Overall Gear Thoughts:
Overall, we were really happy with our gear and any future purchases although they will be nice are ultimately unnecessary. We had no gear failures or issues and everything worked as intended.
MEC Magnolia Long Sleeved Shirt
This worked well, dried quickly and kept the sun off my skin.
Only complaints about this shirt is the only pocket it has is not accessible when my hipbelt was done up and the white gets super skanky looking.
I have no reservations recommending this shirt – it’s a simple no frills hiking shirt that works well.
For future trips I will continue to use this shirt unless I find an alternative with useable pockets & fun colours.
REI Sahara Convertible Pants – Women’s Petite
These worked well, dried quickly and kept my legs relatively clean.
I’m quite pale and tend to burn rather easily – so I decided to bring pants on this trip to try and cut down on the amount of sunscreen I would need to use. I brought convertible pants since I thought I might like being able to convert them to shorts and thought it might be useful for river crossings as well.
I ended up never using the convertible feature of the pants. They dry quickly enough that I didn’t bother taking the legs off for fords and I found that I never got hot enough with them on to bother taking them off.
Some minor nitpicks about these pants: the waistband is lined in fleece fabric, which is nice to prevent it from chaffing/rubbing, but it also retains moisture and the waistband was always the last part of the my pants to dry.
The front and back pockets aren’t large enough to be useful – I never put anything in these pockets. The side pockets are decently sized though – I kept my compass, whistle and knife in these pockets so they were always on me.
Overall these are some of the best women’s hiking pants I’ve come across, but they still aren’t quite perfect.
This was my first trip for these socks and I’m extremely happy with how they worked out. On previous trips I’ve brought traditional wool hiking socks, but I found those can make my feet extremely hot and they also tend to not dry quickly enough to wash a pair everyday.
These socks kept my feet non-sweaty and cool and dried quickly – they even managed to dry while under my packs raincover when we encountered rain one day.
On future trips I am considering trying toe socks out – the one thing I didn’t like was how dirty my feet got with these and the fact that I could feel dirt between my toes. I’d hope that toe socks might be able to eliminate some of that feeling.
This was also the second major outing for my trail runners – on previous backpacking trips I have used boots.
One of my major issues with the boots that I previously used was that they always seemed to eventually wet out in rainy/wet conditions and then they took an extremely long time to dry out after this.
I found a pair of Brooks Cascadias in the clearance bin at the local MEC and decided to give them a go – they tend to be very popular with PCT thru-hikers. They are definitely my favourite hiking footwear to date. I had no blisters, footpain or any other foot issues at all on this trip.
The only thing I dislike about these shoes is how dirty they get my feet [insert picture here]
Icebreaker Sprite Racerback Bra
The icebreaker sports bra worked perfectly for me – enough support and didn’t cause any rubbing/chaff issues with my pack.
MEC Merino T1 Short Sleeve Shirt
This shirt was primarily to be my top layer for sleeping and secondarily an extra layer if I was too cold during the day. I found it to be adequate for sleeping in and keeping me warm along with my poofy jacket in the mornings/evenings before heading out.
I would recommend this shirt and will continue to bring it or its long-sleeved counterpart on future trips.
Bottom Base Layer
Again this layer was primarily for sleeping and secondarily an extra layer if I was too cold. Same as shirt.
I would recommend these leggings.
Rain Gear and Warmth
This is an extremely lightweight rain jacket. Ultimately when hiking in rain gear there is always the trade-off of getting wet from the rain or wet from sweating under your rain gear. I tend to prefer wearing rain gear since at the very least I’ll be warmer than without it.
We had four days in a row of rain on the JMT and I was impressed with how well this jacket worked. It kept me dry and was relatively breathable.
The reason I chose the MEC jacket over similar offerings from Outdoor Research and other retailers came down to fit – I think the MEC jacket has a far superior (and adjustable!) hood and it has elastic cuffs which I prefer over velcro cuffs that need to be adjusted if you actually want them to be tight.
Outdoor Research Helium Rain Pants
These are the lightest pair of rain pants I could find – they have a simple elastic waistband and a short zipper at the ankles to let you put them on over your shoes/boots. They also have one small zippered back pocket. Unfortunately these only come in men’s sizes, but they do fit small. I got a men’s size small and overall they fit well, but they are a bit snug in the hips/bum.
Overall though I’m quite happy with these, they kept me dry and were easy to put on/off without taking my shoes off.
A simple synthetic puffy with a hood. This was my go to layer when in camp or occasionally when starting out in the mornings. On previous trips I’ve used a fleece as my warm layer, but I think I’m converted to puffy jackets