Clothing for the AZT. There are a ton of YouTube videos on hiking clothes and the guys at REI would love to advise you also. My rule is simple; it’s got to be comfy and dry quickly when it gets wet. I usually always wear shorts…. really zip-off White Sierra pants ( cheaper then the Columbia ones and they have a cell phone pocket on the right side hip). Seems like no matter how cold it gets, my legs don’t really get cold. In a downpour pants get soaked on the legs and take forever to dry. As far as a shirt, I wear long sleeve Columbia Silver Ridge shirts. Helps keep the sun off your arms and neck. I can roll up or down the sleeves as the weather changes. Day hiking on the AZT is a little commitment of hours. Not a quick 1 or 2 hour in city trail hike and as such, you want to dress for all situations. I have hiked a lot around Phoenix and you see all the tank tops, spandex and cotton t-shirts. The AZT demands a little more. You’ll notice a seasoned AZT hiker with the look of an Australian outbacker; wearing all tan pants and a long sleeve shirt with a big tan hat. We look this way for a reason…. 🙂 Be prepared and protect your skin please. Light colors on hot days and whatever color in cold is a great idea.
Its important to always have a light weight rain jacket in your pack. I have a Marmot precip jacket that weights around 18 ounces. Does a great job. Never leave home without it. I use it as a ground sheet to sit on during hiking rest and lunch breaks too.
I also have a full size down puffy jacket for really cold hikes but I mainly hike with a cheap black lightweight down vest stored at the bottom of my pack. Does the job well down to about 35 degrees.
A very useful and critical piece of clothing might actually be considered gear. It’s a bandana. These little cheap things are simply awesome. So many uses. You can filter water with them, wear them for warmth or shade and best of all, get them wet and they cool you off. I am sure you can list other uses but I love this item mainly to cool myself down. On hot sun exposed days, a portion of my 3 liters of water go on the bandana and around my neck or on my head. It’s a life saver. I tried a neck buff for a number of hikes but they are just not as versatile as the good old bandana.
UPDATE: I have switched over to a military poncho from my Marmot Rain Jacket. It did add a couple more ounces to the pack weight but I find it much more versatile of an item. It’s not only a very good rain covering, it’s super easy to put on while hiking and covers you and your pack. It can be modified while hiking for ventilation and it can serve as a ground cover, seat pad and a pop tent / shelter if needed. This one is a Mil -Tec OD Green Military Poncho with 6 grommet holes and side snaps. Very neat piece of kit. Army dudes got this one right.