Jul 19, 2005 at 6:29 pm #1216399
I’ve been thinking about skirts as opposed to pants as hiking clothes. In some ways they might be better. You wouldn’t have to launder them as often and they would get less stinky I think. At least, this would probably be true for women. I wear pants most of the time and sort of prefer them, but I’m wondering if skirts might be more practical really. Has anybody tried a skirt on a long backpacking trip? What was your skirt made of?Jul 19, 2005 at 7:07 pm #1339256
I can’t say I have ever worn a skirt! Howver, in Scotland, the kilt worn by both men and women was historically used not only as “THE” item of clothing to keep out the chilly Scotish weather, it also (because of the way it was folded when worn) was used as the blanket to lie on at night. Maybe you could make your own modern day ultralight kilt, that had waterproof fabric, a little bit of padding/quilting etc with corner loops etc. That way it could double as a shelter for you, clothing, a blanket to sleep in, picnic on. With the blanket ends folded over and stitched you could insert two cut down branches and make a stretcher for use in an emergency or a simple camp bed. With loops you could turn it into a hammock of sorts. You could cut a strip of for use as a bandage, keep a safety pin there as well to help keep it done up. Handly ultralight back packing survival tips could be printed on the sides. The possibilities are endless or am I just getting carried away!
Definately less stinky but then we all know what a scotsman wears under his kilt and thats nothing!!! I don’t know if the female population out there are “That” into ultralight backpacking though!
ScottJul 19, 2005 at 7:08 pm #1339257
I’ve seen both guys and girls use skirts on all or part of AT thru-hikes. I remember the positives being that they are lighter and cooler. I don’t remember anyone mentioning negatives. Doesn’t mean there weren’t any, just that I don’t remember. You can make a nylon skirt pretty easily and cheaply. My first recommendation might be to head to some thrift stores and hunt for silk or merino. My second recommendation would be to remember ot carry some lightweight wind pants as backup.Jul 19, 2005 at 11:38 pm #1339265
being brought up the way i have been & being an old geezer, fairly set in my ways, i’m not gonna’ be caught dead in a skirt. That is…
until i see what sorta’ of L/UL KILT Bill Fornshell can sew up. Then, only then, mind you…may I have someone sew up for me a KILT according to his plans. (Do I hear “Scotland, the Great”, blowin’ on the Pipes?) But, even then, i, for one, am gonna’ be wearin’ something underneath (unless Bill’s Kilt has a removeable, or sewn-in, mesh lining that serves that purpose.)
Bill, any thoughts on how an authentic Scottish Kilt might be made to do at least UL quadruple duty (clothing, sleeping, rain gear, ???, etc.). It might need some type of zip-in bug netting though to protect the legs & ‘undercarriage’ fr/skeeters – in low, wet areas they sometimes come out in the early evening while the sun is gettin’ lower in the western sky, as well as in the damp early morning. Not to mention all the Black Flies during the day in Maine.
Bill, we need pics though, just to be sure it’s a workable design. Hey…if Airborne can wear a Kilt, then a Corpsman can try it too!!!
A question i have ’bout this is “What about ticks?”. We have our fair share of them in the NE (the AT does have to pass through the NE – at least if you want to make it to Katadhin). A Kilt won’t keep out the ticks now, will it?
Have you ever had to remove a tick from b/t someone’s buttocks? Comforting words like “It’ll fall off on its own in 12-24hrs”, or “Don’t worry, it won’t drink much.”, or “We’re in New England, cases of tick borne Rock Mtn. Spotted Fever are rare., or “Your perimeter defense has stopped the insurgence. It won’t proceed any further – it has entrenched.”, and “Don’t worry, ticks are external parasites.” Such words of comfort didn’t seem to help any. Go figure?? [hey…if you were a tick, would you proceed any further???] That tick was just beggin’ to be removed. ok…it was actually my hikin’ bud who was doin’ the beggin’. Well,… since my nickname in the military was ‘Doc’, the task fell to me. And that individual wasn’t wearin’ a Kilt (hiking shorts instead). I guess some DEET could be used on the legs to keep ’em fr/crawling up. Just something to think about (or NOT think about – not a pretty picture). Just another reason why I always wear long pants when I hike (others reasons are for sun & skeeter protection).
‘ok’, much more than ’nuff said. (by me at least. Still waitin’ on Bill…)Jul 20, 2005 at 5:07 am #1339270
Bill FornshellBPL Member
@bfornshellLocale: Southern Texas
I did make a Great Kilt like this web site shows:
It is a lot of material and not light. The thought was that the expance of material would turn into something else and that would divide the weight. I used some nice woven material, not expensive, just nice. It is the Black Watch plaid. I only tried to put it on a couple of times. It is a lot of material and wearing it with a pack is going to be bulky and hot in warm weather.
About this same time I got my first shipment of the Cuben Fiber and I folded up the kilt and put it away. I will come back to this idea later, it is not dead yet.Jul 20, 2005 at 5:18 am #1339271
@naturephoto1Locale: Eastern Pennsylvania
And hopefully will not reappear made in Cuben Fiber material????!!!!Jul 20, 2005 at 7:28 am #1339273
It’s funny you should mention the great kilt. I have been thinking about it as a very practical all purpose garment that doubles as a bed. I am a descendent of the MacDonalds of Keppoch, and I have worn a great kilt, even though I’m a woman. It’s extremely practical for cool climates like the Isle of Skye. (The southern end of Skye never gets very cold either: there are huge fuschia hedges growing at the Clan Donald center!) I get a lot of funny looks wearing the great kilt in my neighborhood here in Tn. Neighbors said, “Why are you wearing your bedspread?” Which, as it turns out, is exactly what English visitors to Scotland in the 18th century said: “These people are so poor that they wear their bedclothes during the day.” Or, you could put it another way: These people have such great lightitude that they have figured out multiple uses for their blankets, so they don’t have to spend so much time spinning and weaving, and they have more time for brewing and dancing!
My kilt was too heavy as it had rayon as well as wool in it, and I made it into some pants, with some fabric left over.
Anyway I am going to Peru in August, both the jungle part and the Andes mountains. I am thinking a sarong would be good for the jungle, and a wool skirt for the Andes. Maybe not a kilt.
By the way, Hancock fabric stores are having great sales all during July, on spring and summer fabrics anyway.
–shannonJul 20, 2005 at 7:58 am #1339275
@dangLocale: Pacific Northwet
I would recommend a mesh insert when in mosquito country :)Jul 20, 2005 at 10:55 am #1339278
Not sure about the Kilt idea… But found some uses for the sword as a multipurpose tool assuming it’s made of lightweight titanium or some composite material.
1. A trekking pole / support for my tarp.
2. A replacement for my swiss army classic pocketknife.
3. A deterrent against problem bears.
Seriously, Your imagination & inventive skills are inspirational!
RogerJul 20, 2005 at 12:59 pm #1339280
I think Flyfisher, Risk, Rick has the right idea. Breechclouts…Jul 20, 2005 at 1:29 pm #1339281
This looks pretty good and definitely light and easy to launder, but in one of those pictures a very pointy looking rock is jabbing his bottom pretty hard. Wonder how that feels.
Also, can women get away with this?Jul 20, 2005 at 2:22 pm #1339285
Nothing could be better.Jul 20, 2005 at 4:17 pm #1339298
@waterloggedwelliesLocale: United Kingdom
Here in the UK a guy walked all the way from one end of the country to the other completely naked apart from his boots and a rucksack to make a statement of sorts. He got arrested several times during the trip and made the news many times as well. He is now repeating the journey but this time with his girlfriend who is also naked for a double kind of impact tothe media. So there you go, ultralight backpacking can be pushed even further if we just had the will or as we say in the UK the balls! Or in the case of his girlfriend, not, so to speak.
The beechclout garment looked interesting but I don’t know if I could put up with the stares from the other travellers on the trail, so I dont think its for me!Jul 20, 2005 at 5:48 pm #1339306
@waterloggedwelliesLocale: United Kingdom
Here in the UK a guy walked all the way from one end of the country to the other completely naked apart from his boots and a rucksack to make a statement of sorts. He got arrested several times during the trip and made the news many times as well. He is now repeating the journey but this time with his girlfriend who is also naked for a double kind of impact to the media. So there you go, ultralight backpacking can be pushed even further if we just had the will or as we say in the UK the balls! Or in the case of his girlfriend, not, so to speak.
The breechclout garment looked interesting but I don’t know if I could put up with the stares from the other travellers on the trail, so I dont think its for me!Jul 20, 2005 at 7:37 pm #1339309
I have been thinking about this nekkid idea. It seems like the ultimate and logical extension of the idea of shedding unnecessary weight. Then I started thinking, what are clothes for really? In winter, obviously, they keep us warm; but why exactly do we wear them in summer? Ok, sometimes they keep mosquitoes and brambles away from your skin, but why do we wear them even when mosquitoes and brambles aren’t around?
The only answer I could come up with is: we wear clothes because people in our culture wear clothes. It’s a tautology, I know, but the only answer I could come up with.
So, I guess to get clothes to a minimum, you have to cover certain parts, but that’s all. Maybe the ultimate light summer hiking wardrobe, to avoid arrest, would be pasties and a bikini bottom for women, and a speedo suit for men. Come to think of it, that might be very practical (except for the pasties; getting them on and off would be a pain). Bathing suits wash and dry quickly and easily.
My little niece, age three, calls her bikini her “apart” bathing suit.Jul 20, 2005 at 7:46 pm #1339311
@kdesignLocale: Mythical State of Jefferson
If only we were that enlightened.
All puns incidental (well, maybe not)Jul 21, 2005 at 1:03 am #1339321
on a more serious note, as was mentioned clothing serves to protect the skin: from skeeters, black flies, ticks, & the like; brambles, etc.; but also, the sun harmful rays.
Clothing also protects our shoulders & hips from chafing from pack straps & belts. Of course your body will, under certain circumstances, protect itself if given a chance. But, I don’t think anyone wants slightly darkened, thickened skin or callouses on their shoulders or hips.
Clothing can keep our sleeping bag clean & rain gear freer of contaminating body oils & sweat. I’d rather launder my clothing, than my bag. (ok…so they make silk bag liners). IMHO, bags should be laundered only when necessary. proper laundering of a bag (whether synth. or down) is somewhat time consuming when it’s done properly to avoid damaging the insulation.
In addition, just ask any bedouin (or Carol Crooker, sorry to drop your name, but you’ve posted on this previously & i feel your word carries far more wt. than mine) – i work with an engineer from morocco who knows something of this, proper attire, in layers, can even keep us cooler (depending upon level of physical exertion), in very hot conditions.
Clothing (or strips of clothing) can be made to do “double” duty in an emergency situation: bandages, sling, securing a split, etc. – just use your imagination (marking a trail,….the list just goes on and on…)
oh…and one more final reason…pockets. gotta’ have pockets.Jul 21, 2005 at 9:26 am #1339345
Sure, Bedouins wear clothes, but African bushmen don’t, nor do some peoples who live in hot, humid jungles. I live in a hot humid jungle most of the time: Tennessee is like that in the summer, and Houston is like that all the time except for about a week in December.
I wonder if Bedouins wear clothes because their environment is so dry. Evaporative cooling just happens, whether you are dressed or not. In Houston, and right now in TN, you have to take your shirt off to be comfortable outside.
I wonder if the backpack chafing problem could be solved by backpack design? Maybe some kind of a soft fabric on the straps and pack, of course not so much that it negates the weight savings of not wearing clothes.
The sun protection thing is not much of a factor in the humid southeast, where we do most of our hiking in the woods under trees. It is a factor certainly when gardening or working outside around the farm.Jul 21, 2005 at 9:52 am #1339349
yesterday’s Heat index = 110
Humidity: fortunately the prev. day’s 87% rel hum. had declined to ~70%.
No problem with shirt on – scraped, sanded, & stained front (facing West) of house in the mid afternoon (~1530) after work.
Didn’t realize Tn was so much worse.Jul 21, 2005 at 10:40 am #1339356
I think it’s been in the 90% range here for days. It rains every afternoon.Jul 21, 2005 at 1:01 pm #1339361
Understood. Had a roommate in the military from TN. He thought CT & TN weather were quite similar in many respects
b/f this weekend 9 straight days of 90%+ RH & T-storms each aft, eve, or night.Jul 27, 2005 at 7:47 am #1339555
I’m a geezerette who hikes in a skirt after one too many embarassing incidents answering a call of nature. I found that the skirt provided enough of a modesty screen that it saved me a lot of time looking for the perfect spot, which it turned out that others had found before me. I hiked from Springer to Ashby Gap wearing a tie-died cotton voile (very light weight) mid-calf skirt. Because the fabric was a loose weave, it dried quickly. At night, I could throw it over my head and shoulders and it functioned as a bug screen. Tears were easy to mend (used up all my dental floss). Of course this was back in the days before synthetics. When I needed to adapt it into what I called “capri’s” for scrambling, I ran a long piece of floss from front to back beween my legs, tied to the hipbelt of my pack (the hipbelt was a was another “new” item, made from an auto seatbelt). Nowadays I continue to hike in a skirt, and it’s still of lightweight cotton. I find that lightwieght synthetics tend to cling to sweaty legs and ride up. One thing I have changed is what it wear under it- EMS Techwick briefs- they dry so fast, it’s easy to wash them out on longer trips.
And on a similar women’s question about whether to wear a bra or not- this old hippie learned something on the trail. Ditch the bra when you can and when you need one, use the ACE bandage from your first aid kit. It’s worth the extra weight because it serves a dual purpose!Jul 28, 2005 at 8:36 pm #1339675
I hike in a skirt from http://www.macabiskirt.com/ I’ve used it for over a year, mostly on day and weekend hikes in southern Indiana, but hiked 5 days on the AT in southern PA this June with it. I love it and swear I won’t go back to pants. With the sides snapped up it’s cooler when hot. I’ve also hiked in the cold with leggings under it. My thighs are fat and rub but for some reason don’t chafe in the skirt as long as I keep moving. The thighs rub more when standing still. The skirt is not binding like pants or shorts and my stride is freer and it’s easier climbing and stepping over stuff and just taking big steps when I need to. It’s easier to get a skirt on in a hammock than it would be to put pants on. It dries quickly. I washed it in the shower when I just couldn’t stand my smelly self, put it back on, and it dried as I hiked. I haven’t tried it as a swim suit yet, but think it would work. It can be used as an extra cover or just be worn at night. And last but most important to me, It makes bathroom breaks sooo much easier, without exposing myself or hiking way over some hill to hide. PattiJul 28, 2005 at 10:19 pm #1339688
just curious. how well does it work when flying insects are about (e.g. skeeters & black flies)? how do you keep them at bay? also, what about ticks? DEET?
this is not a criticism of a skirt’s use on the trail. i’m just trying to educate myself as i have no experience here. would like to know in case my wife ever decides to use one.Jul 29, 2005 at 7:59 pm #1339721
I just use bug dope, usually deet with some citronella stuff mixed in. I think the citronella works better with noseeums. I’ve never encountered black flies so I don’t know how that would be. I don’t see how a skirt is any worse than shorts, or even pants for that matter. I’ve have mosquitoes bite me thru clothes many times. It’s certainly easier to apply bug dope to my legs with the skirt than with pants on. Patti
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