Forum Index » GEAR » Merino or Synthetic base layers?


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Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Mental protection? on 10/10/2010 04:43:34 MDT Print View

This is not about mental protection.

I'm safe guarding my physical well-being against an unlikely, but possibly dangerous situation. You seem happy to just believe getting wet never happen to you. You might not think soaked clothing is a big deal, but if you get hit with soaked clothing and unexpectedly cold weather you could be in a lot of trouble some day. You might want to think about how you will deal with it.

Anyways....it's almost 4am. I'm off to bed.

Edited by dandydan on 10/10/2010 04:47:16 MDT.

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re:"Merino or Synthetic base layers?" on 10/10/2010 04:55:53 MDT Print View

Enjoy your sleep Dan, it's 11.55am over here. :)
I'm well aware of the dangers of wet clothing in cold temps. I take great care to avoid getting wet. It's worked for the last 30 odd years in the Scottish Highlands.
I must admit to a few soakings many moons ago when i was a novice. In those days i carried a much heavier pack with lots of spare clothing.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
more testing on 10/10/2010 09:04:40 MDT Print View

Granted, the testing wasn't fully scientific but the temp was about 67F and the half closet was less space than my double rainbow and has no air movement. On top of that the Wool 3 is a bit heavier that a baselayer Wool I would wear at 230g/m2 while an Ibex Indie Hoody is 195g/m2 a BPL Light Merino UL Shirt is 115g/m2 and a BPL Beartooth Hoody is 150g/m2 all of which should dry much faster. I am going to be soaking my ss 50/50 T and seeing how fast that dries along with my R.5 and R1 since the R.5 seem to be an equivalent insulation to the Wool 3 according to Patagonia.

I think people should make sure their Wool baselayer is at least 18.5 micron stuff if they don't want it developing holes and wearing through as fast. That 16.5 stuff is just not enough for durability and the 17.5 is not much better.

In addition, REI is now making a really thin Powerdry Baselayer that does tend to help knock down the stink and seems comparable to Capilene 2 so that might be an option.

Edited by bpeugh on 10/10/2010 09:18:29 MDT.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
wool/synthetic blend on 10/10/2010 17:50:21 MDT Print View

I just got a Patagonia baselayer that is a 73% wool, 27% polyester blend. The best of both worlds? I dunno.

I haven't had it out for testing, but it was very comfortable just wearing it around the house and yard yesterday.

Does anyone have other wool/synthetic blends?

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
Soak test on 10/10/2010 18:35:16 MDT Print View

In rhe spirit of things i hand washed one of my thicker merino tops and mu cap 4 last night and hung them out to dry

neither was dry in the morning ... The difference was that the inside of the cap 4 was much dryer on the inside due to the grid pattern there and the wicking ... Im fact with a good wringing the cap was just lightly damp on the inside right after getting soaked

temp was around 10 C with 100% humidity ... I hung them out under cover last night witg a rainstorm

so in typical PNW neither would have dried by simply hanging

which goes back to the point that you need to sleep or warm yr clothes to dry them in bad weather up here

Edited by bearbreeder on 10/10/2010 18:37:16 MDT.

Will Webster
(WillWeb) - M
Re: Soak test on 10/11/2010 07:08:17 MDT Print View

Umm... At 100% humidity evaporation just isn't going to happen.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
hang drying on 10/11/2010 08:35:18 MDT Print View

The Terramar Pioneer Crew took just as long to dry as the Wool 3 if not a little bit more. The ss 50/50 even moreso with the R.5 behind that and the R1 dead last. I am sure that these could have been worn after 8 hours of sleep and body heat would have dried them out pretty fast.

Either way I would say to try and not get wet and bring a back up baselayer just in case you are in conditions where that might happen if it is cold and wet because you might not want to cold and wet as you wait for your baselayer to dry on you or by itself.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Merino or Synthetic base layers? on 10/11/2010 09:27:36 MDT Print View

There's an awful lot of fuss about how wool takes horribly longer than synthetic to dry. I own tubs full of both, and have soaked both materials and then seen how long it takes them to dry. In the pleasant 30-40*F rain I seem to find myself hiking in somewhat regularly, both synthetics and wool are still a bit wet in the morning if I just hung them or tossed them in a pile.

If I keep the wet layers on, whether wool or synthetic, my body heat dries them in a half hour or less. Consider wearing base layers in a VBL... wool or synthetic, I layer up over the damp baselayers and things're dry in 20-30 minutes. I have used and compared wools and synthetics well below 0*F, so yeah, these are things I've experienced rather than armchair quarterbacked.

My recollection of that study was that there was a 5-10 minute dry time difference. Honestly, you won't notice that in the field.

People talk about wool pilling. Guess what? I've had plenty of synthetics pill, too! Wear any material long enough and it'll start to show, um, wear.

The talk about extended bad conditions is funny. Yes, I regularly travel in days and days of cold and wet. I find myself more comfortable... and equivalently dry... in wool. I have not found that my wool stays wet for days, at all.

I would note that synthetic shirts exacerbate evaporative heat loss. If your synthetic shirt gets soaked and dries super quickly in cold conditions, it'll likely cool you more than a wool one would. That's part of the temperature regulation benefit of wool. Some similar points in warm weather.

So much for logic, eh, Roger? Come on, now... geese get turned into food, do you take that to mean down doesn't work? That argument is... demonstrably weak. I find it amusing how much of the materials & insulation development we see ultimately tries to mimic the natural world. Maybe there's something to that thousands (millions) of years of evolution that we haven't been able to best in the past 100 years.

I have several tubs worth of synthetic clothing. Since buying my first merino wool pieces, the synthetic stuff has stayed in the tubs, in storage. No reason or desire to wear it any longer.

There is only one condition for which I've still sometimes found synthetics preferable: paddling in bad, cold weather without a dry top. A 100-wt fleece seems to deal with lake water dribbles up the sleeves a bit better. That said, I've been fine sticking with wool in similar conditions.

It's amazing that our ancestors, the world 'round, even survived all those centuries in horrid conditions without synthetic clothing. Oh. Wait. They did have wool...

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
100% humidity on 10/11/2010 13:04:00 MDT Print View

Umm... At 100% humidity evaporation just isn't going to happen.

welcome to the west coast ... lol

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