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Top layers that work for me from frigid to fiery
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Sean Walashek
(caraz) - F

Locale: bay area
Top layers that work for me from frigid to fiery on 10/21/2008 00:18:06 MDT Print View

Hello all
up top I use:
Icebreaker tech t lite
Icebreaker Mondo Zip
Patagonia houdini
Pataginia R1 hoody
Montbell ex light down jacket
Arcteryx alpha LT
Smartwool stretch beanie
Head buff

I use all the above on most trips the cases where it doesn't rain the alpha lt is the one used least and the heaviest. The tech t is pretty much always on my body as is the head buff (I have pretty long hair and I like that it keeps it out of the way and tidy even after a week without washing it as well is nice for pulling over my eyes when I lay down). The mondo comes on for hiking in the cold and at night for sleeping. The r1 comes on at breaks and night, or if I am moving in very cold conditions just around freezing.
I find the houdini works well for dealing with bugs/wind/drizzle/sun/all of the above. The montbell comes on at cold breaks/(its never been cold enough for me to hike wearing it as well as the other layers)and after dark I drape it over me to sleep. I keep the beanie in a hipbelt pocket and it gets used at breaks during the day and then after I get to camp it stays on until the morning. I use a bag liner and the lightweight cocoon quilt and balaclava. I have spent a night out under the stars where the temps dropped and stayed below freezing long enough to freeze a gallon of water solid. I have yet to encounter a situation in which I was unprepared it tems of clothing (shelter being a different matter) up top. If I am backpacking in summer then I have made it sucessfully with less clothes however for the weight penalty I would rather not be without any of them if there was the chance temps/wind/or rain were going to be factors.
Anyone using something similar?

Pamela Wyant
(RiverRunner) - F - M
Lots of layers on 10/21/2008 21:38:42 MDT Print View

Seems like your list would be nice for winter, but overkill in the summer.

My clothing list varies greatly by the weather I expect to see, but includes some icebreaker pieces. I think they are great quality, and very versatile.

I like Patagonia, but don't use it much for backpacking anymore since I've been using the Icebreaker.

I do carry a Montbell U.L. Down Inner Parka just about year round.

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Montbell on 10/25/2008 07:29:09 MDT Print View

How is the Montbell Ex Light? I've seen the BPL review but how is the jacket in practice?

Sean Walashek
(caraz) - F

Locale: bay area
Ex Light in practice on 10/26/2008 22:46:40 MDT Print View

I wear a size medium usually but in the montbell I had to size up to a USA Large/Japan XL. That being said I have only used it on 4 nights out and it really is light, silly light and very warm in the conditions I have worn it (coldest being inactive in 40F). It comes with a stuff sac that allows it to pack down to the size of a fosters can. I don't like packing it that small so will usually just keep it in a gallon zip so I can mold it to fit where I want. It has lost about 5 feathers so far (only feathers however with sharp quills, not any of the gossamer down tufts). The arms and body are long enough for me to be comfortable (I don't have a particularly long torso by anymeans but I find most down sweaters ride up to around my belly button when I lift my arms) this jacket does not. I am 5'10" and have a 30 waist and the size large US is just the smallest bit too loose in my abdomen region for a perfect fit, when layering the two shirts and r1 under however it is almost perfect. There are no draw stings on the bottom and the wind does come through here and the fabric at the seams, which is to be expected with sewn through baffles and a 7 denier fabric so to really seal in the heat I add the houdini on top of it and draw it tight at the bottom. The fabric is suprisingly soft and smooth and the collar traps heat very well. I am very happy with it as it really is so very light and warm. The lack of pockets is something I like and the zipper for being so small has not had any issue with tracking or getting caught up. I love it.

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Ex Light on 10/27/2008 05:47:06 MDT Print View

Thanks a bunch - I just wish it just came with a hood. Montbell, are you there?

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Ex Light hood on 10/27/2008 06:37:50 MDT Print View

They make the UL Parka

Sean Walashek
(caraz) - F

Locale: bay area
yea a hood would be warmer. on 10/27/2008 08:39:42 MDT Print View

I think the hood would really add some serious heat and I would bet it will come at some point, however I think it would be a different piece as of the ex light they say "...represents the ultimate in minimalist design, you won’t find any superfluous “bells & whistles” here." Now we may argue if a hood is bells and whistles or an essential part of minimalist design but it would require a drawcord or extra elastic around the face to make use of the extra btu's, which means a toggle. I will say that I like a hood on almost all things, on this piece however I am happy to not have one as I will wear it draped over me at night, or I will wear it backwards unzipped with my arms through the sleeves and the back on my chest, and am happy to not have a hood in my face to contend with while sleeping.

Paul Tree
(Paul_Tree) - F

Locale: Wowwww
Re: Ex Light in practice on 10/27/2008 12:30:56 MDT Print View

I have it too and your mini-review is spot-on Sean. My comments here:

A hood would be cushy!, but make more sense on a heavier jacket, it's true. Synthetic Thermawrap parka would make you more kill-proof in gnarly conditions.

This is a fairy-weight liner jacket. I want to wear it around the house, but afraid to wear it out. It fits loose in the abdomen, but I think that is OK because it lets it air out more if you do have to wear it while moving.

Took it on 4 overnights. Only seen one small feather make it thru so far. No down though.

That's funny about the hood. For a luxury item I sometimes bring an old North face balaclava-style down hood just to put over my face, because I wear all my other clothes. Never breathe in the bag that way.

Edited by Paul_Tree on 10/27/2008 12:55:13 MDT.

Sean Walashek
(caraz) - F

Locale: bay area
We have very similar builds on 10/27/2008 16:54:53 MDT Print View

I just checked that review it looks like I have someone to ask how stuff fits first :) the medium definatly was too tight across the back for me. Glad to see we came to the same conclusions.

Andrew Wolff

Locale: Chattanooga
Similar Layers on 11/09/2008 08:06:33 MST Print View

Hi Sean,

I use a very similar set of layers to what you have although I take less in the way of outer layers and also would not go quite as cold as it sounds like you do. I love the icebreaker stuff and find it to be very comfortable and odor resistant for days at a time, its also great over a wide range of temperatures. I may add a hooded down parka this winter to get down into those hard freezes.

Icebreaker Tech T lite
Icebreaker Rock Zip
Montbell Thermawrap
Wool Beanie
Possumdown Gloves