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Performance Gear Essentials for the Appalachian Trail

Choosing the best performance clothes to wear is especially important when attempting the Appalachian Trail. You need clothes to match the effort you are putting into completing the trail. There are many available options and the best ones are the ones that are the best for you. Below is an overview to get you started!


First, here is an overview of the series we wrote on the Appalachian Trail. Hopefully, this will be helpful for your adventure. We completed our northbound thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in 2022 and it was one of the most difficult and rewarding experiences of our lives. The difficulty is not only from the number of miles but also the terrain, obstacles, steep ups and downs – and the weather! We started the AT on April 13, 2022 and finished on October 6, 2022. We put this Appalachian Trail series together to get you from the start to the finish successfully.

Appalachian Trail Hiking: The Ultimate Guide to Starting the Appalachian Trail

For more information on how to get to the AT and when to go.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail: 10 Logistical Ideas to Help You Plan

This article will provide insights on how to make your adventure easier.

Weather on the Appalachian Trail: 10 Things to Prepare You For Your Thru-Hike

This one is essential, especially when choosing when to summit.

The Most Essential Weather Gear to Wear on the Appalachian Trail

Your gear could be the difference between completing the trail and not!

Performance Gear Essentials for the Appalachian Trail

An overview of clothes to wear.

What You Should Expect to Spend on an Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike

How to budget for the Appalachian Trail and how much money we spent on our thru-hike.

How to Finish the Appalachian Trail Without Breaking a Sweat

For help getting back home. We wish you the best of luck on your journey! 


Table of Contents:

  1. Layering and Base Clothes on the Appalachian Trail

  2. Getting the right outer performance clothing

  3. Chooseing shoes for the trail

  4. Sending clothes home and getting them back

  5. Cleaning your clothes

  6. Understanding the danger of cotton

  7. Losing weight on the Appalachian Trail

**This post contains affiliate links and On the Move with Liza and Stephen will be compensated if you purchase after clicking on our links, with no cost to you.

1.   Layering and Base Clothes on the Appalachian Trail


Having the right base clothes and layering them when hiking the Appalachian Trail is important. On our thru-hike, the temperatures ranged from cold, rainy, windy 20s to hot and humid 90s. Therefore, wearing the right breathable fabrics, like merino wool, is key. Merino wool has some wonderful qualities: It’s good both in hot and cold weather, it dries fast, and can be worn while wet. Unbound Merino is a superior company that has good quality merino wool. We wore merino wool socks, underwear, T-shirts, and long-sleeve shirts on the trail. During cold nights, we also wore our merino clothes as a sleeping layer.