insulation/wind-rain layer
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Alice Klassen
(aliceklassen) - F

Locale: Central California
insulation/wind-rain layer on 03/23/2009 07:12:44 MDT Print View

Before buying these layers for use mostly in areas like the High Sierra Loop, Jenny Lake, etc. June-August. I'd like some final confirmation that I'm understanding what I'll need. I'm a 60+ thin woman who sleeps cold. I have a REI 20-degree bag and Exped downmat 7 pad. I don't want to go so minimal on clothing that I'm in danger.

TOP
I have a Smartwool microweight long-sleeve zip top (and cami) and REI Sahara long-sleeve shirt. I'm thinking I'll get a Montbell UL Thermawrap jacket (insulation) and Golite Virga jacket (wind/rain). I'd actually prefer the Thermawrap vest if it would be enough. I'm aware of many other choices...let me know if something else might be better.

BOTTOMS
I have North Face utility pants for hiking and Smartwool microweight under layer that can be worn at night. I'm willing to have wet legs in the event of rain. Would this be enough or do I need another pair of pants? If so, what?

For days I've been reading BPL threads and pack lists and checking out clothing descriptions and I'm eager to get these decisions wisely finalized. Thanks so much.

Dan Cunningham
(mn-backpacker)

Locale: Land of 12,000 Loons
Re: insulation/wind-rain layer on 03/23/2009 08:09:59 MDT Print View

First off, I think this post was plenty appropriate where it was in the gear forum.

Regarding your puffy insulation, you may want to look at Mont Bell's UL Down Inner Jacket/Parka instead of the Thermawrap. It's much lighter and warmer according to Richard Nisley's thread on understanding garment warmth. My men's large is only 8.25 ounces.

For rain, I have only ever used Dri Ducks, so I can't comment on the Virga. I did recently order the brand new Marmot Mica Jacket for myself (only 7 oz for mens large) and the women's version, the Crystalline, for my wife (6 oz foe women's medium). They are supposed to be very breathable, but that can't be determined until I use it hiking in the rain. :)

Edited by mn-backpacker on 03/23/2009 08:11:09 MDT.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: Sierra insulation/wind-rain layer on 03/23/2009 10:13:35 MDT Print View

Alice,

I've hiked and backpacked a lot in the High Sierra for most of the past 30 years- but only started really looking at lightweight gear last year.

Sleeping:
My standing sleeping system suggestion for summer in the High Sierra is:
Cozy at freezing, sleepable at 25, survivable at 15.

Depending on just how cold you sleep, the REI bag might or might not be cozy at freezing. I would think that adding just the Smartwool top and bottoms would give you several extra degrees.

A cozy pillow can make all the difference in getting a good night's sleep. Mine weighs 4 ounces- but I'm reconsidering substituting a very light fleece vest that would do double duty as pillow and clothing for only a couple ounces more.

Evening/Morning:
You won't wear a puffy insulation layer for hiking, just around camp. What you need depends a lot on your daily routine and whether you're hiking solo or with a group. Last summer in the Sierra I went solo and hit the trail right after waking up, stopping for breakfast after the sun had come up and it was warmer. In my case I had only a short sleeved wool polo shirt and a long sleeved light fleece. I was never cold. In the evening I went to bed shortly after finishing the day's hike so I wasn't cold then either.

On the other hand if you're with a group and/or spend more time out of bed in the evening you might want more insulation. I personally like vests, but they don't save all that much weight from a similar jacket.

Rain:
My favorite new ancient concept is the rain skirt. I have a ULA Rain Wrap http://www.ula-equipment.com/rain_wrap.htm which provides rain protection from waist to below my knees for 3 ounces. In the past I've hiked in shorts with my rain pants packed because Gore-Tex rain pants were too hot and Frogg-Togg type pants ended up wetting through over my thighs. The rain skirt (rain kilt for us manly men) keeps my shorts dry and keeps my knee joints warm so they don't freeze up.

That's all I have.

Edited by jimqpublic on 03/23/2009 10:16:42 MDT.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: insulation/wind-rain layer on 03/23/2009 11:01:32 MDT Print View

I 2nd the Montbell Inner Down Parka. I think in the High Sierra in June you'd want the jacket, while the vest would be adequate for late July/August. So if you only want to get one, go with the jacket. But you also said you run cold. In men's sizing, the down parka is only 3 ozs heavier than the vest. The inner jacket is only 2 oz heaver for drastically more warmth, if you look at the chart Dan linked to. Down is lighter and warmer than synthetic. The only worry is that getting it wet. As long as you have a shell jacket and some sort of waterproof lining for your pack, it won't get wet.

I also 2nd the rain wrap idea. I have one on order. A small is only 2.7 oz and for keeping my legs dry on nights/days when it might get kind of cool, it's worth the weight for the protection. I don't want to get while while making camp/dinner etc, and then having to go to bed damp.

As far as the 20* bag, my understanding of general sleeping bag temperature ratings is that the rating is generally what is comfortable for a man, and women sleep colder (and you said you sleep cold) so add some degrees onto that. Of course, with a down parka, you could extend that bag's rating somewhat.

Alice Klassen
(aliceklassen) - F

Locale: Central California
insulation on 03/23/2009 20:03:55 MDT Print View

Thanks, guys, for the helpful advice. Yes, I had read the article about clothing warmth and just didn't know how high up the scale I should go for my closest locations--Yosemite, Kings Canyon/Sequoia. I'll up it to the MB down inner.