Dress Right: 13 Essential Pieces For Backpacking

Sample Clothing Systems Using The Core 13 — Clothing is marketed and sold separately, but each item is meant to have a specific role within a larger system. Collectively it will provide comfort in challenging conditions like intense sun, torrential rain, swarming mosquitoes, thick brush, steamy humidity, and more.

Below are three sample clothing systems for differing regions and seasons. The system breaks the items down for use in “Go Suit,” “Stop,” “Storm,” and “Sleep” situations.

CLOTHING FOR: High Sierra, California (Late Spring)

high-sierra-late-spring.CR2

GO SUIT (while hiking):

  • Item 1: Short-sleeve shirt –  NO
  • Item 2: Long-sleeve shirt – YES
  • Item 3: Bug shirt – NO
  • Item 4: Running shorts – YES, unless wearing pants full-time
  • Item 5: Pants – YES, possibly full-time for extended alpine travel
  • Item 6: Underwear – NO, unless wearing full-time pants
  • Item 7: Fleece top – YES

STOP (while stationary): 

  • Item 8: Insulated jacket – YES
  • Item 9: Insulated pants – MAYBE, if expecting long camps

STORM (if weather hits):

  • Item 10: Rain jacket – YES
  • Item 11: Rain pants – MAYBE, depending on forecast

SLEEP (wear in tent/bivy)

  • Item 12: Sleeping top – NO
  • Item 13: Sleeping bottoms – NO

 

CLOTHING FOR: North Cascades, Washington (Early Summer)

cascades-early-summer.CR2

GO SUIT (while hiking):

  • Item 1: Short-sleeve Shirt – NO
  • Item 2: Long-sleeve Shirt – NO
  • Item 3: Bug Shirt – YES
  • Item 4: Running Shorts – NO
  • Item 5: Trekking Pants – YES, permethrin-treated
  • Item 5: Underwear – YES
  • Item 7: Fleece Top – YES

STOP (while stationary): 

  • Item 8: Insulated Jacket – YES
  • Item 9: Insulated Pants – NO

STORM (if weather hits):

  • Item 10: Rain Jacket – YES
  • Item 11: Rain Pants – MAYBE, if wet forecast

SLEEP (wear in tent/bivy)

  • Item 12: Sleeping Top – MAYBE, if wet forecast
  • Item 13: Sleeping Bottoms – MAYBE, if wet forecast

 

CLOTHING FOR: White Mountains, New Hampshire (Late Summer/Early Fall)

whites-late-summer.CR2

GO SUIT (while hiking):

  • Item 1: Short-sleeve Shirt – YES
  • Item 2: Long-sleeve Shirt – NO
  • Item 3: Bug Shirt – NO
  • Item 4: Running Shorts – YES
  • Item 5: Trekking Pants – NO
  • Item 5: Underwear – NO
  • Item 7: Fleece Top – YES

STOP (while stationary): 

  • Item 8: Insulated Jacket – YES, but just a light one
  • Item 9: Insulated Pants – NO

STORM (if weather hits):

  • Item 10: Rain Jacket – YES
  • Item 11: Rain Pants – YES

SLEEP (wear in tent/bivy)

  • Item 12: Sleeping Top – YES
  • Item 13: Sleeping Bottoms – YES

 

–Guest columnist Andrew Skurka is a renowned outdoorsman and gear designer. See his article from earlier this month on ultralight gear design.