November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Best next-to-skin layer
Display Avatars Sort By:
Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Polyester+me=stand ten feet away on 06/10/2010 22:00:04 MDT Print View

Jonathan, don't take offense, but there are different brands of men's deodorant.

I'll give you twenty feet.


Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Re: Re: Polyester+me=stand ten feet away on 06/10/2010 22:06:56 MDT Print View

From my experience, even the best deodorant can't compare to natural fibers.

Ankar Sheng
(Whiskyjack) - MLife

Locale: The Canadian Shield
Re: Re: Re: Polyester+me=stand ten feet away on 06/10/2010 22:13:14 MDT Print View

Besides, deodorant has no room in an UL'ers backpack! :P

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Polyester+me=stand ten feet away on 06/10/2010 22:18:04 MDT Print View

Odor be t-shirt is worth ~$60 to me.

It's either synthetic or cotton (for summer).

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Polyester+me=stand ten feet away on 06/10/2010 22:20:06 MDT Print View

I have a tiny round plastic container that is about one inch in diameter and a half-inch deep, and it is packed with my favorite brand.

When it gets so bad that the mosquitos won't bite me, I know it is time for a dip in the creek and a small dose.


Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: on 06/10/2010 23:37:02 MDT Print View

Something about the pleasure of solo hiking... :)


Sieto van der Heide

Locale: The Netherlands
Airco in a t-shirt on 06/11/2010 02:44:55 MDT Print View

I've had really good results with wearing a Brynje Super-thermo l/s shirt (this is a mesh, or fishnet, type of shirt) with a very light shirt over that (to keep things decent because of the fishnet fabric).

The mesh-fabric allows your sweat to evaporate very quickly, in stead of wetting out your shirt.

The good thing is I wear it in warm climates (because sweat can evaporate), but also when its cold (the mesh fabric is very good at keeping a layer of warm air next-to-skin).

(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
wool and synthetic in cool and warm weather on 06/11/2010 21:55:59 MDT Print View

In any cooler/windy weather, say below 70F, or above tree line in even a little warmer weather, my wife and I use the lightest weight Ibex merino wool l/s tops with deep zips. They've lasted quite a long time with good care. Also wear their briefs in cooler weather. Would never use anything but merino in cooler conditions.

Also like how the wool helps regulate your body temp - so for example, if you take off your outer layer, you won't get that immediate chilling effect you get with synthetics.

The only issue we have with the wool base layers is that in hot weather, especially hot and humid, smooth synthetic feels better and cooler against the skin, and in that case we'll wear either a thin synthetic l/s t about the weight of capilene 1 or 2, or in very hot sunny weather, will wear Ex Officio Air Strip shirts (and my wife's Mountain Hardwear equivalent) as they offer great sun protection, lift the material off you and have vents for breezes.

Unfortunately no synthetic with odor treatment is going to work as well as a natural fiber with wool with built-in anti-bacterial properties. Eventually the treatments will wash out of the synthetics. I also find x-static fairly ineffective (and had this discussion with a friend of mine who sat on the board of the company that produces it, pointing out merino wool as major competition).

Keep in mind that all the lightweight wool blends are supposed to have some polyester woven in for strength.

Perhaps a thin wool/poly blend closer to 50/50 would work best all around, if anyone makes one. Anyone know of one?

An interesting garment for warm weather would be a synthetic garment with wool patches in the funky regions, say a synthetic top with wool armpit patches, or synthetic briefs with a wool area in the middle in the groin and back.

Ibex? Smartwool? Icebreaker? Anyone listening?

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Best next-to-skin layer on 06/12/2010 03:30:50 MDT Print View

Wayne. First off, thanks for posting!

The "best" is subjective. What conditions are you facing? What preferences do you have?

For three season backpacking, I think that a high quality, midweight, merino wool long john layer is the best. But for my day time hiking, I like shorts and a tshirt. Fabric doesn't matter, as long as it dries fast.

Fred eric
(Fre49) - MLife

Locale: France, vallée de la Loire
best layer on 06/12/2010 09:51:31 MDT Print View

For me ,

< 20F : my drizabone 270g/m2
20F< <60F : my BPL 150g/m2 hoodie
60F < : my silkbody silk/merinos blend.

and if there is hordes of mosquitoes like in Greenland last year, whatever would protect me from them !

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
beware of mantra and cliche on 06/12/2010 10:17:11 MDT Print View

"too often people turn catchy mantras into rigid dogmas."

Daily wisdom to live by and fit for Bartlett's, Proverbs and others....but also good to know that this company includes a contemporary sage.

Zack Freije
(oldskool) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: best layer on 06/12/2010 12:35:53 MDT Print View

For me: smartwool, smartwool, smartwool.

Love it. Stays warm when damp, wicks perfectly, dries quickly, doesn't smell.

I don't use the smartwool underwear though. I go with Ex Officio.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: best layer on 06/12/2010 12:39:50 MDT Print View

John -- heh heh... thanks.

Zack -- I like merino wool as well (I wrote about synthetic vs. merino wool socks up above). But a note of caution for anyone thinking about switching from synthetics to wool: try one before you order a bunch. While most people seem ecstatic about merino wool's comfort and performance -- a few (like me) can't wear them because of the itch factor! I tried Smartwool and REI's store brand merino wool -- and both itched. Not an intense itch, but a low level itch just enough to be noticeable -- and annoying. Sigh.

Wayne Wagner
(wagnerw) - F

Locale: NorCal
Wow on 06/12/2010 12:46:55 MDT Print View

Well, ask a simple question...

I think the most amazing thing y'all have enlightened me to is the possibilities of wool! In a million years, I would've never thought to wear it when it is even slightly warm. I wear some in cool weather, but I have always thought it would be way too much for warmer weather.

Anyway, I am a three season backpacker and a heavy sweater when I am working. My number one concern has always been staying dry. If I can dry off fairly quickly in the evening, then I will likely not get cold in the evening. It sounds like synthetics are going to dry faster, but smell worse than wool. On the other hand, wool is natural and regulates temps better in general. It also deals with moisture better than I had originally thought, according to y'all.

Since I seem to have run out of next-to-skin layers, I will try a synthetic and a wool and see what I think. Y'all have given me tons of ideas for synthetics to try out; who makes the best lightweight wool?

Thanks again!

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Base layer-Winter on 06/12/2010 12:49:31 MDT Print View

A short sleeve Microweight T-shirt by Smartwool under a loose-knit, light weight wool shirt in very cold weather. When hiking in the low 40s and 50s, I substitute an old REI synthetic mesh which doesn't seem to trap odors and is very comfortable with a wool shirt.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Polyester+me=stand ten feet away on 06/12/2010 17:44:50 MDT Print View

"Odor be t-shirt is worth ~$60 to me.

It's either synthetic or cotton (for summer)."

+1 I'm mystified by this general community aversion to body odor. Can anybody give me a good explanation? People just about everywhere in the world except the US accept body odor as part of the human condition and get on with their lives. They certainly wouldn't buy a $60 Merino wool shirt because it doesn't retain B.O. if they found a cheaper synthetic that was otherwise functionally equivalent. What am I missing here?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Polyester+me=stand ten feet away on 06/12/2010 18:10:18 MDT Print View

Amazing how even the most obvious can still mystify some!! (heh heh)

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
"What am I missing here?" on 06/12/2010 18:13:18 MDT Print View

Possibly a sense of smell:>)

For me, the main consideration is comfort and, of course, warmth.

Edited by johnk on 06/12/2010 18:15:45 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: "What am I missing here?" on 06/12/2010 18:15:16 MDT Print View

Indeed. :)

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: "What am I missing here?" on 06/12/2010 18:32:31 MDT Print View

"Possibly a sense of smell:>)"

I guess. Probably an evolutionary adaptation to my own foulness. OTOH, it has sure saved me a lot of money down through the years, and I no longer feel the need to carry a bear canister. Maybe it's an adaptation that confers a survival advantage in a UL environment? ;-)

Then again, if no woman will come near me, how will I pass on the mutation to the next generation? ;-(