I was 3 years old when I had my first encounter with the mountains: it was love at the first sight and since then I always came back to them, year after year, for my holidays in the Dolomites (where I also lived for 5 years).
I come from the generation of “highlanders” which dressed in velvet knickerbockers, flannel shirts and heavy backpacks full of big sweaters and jacket, often little useful when bad weather hit.
Luckily in the last 20 years at least, there has been a huge development and research to optimise the technical clothing, finding new materials more and more lighter and better in case of rain, wind, cold and snow.
And many companies started to join this market (continuously growing) planning and producing always new and different clothing for mountaineering, starting from the basic ones (mostly for tourists) to those for the epic expeditions to the highest peaks of the globe.
These many possibilities and this huge choice between different products, both about materials but also price, it has been a big problem and it slowed down the entire process of choosing the best clothes for my expedition.
If I was already sure about the mountaineering boots to buy and use choosing those of a brand I use and trust since I was young (the only problem still to solve is how many and how to get them during my walk…), about everything else it has been a long process of studies, researches and comparisons.
I often go for hikes in Nature and so I already have something I could take with me, but will it be enough and/or needful to face WANDERING ITALIA’s long journey?
Before I could even start looking for possible solutions, there was a big issue to be concerned of: the weather.
Starting my trip in the middle of May and ending it in September (if everything goes as planned) there are so many possible climate changes to think about: I can face a sultry hot summer as last year (with temperature above 30°/35° even at high altitudes) or bad weather with cold and snow over the Alps (where there is still loads of snow…); and so I need many different kind of clothes.
I can’t stand the hot, I know, but it’s the cold which worries me most in this case: I can not risk my life because of hypothermia if, for example, I get stuck in my tent for days during of a snow storm over the Alps. So, the choice of the perfect tent and better sleeping bag has been my first and main focus.
I chose a big 4 seasons tent, for two persons, to have enough space for my backpack and equipment too; then I chose a sleeping bag with following features: confort temp +2°, limit -4°, extreme -20°.
It might seem over-exaggerated, but even during last hot summer, temperatures dropped below zero over the Alps during some nights…
And in the mountains one should never risk…never!
For the warmer nights I have a cotton sleeping bag and then, after friend’s advice, a good inflatable mattress, 5,5 cm high: a good sleep is basic for a good walk the day after.
So, after choosing tent and sleeping bag (and it took a while), I had “only” all the clothes to choose: the trick is to dress up in layers, having many different clothes (each one with specific features) to combine together according to the needs.
This is my last list (and it might still change): 2 underwear, 3 technical socks (both for warm and cold), 1 technical tights, 1 wind and rain-stopper pair of pants, 1 light and shorten-able pair of pants, 2 t-shirts, 2 long sleeves thermal shirts, 2 fleece, 1 wind/rain stopper jacket, 1 warm light jacket, gloves, hat, probably a pair of sandals to let my feet rest after the walks, and a normal t-shirts for relaxing moments.
I still have to buy some of these things, and I will make the choice based on the price but also on the weight, because there are some things in my backpack that I can’t leave behind: my photo-equipment, the GPS systems and the power banks to recharge all of those.
But I will write about it in another article.