Going Lite On The Land

In modern times it’s surprisingly easy to buy things
It’s so easy we don’t often stop and consider where they come from
Businesses have noticed our guilt, our anxiety about spending
And now there are all kinds of labels that make us feel better about buying things
But in the end buying something is still buying something

Because people won’t stop buying things
I’ve often thought a solution is to just buy less
So I wanted to share some ideas I’ve had about clothing
Particularly outdoor clothing

Clothing is a contentious issue, 
because everyone has their own style and reasons for the clothes they wear
It’s no different with outdoor clothing
But I wanted to dispel some myths about it
Or at least talk about what I think is true

The first myth I want to destroy is that with the right gear you will never be uncomfortable
The idea of always being comfortable through items is a fallacy
Truth: you can be uncomfortable and still be happy and safe

You don’t need a $200 jacket to go hiking on the weekends (you’re feeding your ego)
What you might need is a super cool ultralight umbrella (which can be used for all kinds of things)
If you still want to buy that gore-tex jacket, think about how many times you’ll use it
They suck to wear, they don’t breathe, you will only wear it when it’s raining
Would a simple, fast drying, rain resistant jacket, windproof jacket suffice?

You don’t need $150 shoes either
You can hike in whatever shoes are comfortable for you to wear
It’s more important to find footwear that fits you well than footwear that is waterproof, leather, goretex, or boots
Because the point is to wear shoes you can walk a long way in, cuz that’s what you’re doing
Unless you are planning to side step down a talus slope,
go way off trail, 
or fight a forest fire
heavy boots are over the top
Simple cloth sneakers with a durable sole will do, preferably not cotton
But if they are cotton, just buy some Fjallraven wax and put 3 coats on every few months

Pants, shorts, shirts, etc
One thing I would recommend is a sun hoody made by Patagonia
And maybe one other warmer hoody
Apart from that, you don’t need fancy wicking shirts, just wear polyester
You don’t need zip off pants, just roll em up
Another thing I will recommend: tights and shorts
The best of both worlds
I just buy cotton-polyester boy scout shorts at thrift stores or ebay for $5
I coat them in fjallraven wax, or coconut oil if that’s all I’ve got on hand
But really any shorts will do
They don’t need to be ultralight nylon, which won’t protect your skin in a fall
The don’t need to be jogging shorts
But tights, I do recommend investing in a pair or two of good nylon/elastane/whatever tights
Arc’teryx makes the best (they are pricey)

As for midlayers, just bring a thick wool sweater
It will last for years, and you can find em all over the place
You can get fancy and spend $100 on one from Arran
Or find a killer one for a few bucks at a thriftstore
Wool sweaters breath really well, so you can leave them on even hiking uphill
They deflect a light rain, and dry quickly
Mythbust: they are not warm when wet (nothing is)
That’s why you’ve got that umbrella and shell jacket

Backpack
Just buy a ~30L-35L arcteryx or Hyperlite Mountain Gear
You can use it for absolutely anything

Other tips
Notice the wind
The instant you get out of the wind you’ll be maybe 10° warmer, depending on conditions
This can be done in a billion ways
Just notice where it’s coming from, and crouch behind something
If it’s really pelting down rain and wind, find a wind block, set up your umbrella, and chill

Know Your Environment, Dress Accordingly
Heading to the coast in fall or spring? Bring that rain resistant jacket and plan to spend time in or near cover, because it might rain and blow
Heading to the desert? Bring a sun hoody and a hat