We use the layering system to regulate body warmth. If you are hot, then take a layer off. If you are cold, then add a layer. A simple but very effective system.
Weekend hikes run the gamut in southern California temperatures. We can be hiking (working hard) in mid-day sun when the temperature is 90 deg . Likewise, we might wake up before sunrise with frozen water bottles (high 20's). Having a variety of layers available makes adapting to the current conditions quite easy.
| ||The windbreaker is used as an outer shell over all of the other warm clothes including the jacket.|
|Make sure the windbreaker is large enough to fit over all of the other layers.|
|One of the best jackets is an unlined down parka. They are expensive but you may already have one for skiing. They are light weight, can replace a sweater and other layers, and make excellent pillows.|
| ||The weatherman is not any better at predicting rain in the mountains than he is here at home. In fact, the weather is more unpredictable due to localized storms. Rain can and does occur at the most unpredictable times . We will usually not begin a weekend hike in the rain but we must be prepared for the worst once we are on the trail. Eventually the odds catch up with us.|
| ||Rain gear must be capable of taking the worst southern California can dish out and keep us dry. You should never be without at least a poncho or light weight plastic raincoat, even on the sunniest of summer days. If rain is likely, then a full rain suit or poncho with rain pants is in order. (Hiking in the rain is actually a neat experience if you are prepared for it. If you're not, then it's the pits!)|
|Choose raingear made from coated nylon. It is durable enough to withstand the wind and the rain. Avoid cheap PVC raingear.|
| ||A lightweight long sleeved shirt can keep the sun off, or it can be used to add an additional layer for warmth.
|Old polyester slacks work well, especially those that do not require a belt. The belt gets in the way of the packs belly band. Expect them to come back very dirty and possibly torn.|
|Stay away from jeans with metal rivets in the hip area as the belly band can rub on them.|
| ||One extra pair of undershorts will do for a weekend hike.|
| ||This second set of socks is for the second day or if first set gets wet.|
| ||Bring a watch cap as nighttime temperatures can dip, even in the summer. A watch cap is absolutely, positively required in winter.|
| ||Once you have bundled up well, 1/3 of your body heat will be lost through your head. A watch or ski cap will reduce this heat loss and keep you much warmer. This is even more critical while sleeping on cold nights when only your head is exposed.|
|One of the things your body will do in response to cold is to reduce blood flow to the extremities. The result is cold feet and hands. Hence, if your feet get cold, put on your hat!|
| ||Seldom "needed" but sometimes nice to have, especially if mosquitoes love you. There have even been a few times when a head net was essential! About $8.|
|Skip the head net for your first few hikes and then bring it only if mosquitoes are likely.|