Q: I'm planning a hike in the Victorian Alps in Spring. The weather could be a combination of hot, cold, wet, windy and dry. I'll be camping out for three nights so I'll have to carry all my gear. What do you suggest would be a good combination of clothing that will protect me from all the elements without weighing down my pack?
A: Good question as the conditions you’ll face could vary enormously. My recommendation assumes that you are an average body type and maintain adequate hydration and food intakes.
OK, that’s the caveat now for the advice. First up always wear a very light synthetic next to your skin. This fabric should have high UV resistance, be very fast wicking, and snug but not tightly fitted. It’s the top you’ll strip down to if the weather is sunny and hot, or you can easily layer over the top.
If it’s cold during the day you’ll need another thermal top of some description, probably a mid-weight synthetic but wool is good too. Pack a heavier weight stretchy top that you could wear as a fleece over the top of the two previous layers or, more likely, to sleep in on cold nights.
I really like windproof vests in the mountains as they minimise weight but protect your core. Finally, a breathable waterproof jacket with pit zips or some other method of ventilation that you can wear all day long if necessary.
For legs, a pair of thermal long johns, a lightweight pair of pants and a pair of waterproof and windproof overpants are all I would take. However, my wife would also pack a pair of stretchy fleece pants in case of a chilly night.