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Pertex/Pile History and Products
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Pertex/Pile History and Products on 09/30/2008 15:04:24 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Pertex/Pile History and Products

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Pertex/Pile History and Products on 09/30/2008 16:19:34 MDT Print View

I do like the anti-fashion bit too (and that is a serious comment).


Warren Wilkinson
(icensnow) - M

Locale: New England, USA
Pertex/Pile History and Products on 09/30/2008 16:52:57 MDT Print View

Thanks so much for this history/review. Learning how gear evolved can help us understand better what's on the market today, and how we can get the most out of it.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re : Pertex/Pile History and Products on 09/30/2008 17:05:24 MDT Print View

Good report Chris. I've still got a Mountain Shirt kicking about somewhere. It's one of the first ones, when the only colour you could get was grey, with the red pile inner!
If the conditions are right, it's a great bit of kit. For me it has to be around freezing before i can wear it. It doesn't get as much use as it used to here in Scotland. As you know our winters are becoming milder and unpredictable.

Is the climber Murray Hamilton any relation to Hamish Hamilton, do you know? I used to have a Murray Hamilton climbing sack.

Edited by MikefaeDundee on 09/30/2008 17:07:48 MDT.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Pertex/Pile History and Products on 09/30/2008 19:27:24 MDT Print View

Very interesting Chris.

Is this the same technology used in Paramo's waterproof clothing using Nixwax Analogy fabric?

nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
Gloves and Socks? on 09/30/2008 20:36:02 MDT Print View

I've been looking at Pertex/Pile garments for a while after being sold on them years ago by an old nylon/fleece windbreaker that I used for everything. But I think that for most North Americans who tend to be dealing less with rain then snow, that stretchy soft shell garments have taken over this market (albeit at the expense of pure wet weather performance). One area I have been looking at these garments for is for gloves and camp socks. I was wondering if anyone could comment on this?
I'm looking at the socks as an alternative to the MEC hut booties (synth), and the Buffalo Mitts for rock climbing belays/bivys and as overmitts overtop my lightly insulated climbing gloves for ice climbing.
I was wondering if anyone had any comments about the Buffalo mitts and socks available through

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Interesting... on 10/01/2008 02:01:22 MDT Print View

For years I've used Gore-Tex or high denier nylon windshells with Polartec pile garments. Works great if one doesn't need to count ounces/grams. Well made pile seemingly lasts forever.

The lighter "Pertex/Pile" looks very functional and durable. Fashion-smashion!

Howsomever, I've found the light nylon shelled Softie/Snugpak mid insulating layer, from Britian as well, is warmer per weight than 300 weight Polartec but needs a windshell or a Gore-Tex or eVent shell in the most extreme weather. My Western U.S. mountains in winter often have that extreme weather.


Edited by Danepacker on 10/01/2008 02:02:21 MDT.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: Pertex/Pile History and Products on 10/01/2008 02:53:42 MDT Print View

I prefer to have fibrepile and windproof breathable water resistant shell as seperate layers for more versatility and more rapid drying between showers in changeable weather.

I use a cheap 7oz fibre pile gilet under my nylon trail shirt with a golite 'gamut' 12oz stretchy nylon almost waterproof shell over the top when it's windy/showery. In general my arms stay warm as long as they are wind protected and the gilet allows my pits to breathe better than a full pile jacket.

For extra insulation in cold weather I take my montane toasty for lunchstops and campwear.

For serious downpours I use a disposable 2oz plastic cape over everything including the pack.

This works out lighter on the wallet too. Buffalo gear ain't cheap!

Andy Dixon
(sideshowandy) - F
Pile/pertex performance on 10/01/2008 05:13:14 MDT Print View

I have a Buffalo special 6 shirt with a Montane hood

to provide another example of how well such gear performs consider this situation:

a long day in the mountains in continuous wet snowfall

i wore the special 6 shirt on such a day and was at all times toasty warm and dry - the wet snow did not penetrate & perspiration dissipated wonderfully well. As a result of my clothing i was actually able to really enjoy the walk despite the poor conditions

i cannot think of any other type of clothing system which could produce the same results in similarly cold/wet conditions

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Pertex/Pile on 10/01/2008 06:30:06 MDT Print View

Thanks for all your comments everybody.

Mike, I had a grey/red original too. It's probably in the attic somewhere. I don't think the two Hamiltons are related.

Michael, this isn't the same as the Paramo's Nikwax Analogy though there are similarities. Paramo isn't as warm but is more waterproof and fits better into a layer system. There'll be a Paramo article later in the autumn.

Robert, stretchy soft shell is popular in Europe too, especially the Alps (much of the soft shell fabric is made by Swiss company Schoeller). In my experience Pertex/Pile garments are better for snow than stretchy soft shell. The latter however has more fashion/street appeal.

The Buffalo Mitts are very good - warm for the weight and hard wearing.

William Kline
(WindRiverMan) - F
Pertex vs PG on 10/01/2008 07:18:55 MDT Print View

Great article, very interesting. I always felt that my old pile garments were the absolutely best for dealing with wet weather, but of course pretty heavy for the warmth, or at least for the loft compared to Polarguard or especially down. It never occurred to me to wear the pile without a base layer to improve wicking.

I would love to read similar testing of PG ( or CS or Primaloft) sleeping bags and garments, with similar shell materials, to see how much it suffered in comparison to Pertex/pile. I am assuming the pile would have a wicking advantage and be faster drying, but maybe not. The weight advantage would probably be with the PG/CS/PL. But it would be great to read a test in similar wet weather conditions, where the user got quite wet.

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
What is cold enough? on 10/01/2008 07:57:38 MDT Print View

"I don't use Pertex/Pile unless I think it will be cold enough to wear it all day"

So, what is "cold enough"?

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Pertex/Pile - "what is cold enough". on 10/01/2008 08:02:12 MDT Print View

As I also said in the piece "Pertex/Pile tops are too warm for me in temperatures above 40 F. The legwear is too warm if it's above freezing."

Bill B
(bill123) - MLife
pertex / Pile low temp. on 10/01/2008 08:44:23 MDT Print View

how cold will you go before adding another layer to a PP garment?

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Pertex/Pile - low temperature on 10/01/2008 09:08:48 MDT Print View

While moving I've been warm in a single Pertex/Pile garment in temperatures down to -10F/-23C. When stationary for more than a few minutes in temperatures below around freezing point I need another layer.

Jeremy Cleaveland
(jeremy11) - F

Locale: Exploring San Juan talus
Pertex/Pile History and Products on 10/01/2008 10:28:13 MDT Print View

Nice article. Wouldn't "soft shells" go back to fur coats and boiled wool jackets? Of course, Buffalo would be the first modern synthetic soft shell.

Looking forward to your article on Paramo! Your book "Backpacker's Handbook 2nd Ed" introduced me to Paramo, so I researched and got some. It is amazing in cold weather.
Will the article include any comparisons of Paramo to Pertex/Pile and other such alternatives?

In normal Colorado winter conditions, I wear the Paramo Aspira Jacket on top over a light long sleeve base layer, then long underwear and Schoeller Dynamic pants on the bottom. Then I carry a Primaloft jacket and pants in the pack to put over everything. Works great in just about all Colorado winter conditions - not quite Scottish, though. Its normally blue skies and 15F..... so boring, not great for gear testing either.

Edited by jeremy11 on 10/01/2008 10:35:39 MDT.

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Pertex/Pile on 10/01/2008 10:36:11 MDT Print View

Jeremy, I guess "soft shells" could go back to the first fur clothing!

I will be comparing Paramo with alternative systems, both hard shell and soft shell. I'm pleased to hear you like it.

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Fused Layers vs One Layer on 10/01/2008 12:37:33 MDT Print View

I'm still not clear on why having one layer with two components (pile/nylon) is better than having two layers with one component each. Does bonding the layers add some functionality? It certainly removes wearing options to regulate temperature. (base layer and nylon for warmer preciptiation, base layer and pile for colder drier conditions).

Yes this system could work fine in cold and wet conditions but it seems far less versatile with no advantages over a component system.

I'd like to see an article comparing thick lightweight pile (like the Patagonia ElCap sweater which has few bells and whistles) to "fiber" insulation such as Polargaurd. Pile is definately more bulky but it can keep you warm AND breathe well if it's cold and you're working hard. Polargaurd must be encapsulated in nylon layers of some sort which limits breathability quite a bit.

Martin Rye
(rye1966) - F

Locale: UK
Re: Pertex/Pile on 10/01/2008 13:46:42 MDT Print View

My mountain shirt is still not been used since 05. I rate it but find a base layer and wind shirt do just as well. I think I might take it, but never seem to pack it. E-bay is its most likely destination. It is to bulky and to warm most times. The UK is damp more than cold.

Martin Pomije
Buffalo DP System vs. Lightweight System on 10/02/2008 13:16:28 MDT Print View

Among those who have used both, what is the comfort range of the DP System versus the Lightweight System from Buffalo?