For the second half of our trip to Costa Rica we headed up to the cloud forests of Monteverde. Getting up there was an adventure in itself where we tackled some pretty wild roads in our tiny rental car. The roads heading up the mountain are bumpy, windy, and wicked steep in some sections; on rainy days I think four-wheel drive would quickly become a necessity.
As it was, we made it up the mountain on a beautiful day and had some great scenery along the drive.
You are climbing up 4,600 feet from sea level in less than 20 miles so the first thing we noticed was the abrupt change in climate. Leaving the warm sunny coast in shorts and tees we were soon wearing pants, jackets, and boots and it proved a good testing ground for my 1 Outfit experiment.
Welcome to the Cloud Forest
Nestled in the peaks of the mountains is the small tourist village of Monteverde, which somehow reminded me of some of our mountain towns like Banff and Canmore. Although, in Central America the mountains are home to coffee, cocoa, rainforests, and sloths.
The reasons behind naming the area the Cloud Forest become pretty apparent after spending a few hours in Monteverde, the village seems to be situated inside a permanent cloud surrounded in a perpetual state of foggy drizzle.
When I was packing for the trip I wasn’t sure if I would need both my Strike Gold sweatshirt and my Apolis jacket as layers, but I was glad to have both, especially once the sun set.
Even more essential was my American Trench raincoat; I wouldn’t normally pack a raincoat on a beach vacation, but if you’re thinking of heading up to Monteverde then you will most certainly want a good waterproof layer. I’ve worn my American Trench through a few decent rainstorms, but I was still totally blown away that it held up to multiple days of drenching and never once let any water through.
Places like the rainforests of Costa Rica really highlight the versatility of the clothes I picked for this year long challenge. They all look good as an outfit, but more importantly they also perform.
Outlier’s clothes really shine in this rugged, wet climate. My 60/30 Chino’s didn’t need to be washed once – the mud just wiped right off, they shed water droplets for hours, and even when they soaked through in downpours they were still fully dry by the morning.
Viberg Jungle Boots
The biggest downside to my Viberg boots is that the hard Dainite sole is pretty slippery on wet trees and rocks. They really are not made for this kind of terrain so it is no fault of their own, but they did keep my feet perfectly dry – no gore-tex required here. Even though they were completely caked with muck by the end of the trip they cleaned up perfectly with some Lexol cleaner and some sturdy brushing.
One thing I would change is that next time I would pack everything in a travel backpack rather than my duffel. It’s a small change, but it would make it easier carting my stuff around and then it would double as a daypack when out. We did bring along a Makr Farm Rucksack, which held up well and looks great, but the double strap closure is a bit of a pain. I’ll be looking into some travel/daypack options for future travel, any thoughts on the Tortuga Air, the GoRuck GR1, or the slick new Outlier Ultrahigh?
Sick of the sand?
If you are looking for a change from the sand and surf of Costa Rica’s coast then definitely head up to the Monteverde area to check out the wildlife, volcanoes, and mountain living. Make sure you pack some good boots, warm layers, and a waterproof shell, otherwise you’ll want to head straight back down the mountain.