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Winter Clothing Systems Question
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Richard Nelridge
(naturephoto1) - M

Locale: Eastern Pennsylvania
Question regarding Winter/Cold Weather Clothing on 12/27/2004 11:52:57 MST Print View

For someone using a clothing/sleep system that includes an eVENT outer fabric light down jacket, sleeping bag, and hood along with vapor barrier clothing (shirt, pants, gloves, and socks) do you recommend a Winter/Cold Weather Clothing system consisting of:


Base Layer: Lightweight synthetic zip-t (e.g., GoLite C-Thru Lightweight Zip-T), 5 oz

Wind Shirt: Thin wind shirt (e.g., Montane Aero Smock), 3 oz

Rain Jacket: eVENT shell jacket (e.g., Integral Designs eVENT Jacket), 9 oz

Insulating Jacket: High loft hooded synthetic insulating jacket (e.g., GoLite Belay Parka), 21 oz



Base layer such as Rab V-Trail Top made with microfibre lining and Pertex Equilibrium outer

Hooded Shell Jacket such as Soft Shelled Cloudveil Ice Floe Jacket

Hooded Insulation Jacket such as Rab Pertex Quantum Neutrino or Integral Designs Dolomitti?

Also, I am wondering why I have not seen any comments about or reviews of the Gore Windstopper N2S clothing such as the Mountain Hardwear Featherweight Transition clothing on

Edited by ryan on 12/27/2004 11:59:03 MST.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Winter Clothing System Response on 12/27/2004 12:02:59 MST Print View

For colder conditions, where I'm not expecting temperatures to get above 20 °F, I prefer something like system B. Breathability is king in very cold conditions in order to maintain your microclimate and stay as dry as possible. The exception is if you are doing a lot of wallowing in snow (snow cave digging, slogging through very deep snow), when I might want a waterproof shell pant. Also, on longer expeditions, where the weather can change beyond your forecast, a set of raingear is not a bad thing to have along.

>> Also, I am wondering why I have not seen any comments about or reviews of the Gore Windstopper N2S clothing such as the Mountain Hardwear Featherweight Transition clothing on

N2S is not popular for backpacking, although it tends to be a popular piece for done-in-a-day activities. It's not very breathable and we have struggled to find applications for this material in a backpacking or alpine climbing clothing system that cannot be addressed by more breathable and faster drying pieces like Marmot Driclime.

Jerold Swan
(jswan) - F - M
N2S gear on 12/28/2004 16:43:54 MST Print View

I have been using a 1st generation Mountain Hardwear N2S shirt for several years as my primary garment for winter running (and occasionally cycling). It's perfect for that application. It breathes well if I don't wear anything over it, but it gets soaked if I wear anything on top of it. For that reason, like Ryan, I don't use it for longer outings. Likewise, if I wear anything under it, the baselayer gets soaked.

However, I did meet a guy who said he used a Millet N2S hooded jacket over a Smartwool baselayer as the core part of his system for a Himalayan climb, so maybe I'm missing something.

I've been using something like System B (Smartwool+Ice Floe+Wild Things EP or Belay jacket) this fall/winter for day outings, and I really like it. The Cloudveil Ice Floe jacket is a bit heavy weight-wise, but it is really breathable, the hood design is really nice, and I like the pocket setup.

Edited by jswan on 12/28/2004 16:47:10 MST.

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
Malden Mills for snowshoeing softshell? on 01/12/2005 09:30:06 MST Print View

I'm going snowshoeing (sleeping under Megamids) in NW Michigan next month (Feb) for 3 days (normal 20F hi, 8F lo). And have been trying to determine what gear I need to purchase, or even make, before I leave.

What about using one of the products from Malden Mills or Schoeller as your softshell Top in option "B"? What about pants?

Maybe Powershield, Wind Pro, Wind Pro Powerstretch, Windbloc or Windbloc-ACT?

How about the Schoeller products? Dryskin and Dryskin extreme? Assuming both are treated with their 3XDRY DWR stuff.

You've mentioned Dryskin a couple of times, but rarely mention the Malden Mills materials.

If I want to go "cheap", could I get buy with a heavy fleece, Rainshield O2 hardshell combo in leiu of the softshell? And full zip (for venting) hardshell pants?

Richard Nelridge
(naturephoto1) - M

Locale: Eastern Pennsylvania
RailRiders Winter Weatherpants on 01/12/2005 09:51:40 MST Print View


If you think that you can get by without a softshell bottom, you may want to consider the RailRiders Winter Weatherpants ( They are on sale now for $50 dollars reduced from $79. I have a pair on order now.

You would need some sort of base layer under these much of the time if you purchased them however. It would probably be possible to layer these under a wind pant or w/b pant if need be.

Edited by naturephoto1 on 01/12/2005 09:53:35 MST.

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
IceFloe == Schoeller Dryskin on 01/12/2005 14:03:41 MST Print View

The Cloudveil IceFloe (recomended by is Schoeller Dryskin. So, obviously Dryskin is an option.

Though, I believe, the Cloudveil Prospector (also recomended by is made with Cloudveil's proprietary fabric Interia.

Which brings up 1 more question, the IceFloe is 4oz heavier than the Prospector hoody. Why would I want the IceFloe over the Prospector hoody? Warmer? Better storm resistance?

Still looking for pros/cons of Malden Mills fabrics.

Edited by tlbj6142 on 01/12/2005 14:07:26 MST.

Richard Nelridge
(naturephoto1) - M

Locale: Eastern Pennsylvania
IceFloe == Schoeller Dryskin on 01/12/2005 14:08:39 MST Print View

The Cloudveil Prospector Hoody is supposed to have no micro fleece lining; the Ice Floe does have a microfleece lining.

Edited by naturephoto1 on 01/12/2005 15:13:43 MST.

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
What about Ibex's Climawool? on 01/14/2005 07:21:48 MST Print View

Now that I have re-read the winter guide, I realized that Malden Mill's Powershield is mentioned (Arc'Teryx Gamma MX) as an option only when extreme conditions are present (or when less physical activity is planned). As it doesn't breath as well as the Schoeller Dryskin (and Extreme) products.

Looking through my stack of catalogs last night I noticed that Ibex makes a softshell material they call Climawool (and the thinner Climawool Lite). Given's love afair with merino wool, I'm surprised it isn't even mentioned.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Prospector (interia), IceFloe (dryskin), and PowerShield on 01/14/2005 11:13:11 MST Print View

> the IceFloe is 4oz heavier than the Prospector hoody.
> Why would I want the IceFloe over the Prospector hoody?

The IceFloe is a lot more durable, a bit warmer, and a fair bit more weatherproof.

> Still looking for pros/cons of Malden Mills fabrics.

Powershield doesn't breath as well as Dryskin. It is appropriate in more extreme conditions (especially high winds) or lower activity levels.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Ibex Climawool on 01/14/2005 22:33:17 MST Print View

Tony--BPL has an article on a couple of Ibex Climawool

I have the "Icefall", a wonderful softshell jacket without many bells and whistles.The wool layer inside feels great, allows body moisture to wick through like crazy and one feels warm even when the jacket is wet ( unless instead this is incipient hypothermia I've been experiencing).

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
Missing link on 01/15/2005 11:56:03 MST Print View

Thanks for the link. For some reason the site's seach doesn't generate a hit on that page when searching for ibex.

So, I can assume that Climawool version of the Icefall (the Neve) must be a bit warmer.

Keith Franchois
(kmfranchois) - F
Comparison b/w Golite Belay and Patagonia Micro Puff Hooded Jackets on 01/16/2005 01:47:49 MST Print View

Hey there- wanted to see if people had experience with either the Golite Belay or the Patagonia Micro Puff Hooded Jacket. The Belay is 4.5 oz heavier but it also uses Nextec Epic so, theoretically, it should be better in wet conditions. I had big problems with the main zipper on my Golite Blur so I'm leaning a bit more towards the Patagonia product but I don't know which one has more insulation (I'd assume the Belay) and warmth is my ultimate deciding factor. Thanks for any input.


Edited by kmfranchois on 01/16/2005 01:53:05 MST.

Richard Nelridge
(naturephoto1) - M

Locale: Eastern Pennsylvania
Comparison b/w Golite Belay and Patagonia Micro Puff Hooded Jackets on 01/16/2005 06:20:42 MST Print View

If you are considering something almost or about as warm as the Patagonia Micro Puff Hooded Jacket you may want to look at the Wild Things( Hooded Primaloft Sweater which Wild Things has on sale/clearance for $85. I just received mine in large and I believe it weighs about 20.6 oz. The reversible garment, which uses 2 layers of 1.8 oz Primaloft insulation is nicely made, with nylon fabic that is probably tougher than that of the Patagonia. The Patagonia Micro Puff is about 4 oz lighter and uses 2.6 oz Polarguard Delta insulation.

I would expect that the Epic Fabric of the Golite Belay should be more water resistant than either the Wild Things or Patagonia jackets.

Edited by naturephoto1 on 01/16/2005 06:24:33 MST.

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
What about pants? on 01/17/2005 08:20:52 MST Print View

The winter gear checklist shows Arc'Teryx Gamma MX pants (Malden Mill's Polartec Powershield) for active wear. I don't see a base layer listed, so I assume this is the only piece on the legs (the ID pants are for camp/rest), correct?

Furthermore, the Winter Backpacking Comfort article doesn't mention pants either.

What other options should I consider for *active* wear in 0F-20F temps?

Option A:
1) Mid-weight tights
2) Full zip hard shell

Option B:
1) Mid-weight tights
2) Windstopper tights

Option C:
1) Mid-weight tights
2) Cloudveil Prospector pants (Rodeo?)

I tried Option A this morning for a 45 minute walk arond the neighborhood. It was 6F (-10F windchill). My thighs were noticebly cold.

I can get Prospector, Rodeo or the MH Windstopper tights for ~$50 each. Whereas the Arc'Teryx Gamma MX pants are a tad more expensive.<g> As are the various Schoeller softshell pants.

Any suggestions for 0F-20F legwear for a multi-day snowshoeing trip?

Edited by tlbj6142 on 01/17/2005 08:25:22 MST.

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
200wt fleece too cold for 6F on 01/17/2005 08:24:15 MST Print View

As for my top...

This morning (6F, -10F windchill), I tried a mid-weight base, windshirt under a 200wt fleece and was a bit too cold in the chest and upper arms. The same combination was a bit too warm at 21F a couple of mornings ago.

I might put the windshirt ('03 Chinook) over the fleece to see if it works better. But I'm concerned about moisture retension on a multi-day trip. Seems like the fleece might get a bit too wet in that configuration.

So, it looks like I'll be buying some sort of softshell top for this trip. Either the Prospector Hoody, or the hoodless Serendipity (the Icefloe is a bit too pricy).

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
In cold+wind prospector not enough on 01/17/2005 09:09:30 MST Print View

>Option C:
>1) Mid-weight tights
>2) Cloudveil Prospector pants (Rodeo?)

Is likely not enough if you are talking around 0F + wind. A good strong wind will cut through the prospector since they are wind resistant rather than windproof. What I have found effective in those conditions was a featherweight base (the 2oz tights from early winters), rodeo pants, and the montane featherlite wind pants.

If I am continously out in these sorts of conditions I prefer my Schoeller Dyskin pants: (1) they are more durable (2) I can sit down in snow for awhile without getting wet or cold.

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
What about windstopper? on 01/17/2005 10:25:18 MST Print View

Thanks for the input. I have zero experience doing anything more than day activies in these condiditions, as such I don't know what works and what doesn't.

What about using Windstopper tights under the Prospector pants? Or does WindStopper == sweatblocker?

Edited by tlbj6142 on 01/17/2005 10:27:15 MST.

Keith Franchois
(kmfranchois) - F
Comparison of Polarguard Insulation Materials on 01/26/2005 04:52:34 MST Print View

Just curious if anyone has experience with Polarguard HV in a jacket as I'm considering purchasing a Patagonia Puff Jacket on sale for $120 at I used to have a Golite Blur with Polarguard 3D and thought that was decent but everyone seems to be declaring the praises of Polarguard Delta nowadays. Any thoughts about Polarguard HV's effectiveness would be appreciated

Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Comparison of Polarguard Insulation Materials on 01/26/2005 09:14:52 MST Print View

Polarguard HV is pretty much equal to 3D and Delta, just heavier for a given loft.

Edited by MikeMartin on 01/26/2005 11:51:06 MST.

(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
Re Gamma MX Pants for cold winter use on 02/15/2007 23:13:51 MST Print View

My wife and I just used our Ibex Guidelite pants (made of climawool light as opposed to the heavier climawool Ibex uses in its Backcountry pants, now called Solitude Pants) skiing and snowshoeing in -5F to 15F (-25F to -5F with wind chill) for several days in the High Peaks region of the Adirondaks.

How do you like the Gamma MX pants for cold winter use? The one place I think I would appreciate a little more wind blocking and warmth in very cold weather would be for the legs - in Ibex Guidelite pants, which are fantastic and which we use 3 seasons, with Ibex merino Long Johns and Janes, we were still cold (again, it was bitter cold and windy). I thought a more wind resistant and less breathable pant would have done the trick. I have a chance to pick up the MX pants at a good price in the next day - I'd sincerely appreciate your thoughts.