So remember that whole post I wrote about getting a hiking dress? About how I wasn’t sure, but maybe it would help me feel more beautiful while hiking? Well I think it is time to review the dress (and other important clothing items while I am at it).
The Hiking Dress:
So, I have an Ice Breaker dress but I think this review of my hiking dress will do for any hiking dress as long as it is wool or synthetic material. Right off the bat, I am just going to admit that my hiking dress has not made me feel more beautiful. That is not to say that wearing a dress wouldn’t make other people feel more beautiful. I am just not sure the hiking dress is the ideal flattering outfit for me when I am hiking. On top of that it is filthy, it has sap and holes all over the butt from sitting on the ground, there are permenant stains on the shoulders and across my waist where my backpack straps sit, it is disgusting. Other than being vaguely pink at this point there is very little about it that is cute. On top of that, it has been covered up by a sun shirt for most of the hike thus far, so most people haven’t even appreciated it for what it is: a dress. Just because it hasn’t made me feel beautiful doesn’t mean I don’t love it. I do. Turns out hiking in a dress is often freakishly practical. First of all, peeing has taken on a whole new level of ease and the dress continues to provide butt coverage so you can pretty much feel comfortable peeing anywhere, anytime, in mixed company or all alone, it doesn’t matter because you are fully covered. It is also amazing when it comes to throwing on pants. I can get to camp and immediately pull on long johns, outside my tent, in broad day light. What a treat! There are some things you have to get used to when wearing the hiking dress. Number one: you are going to flash everyone constantly. There is no way around it. I am just not dainty enough to keep my legs crossed at all times. I am more of the linebacker sort, legs flopping this way and that, with no regards for what lady bits I am showing off. So I have just had to accept that and get a lot better at actually washing and rotating my two pairs of underwear every day. TMI? Problems with the hiking dress, other than a serious lack of modesty? None that I can think of. I seriously recommend trying them out to all humans.
Kyle and I got Patagonia sun shirts, with hoods, for the desert. We tried to get rid of them at Kennedy Meadows but after our no-show box debacle we are still hiking in them. They are amazing. Full sun protection was a serious must in the desert and the couple of times I tried hiking without them I discovered it was actually much hotter to have exposed skin. The other great thing about them is the hoods, which act as bug shields for your ears. In fact, recently we decided we needed a little bit less sun protection (our hand tan lines were getting out of control). I got rid of my sun shirt all together, it was covered in stains and permenantly dirt marks. But Kyle loves the hood of his sun shirt so much he decided to just cut off the sleeves and keep going. So now he has a hooded tank top. It is quite the look.
I started out in the Altra Lone Peaks and at Kennedy Meadows South switched to Altra Superiors. As you might remember I had problems with blisters at the start, but those problems had basically gone away by the time I got the Superiors and no new problems arose from wearing them. I switched the the Superiors because the pair of Lone Peaks I had before them were getting too small, and when I went online to get a bigger size they were out of what I needed. So I switched to the most similar thing I could find. Now that I am hiking in the right size the Superiors have been great. My first pair actually lasted a surprisingly long time, and the uppers were still in good shape when I got my next pair, the tread was just worn out. Kyle started in a pair of Brooks, which he quickly outgrew, and then he attempted to switch to a pair of Pearl Izumi M2V2s, but his efforts were thwarted at every turn. In Wrightwood he received a pair of N2s instead of M2s, which simply means they were zero drop shoes which he didn’t want. He sent them back and continued to suffer in his too small shoes until we got to Hiker Heaven. At that point he went to REI, but it turned out the best option they had was Hokas. So Kyle wore a pair of Hokas to Tehachapi, which destroyed his feet. In Tehachapi he finally received the Pearl Izumis he had wanted, in both a size ten and a ten and a half. Since then things have been okay with his feet, although his shoe size seems to be between a ten and a ten and a half. And then, in the last couple of days, he has started getting blisters again. He thinks it is just a sign of the impending doom of the Hat Creek Rim area, which promises to resemble the desert in more ways than one. Also if you are confused about me saying our feet have grown, I actually mean it, our feet are bigger than they were before. Kyle started wearing nine and a half and now he is wearing a full size bigger.
Kyle is now on his second round of My Package underwear. He hikes with two pairs at a time and swaps them out and he swears by them. Before discovering this underwear brand he got the weirdest chaffing everywhere, on his inner thighs, around his package, and worse. I won’t go into too much detail, but it was bad. On the AT he tried hiking with underware, without, sometimes when it he was hurting really bad he would just hang his package out of his shorts, which was a disturbing sight. But now things have changed, he hasn’t experienced a single bit of chafing. So, for all you lads out there who have similar problems, Kyle and I highly recommend them.
I have had a complete overhaul of my clothing, after I tore a good sized hole in my dress. Now I am back to the good ol’ shorts and tank top look. I think our biggest disappointment has been how many pairs of shoes we have had to buy out here. At half way we are both four or five pairs of shoes deep. We certainly did not plan for that much shoe money!