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Discussion in 'Outdoor Gear, Survival Equipment & More' started by Fuori, Aug 19, 2015.
Where can I find the R1 zip neck for $30?
Googe ECWCS Level II
Here's an example:
Those are a good price, thank you!
I saw the R1 mock t zip for $78 shipped, but even then I could get almost two of the Cabela's on sale for that price. It won't be as convenient to have to pull it on and off, but still. I had suspicions they were close in terms of warmth, but it was great to hear from someone who owns them both.
I would recommend finding a copy of Chris Townsend's "Backpacker's Handbook". Really the best discussion of clothing systems I've read.
My short take...
As I see it, there 3 common kinds of insulating layers:
Puffs - down, primaloft, lamilite, etc.
Fleece - fleece, pile, loose knit wool (e.g. sweaters)
Soft Shells - Woven wool (mackinaws), tight knit wool (norwegian sweaters), synthetic soft shells
IMO, insulating softshells are best for around town or for hunting - both relatively low sweat activities where I don't have to vent much.
Puffs are good for use in camp or resting on the trail. They are not good for high sweat activities nor are they good for super wet conditions, as the outers and liners tend to hold water even when made from light nylon.
Fleece (and pile and loose knit wool) are good for high sweat activities since they can be worn under a shell with zippers and pit-zips, so that opening the shell will allow the wind to pass THROUGH the fleece to your core, providing maximum cooling and moisture transport.
In practice, I carry just enough fleece to stay warm while hiking with the fleece worn under a venting shell. I then augment this with enough puff insulation (I like Primaloft a lot) to stay warm while sitting in camp or by the trail.
I buy my clothing so that things stack up: base layer, fleece, shell, puff. Note!!! My puffs often go OVER my shell, especially when resting on the trail.
It is not uncommon for me to carry HEAVIER fleece in the wet rainy shoulder seasons like October and May, since we see cold rain then. My favorite then is thick but light polyester pile. In the colder but drier winter, I often go with a thinner and less warm 200 weight fleece. The lack of moisture makes the difference.
All this to say that I see all of the various fleece variants you've listed as somewhat the same. Only you can judge fit and thickness relative to your own thermostat. And the Wiggy's sweater is an entirely different animal. It's a puff. IMO, your winter closet should have both. I wouldn't get the Wiggys though for the lack of a hood. I consider a hood to be a must-have for any puff style jacket.
In terms of mittens, IMO there are 2 basic kinds of systems: insulated mittens and uninsulated mittens combined with liners. The Wiggy mitts you listed are the former. I prefer the latter, as it allows me to tailor the thickness of the liner to match the conditions and, more importantly, to rotate out the liners as they get wet.
I like boiled wool mitts and have learned to knit my own. The pattern is somewhat based on the old Dachstien mitts. The Dachstiens weren't available in the US during the 90s and then were imported by Ortovox (they sell avalanche transceivers) but now it would appear that the rivertine online retailer to end all retailers has them.
My copies with a different finger area...
Boiled Wool Mittens by Pinnah, on Flickr
I generally wear these under leather chopper mitts. When it is less cold, I wear wool or fleece gloves under leather work gloves. More than you want to know here.
Thank you, I learned a lot!
You mentioned the puffs go on the outside. I like Wiggy's products, but I am not sure how they would hold up against tree branches. My thoughts were to put a Gore-Tex jacket (with a hood) on the outside of the Wiggy's Sweater. From your information that doesn't seem to be the best idea.
insulating layers typically (not always) go on over a shell on short rests (you don't have to remove layers to get the insulating layers under and then again to remove the insulating layer); they typically (not always) go under a shell on long rests/camp or on their on depending on conditions
What mtwarden said. Add to this, puffs are generally too warn and too sweaty (the latter, on account of 2 layers of nylon) so I tend not to be wearing them when moving through brush.
That said, the Wiggy's sweater uses Supplex, which is very tough and abrasion resistant. I've used a ton of different Supplex jackets and pants for woods skiing and have bashed them through a bunch of brush. It's noisy but never hurt it. I've cut it up with ski edges but it takes sharp edges to hurt it.
I'm glad I asked. Thank you. When I started this topic I was going to throw on thermals, a light wool like Ibex or R1 fleece, Wiggys and then a Columbia or Carhartt shell if it was snowing.
Here are are few combinations I use for backcountry skiing and winter hiking. These combos are for moving, not standing.
20F: med weight poly zip t-neck, exp wt (100) fleece shirt, DriClime Windshirt
10F: med weight poly zip t-neck, exp wt (100) fleece shirt, DriClime Windshirt, fleece vest
OF to -10F: med weight poly zip t-neck, exp wt (100) fleece shirt, loose 1/4" pile sweater, DriClime Windshirt
I have several Primaloft type garments including vests, a sweater with HUGE pit-zips and a big belay parka. I'll occasionally ski in the vest, but I just can't ski or hike even with the sweater.
I just sweat too much and really prefer the ability to dump heat and moisture and pile/fleece is just the best for that, imo.
I like puff jackets like the Wiggys for things like watching outdoor sports, lift served skiing or other times when I'm not moving much. For ex, I'll wear a light puff layer under my hunting jacket in N VT when temps are down in the single digits (winter comes early some years). But I don't move a ton when deer hunting and the wool jacket protects the flimsy outer.
I have considered that what we are calling "puff" garments lose loft when covered with the weight of other garments. I note that the military's ECWCS III puts the puff layer (parka and over-trousers) on the outside for extreme cold.
That's why I was going to go with a Gore-Tex or similar type of shell, so there wouldn't be wet garments on the outside. I've learned something.
if you're sitting (or moving very slowly) and it's precipitating (wet snow/rain), than yes, by all means put a hardshell over the top- you don't want to get your insulating layer wet where it loses precious loft quickly when wet- there are also times when you're not moving and the wind is an issue- again hardshell (or better yet- windshirt) over the top
I am sure this is not news, but if it gets cold enough, "waterproof breathable" garments become non-breathable 'cause da' lil' holes freeze shut. Depending on how much heat you are purring out, that "cold enough" can be 25 f.
The outer puff layer in ECWCS III is for extreme cold. At those temps, liquid water is only found if you mess up in the form of sweat inside your layers.
I didn't think about that, but it makes sense.
I have a nice wool jacket and some fleece jackets I got for winter hiking... sadly, southern california doesn't have winters anymore.
Mr. Linton is correct - "waterproof/breathable" is simply a plastic bag below 20F or so.
Last winter a friend and I spend a few days and nights out in mid-February, daytime highs approaching zero F. Temps dropped quickly once the sun set - the thermometer stopped working at -29F sometime before midnight. We both are pretty experienced at winter sports and outdoor living, so this was an adventure and a casual test of gear and knowledge, not a product endorsement or a survival situation. IOW, simply for fun.
I found silk-weight merino long johns, top and bottoms, were easily adequate as a base layer. Our biggest problem was venting heat while XC skiing across the lake pulling sleds or snowshoeing through the forest. Layers were basically a base layer of thin wool or cotton jersey (t-shirt fabric), long sleeve shirt of some sort (wool or cotton), fleece insulating layer, and a wind shell of vented ripstop nylon or something similar to Cordura. Snow pants, "thornbuster" type hunting pants of heavy (unwaxed) canvas, or fleece-lined jeans on the legs. Yeah, the cotton undershirt was wet when we arrived at the remote cabin, but easy enough to change once out of the elements. At least it didn't stink like my polyester ones do after a simple walk to the store.
At no point was being cold an issue, except for exposed skin. This winter I'm going to skip the long sleeve mid layer or the fleece shell liner depending on conditions. The outer shell stops snow from sticking and melting and controls the ventilation - you do not want to trek into a sub-zero wind with your jacket open from your chin to your chest. Underarm vents and unzipping from the bottom in front worked well.
I agree with the unlined leather outer mitten and thick and thin wool liner mittens as a solution for your hands. Being able to swap liners and being able to use the liner alone without the outer is key to keeping your hands warm at varying levels of cold and activity - you want the thin mittens most of the time, while the thick mitten and leather chopper are used at camp for low energy activities - running to the outhouse, refilling lanterns and stoves, etc.
I have some great snowboarding gloves consisting of a relatively thin fleece glove inside a removable fabric gauntlet glove shell that are my all time favorite winter gloves but they are not adequate when temps fall to well below zero and you are not working hard.
I would say that three or four thinner layers are far more comfortable than one thick outer layer. And more than four layers of anything is just uncomfortable overkill. I just zip up my outer shell after we stop and I've cooled off a bit. If I get cold moving I eat a chocolate granola/candy bar.
It's far more uncomfortable in winter to be way too hot than it is to be a little chilled. And it seems the colder it gets, the easier it is to over-dress.
I started looking for primaloft mid layers today and wonder if there a much of a difference between the Cabela's XPG Advance Hooded jacket and the Arc'teryx Atom? They were both suggested by people in Alaska. I'm just not sure which one to go with. Any thoughts? Both are the same price on sale.
I still haven't bought a Gore-Tex outer shell. There are so many choices that range from $100 to way out of my price range.
nothing against Cabelas, but you're not going to get the same quality or fit/finish as you do with Arcetryx, BUT you're also generally going to pay for it
keep an eye for sales- I buy a lot of Patagonia, Arcteryx, Rab and other high end pieces, but always wait for good sales- their retail prices are simply too high imo
I had a LT Hoody, very nice garment- warm, light and cut very nicely
Lately I've been shifting away from Primaloft and moving towards Polatec Alpha; Primaloft suffers too much loft degradation, too quickly- Alpha is much more resistant to stuffing/unstuffing- it also breathe better (although slightly less warm for the same weight of Primaloft)- this is where our military has put most of their eggs for synthetic insulation
The Atom is actually on sale for the same price as the Cabela's is right now. I'm very glad you told me about the Primaloft. I didn't even think about that happening in a jacket. Wow...
Again, can't thank you enough for telling me that. I would have been pretty upset had I spent the $150 on one of those and had that happen.
if you're not packing/unpacking your jacket a lot, then it's not nearly the issue; an Atom LT Hoody @ $149 is a very good price