Photo: Ryan training for the trek in Montana's Bridger Range. Clothing: GoLite Virga Rain Jacket, Patagonia French Roast pants.
Clothing must be light and keep you warm. Beyond that, any features, such as "keeps you dry", or "pockets", or "makes you look good whether in the backcountry or a bistro" are a luxury. What follows is a discussion of clothing from one of the expedition members (Ryan) and the rationale behind his choices.
Ryan will wear GoLite Stride Shorts (3 oz) and a Smartwool Hoody (9 oz, permithrin-treated for mosquito repellency) that will hit the market later this year. The Hoody is a women's version, which fits trim (good for the Arctic) but reveals the belly button (bad for the Arctic). So, Ryan sewed an 8 inch extension of GoLite Lightweight C-Thru to the hem. Voila - a sealed waist, whether tucked or untucked. The other mod Ryan made is to sew the hood a little tighter so it seals. It seems that "hoodies" have become fashion pieces, which means the hoods on the hoodies are not so functional all the time. The hood is also Ryan's "warm" hat for the trek. The hoodie has thumbholes in the sleeves, which when combined with Ryan's spare pair of socks (= gloves) should keep his hands warm that first week...
Like the base layer, the wind layer will also be worn most of the time. Patagonia French Roast soft shell pants (permithrin-treated, 9 oz) provide wind, bug, and some moisture protection for the legs, while a Montane Lightspeed Jacket (4.0 oz) offers wind protection for the top. Ryan's hacked the Lightspeed to simplify its function: removing the waist drawcord (saves weight, more comfortable tucked in) and inner hood lining (saves weight, improves breathability), and replacing the hood drawcord with small bits of elastic band (saves weight, simplifies hood use). Yes, there are lighter wind shirts, but none that really fit well - trim and long enough to cover the butt.
As conditions worsen, on goes raingear, which includes the GoLite Virga Jacket (2-layer waterproof-breathable, 6 oz) and Mont-Bell Ultralight wind pants (water-resistant, 2.5 oz), both garments freshly Revivex'ed. Spare stuff sacks or used plastic food bags combined with spare socks protect hands during super cold conditions.
The Bozeman Mountain Works Cocoon Hooded Pullover (10 oz) and Cocoon Pants (7 oz) provide core warmth for sleeping, cooking, and in the direst of circumstances, trekking. They are made with highly breathable shell materials (Pertex Quantum) and synthetic insulation (Polarguard Delta). The hood on the pullover, combined with the hood on the Hoody (above) provides head warmth at night in combination with Ryan's hoodless sleeping quilt. The only other piece of clothing carried in the pack is a pair of polypropylene stocking tights, from Sahale (1.6 oz), which are used for trekking on very cold days and as a sleep layer under the Cocoon clothing when other trekking clothing is soaking wet.
Baseball cap (Headsweats Coolmax polyester, 1.6 oz, permithrin-treated), bridal veil mesh mosquito headnets (0.3 oz each x 2). Combine with hoods on the merino wool Hoody, wind shirt, rain jacket, and Cocoon Pullover for warmth / weather protection. No dedicated "warm cap".
Montrail Vitesse shoes treated with Seam Grip on all exposed stitching and at usual glue junctions where delamination typically occurs as the shoe wears out. REI Spring Gaiters (Schoeller Dynamic) are stitched directly to the shoe to avoid the inevitable "gaiter strap wear". Darn Tough full cushion hiking socks (2 pair) keeps one pair dry for sleeping while offering a spare if one fails.
No dedicated "warm gloves". Hoody has thumbholes and long sleeves into which hands can be tucked; spare socks can be used as mitts; stuff sacks as mitt shells; long sleeves on the wind shirt and rain jacket can be used for wind/water protection; long insulated sleeves on Cocoon Pullover can be used for warmth. Grabbing a cookpot of the woodfire stove can be accomplished with a sock.
- Ryan Jordan