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a little while ago, I posted something about wearing old stuff. today, I had a few free hours for a hike and decided to wear some of the old school stuff - things I would have worn on a hike when I was in high school. there are my observations about that experience.
It was 38 degrees when I left the house this morning, 45 when I returned. cloudy, very little wind. normally, that would mean wearing a pair of lightweight shorts or possibly a pair of tights, some kind of synthetic or merino shirt, then another layer, wind shell or a fleece, perhaps - that I would shed as I got moving. I had a wool cap and some light synthetic gloves; I carried a day pack with water and a few extra things.
some of the 'old' stuff I wore is still part of my normal gear for a short day hike. I would wear the boots (limmer standards) and carry the pack (mystery ranch snapdragon) on any hike. I wore an old long sleeved cotton canvas Patagonia shirt, and I wore a pair of cotton canvas long pants. I threw a very old fleece into the backpack.
I cheated a little. I no longer own the rage wool socks I used to. hike with, and that I used to wear with liner socks to keep my feet clear of the prickly wool. no love lost for those. I wore a pair of FITS hiking socks. the underwear were something relatively recent that wick moisture well, and the t-shirt I wore is a 200 weight icebreaker merino T.
cotton canvas has some great properties. it allows some moisture to get out, and it does a good job cutting a breeze. on a rocky trail like the one I was on today, canvas tends to absorb scrapes and scuffs easily. however, heat regulation is not one of its strong points. moisture absorption is another. when cotton canvas gets wet, it gets heavy, and it stays wet. after about fifteen minutes, I was sweating too hard to stick with the canvas shirt, leaving me to hike in the merino t shirt.
I didn't have the option to ditch the canvas pants. the rocks didn't make any impact. they weren't as bad, probably because they are a more recent and lighter-grade cotton canvas. still, by the end of the hike, the waist band and parts of the knees were damp.
the boots were, as usual, fantastic. thick all-leather boots adapt to your feet over time, and these boots fit me like a glove. good merino socks definitely help, though. ditto for the backpack - one of the most comfortable suspensions on a small pack that I have encountered.
the merino T, heavier than average at 200 g/m squared, is a sort of secret weapon for cool to cold weather hiking. wool does a nice job helping you feel dry anyway; the thicker t shirt is surprisingly warm. it says something that I was comfortable hiking in the low 40s in a wool t shirt, along with a wool cap and some light gloves.
the fleece stayed in the backpack, but I put it on over the t shirt when I hopped back into my car. heavily pilled, but it remains extremely comfortable.