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

Discussion in 'Clothing' started by Slips73, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. Slips73

    Slips73 Guide

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    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?
     
  2. wizard

    wizard Supporter Supporter

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    I usually wear cotton to hike in Arizona desert areas. I always carry a poncho just in case, sometimes we get a surprise storm. If I am up in the higher mountains I will switch to poly/cotton pants and a light nylon shirt. In the desert my hikes are usually November to April, after April I go to higher ground for cooler temps.

    For warmth, I prefer wool of various weights for anticpated cooler temps and keep a down jacket or vest in the pack. I also carry a wind/rain parka to cover the inner layers. I seldom use sythetic fleece in the wilderness, it don't do well with campfires and to me it is uncomfortable when doing strenous activity, more so than natural fibers.

    I also always carry a good sun hat, boonie and a wool watch cap in the pack.
     
  3. clanmaki

    clanmaki Guide

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    We live in the high desert here in Central Oregon. Growing up i pretty much only wore cotton and sometimes wool. Now though i have switched to under garments that wick sweat away and I stay a lot dryer and warmer. It doesn't rain much here but it is always easy to work up a sweat. At least for me.
     
  4. Slips73

    Slips73 Guide

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    Thanks just so happens those are the two places im thinking of transfering too for college, Bend or Flagstaff
     
  5. Pablo

    Pablo Guide Vendor

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    I spent many summers teaching survival in south central Utah. Here's my preferred hiking clothing: shirt and pants of light-colored cotton/poly blend (sometimes it rains, or you need to ford a stream, and the blended cloth dries faster. It breathes just as well as 100% cotton). The shirt should be long-sleeved, and the pants long as well. This protects against sunburn and solar gain from the sun, insect bites, and reduces water lost to evaporation. Military-style pants are great, and shirts can be found at the thrift store. I also prefer a wide-brimmed felt hat (cotton or cotton blend hats are fine too). the felt hat is a little hotter, but it protects against rain when needed. It it's really hot/windy/nasty, I'll tuck a bandana under the hat to protect the back and sides of my neck. For shoes, I prefer a light, flexible, single-thickness leather type that's over the ankle (keeps sand out better). I know a lot of folks who who love sandals like Chacos or Tevas. I used to as well, but my feet dry out too much now and I get vicious cracks on my heels. Finally, wear sunglasses! The sun's intense, and you don't want to set yourself up for eye or skin cancer problems later.

    For warmth, the same rules apply as anywhere else.

    This is my basic clothing setup not just for the desert, but everywhere (canoeing in ON and MN, hiking in the mountains, and mucking around the woods here in N. WI.

    Hope that helps?
     
  6. VinWild

    VinWild Scout

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    We are nearly the same climate in WA; being high desert and arid for most of the "sunshine" season.
    However, like most desert regions, huge temperature swings can be upwards of 50 degrees between night and mid-day.
    I typically favor a cotton T-shirt under a long-sleeve rip-stop safari shirt; and for the bottom half; (besides my skivvy's) Carhartt double fronts, for the colder days and warm weather BDU's for most of the summer. The BDU's dry quickly when wet; and are plenty durable and flexible to move with you.
    Always wear a hat; and I use USMC desert Boonie with the larger brim; or the Outdoor Research Helios. Being a white guy, one must protect his delicate complexion as much as possible :4: Sunglasses as mentioned are a must; polarized are fantastic.
    I lightweight Shemagh or bandana wrapped around my neck that I can cover with or get wet and cool down if necessary.
    Shoes and boots; my Danner's get the most use unless I am on the river; then I wear Teva's which cover the toes; and are made to be used while wading.
    Really; whatever you find comfortable and offers the best protection and durability will work fine.
     
  7. AZExplorer

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    I have gotten away from 100% cotton and prefer the 60/40 blends. The blends have all of the same advantages of 100% cotton but dry much faster and clean easier. Its not really the rain you should worry about but the constant amount of sweating you will be doing when outdoors. Having a shirt that stays wet from sweat and doesn't dry as quickly is the real problem.

    Here is generally what I wear when outdoors but I am constantly mixing it up depending on the season and activity. I mostly do hiking, backpacking, car camping, and trail running in all areas of Arizona between Tucson and Kaibab.

    Summer:
    -Good pair of sunglasses
    -Columbia Titanium Silver ridge shirt for the summer. It is vented built in SPF/UPF very light and cool I have tried them all and this one is the best!
    -Regular rip stop 5.11 cargo pants synthetic cotton blend they are light weight and breathable
    -Merrel Moab boots
    Other synthetic backpacking pants are just too hot and sticky loose weaves like cotton just seem to soak up the dust

    Winter:
    -Good pair of sunglasses
    -Soffe 60/40 shirts
    -XGO long sleeve
    -NorthFace shell jacket
    -head gear any wool watch cap
    -gloves
    -5.11 tactical series pants 100% cotton
    -Soffe synthetic thermos
    -Merrel Sawtooth boots
    More or less layers depending on the temperature. The temperature shifts are quick and large in shade vs sun or day vs night. You can go from a perfect summer 70 degrees during the day to freezing temperatures at night.
     
  8. Hawkcreek

    Hawkcreek Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Here on the dry side of WA I wear wranglers and t-shirts in the summer. After spring is over we won't get rain, it just wont happen. In winter I'll wear wool long johns under my wranglers and maybe throw on a sweatshirt. This keeps me warm down to the upper 20's if I'm active at all. Much colder than that and I'll change to insulated carhartts or more wool under filson tin pants. I hate getting rained on so I keep gore-tex handy or find shelter, dont mind being out in a snowstorm though. YMMV.
     
  9. IDSS

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    For bottoms, I'll usually go with whatever; 511 pants, Carhartts, BDU's, or any of several pairs of shorts. If I'm going to be hunting or covering any amount of ground cross country; the mesquites and crown-of-thorns dictate pants, preferably the Carhartts.

    Just about every piece of vegetation in the picture has stickers or thorns on it.

    [​IMG]

    For footwear, I'll go with any of a number of boots, with the Danner Pronghorn snake boots going out most often. The other guy in the picture says the snake boots are a good idea.

    [​IMG]

    In the summer, nothing beats a ventilated fishing-style shirt in long sleeves. A good hat, like a boonie, is essential, too.

    In wintertime, I'll break out the XGO wicking thermals or the duofold wool blend long johns. Those, in combination with a moisture wicking t-shirt, make a good base layer. Then, I'll layer on my USGI wool sweater, a vest from my work's uniform vendor, and some sort of jacket. The jacket depends on whether I'm hunting (camo) or just out (Horace Small jacket). A polypro neck gaiter and a beanie are my most common headwear in the cold.
     
  10. Slips73

    Slips73 Guide

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    thanks guys good ideas.
     
  11. Hunt4lyf

    Hunt4lyf Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    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: Jan 23, 2013
  12. darodalaf

    darodalaf Guide

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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.
     
  13. diannamarsolek

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    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 .
     
  14. Hunt4lyf

    Hunt4lyf Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    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.


    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.
     
  15. FJ40Mumbles

    FJ40Mumbles Scout

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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
     
  16. MrKnobbie

    MrKnobbie Scout Bushclass I

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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.
     
  17. NMPops

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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
     
  18. darodalaf

    darodalaf Guide

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    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.

    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: Jan 25, 2013

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