Clothing in the Backcountry

One of the key things to pay attention to when preparing to go on a hike deep into the backcountry is to bring multiple layers of clothing. Each layer combined in a wet and cold environment is going to be crucial to keep you dry and warm. An example of layers would be a t-shirt, sweatshirt, puffy jacket, and a rain jacket. The rain jacket protects the down puffy jacket from getting wet from the rain. If rain permeated the down puffy jacket then it would lose it’s ability to keep you warm. The sweatshirt is then another layer of warmth and the t-shirt serves as the base layer and provides the best comfort on the skin. While you’re exerting yourself hiking, or as the weather gets warmer and dryer, then you may choose to reduce layers such as the rain jacket, puffy jacket, and maybe the sweatshirt.


Keep your extra layers of clothes that you’re not currently using dry by stuffing them in a dry sack. This will protect your clothes during a downpour of rain or if having to walk across the river with your backpack partially submerged.

After staying warm and cozy in your sleeping bag throughout a cold night it can be non-motivating to get out of your sleeping bag to put on clothes that have become cold throughout the night. To make this sleeping to awake transition more comfortable, consider storing tomorrow’s clothes inside of the sleeping bag while you’re sleeping and your body heat trapped in your sleeping bag will keep your clothes warm in the morning. This is much more pleasant than putting cold clothes on!

I used to wonder how some hikers don’t bring that many clothes when going on a hike for multiple weeks. I’ve since learned that the secret is in the type of fabric your clothes are made out of. Experienced hikers have a saying that “cotton kills.” While cotton may be comfortable to wear at home, it’s not best to wear it when exerting yourself on a hike. The cotton will soak up and retain a lot of moisture from your sweat. While this may not be a big deal when you’re hot, it can become dangerous when it cools than and you can possibly get hypothermia without realizing it at first.

Polyester is a good reasonably priced alternative to cotton that is great at wicking away moisture. It’s great to use for a long day hike, however it will likely retain an odor after a full day of hiking. That being said, for multiple day trips, it’s not the best option if you don’t want to smell and feel stinky. A better option would be Merino Wool which wicks away moisture as well as wicks away odors. It’s possible to hike 10+ miles a day 3-5 days a week and the next morning the clothes won’t stink. You could hike 10 miles a day three days in a row, and the next morning the shirt won’t likely stink at all. You may not even realize the shirt may be dirty. These clothes are more expensive than cotton and polyester but if you’re taking less clothes on the hike, it could balance itself out and then you’re also carrying less weight in your backpack. Having socks made of Merino Wool is also greatly beneficial to prevent blisters from forming.

When going on a multi-day backpacking trip that’s hours away from home, bring an extra pair of clothes, socks, and shoes to leave in the car for you to change into when you conclude the hike and drive back home. It will make the ride home so much more comfortable!

As it is important to bring multiple layers of clothing when going camping in the wilderness, it is vital for Christians to clothe themselves with multiple layers of spiritual attributes. These are not layers that we’ll want to remove but to continue to put on in our lives. Paul gave the following list of attributes for Christians to be clothed with:
  • Mercy
  • Kindess
  • Humility
  • Meekness
  • Longsuffering
  • Forbearing One Another
  • Forgiving One Another
  • Charity
Colossians 3:12–15 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

In the scriptures we see that Peter also emphasizes the same or similar attributes that Paul did for living the Christian life.
  • Faith
  • Virtue
  • Knowledge
  • Temperance (Self Control)
  • Patience
  • Godliness
  • Brotherly Kindess
  • Charity
Peter writes that if we continue to add these things to our life that we will be fruitful in our walk with the Lord. Those that lack these things don’t form a deep understanding and appreciation for the forgiveness of sins that they’ve received by God’s grace. When we aren’t growing our knowledge of Christ, we end up living unfruitful lives. Layer yourselves with these spiritual attributes and may it be a light to others of the peace of God that rules in your hearts.

2 Peter 1:5–10 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:


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