter my partner and I began our hike. I had no idea then that a few weeks later we would be off the trail, having made it as far as mid-way through the Smokies, some 200 miles or so. I had injured one knee severely, and the other less so. But you know, I wouldn't trade the experience for all the world. It was amazing.
So exactly what clothing went in that pack of mine?
Here's my list:
1 pair winter weight polypropylene long underwear
1 pair summer weight polypropylene long underwear
1 pair spandex running pants
2 pair wicking T-shirts
1 fleece jacket
1 pair fleece pants
3 pair wool socks
3 pair polypro sock liners
1 fleece hat
1 Gor-Tex rainsuit
2 pair undies
1 sun hat
1 pair flip flops
and of course...1 pair Asolo hiking boots.
And that was all!
Basically I wore the running pants and a T-shirt to hike in. In the evening I'd change into the long underwear and fleece. (This was end of March in the mountains...our water would freeze at night). The two T's were alternated from day to day. Each evening, I'd do "laundry" which would hang on the back of my pack the next day to dry. The rain gear did double duty as windbreakers. I carried what I considered the least amount necessary without being foolish. My daily alternates served as dry spares in case of emergency.
The entire amount (less what I was wearing) filled half a stuff sack. Talk about a capsule wardrobe!
If you've ever been backpacking, you know it all comes down to the ounces. Backpackers will even cut a toothbrush in half to save the weight! So everything that goes into the pack is carefully scrutinized...with the main question being, is it necessary? So I mastered the art of the minimum...and clothing was no exception. From this experience I learned how to reduce the amount of clothing in my "closet" to the least amount necessary.
Once you've deduced your minimum, everything else is cake!
Oh, and in case you're wondering, I've since lost much of my enthusiasm for wilderness living.
Since hiking the AT, I've discovered that I'm actually quite fond of soft beds, hot showers, clean and stylish clothes... and a closet that you can't carry on your back!
See you next time...same blog time...same blog channel....
(For more information on wardorbe planning, or to sign up for my free e-zine, please visit my wardrobe planning website.)