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Worn Base Layer?
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Josh Greninger
(thinkpol) - F
Worn Base Layer? on 08/27/2009 18:05:42 MDT Print View

Was just reading through "Lightweight Backpacking & Camping" and got an idea on how I could shave a pound off my base weight. Wearing my baselayers.

The problem I see with this is that I live in Southern California where it is very hot a lot of the time. The book mentions the Golite C-Thru and the Golite Synergy pants. I believe that these are both discontinued.

Can anyone reccomend shirt/pant combinations that I'd be able to use by themselves as well as under insulating clothing (rain/wind jacket, down vest/jacket)

I would assume that in order to serve both purposes it would have to breathe extremely well, whick moisture, fit relatively closely to the skin. Is there a particular material I should be looking for?

As far as weather for primary use: 3 season southern to mid CA PCT sections, summer JMT, grand canyon..

An unrelated question:
I use fleece at the moment, but it seems a down insulating jacket with sleeves would overheat me whereas a vest may provide the extra ventilation needed to make it comfy. I couldn't imagine wearing a sleeved jacket for 3 season use other than in camp/sleeping.
Does down or polarguard provide better ventilation? (assuming PG)
We don't see much rain in SoCal, if we do see it, its very brief. I've been thinking about leaving the raingear and just bringing a softshell for wind and light rain instead. I bring an umbrella for sun protection and would be able to use this in conjunction if needed. If it were very windy and very rainy I suppose I could just set up my tarp and wait it out (take a nap in my hammock? ;))
Would this be too hot for 90+ temps?
Is the 5.9oz L a separate product? I would assume this would be thinner than the 8.2oz medium version therefore making it better for summer uses.
Also looking at the Smartwool microweight tops.

Edited by thinkpol on 08/27/2009 18:43:19 MDT.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Worn Base Layer? on 08/27/2009 20:41:56 MDT Print View

Indeed... in hot conditions you typically want an a highly air permeable base which wicks well. Most featherweight bases will work. I am particularly fond of Powerdry and the micro mesh Pioneer fabric used by Terramar but most major manufacturers are fine or anything made with Coolmax or for some people (Merino Wool). Some notes on recommended base layers on my recommend clothing page.

One what sort of insulation... I am a big fan of vests. because they are easier to ventilate. I don't think you will find breathability (e.g. passing moisture) to be a major factor between down and polarguard. The shell material is likely to be a bigger issue.

In many conditions (especially 3 season in SoCal) a DWR windshirt (most "softshells" are too heavy) and an umbrella should work well. Often time I wish I would get wet so I could cool down.


Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Worn Base Layer? on 08/28/2009 02:07:15 MDT Print View

I live in socal. If the high temperature is around 80F max, then the BPL Merino Wool Hoody is your dual purpose upper choice. Above 80F, then you can go with some of Mark's recommendations.

If temps range from around low of 40F to a high of maybe 65F-70F then I wear a pair of REI Mistral Schoeller pants as a dual use item. If colder than I need a base layer in addition to the Mistral pants.

If high temps are above 80F then I just wear Rail Riders Adventure Shirt and EcoMesh Pants, base layer not required.

For me it gets tricky when low temps get below 40F and warm during the day above 80F, which often happens in the desert. Not uncommon to get temperature swings of over 50F and then the single use base layer is impossible for me.

Very little rain down here, so a poncho-tarp usually handles the rain gear and shelter duty. If no rain, then I don't need a shelter.

I always carry a Montbell UL Windshirt @ 2.7 oz.

For insulation either a Montbell Ex Light down jacket (6.1 oz) or Patagonia Down Sweater (11.7 oz) handle most the colder trips. If really cold, I bring my Montbell UL Down Inner pants (6.7 oz).

If cold heavy rain and/or snow is a sure thing, then I bring a pair of Dri-Ducks for rain protection, as long as I am not in areas where they can get caught on stuff (weight for both ~ 9.6 oz). If I anticipate really nasty cold stuff and/or bushwacking then it is a Mtn Hardware Typhoon Jacket and North Face Venture Side Zip Rain Pants. These situations happen maybe once a year. For shelter I will sometimes bring a Wild Oasis Tarp Tent instead of the poncho-tarp; or maybe use a MLD side zip Soul Bivy with the poncho tarp.

That pretty much covers how I handle socal.