Dressing in pioneer clothing can have a remarkable impact on the spirit of the trek. The following is a short description of how pioneers dressed and it is our hope that the youth will dress likewise for the trek. There are lots of options for obtaining pioneer clothing. Make sure you checkout thrift stores and on-line stores. There are also tons of patterns available at fabric stores. You can also look into borrowing from other people who have previously trekked. This should not be a large expense for trekkers.
Men’s shirts were worn loose. They had a narrow neck-band with no collar. Plain colors were most common, but stripes or plaids were also used. For modern day trekkers, light colors will be coolest. Choose something larger than a regular fit, with long sleeves.
Here is a simple way to create a men’s pioneer shirt. This should take around 15 minutes, and young men can use it as part of their sewing merit badge.
- Start with an old long sleeve church shirt (preferably one size larger than your usual shirt)
- Unstitch and remove the collar.
- Finish the unstitched edge around the neck.
Here is a tutorial on how to make men’s pioneer shirts in 15 minutes:
Men’s pants were also worn loose. Cotton, corduroy, linen, twill and canvas pants are good choices. Colors included blue, black, gray, and browns, especially beige and tan. Choose styles that are rather loose fitting through the crotch and thigh area to add comfort in walking. Leave the skinny jeans at home!
Men’s pants were held up by suspenders that were buttoned on the outside of the waistband, and crossed in the back.
Men’s everyday hats ranged from pilot caps, straw hats, wide brimmed low felt hats, or round crowned hat. Modern day trekkers should not wear baseball caps, beanies or army hats.
A Woman’s basic dress was floor length. It could be plain or have many ruffles. The sleeves were full, and long, with buttons or bands at the wrist. Necklines were usually high, with buttons up the front. Fabrics were made of cotton in solid colors or small print. Bright colors (excluding neons) were popular (especially bright yellow). Blouses and long skirts or jumpers could be used. Pioneer trekkers today have found that dresses and skirts should be mid-calf or above the top of a hiking boot in length (so the girls do not trip over their skirts while pulling).
The standard apron was six to twelve inches shorter than the skirt length. It gathered at the waist and tied. The bib attached at the waist and was pinned to the dress bodice at the top two corners, hence, the pinafore (Pinned at two of the four corners!). Daytime aprons were made of calico remnants. Sunday aprons were made from white fabric and did not have a bib. For trekking today, large deep pockets are important to be able to carry different items along the trail.
Women wore bonnets whenever they were outside. They were made of cotton with a deep stiffened brim and a back ruffle to protect the neck. They could be white, plain colors or a print. For Trekking today, bonnets or straw hats for the girls are important. Check out the following resources:
See sample bonnets. There may also be someone in your ward who would be willing to help you make a bonnet. Feel free to ask around.
These were worn underneath the dress and were normally white. Their length was usually between knee and mid-calf. Wearing pantaloons helps maintain modesty in trekking situations.
Please be careful and modest in selecting your undergarments for Trek. Simplicity and items made of breathable cotton will be the best choice.
Keep in mind the weather will most likely be COLD in the evenings. We would like boys and girls to wear a pair of sweat pants (or sport pants) and a t-shirt. They should each also have a sweatshirt to wear for additional warmth. Nightwear is to be worn only when it is time to go to sleep, not when we arrive at a given campsite. You will change into your bedclothes once it is time to retire to your tents/shelters.
Shoes and Socks
Comfort is most important. Do not wear new hiking boots unless you have taken at least two months to break them in. Bring two pair of good tennis shoes in the event that one gets wet or causes blisters. Pack clean socks for each day.
Items Not to Wear on Trek
Blue Jeans, shorts, baseball caps, tank tops, t-shirts, tight/short dresses, brand new shoes. Stay away from modern clothing and prints. Clothing and PJs should not ride low. Please adhere to the For the Strength of Youth Standards