What weight of fleece (for a jacket) would you recommend for late-summer backpacking in the Pacific Northwest? Im hiking the Wonderland Trail in early September and dont know if 100 will be warm enough or if 200 will be overkill. Steve Puyallup, Washington
Im half inclined to answer, neither." By far, my preferred lightweight-but-warm piece these days is a down sweater. It packs up to the size of a softball, weighs next to nothing, and is comfy down to freezingperfect for early autumn on the Wonderland Trail. And if it rains, well, just throw a shell over it. Patagonia makes a wonderful down sweater called, not surprisingly, the Patagonia Down Sweater for $200. MontBells Light Down Jacket ($150) is very similar.
Patagonia Down Sweater
So Id take that, a shell, and probably a mid-weight long-sleeve T-shirt (Marmot Midweight Crew, $40), and a light short-sleeve tee. That would give you several combinations to wear when hiking or loafing around camp.
If youre set on fleece, get something 200-weight, as that offers the most versatility. Mountain Hardwears Monkey Man Jacket ($140) is an excellent piececomfortable, warm, and stretchy. On the bargain side, L.L. Beans Super Fleece 200 ($60) is plenty of mid-weight jacket.
I hope the hike goes well for you. I know the park lost a lot of trails last winter, but I think the route is in pretty good shape now. Early September is the ideal time of year to do it.
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