Sunday, February 19, 2012


I never hike in shorts or long pants. Skirts rule.

A running skort is good, but I cut out the shorts liner. My favorite, though, is one I made out of men's swim trunks, again cutting out the liner. Lightweight, quick-drying.

I like a skirt because:
  • It's airy.
  • You don't have to undress to add or subtract warm layers or rain pants.
  • Nothing tightens around your legs when you take a big step up or down.
  • You don't have to strip and squat to pee, or even take off your backpack.
Long ago, as a marathoner, I discovered the art of the no-strip, stand-up pee. As a runner I accomplished this wearing loose running shorts (pull the leg to the side, practice at home over toilet or in shower.) As a hiker, well, nothing beats a skirt (do the leg maneuver with whatever you have as underwear, which you do need with a skirt.) Once I peed standing up w/o showing anything, behind a Dumpster with several guys and a squatting girl who had chosen the same spot. She and I rejoined the course together; she met up with a fella she was running with, who had waited for her, and she said, "Sorry for the wait." He said, "Yeah, I guess women can't just pee standing up." She said, "I just found out we can, I saw a woman doing it. I'm gonna learn." Be converted, girls. I have even done this during triathlons, wearing spandex bike shorts. It's not as easy but it's doable and you don't have to sit on that yucky porta-pot seat.

My hiking skirt is black, so black microfiber underwear looks like it could be part of the skirt if someone below you on a climb happens to look up. I also like boxer shorts, for modesty and ventilation. Men's medium work just fine. Again, with some maneuvering I can just pee out the leg, although it's not as easy as with elastic-leg underwear.

BTW, the men's swimsuit to skirt conversion is so easy I did it on the trail with my minimalist sewing kit on a "nero" day ("near-zero", hike in the a.m., take the afternoon off for chores and rest.) Cut out the leg-to-leg crotch seam, trim excess fabric a little longer than leg hems, sew existing seams to incorporate any extra fullness, trim seam, hem, you're done. Half an hour at most. I bought the men's trunks on sale at Trail Days in Damascus, VA when I went through, because I'd gotten too small for my running skirt with a 10-pound hiking weight-loss. The men's suit has an elastic waist and drawstring, to accommodate further loss (or post-hike gain.) That was in 2009, I wore it from Damascus to Harpers Ferry, WV, have worn it on section hikes from there to the AT midpoint in PA, and will be wearing it on my midpoint-to-Maine hike this summer.

1 comment:

Evie in WV said...

I watched the documentary "Trail Angels" last night on the DOC channel and couldn't help but notice the skirts, women and on men, which, I guess, are considered kilts. Loving your tips.