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Layers???
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Tyler Cundiff
(Mutant) - F
Layers??? on 09/08/2006 05:49:15 MDT Print View

I'm going on a 3 day hike around the Tetons and 3 days in Bechler Area in a few weeks. Currently my clothing incluides a hooded Columbia Goretex rain/wind jacket with zipout fleece and a long sleeve polypro T-shirt layer. I would rather not take the fleece because it's too heavy and bulky. I understand the temps will range from 75F to 30F. My question is will the Columbia Jacket be OK for a carry-on backup for wind and rain and what are my options for something light weight that I can hike in during the day and keep me warm at night around camp? Any feedback would be greatly apprecicated!

Thanks!

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Layers??? on 09/08/2006 09:27:17 MDT Print View

I made that mistake, once. I thought my Columbia Ice Dragon (Titanium/OmniTech) jacket with the fleece zipped in would be warm enough. After all, it weighed almost four pounds! Not a chance.

The rain/wind jacket should handle rain and wind well when you're in camp. I can almost guarantee that if you hike in it that you'll be sweating like crazy and end up soaked, even without the fleece and with the pit zips open, regardless of temperature.

There are two separate issues: waterproofing (for moisture control) and insulation (for temperature control). Waterproofness is still being "cussed and discussed" here on BPL heavily, with solutions ranging from hoping that a water-resistant (not waterproof) breathable windshirt will keep you somewhat dry, to waterproof/breathable miracle fabrics (eVent, EPIC, not GoreTex) that might keep the inside of your jacket a bit less wet than the outside, to waterproof coverings that try to keep you dry underneath by heavy venting (ponchos, capes). I don't think there is a good answer yet. Since I hike hot when wearing a jacket, regardless of air temp, my solution is the Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape (it also makes a nice solo shelter). But there are a bunch of excellent alternatives that are very lightweight and affordable; check Campmor's rainwear section. If you don't sweat very much, then stick with your jacket. It will work as well as any other jacket, most likely.

The other issue is insulation. You're right: the fleece is heavy and bulky, and not very warm either. When it's below freezing you're going to wish you'd brought a "puffy": something thick, warm and dry. There are many good down or synthetic 'sweaters' available. My preference is a Patagonia Micropuff pull-over; synthetic, lightweight, water-resistant, and warm. Down works well too, as long as you can keep it dry.

The title of this thread, "Layers," is the key. Start with a wicking breathable base layer, and maybe another slightly heavier layer. E.g., I wear a lightweight polypro tank or tee for hiking, and add a Patagonia R.5 or Icebreaker wool mid-layer when it's chilly on the trail or in camp. These are breathable enough to keep you dry when you're working. Your long-sleeve polypro shirt might be a good compromise for both layers, but it might be worth adding a mid-weight layer anyway; it gets cold in the Tetons. An ultralight windshirt (3-4 oz) is my solution for that biting wind on the trail, or keeping my warmth during a rest stop. If you just have the long-sleeve shirt, a windshirt would be even more useful to extend your comfort range (unless it's raining, in which case you'd be wearing your jacket or something.) My Patagonia Micropuff comes out in camp, and I wear it until I'm ready to start on the trail in the morning.

Anyway, I hope this gives you a few ideas for clothing that will keep you warm, mostly dry and not weight you down too much.

Edited by Otter on 09/08/2006 09:34:00 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Layers??? on 09/11/2006 12:21:47 MDT Print View

Along with the puffy layer and the polyester wicking base layer, I recommend a micro-fleece/110 weight/Power Stretch layer. You can wear it alone or layer it in, and the stuff is great to sleep in. The Mountain Hardwear Power Stretch zip tee is a good example (but for the price). There are all kinds of 100w fleece shirts around. I vote for a 1/2 zip for venting. The mid-weight polyester base layers are a nice step between the 100w and silk weight stuff. 200w fleece is great stuff, but hard to work into a multi-day palette of UL clothing. These useful kinds of clothing are great for day hikes where you can dial in for the weather.

As Douglas said, the Patagonia Mico Puff garments give a good loft to weight ratio. I have vests that weigh as much as a Micro Puff long sleeve pullover. I do like a puffy vest for warmer seasons and the long sleeve for Winter. The BMW Cocoon garments are about as light as you get for warm synthetic insulation.

Casey Bowden
(clbowden) - MLife

Locale: Berkeley Hills
Re: Layers??? on 09/11/2006 13:03:52 MDT Print View

I agree with the previous comments but would add the following:

Try the simplest solution first.

For me, that means my torso covering garments are:

1) a short sleeve synthetic shirt,
2) a 3M O2 full zip rain jacket,
3) a Patagonia Micropuff pullover.

That's it. I wear the shirt all the time, including to bed. Sometimes this means going to bed with it damp if I have rinsed it late at night, but after several hours it is dry. The rain jacket works well for wind/cold, in addition to rain while the Micropuff is reserved for breaks, at camp, and sleeping.