Am going to be backpacking through the USA in Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr of 2005 and am wanting some advice on what clothing I should buy/bring thats going to enable me to cope with the range of weather conditions I am likely to experience. Coming from Perth, West Aust I dont have much experience when it comes to dealing with snow, and near zero temps and the like.
Its the old concern I guess that you need to be warm and healthy ut I dont want to fill my whole backpack with winter gear considering I will be going to Europe for their summer.
Thanks in advance
If I can give you one good piece of advice that keeps me going through the winter months (and in Montreal, it's pretty cold!): LAYERING! You need enough layers that can adjust to the different temps. So if you bought a few long sleeved tshirts and layered them with some short sleeved t-shirts, you're good to go. But of course, you need a good jacket to top it off and not end up looking like this guy (let's pretend he's blue and not green in the face!). A good jacket is an outdoorsy jacket likes the ones made from Columbia, Marmot, Helly Hansen, etc. These often have models that are layered - by that I mean they have an outer shell and an inner fleece shell that can be detached or zipped out. They keep you warm and serve a few purposes (keep the jacket in tact for cold weather, wear only the outer shell for moderate weather, wear the inner shell only for warmer weather), so they are worth the money they cost (and some are costly... just to warn you).
So that's my take on how to survive colder temps without lugging around a suitcase for each season! Hope that helped!
If you gave us some locations in North American that would help as far as knowing what clothing you need becuase if you´re in Minnesota in January you´ll be wearing everything in your backpack including the backpack. Last winter we had a few weeks where the temps were FAR below zero every day.
But of course the farther south you go the warmer it is...
Buying gloves, hat, scarf etc. when you arrive won´t cost much but would save space.
Hi - I agree - layering is the best way to go. But it also depends on where you plan to be in North America during those winter months. Many of the southern states, (CA, AZ, TX, Florida, LA) are warm throughout the winter as well, and you would only need a sweater at night. Anywhere else, though, you better be prepared for cold weather. If you are not used to cold weather, its very hard to adjust!
I would agree with what eveyone else has said: layering is definately key to winter in the states. One thing i would toss out as a suggestion is to have some synthetic materials. Every clothing manufacturer has a different brand name for their material but it basically boils down to clothes that are made with polyester or a closely related material. These materials dont hold water like cotton does and thus keep you warmer by keeping you dryer.
also light weight synthetics can be worn in hot or cold temps and still be comfy and they layer very nicely.
Thanks for the responses to date, I guess I was a little vague in detailing where I will be because I plan on being in the USA for near on three months but I do intend to head up into Canada at some stage. All I know at this point in time is that I am planning on flying into Los Angeles just after New Year and most likely out of Chicago sometime late March.
Thanks for the tips on layering, I have some experience with the cold but not sub zero temps on a regular basis. Will have to go off and have a look at the range of Jackets from our outdoor adventure stores.