Last week, when the high temperature for the day reached 28 degrees, Karen and I decided to test our winter clothing by going to Catoctin Mountain Park for a five-mile hike.
We were both wearing our Polartec long underwear as a base layer, on top of which we had our fleece shirt and our water-proof and breathable outer cover. All of our top clothing was from L. L. Bean.
These clothes helped us both stay sufficiently warm. In fact, Karen took off her jacket for a brief break. I, however, was wearing a set of gloves that did not keep my fingers from becoming numb, so I’ll have to invest in a good pair of mittens. No problems with our toes.
Why did we feel it necessary to test our winter clothing? Well, Karen and I are returning to the Grand Canyon in January 2015 and will be hiking down to the bottom, staying at Phantom Ranch, and then camping at Indian Gardens on our way back up.
On the same day that we did this hike at Catoctin, we also tested the sleeping bags and liners that we bought at REI; we camped out in our backyard. In the wee hours of the morning, we both felt a bit on the cool side, but overall the test allowed us to have confidence in our gear.