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Need some clothing advice
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Einstein X
(EinsteinX) - F

Locale: The Netherlands
Need some clothing advice on 08/20/2006 15:44:26 MDT Print View

Last serious hike i did (my first UL) some of the clothing i wore worked for me some didn't. Most advocates of UL hiking mention here on BPL that UL-ers come to camp warmer than 'normal' hikers. In this thread i hope to learn how.

The clothing i wore on my last trip:

1/ 'Lightweight' GTX Boots B/C Category (LA Sportiva Trango Trek Micro). These didn't work. After crossing some very boggy terain (i was in the water up to my knees) they of course got wet. They than took more than a week to dry, in fact, only drying when i came home.

2/ Bridgedale Trekking socks. Worked perfect, nothing but praise for these.

3/ Fjall Raven G1000 Trousers. These are poly-coton trousers. Tougher than jeans, lighter than jeans, not very breathable. They can be waxed and supposedly become water repellant, which they don't. They are very good for hiking, but didn't work because they got wet. I'm gonna try a new waterproofer on them soon.

4/ Icebreaker Bodyfit SS, these work perfectly. I have yet to try a synth shirt yhat will keep me as comfortable as these. Yes, wool dries less quickly as compared to synth, but wool will absorb 30% of its weight in water without cooling me down. And i hate the cold-flashes in a synth shirt after hard exercise.

5/ Mammut Yukon Hood Fleece. 150/200 polartec-like fleece with hood. Works well, comfortably warm and the hood helps a lot in keeping me warm.

6/ GoLite Wisp Windshirt. It is windproof, but it doesn't really breath. I oftenly have it wetting out from the inside. The weight off course is great.

7/ Exped Bivi-Poncho, As poncho its good, as tarp a bit small. Combined with a baseball cap its a good waterproof outer shell.

I usualy hiked in Icebreaker en Mammut fleece only, the windshirt i only needed atop the hills. The boots walked perfectly even when they're wet for a week i don't get blisters. But next hike i will try quick drying shoes. The biggest problem was hiking under the poncho and holding my trekking poles. My hands got so wet and cold i couldn't unbuckle the sternum strap on my G4.

For a next hike i wanna try sth like this:

Garmont Venture Air (shoes)
Bridgedale Coolmax Liners (LW coolmax socks)
Running shorts (Spandex tights)
Icebreaker Bodyfit
Mammut fleece (or Icebreaker Sport)
GoLite Windshirt
Montane Pertex Quantum pants
Exped Poncho (or MLD poncho, which i don't have yet)

My main problem with this clothing system is how warm my legs wil stay. I usually hike in fall in wet counties like Scotland in the 50's. In addition, it looks really stupid boarding a plane in running tights and i don't want to carry a set of 'normal' cloths on my hike just because i need to look normal on a plane. How do people handle this problem?

For my next hike my clothing will probably be:

Garmont Venture Air (shoes)
Bridgedale Coolmax Liners (LW coolmax socks)
Fjall Raven G1000 trousers
Icebreaker Bodyfit
Lowe Alpine Polartec Powershield Softshell (btw what's Ryan Jordans problem with softshells???)
Exped Poncho

I think my question comes down to this: What clothing system will work best to keep me dry and warm when hiking in prolonged rain in temperatures in the 50's, or will work best in drying quickly and thus keeping me warm and comfortable. My main concearn about last hike were my cold hands. The weight isue isn't my biggest concearn in my choice of clothes. They should off course be light, but more importantly they should work properly.

Thanks for all info.

Eins

J R
(RavenUL) - F
Re: Need some clothing advice on 08/20/2006 15:55:02 MDT Print View

Im not sure what you mean by "come to camp warmer".

It seems like your most significant problem with staying warm and dry is persistant moisture due to less breathable fabrics and cold-wet hands.

So, I would dump those pants and maybe replace them with something along the lines of RailRider Eco-Mesh pants.

Look for a more breathable wind shirt.

Wear gloves.

cat morris
(catt) - F

Locale: Alaska
Re: Need some clothing advice on 08/20/2006 18:42:01 MDT Print View

I'm in Alaska where it has been wet & can be cold up in the mountains. What worked for me on all my numerous backpacking trips here this summer has been layers, lots of light layers. I even have a layering system for my head & hands! I find when my head & hands are dry & warm then I am warm.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
Re: Re: Need some clothing advice on 08/20/2006 21:32:24 MDT Print View

I used waxed cotten for years and was never sure if I hit the right combination. I finally decided it worked well for a day or two but once it soaked thru I got wet. If you are hiking thru low bush I strongly recommend chaps, you can wear them over a light base layer with running shorts or whatever you need for leg insulation.
I can't speak for Ryan but my problem with softshell is it just isn't light enough compared to a base layer and nylon overshell and still too bulky and doesn't dry quickly, I do like them for climbing, mtn. biking, and crosscountry skiing but not a really light weight trip. If you do consider them look into one of the wool blends, both Ibex and Irule [new zealand] make outstanding stuff.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Need some clothing advice on 08/20/2006 22:47:26 MDT Print View

Soft shells are hard to work into an UL pallet of clothing. They are great for day hiking and some climbers like them. They are heavy and don't provide much insulation, but protect from wind and light precipitation. They are ridiculously expensive for the use you can get from them.

I think waterproof boots are great for snow, but the minute you are hiking in deep water, they become buckets, as you found. Light breathable shoes and good socks are the best compromise. I'm still looking for the best UL wading shoes to avoid full wetting of my shoes.

Poncho tarps are all small compared to true tarp tents. I avoided poncho tarps because they require some sort of bivy sack to make them workable for foul weather. I started with a fully enclosed tarp like the GoLite Hut1 and used a Marmot PreCip rain jacket. When the Six Moons Design Gatewood Cape Shelter came out, I bought one immediately and set my rain jacket aside for day hiking. The Gatewood provides 360 degree protection and a bivy sack isn't needed. I find it to be comfortable and effective rain gear. The only time I might use a rain jacket instead would be for coastal hiking where the rain and wind can be heavy and constant.

As another writer said, layers are the key. With UL hiking, the game is to be able to use every last gram of your clothing. If your wind shirt doesn't work for you, get rid of it-- you can't afford to have a key part of your layering system that doesn't work.

Find some 100% synthetic pants. Every cotton/poly blend I have used took a long time to dry--even in the dryer at home. Even a small amount of cotton content will increasethe drying time dramatically. The Mountain Hardwear Pack Pants are very good and there are all kinds of nylon zip-off hiking pants. Polyester running pants can be very good. Many are very wind resistant and have good water repellent properties. I'm experimenting with some bicycle wind pants I found recently. I also like the Ex Officio Amphi Pants for warm weather long pants.

My layering system works like this:

Base layer:
Silkweight polyester shirts. I like to have one short sleeve and one long sleeve. The long sleeve for camp, sleep and or sun protection. Two shirts because I will often soak one through while hiking hard.

Coolmax briefs.

Silkweight polyester long johns. Use them for sleep and cold weather. Can be worn alone under rain pants or layered up with hiking pants. Substitute expedition weight long johns for colder weather-- these are much like the light fleece top and are great under rain pants when it is cold and wet and great for sleeping in.

Mid layer:
Long sleeve, half-zip light fleece shirt-- Powerstretch, 100 weight, or similar. I can't say enough about these tops-- light, soft, warm and wicking. You can wear them next to your skin or layered up and they are excellent to sleep in. The Mountain Hardware Powerstretch Zip long sleeve top is incredible (so is the price). You can find all sorts of 100 weight fleece tops that will do the trick. EMS has one that is very good.

Nylon hiking pants. Light zip-offs if any warm weather is expected. Heavier more wind-proof and water repellant ones for colder seasons.

Insulation:
Polyfill vest, or long sleeve pull-over for colder weather. The Patagonia Micro Puff garmets are a good example. The BMW Cocoon gear would be good for colder weather/higher elevations.


Outer layer:
Breathable wind shirt

Rain gear:
Poncho/cape/shelter
Lightweight breathable rain pants.

Hat:
Synthetic skull cap. Use for sleep and under hoods.
Wide brimmed hat with lanyard.

Gloves:
Light shelled synthetic

Socks:
Light Coolmax blends and heavy synthetic for camp/sleeping

Gaiters:
Light, short, stretchable-- to keep the mud and rocks out of my shoes and the mud off the bottom of my pant legs.

Miscellaneous:
Bandana
Fleece scarf (winter only)

Note I don't use down. My local climate is wet and I sweat-- not the combination for using down! Wool makes me itch. I just tried a wicking shirt made by Outdoor Research that I assumed was all polyester. I found it really itchy and sure enough, it was 7% wool. Many of the posters here like wool blends and more power to you of you can use it. My base layers are 100% wicking polyester like Patagonia Capilene and GoLite C-Thru. Briefs and socks are Coolmax.

In use, I can take off on a morning with a short sleeve tee and wind shirt and unzip or take off the wind shirt as the temp goes up-- mine or the weather. I can wear the vest alone or with the windshirt. If I were using the long sleeve insulated top I would stow the wind shirt. I can wear the long johns with the long pants and/or rain pants. The zip-off pants change as the weather and temperature changes. Sleeping gear can be long sleeve shirt and/or fleece top and long johns with skull cap, heavy socks and insulated top as needed. Shelled, lightly insulated gloves are great with trekking poles in the rain. I wear fingerless bike gloves at other times. I use a Tilley T5 hat and I've been experimenting with plastic pith helmets.

Robin McKay
(rlmckay) - M

Locale: Auckland NZ
Clothing on 08/21/2006 03:33:10 MDT Print View

I am amazed at the number of American Hikers that wear long pants. In NZ nobody hikes in longs and we hit some pretty ruggard terrain - too restricting - for colder weather we wear Icebreaker tights with shorts over top. This combined with gaiters is great for above the bushline.
Einstein - want to wear wool with no itch? Icebreaker or smartwool (merino) is fab. The Icebreaker T Shirt is my favourite all season piece of gear. Warm in winter/cool in summer. Yes, it takes a bit longer to dry but has no smell. I have worn one for 8 days straight and still been allowed into the pub at the end of the trip!!

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Need some clothing advice on 08/21/2006 09:37:01 MDT Print View

1/ 'Lightweight' GTX Boots B/C Category (LA Sportiva Trango Trek Micro). These didn't work. After crossing some very boggy terain (i was in the water up to my knees) they of course got wet. They than took more than a week to dry, in fact, only drying when i came home.

I avoid Gore Tex boots for these very reasons. My feet sweat in them and once they get wet, they are wet for the rest of the trip. I prefer an all leather boot without gore tex so that my feet don't sweat as bad and if they do get wet, they will dry overnight at camp.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Clothing on 08/21/2006 10:12:59 MDT Print View

"I am amazed at the number of American Hikers that wear long pants."

My gear list is always arranged for three season use, with adjustments for Winter and Summer (northern hemisphere). The only reasons I would be wearing long pants in Summer would be extreme bugs, nasty brush like nettles and devil's club, or just plain cold, windy, rainy mucky days. Zip off pants are really nice for bridging the extremes of season or the days where the temp can swing from 40F to 80F. It is not uncommon in the Pacific NW to find yourself "wading" through brush covered in dew in the morning, soaking everything from your elbows down. I've been on little used trails in steep stream valleys where the brush didn't dry out until after noon. Of course it was warm enough to make rain gear a sweaty option. It's like walking through a car wash!

Fall and Spring hiking can be 45F and rainy/muddy and shorts are a little too cool.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
Re: Re: Clothing on 08/21/2006 10:23:44 MDT Print View

Perhaps we should send our NZ friend some devil's club and slide alder mixed in with a little Olympic rainforest...

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Clothing on 08/21/2006 11:33:51 MDT Print View

"Perhaps we should send our NZ friend some devil's club and slide alder mixed in with a little Olympic rainforest..."

Don't forget the skunk cabbage, slugs, yellow jackets--- and rattlesnakes from the East side of the Cascades. I'm sure the Kiwi's have their own natural torments (aside from visting Yanks).

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
farther north on 08/21/2006 12:44:59 MDT Print View

Farther north we deal with the real loss of core temperature due to ice water running across bare skin all day. I wear shorts in the snow if I'm hot enough but in 24-hour cold-wind-and-rain scenarios it's long pants all the way.

Russell Swanson
(rswanson) - F

Locale: Midatlantic
Re: Need some clothing advice on 08/22/2006 13:08:47 MDT Print View

Any part of your body that stays in constant contact with wet material is going to contribute to core heat loss. That's when your extremities will get cold. Your hands were cold because your body was trying to compensate for loss of heat through your legs by shifting your blood flow to your legs. Ditch everything cotton from your clothing lists except for a bandana. Like others have suggested, try nylon convertible pants. I use a lightweight pair of REI pack pants I picked up off eBay for a few bucks. A pair of bargain store nylon track pants will work well too. You don't need a pair of $150 Arc’Teryx Schoeller pants to get the job done.

Another very effective way to boost your core temp is by using a thin fleece or merino wool hat. If your hands or feet are cold, throw the hat on. Also, pick up some 100wt fleece or Smartwool gloves. That should do the trick.

As for shoes, ditch the leather boots and try lightweight trail runners. After hearing such great things about Salomon trail runners, I've picked up some XA Pro 3D's and they're great. They have almost entirely mesh uppers. I can totally submerge my feet, soaking them completely through, and be 95% dry in just an hour or so of hiking (wearing thin Smartwool socks).

Edited by rswanson on 08/22/2006 13:17:20 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Need some clothing advice on 08/22/2006 18:07:06 MDT Print View

I'd argue that his hands were cold because they were wet and not protected from wind or the temperature, not because of the "body making up for heat loss from the legs" theory. The legs generate so much heat while hiking and the arms generate nearly none...that's about all there is to it to me. Putting on a waterproof down hat would not have helped his hands. He's got to cover them up and keep them dry and then maybe they will stay warm.

Einstein X
(EinsteinX) - F

Locale: The Netherlands
Re: Re: Re: Need some clothing advice on 08/23/2006 08:29:08 MDT Print View

First of all many thanx to all the good info thus far. I think it's useful for this thread to state that i'm not a rookie in outdoor gear. I have been selling it in outdoor stores for five years all ready. Mainly I wonder about the difference in clothing between a normal backpacker and an UL backpacker. These differences are clear when you look at normal gear: tent vs tarp, frame less pack vs frame pack.

@ JR: those pants look nice; i'm considering a rab wind shirt [1] vs the GoLite, it's pertex quantum so that should breathe much better, shouldn't it; hmmmm the dilemma of having cold hands for 5 hours on a 16 day trip vs the extra weight. Thanx.

@ Larry and Dale: I like my soft shell because of it's superb breathability as compared to a windstopper membrane. Mine is very thin and weighs 14 oz. I can ware it N2S or over my icebreaker shirt. But i've never used it on a hike before, so i don't know if it'll work as promised.

@ Dale: That Six Moons Design Gatewood Cape Shelter looks great! And $ 110 isn't much. Another dilemma, do i buy this cape or an GG Whisper first? How does this cape cope with perspiration? My poncho isn't breathable at all, but it being wide provides ample ventilation. By the look of it the cape is less open so i guess it's less ventilating?
I guess what i should look for in a pair of hiking pants, is quick drying instead of (temporary) waterproofness as in a waxed poly-cotton pants? Wouldn't i be cold as well, hiking in the rain in wet pants?
As hat and or face cover i use two Buffs, very useful pieces of gear and the most versatile (except maybe for my swiss army knife). Amazingly warm for such thin pieces of material.
I'm also thinking about using a Tiley hat.

@ Robin McKay: I already own three Icebreakers. They're perfect, my absolute first choice in base layer. And if i have about € 130 lying about with nothing to do i'll spend it on an IB Sport. I wore mine for 16 days in a row :D

@ Russel Swanson: The XA pro's are on my thinks-I-want-but-dont-have-money-for-yet list. At the next hike i'll try my Garmonts, they're also very open and breathable, though a bit slow to dry.
If you arrive at camp with your very wet XA pro's, do they dry overnight when it's in the 40's at night and very humid?

So far i haven't heard much difference in what i already knew and what you're telling. It's probably a good idea to ditch the poly-cotton trousers. I have been thinking on replacing them with soft shell trousers like the Patagonia Guide Pants, but the general consensus is more in quick drying than waterproof i think.

And to keep my hands warm gloves might work, although i do wonder how often i'd end up using them. Like i said above, i only needed them for 5 hours in 16 days (!),

[5h / (16 x 24)] x 100% = 1,3 % of the time.

But my hands were very cold............

Thanx so far.

Eins

[1]http://www.rab.uk.com/products_windproof_qwind.html

Russell Swanson
(rswanson) - F

Locale: Midatlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Need some clothing advice on 08/23/2006 09:17:44 MDT Print View

I've only had the shoes in temps over 55 degrees so I can't answer your question for certain. At high humidity and temps 55 and over, yes they dry completely. A better source might be Ryan Faulkner, he seems to have quite a bit of experience with the XA Pro's.

And, as for heat loss from parts of the body leading to cooling of the extremities, this is not a theory.
As the human body attempts to combat heat loss, it limits the flow of warm blood to the extremities by restricting blood flow to them.

Put on a fleece hat. A hood is not going to be as effective. Give it a shot and if it doesn't help, you've spent very little money.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Need some clothing advice on 08/25/2006 10:57:42 MDT Print View

"@ Dale: That Six Moons Design Gatewood Cape Shelter looks great! And $ 110 isn't much. Another dilemma, do i buy this cape or an GG Whisper first? How does this cape cope with perspiration? My poncho isn't breathable at all, but it being wide provides ample ventilation. By the look of it the cape is less open so i guess it's less ventilating?
I guess what i should look for in a pair of hiking pants, is quick drying instead of (temporary) waterproofness as in a waxed poly-cotton pants? Wouldn't i be cold as well, hiking in the rain in wet pants?
As hat and or face cover i use two Buffs, very useful pieces of gear and the most versatile (except maybe for my swiss army knife). Amazingly warm for such thin pieces of material.
I'm also thinking about using a Tiley hat."

The Gatewood Cape goes over my pack and drapes loosely and ventilation hasn't been a problem. I don't find much difference between it and a poncho with the sides snapped. I haven't hiked with it in a blow, but I expect it could use a peice of cord for a belt to minimze flapping. If is far more ventialted than any rain jacket. When hiking, your arms are exposed from just below your elbow and at my height (5'10"), it hits me about mid-shin.
Most folk recommend getting the UL items before the UL pack. I put all my UL gear in a Jansport external frame pack and it was like there was nothing there.

On pants, I like nylon for durability, drying and cost. Polyester has a better hand (feel) and I've used some New Balance running/wind pants that were really comfrotable and good on the DWR side too. In a long duration or heavy rain I would just add rain pants. Shorts, chaps, or long gaiters would be other approaches. If I knew it was going to be a long nasty day with cold and rain, silkweight long johns and rain pants make a good combo-- the cold fabric is off your skin and the long johns add good wicking.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Need some clothing advice on 08/25/2006 13:23:57 MDT Print View

>By the look of it the cape is less open so i guess it's less ventilating?


It's not bad. I was hiking in it the other day in calm 75F weather (as a test) and I wasn't sweating very much more than I was without. With the large neck collar open, a lot of heat pumps up through it as you walk. I'm very pleased with the Gatewood Cape, both as raingear and shelter.


> I haven't hiked with it in a blow, but I expect it could use a peice of cord for a belt to minimze flapping.


I hooked an Ursalite mini-biner through the rear stake-out loop. When it gets windy, I pull the 'biner between my legs and clip one of the front stake-out loops. It reduces flapping quite a bit while still allowing full ventilation, and it keeps the bottom from flying up. (A belt would stop ventilation and wouldn't keep the bottom down.)

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Need some clothing advice on 09/02/2006 10:32:21 MDT Print View

>> I haven't hiked with it in a blow, but I expect it could use a peice of cord for a belt to minimze flapping.

>(A belt would stop ventilation and wouldn't keep the bottom down.)


I got to thinking a bit more about this. I don't like the idea of wrapping a cord as a belt for the reasons I stated above. But the Gatewood Cape is constructed a bit differently than most ponchos: it has those snaps on the inside that are used to hitch up the long sides when used as rain gear. (Aside: I tied an overhand knot in the 6" stake-out loops, and not only does this allow me the additional choice of 3" stake-out loops, it's much easier to snap around the 3" loop lines than the grossgrain ribbon loops.)

My GossamerGear SpinnChaps come with a stretchy cord as a belt. I pulled the Cape's snaps up a bit and snapped them around the SpinnChaps belt, and this seems like it will hold the sides up a bit more and keep them from flapping, without reducing the ventilation very much. I haven't tried this in the field yet, and I'll still use the 'biner to keep the front and back from flapping, but using a piece of (stretchy) cord _inside_ the Cape as a belt appears to be a good compromise if it is flapping too much.

Ryan Hutchins
(ryan_hutchins) - F

Locale: Somewhere out there
Re: Re: Re: Re: Need some clothing advice on 09/08/2006 13:05:43 MDT Print View

I really like a soft shell pant to hike in when it is cool/cold or damp out. They dry plent fast when I get to camp and toss a WP breathable over them, and provide just enough insulation while hiking to keep the chill away, even when wet. You can further add your lightweight bottoms under your pants to then put a rain pant (breathable) over them, the dry layer next to your skin will feel more pleasent and trap more heat, then it's all up to the effectiveness of your breathable pants and body heat to push the moisture out.

The Patagonia talus pant will be a fair bit lighter than the Guide pant, and dries very quickly, with all the recent changes in the Patagonia line, I'm not positive it is still made, but is a good choice.

A light shell mitten can help a lot in keeping the wind ( convective heat loss) off your hands and creats a micro climate to help keep hand warm - they may however still be damp, but better damp and warm than wet and cold!

I would stay away from any cotton/poly blend for all the reasons stated above.

And I agree that quick drying is better than absolute water proofness, of course there is always a balance there too.
HTH