Monday, September 23, 2013

196. Never Having to Pick What You're Going to Wear

Before you left for the trail, your morning routine consisted of at least 5 extra minutes of staring at clothing. Unless you're fancy and have a personal assistant whose job it is to make sure you don't look like a doofus, you are just like the rest of us regular folk. We all need to spend a little bit of time each morning making sure our pants are, at the very least, on the right way. 

Even in regular life you spend a lot less time on picking your outfits than when you were younger. If time spent looking at clothing was mapped out on a graph over your life, it would be a bell-curve peaking somewhere around 17 years old. When you were a kid, all you really cared about was picking out clothing that your mom wouldn't freak out about you wearing while you played tag in the muddy field and climbed trees with your neighborhood friends. Somewhere around adolescence, most of your peers started figuring out how to be insecure and rude, so you became somewhat more attentive to your wardrobe for survival. It was like picking out the right color camoflague; you didn't want to be wearing zebra stripes in a field of lions.

When you were a teenager, you figured out that one day you might have to dress professionally, so you made the most of it by wearing the most ridiculous and extravagant things possible. Why not?! Giant banana yellow bell-bottoms paired with a heavy metal t-shirt? Sure! Khakis and a cardigan? Whatever! To each their own! Ripped jeans with plaid flannel underneath another plaid flannel? Absolutely! You just have to go to school! The world is your oyster! 

Then, somewhere along the line, you had to start buying clothing that was appropriate for your line of work. Whatever that is, it comes along with its own uniform, stated or unstated. Some folks get to wear jeans and a t-shirt, other people get to wear a jumpsuit, some have fancy suits and high-heels, and others have corduruoys and button-downs. Regardless, it's generally frowned upon to wear the same outfit every day. Who knows why? I don't necessarily think it should matter, but I guess people don't like it when you dress up like a giant blue monster every day. Unless you're a baseball mascot, in which case, good on you, man. It's gotta be hot in there.

You sometimes have fun picking out what you're going to wear, but sometimes, it's a chore. Sometimes nothing seems to fit quite right. Sometimes it all looks ugly for some silly reason. Sometimes you're just tired of having to worry about what other people might think about what you're wearing. 

But on the trail?

Fashion is DEAD, and NO ONE CARES.

You only have enough space in your backpack for extra rain clothes and cold weather gear. Odds are likely that you don't have an extra pair of pants, or an extra shirt. Every morning you wake up and put on the same exact thing you wore the day before. And so does everyone else. There's no decision making time wasted, no hemming and hawing. It's either what you've got, or naked. There's one day a year when this is legitimately an option, and it's called Hike Naked Day. It is a beautiful day.

All your friends wear the same outfit all the time, which makes it feel a little bit like you live in a cartoon, where everyone is always drawn with the same clothing. Every once in a while things may change slightly; someone might get a new shirt when their old one is finally more holes than fabric. But for the most part, you are free to put back on the same stuff you wore the last 35 days. 

There is a downside to this, as for example when it has been really hot and everything you own is sweaty and gross. But there is also a calm level of acceptance that you reach in regard to this. You have no other clothing. You are going to put that outfit on. And it'll be fine, because you won't even notice it after 5 minutes. And the beautiful thing is that no one else notices it either. Hikers are immune to others' body odor. No one will judge you.

And hey, you get to use that extra 5 minutes that you might have spent picking out clothing on sleeping instead. 


Clever Girl

I wore this exact thing every day for months and months. I threw the shirt away at the end. After the trail, Whistle set fire to her shorts. We sang taps.


  1. So did you actually participate in Hike Naked Day?!?!

    1. Oh yes indeed we did! I have no idea why I neglected to blog about it at the time, but that'll be on the list, I promise!

    2. Ahh!! Can't wait to hear about it haha

  2. After reading this entry I would like to withdrawal my bid of $10 for the bandana ; )