View Full Version : May/June in GSMNP

2003-04-11, 17:43
My first big trip (to GSMNP, North Carolina back country, Silers Bald area, for seven days, starting May 27th) is approaching rapidly, and the only thing I'm not comfortable with is my clothing. My sleep system is an HH Explorer, ASym, with a Big Agnes "Encampment" bag w/Thermarest pad. I've got just about everything except the kitchen sink as far as cooking, food, hygiene, light, reading material, and fly-fishing gear, but the clothing issue is still a concern, since everything I've been able to find about the weather in GSMNP in late May/early June, is that it is extremely fickle - warm days, maybe a lot of rain, and quite possibly, damn chilly nights.The nights, I'm not worried about. I've tested my sleeping system to down as low as 24 degrees F, with stiff winds, and was very comfortable.

My planned clothing now consists of: Good fitting,well broken-in Vasque SunDowner boots; 4 pairs of mid-weight SmartWool socks; two sets of mid-weight REI Poly longjohn tops and one bottoms; 1 pair walking shorts; 1 pair convertible trouser/shorts zip-offs; 1 tee shirt; 1 Columbia shell top, and pants; 1 Kelty Mudflap poncho; 1 hat; 1 large silk bandana.

I'm thinking that I may need a fleece top, for evenings in camp, and mornings before hitting the trail, once we reach the high country. I would really appreciate any input from you folks who have been doing this for a long time, since my buddy and I are newbies.

2003-04-12, 23:32
I haven't done a thru hike but I have hiked quite a bit in Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Wyoming. Since no one else seems real talkative I'll throw my nickels worth at you.
Bring a fleece/knit hat and gloves or mittens. I like wool gloves because they get wet and still work and they are easier to do camp chores in. If you take the convertable pants I don't see the need for walking shorts. For the socks I would recomend using liner socks inside the Smartwools. My feet are much more comfy since I started using liner socks. Cheap dress socks are supposed to work. When I wore boots I put 1 pair of warm socks in a baggy inside the clothes bag just in case. I rotated 2 other pairs 1 on my feet and 1 pair rinsed and hanging securely from the pack to dry. You might consider losing 1 long john top and replacing it with a fleece or insulated top. I recently got a Primaloft insulated pullover from MEC.ca. It weighs the same or less than a fleece and stops wind better. Consider taking light sandals or water shoes for streams and camp. It's nice to let the boots breath at night. Hope this helps and have a great trip. hafdome

Bill Phillips
2003-04-14, 15:24
Hi Grizzlybear,

Clothing is different for everyone. My brother-in-law for example is from Norwegian stock and he puts a wind breaker over his shorts and T-shirt if it gets below freezing. But I carry:

Columbia fishing pants - light DWR nylon with swim style waist and brief.
Silk underwear top - comfy in heat and cold, much less funk.
Expedition weight fleece zip T-neck.
DWR nylon shell anorak.
Wool Gloves without finger tips.
Fleece hat with fold down balaclava.
Felt Fedora for a sun hat.
Heavy Smartwool socks (2 pair)
Smartwool board socks - these are over-the-knee length heavy socks instead of thermal bottoms which I despise.
Birkenstock boots - leather upper 7" height.

That's IT! I have been warm in a HARD-to-Stand-Up wind with drizzle around 40F (while moving) and freezeing camp evenings with no significant wind. For continuous rain your poncho is the ticket. And I agree with the other post about the primaloft layer in adition to or instead of the fleece for serious cold conditions.

Have Fun!

2003-04-14, 23:40
griz, you should be okay with your clothing selection for late may/early june. maybe a fleece top would be good, i've seen nights in the 20s in may on top. daytime no problem even with rain. just gotta change into something dry immediately after stopping for the day. i learned my lesson with that sneaky hypothermia monster.