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Lightest Synthetic jacket/insulation layer
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Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
Lightest Synthetic jacket/insulation layer on 11/03/2009 23:15:49 MST Print View

Hey guys, i have merino base layers and a thermawrap montbell jacket. The thermawrap jacket is great for hiking while your on the move in cold environments (25F-45F) give or take a few degrees) in my opinion, and not suitable when camped in colder than those temperatures without adding another baselayer or some other item of clothing.

What i need is an outer layer, synthetic (down getting wet is too significant for me to use it in the area I live) only, and as light as possible. Something like a thermawrap except warmer, that would replace my thermawrap on very cold trips.* OR * A synthetic insulating item I could layer with the thermawrap, such as another synthetic jacket or a vest. Being dry is handled by waterproof outer shell.

OPTION 1: synthetic VEST + Thermawrap

What about vests? Would putting a thermawrap jacket OVER top of a vest (synthetic) or otherwise, keep me warm at very cold temps? Would the vest become saturated with moisture that becomes trapped in a double insulation setup (possibly thermawrap vest + thermawrap jacket 6 + 8 oz = 14oz)?

Option 2: +1 Merino baselayer + Thermawrap jacket

This would be two layers of merino wool or one really thick layer of merino wool + Thermawrap jacket.

Option 3: Warmer synthetic Jacket

Leave the thermawrap jacket at home, pack a heavier one.Or Combine thermawrap vest + thermawrap jacket 6 + 8 oz = 14oz)? Thanks

Edited by isaac.mouser on 11/04/2009 10:27:50 MST.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Re: Lightest Synthetic jacket/insulation layer on 11/04/2009 00:27:29 MST Print View

I like option one if you need to get a significantly warmer clothing system. Vests can be pretty light and provide a lot of warmth plus they are versatile because if it's warmer out you can leave the jkt off and just wear the vest. If you buy a new jacket that is significantly warmer then you've put all your 'eggs in one basket'. The thermawrap vest at 5.4oz might work well if it fits under (or over) your thermawrap jkt.

Option 2 is good if you just need a bit more warmth. I would try to do this first, but if you need a lot more warmth then invest in a vest. If you are bringing these merino layers anyways then it's best to utilize them before you start adding additional garments.

With all that said, the Montbell Ex-Light Down Vest at 4.3oz is what I would choose. I think you'll be able to keep it dry under your thermawarp (and presumably you have rain shell too) and it's lighter and probably warmer than the thermawrap vest.

Edited by dandydan on 11/04/2009 00:29:33 MST.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Lightest Synthetic jacket/insulation layer on 11/04/2009 02:12:05 MST Print View

My generic recommendation would be hike in a vest, and then layer the thermwrap over the vest when it gets colder. But that might not be a good path for you.

If you are comfortable hiking in 40F temps wearing the thermawrap, you will need something that is is roughly 3x warmer than the thermawrap to be comfortable sitting around in 25F temps. A vest won't cut that... you are looking at a second jacket which is moderately beefy. Something on the order of a wt belay parka, patagonia das parka, etc with hood that you could layer over the thermwrap

You don't want to do one super heavy jacket because you wouldn't be comfortable not wearing a jacket, but a heavy jacket would make you overheat.

Richard Nisley has done some good posts on this topic. I have links to the on my recommended insulation on my clothing page.

Normally I encourage people to consider down for their really warm jacket since it is typically below freezing. But it doesn't seem like that is the case for you, so I would agree you are most likely wanting a second, synthetic jacket.


Edited by verber on 11/04/2009 02:13:56 MST.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Fleece? on 11/04/2009 03:55:13 MST Print View

I hike in similar wet, cold conditions. Have you considered using 100 weight fleece?
My usual set-up is a merino base with a 100 weight fleece pullover. I wear that combo 90% of the time. An UL windshirt completes my 'active' wear. I only take short breaks to eat in cold/wet weather, more of an eat on the go than a break, so my insulated layer is usually only worn at camp.
Because my 'puffy' insulation is kept for camp use, i carry a down top, with no fear of it getting wet.

If i'm on a day hike, with no camping gear, i carry a heavy synthetic jacket instead, as the weight isn't as relevant. Something like a WT Belay jacket. This adds safety if i was forced to overnight without proper shelter.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Lightest Synthetic jacket/insulation layer on 11/08/2009 11:29:41 MST Print View

Seeing that you already have the Thermawrap, I would add a vest. I have a Thermawrap that fits fairly snug and a Patagonia micro puff vest that fits over the Thermawrap. It's not unlike a 3-in-1 jacket where you can wear one, the other or all.

In general, more light layers are going to be more adaptable over a greater range of conditions. As others said, one monolithic layer is fine for sitting still, but just dead weight when you are moving. An ultralight selection of clothing is just right when you are wearing all your layers in the coldest conditions you encounter--- and you are comfortable. In a similar vein, I am a proponent of wearing more to sleep in vs. a heavier sleeping bag. I think you could split hairs forever over how layers may absorb moisture, etc. If you are in camp, it shouldn't be a problem and I would have to be in sub zero conditions to wear two insulation layers under way.

The other trick to feeling more comfortable is to take care of your extremities-- good gloves, hat, and socks take the chill off for me.