Why “Layers, Layers, Layers” Is Good Advice
I have lived in Colorado for close to 15 years. I remember when I first moved to Colorado from Texas and asked my friends how I should dress, and everyone just kept saying, "layers, layers, layers."
Living near the mountains, the climate changes very quickly, and so you have to be prepared. You would think I'd be used to it, but there have been several occasions when I have been caught unprepared in the rain without a rain jacket, or freezing because I forgot a hoodie or a sweater.
I knew I wanted to be prepared for our trip to Grand Teton National Park. When I found out that we were going to be outfitted by REI and Columbia Sportswear, I knew we were going to be well-equipped and stylish. After a few days in Wyoming, I found out we were not only fashionable, but also very warm and comfortable.
Columbia Sportswear sent us some essentials such as multisport and hiking shoes, pants, and jackets. Next came our shopping experience at REI to get outfitted for all the activities on the itinerary. While looking for essentials, I was quickly reminded by the sales woman of the same simple words I had heard before, “layers, layers, layers!" (Thank you REI and Columbia Sportswear for outfitting us for such an amazing adventure!)
The right gear makes all the difference. Here are my recommendations for the basics to pack for a national park adventure.
I would suggest a beanie and a cap. If you want to look fashionable while hiking or horseback riding, I would also pack a cowboy hat.
I only packed one scarf and wish I had packed one more. I'll be buying a gorgeous ultra-warm fleece loop scarf from Columbia Sportswear very soon.
Silk long underwear will be your best friend out in the mountains. They are not the old-fashioned cotton thermal underwear I was used to. They are sleek and comfortable and do not add bulk.
I fell in love with the western-style long sleeve plaid shirts by Columbia, designed with built-in UPF 30 blocking power too. Bonus!
A pullover is always cozy. The one I chose is actually from REI’s yoga line, but yogi or not, you will be cozy and stylish in a pullover.
I packed two jackets and they were both perfect for fall weather with layers underneath. If you plan to travel in the winter, I would recommend investing in a heavier jacket.
Again, I would recommend long underwear. Wear them everyday - remember you can always take them off if you get too hot. It's better to be warm, than cold. Believe me!
I'm petite and love that REI carries petite length options. My mistake was that I also packed shorts, which I never wore. I ended up wearing the same two pairs of pants twice. Next time, I'll be sure to leave the shorts at home and pack more convertible pants and roll-up pants that I can adjust incase I get warm.
If you plan to mountain bike or horseback ride, I would highly recommend some padded bike shorts. We went on a short 6-mile bike ride and a two-hour horseback ride and I forgot to wear my bike shorts for both activities. I packed bike shorts for my trip, but unfortunately never wore them and my backside was definitely feeling the burn.
I would highly recommend a backpack that can fit a bladder, but at the same time can transition from the wilderness to the city. Also make sure it has side pockets for an extra water bottle and snacks. Be sure to carry a water bottle with you because it's very important to stay hydrated at high altitudes.
Feet and hands
If your feet and hands are cold, you will be miserable. Been there, done that. Good shoes are critical. Columbia Sportswear sent us a pair of hiking shoes and a pair of multisport shoes. I couldn't have picked out better ones for myself. It's as if they knew each of us, our individual needs, and our unique styles.
Wool socks kept me very warm. Buy a variety of thicknesses and lengths and be sure to pack a few extra.
Are you planning to take photos with your smartphone? I’d highly recommend touchscreen-compatible gloves, which are pretty darn awesome.
I also saw lots of Sorel boots on the trails and you can bet I'll be buying myself a pair very soon and sporting them on my next adventure.
Were these tips helpful? Let me know using the #ALEx14 hashtag.
Get to know more about Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack by clicking here.