Thru Hiking Winter Gear

Hey y’all, I ditched rent December '18 and now I hike full time (except for some seasonal festival work as a busker) Any other wild rovers here?

I started off on the Florida Trail in January and hiked other USA temperate regions til it warmed up, but this year I’ll be hitting some cold, wet mountain terrain in the Ozarks, then on the Appalachian Trail come February (I still take buses). My trouble is finding sturdy winter wear that isn’t plastic.

Someday I’d love to have stone age gear, but for now I settle for anything made of natural fiber. When I’m on the move I run fire-hot, but I still need something to block freezing winds and keep me warm in rain, and I need it to be lightweight and fast-drying or I could die, so skins are out, but animal fiber would do me. But where? Which kind? From who? Been looking at mountain man-ish options, but I’d rather give money to some nice grandma even if it’s pricier.

For shoes, I hike barefoot or wear canvas barefoot boots year-round (with good wool socks), was thinking of trying to waterproof em with beeswax, ever tried it? Also, snowshoes, idk if I’ll need em more than a couple times so I’m thinking I’ll skip em.

First of all, mad props to you for ditching rent & heading out. You must know a bit to have lasted this long.

That said, winters in the North are a whole other level. Remember that rewilding is a process; don’t skip ahead of any lessons. There’s no shame in using manmade materials while you’re learning (2nd hand materials especially since their abundant & often headed for a landfill anyway).

Perhaps even more important than “what material” you wear, is how much - wearing many thin layers is better than wearing one thick one, provided that you’re careful not to keep hiking ‘til all your layers get soaked (even then, they’ll dry faster). Insulated work suits/overalls are awesome.

I’ve used cheese wax to waterproof leather boots, & with as much work as you’ll be putting them thru, I’d expect to go through a lot of wax - it collects dirt, freezes, oxidizes, etc & eventually flakes. Perhaps pine pitch would be better. New boots would be best - sure, pre-contact peoples didn’t have ‘em, but they probly didn’t do as much hiking in winter either.

I’m not a thru hiker, & my experience is completely different (I’ve spent time living out of my truck & working full-time in the elements), just somethings to consider.

How far up the Appalachian will you be going? If you’re going through Northern Virginia feel free to give me a holler should you want a ride or some supplies (possibly a warm couch too).

PS. You’re “suppose” to post first in the Introductions thread. Go introduce yourself so we can welcome you aboard!