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Thread: What kind of hiking/bushcraft/hunting clothing for the Southwest do you guys wear?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slips73 View Post
    Looking for opinions on high desert clothing what do you wear and what seasons? If an area gets very little rain and is arid would cotton be ok in the in winter as it wouldn't really get wet?
    My opinion is going to differ than most here.

    I grew up hunting, fishing and hiking in Southern California from northern San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino counties on up to Bishop and the southern Sierras.

    While I respect the others opinions I believe that anything cotton or poly/cotton is foolish anytime that the temps are not straight up hot. Your area may not normally be cold/wet and cotton is fine for 99% of the time but when you wake up 5 miles from your truck and there is an ice cold rain coming down with the temp at 40 deg you're going to wish you weren't wearing that cotton because you have a good chance of dying of hypothermia.

    It doesn't even have to be wet for cotton to screw you over because cotton sucks for heat retention when it gets cold. I was 4 wheeling out in the Mohave one time and when we woke up it was -5, do you think cotton is gonna keep you warm at -5? Not a chance. Cotton thermals don't wick moisture (sweat), they retain it right up against your skin and make you even colder. Any amount of exertion can make you sweat, even though you may not notice it.

    At deer camp one year we went to sleep expecting 70 deg and Santa Ana winds, we woke up to 25 deg and 8" of snow and 2 hours later there was 20" of snow on the flats and 4 ft drifts. Not what we were expecting. There was a bunch of us in camp so it wasn't a big deal but what if you we're out alone and this hit. Do you really want to take that chance?

    If anything wear a synthetic/wool thermal base and socks and run with your cotton outerwear but carry a pair of wool dress slacks that weigh under a pound and cost $2 at goodwill in your pack. Carry a fleece vest and thin wool or fleece sweater in your pack that you also bought at goodwill for under $10. When your cotton stuff gets wet from an unexpected fog that saturates everything take it off, throw it in the fire and put on stuff that will keep you warm even if it is wet.
    Last edited by Hunt4lyf; 01-23-2013 at 12:13 AM.

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  3. #12
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    Most of my time is spent in the high desert and transitional forests above the desert.

    My take on Winter use of cotton in said environment is that it is fine for day trips in areas I know well and know how to get out of. (And assuming the weather will be dry, which by definition of the environment is highly likely).

    In other words, if there is a point on a trip where I am wearing cotton much more than a couple of hours from the car or civilization, I change into appropriate gear.

    This means for most day hikes or activities close to the car, I wear cotton freely and without worry. If I am in a new area, an area difficult to navigate (badlands for example), or there is a prediction of precipitation, I am much more careful with my clothing selection.

    I always have something like polypro longjohns in the pack even for short trips though. One time I was at about 8,000 feet, an hour and a half and 2,000 vertical ft. above my car on a day hike in the Sandia Mountains. It had been snowing all morning, but then the sun came out. Fifteen minutes later, the clouds were back and it started raining. I quickly subbed my jeans and cotton socks for blue polypro longjohns and polypro socks (which I also always carry), threw on a poncho and was back at the car, wet from the thighs down but warm.

    Had I kept the jeans and socks on, not only would I have been a lot colder, but just the sheer weight of that stuff when wet would have been uncomfortable and annoying.

    tl;dr I think cotton is fine in the high desert if you know what you are doing, are prepared to change clothes on the go, and you are willing to subject yourself to a bit of luck in a worst-case scenario.

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    Default i grew up in AZ all over the state

    i used BDUs or jeans for the pants . and a T shert with a BIG flannel shirt made out of wool over the top .as well as good cotton socks and combat boots . a baseball cap and bandanna and i was good i live in the wild for a good bit of my life we did not have a home and went ware ever we liked .

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    Quote Originally Posted by darodalaf View Post
    Most of my time is spent in the high desert and transitional forests above the desert.

    My take on Winter use of cotton in said environment is that it is fine for day trips in areas I know well and know how to get out of. (And assuming the weather will be dry, which by definition of the environment is highly likely).

    In other words, if there is a point on a trip where I am wearing cotton much more than a couple of hours from the car or civilization, I change into appropriate gear.

    This means for most day hikes or activities close to the car, I wear cotton freely and without worry. If I am in a new area, an area difficult to navigate (badlands for example), or there is a prediction of precipitation, I am much more careful with my clothing selection.

    I always have something like polypro longjohns in the pack even for short trips though. One time I was at about 8,000 feet, an hour and a half and 2,000 vertical ft. above my car on a day hike in the Sandia Mountains. It had been snowing all morning, but then the sun came out. Fifteen minutes later, the clouds were back and it started raining. I quickly subbed my jeans and cotton socks for blue polypro longjohns and polypro socks (which I also always carry), threw on a poncho and was back at the car, wet from the thighs down but warm.

    Had I kept the jeans and socks on, not only would I have been a lot colder, but just the sheer weight of that stuff when wet would have been uncomfortable and annoying.

    tl;dr I think cotton is fine in the high desert if you know what you are doing, are prepared to change clothes on the go, and you are willing to subject yourself to a bit of luck in a worst-case scenario.
    I just have to ask, why not just wear appropriate clothing in the first place which would negate you having to carry proper clothing in your bag to swap out the improper clothing you are wearing? Not being a jerk or anything, just curious.


    Quote Originally Posted by darodalaf View Post
    I think cotton is fine in the high desert if you know what you are doing, are prepared to change clothes on the go, and you are willing to subject yourself to a bit of luck in a worst-case scenario.
    Trust to luck in a worst case scenario????? I would rather trust to proper planning and clothing choices to see me through than luck. Again, not being a jerk, just MHO.

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    I myself I wear Tru-spec Cargo pants in both OD as well as there coyote and love them to death for footwear I wear either Magnum boots in coyote as well or if I am on a job site where steel toe is required than I wear a pair of Bates I got from a surplus store (I AM KINDA A BOOT ##### LOL ) as for shirts I layer using plain cotton long sleeve shirts with a wally world wrangler long sleeve button up coyote or a Olive color shirt that's for summer time I work in the High Desert of California in abouts the Barstow to Tehacapi areas of California for winter its only the winds that get bad so either jeans and thermals or just the Tru-spec pants hope that helps

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    Bend Oregon proper is more mountain than desert. It gets ccoolldd sometimes there, and rarely gets above 95 with almost no humidity. I wore the same stuff on winter outings in the Bend area that I did in Colorado- warm stuff. Bachelor area is right out of town, and it sees heavy snow.
    Summers are mild- cotton t-s and quick dry shorts. It rains hard there sometimes, and then can get cold even in the summer. I carried a rain shell all the time.
    If you get out of town it is more desert, but I considered it "cold desert." Rain is more "monsoon" like, but Central Oregon is peppered w/ lots of little volcanic mountains that get more precip and get cold at night.

    Only been to Flagstaff once in the fall, so I shouldn't guess for you.

    Around here, which is not quite high desert, I rarely need more than a plain fleece, and often wish I had a internal AC.

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    I've lived in NM and AZ for most of the last 40 years and I usually wear jeans and t-shirts when out in the boonies. If it's cool cotton canvas shirt are added. The last 10 years or so I've also been wearing original cotton canvas 5.11 pants.

    Sent from my Xoom using Tapatalk 2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunt4lyf View Post
    I just have to ask, why not just wear appropriate clothing in the first place which would negate you having to carry proper clothing in your bag to swap out the improper clothing you are wearing? Not being a jerk or anything, just curious.
    Well, on an average 50-degree day at 8,000 feet in New Mexico, a pair of jeans could be considered appropriate clothing. It wouldn't make sense to be bundled up for the 5% chance of an unpredicted cold front coming through . That is why I keep the clothes for that in my pack, in case some unusual weather crops up.

    No matter the season or the forecast, I always carry a dry underlayer (long johns and a shirt made of wicking material) and a poncho. If you wear all your warm clothing and rain gear in fair weather, you are just going to become a sweaty mess and -then- you are flirting with hypothermia. Plus having some dry gear stashed in the pack is never a bad idea. That and letting people know your location and itinerary are the cornerstone of wilderness travel preparation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hunt4lyf View Post
    Trust to luck in a worst case scenario????? I would rather trust to proper planning and clothing choices to see me through than luck. Again, not being a jerk, just MHO.
    If you read the sentence in which I mentioned 'trusting to luck', you will note that it is the third thing I mentioned after 'knowledge', and 'preparation'. You always have to trust to luck. Even if you never leave the house without your trusty helmet on, you are trusting to luck.
    Last edited by darodalaf; 01-25-2013 at 02:53 PM.

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