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Dress for the Weather

Making the best clothing choices for the weather conditions can make the difference between a great trip and an uncomfortable one. Although some seasonal adjustments make sense, our temperate climate means that most of the year the same general systems apply. Experience is the best way to fine-tune your clothing choices for the outdoors.

 The Basics


1 Dress in layers - for maximum adaptability.

2 Cotton kills! Wear wool or synthetics to reduce the risk of hypothermia.

3 Cover the extremities - We lose a lot of heat from our heads. Wear or pack a toque.




Base Layer :        The layer you wear against you skin, sometimes called long johns or long underwear. These should be wool, capilene, polypropylene or another synthetic and be fitted to your body so you can layer over top. The material wicks moisture away from your skin to keep you dry and warm.


Mid Layer :         The insulating layer. The temperature outside and intensity of your activity will determine how heavy a layer to use. You may choose a fleece jacket or wool sweater and/or down or synthetic filled “puffy” jacket or vest. Keep in mind that down is only appropriate under dry conditions.


Shell :   This is the outermost layer, serving as a wind and precipitation barrier. On the coast, rain is possible almost any day. Even if there is no precipitation, rain gear acts as one more layer of protection from the elements. You have two basic choices that are effective in the rainforest, each with advantages and disadvantages: rubber rain gear and lightweight, waterproof / breathable rain gear. Use the best you can afford; this is a rainforest, after all. Whichever route you take, both a rain jacket and rain pants are needed much of the year around here. 




For Head :           You want insulation as well as a shell. A toque is simple, easy-to-pack and affordable. Wool or fleece are best, but as long as it’s not cotton, it will work. For your shell, a hood on your rain jacket or a rain hat both work.


For Hands :         Cold hands lose dexterity quickly. A pair of fleece gloves is an, affordable choice and adequate for most day trips. Ideally, a waterproof glove provides better protection, but may be harder to find. Ski gloves commonly have some waterproof protection. Some people also carry hand warmers.




The right footwear is critical. In our area, many people choose a neoprene rain boot as it provides both protection from the rain and insulation (Bogs, Kamiks, Muck Boots, etc.,) however, these do not provide much ankle support. Another option is a waterproof hiking boot or shoe either on its own or in combination with gaiters. You may also choose standard rain boots or caulk boots. No matter which you choose, they should fit large enough that you can wear both a synthetic and/or wool liner sock and a thicker hiking sock without compression on your feet. The two-sock combination helps prevent blisters and a proper fit allows circulation to flow and keep the feet warm.


Do you best to work with these guidelines and ask questions; we are happy to help!


  • Print the "Dress for the Weather" Guidelines

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