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suggestions for mid layer bottoms
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Leigh Baker

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
suggestions for mid layer bottoms on 01/22/2011 12:09:05 MST Print View

I've been experimenting with layers in dry temps in the mid to upper 20's. I have the top worked out. Capilene One long sleeve 1/4 zip, Polartec 100 fleece 1/4 zip, and Marmot Ion wind jacket. Hands, silk liners, wool liners, and 400PL mitts. Head, Gortex, fleece lined aviator cap with bill(keeps the sun out of my eyes) and fleece neck gaiter.

I'm not hitting a home run with the bottom layers. I tried cap 1 base layer, a pair of fleece lined tights, and my REI Sahara convertible(so I can vent if need be.) My lower body (except for feet) was bearable but noticeably cold.I suspect the fleece tights are too tight not allowing any air layer, (sort of like a wet suit that's too tight.) Cap 2 with the pants too cold. I have a pair of fleece lined stretch pants that fit much less constricting but with more bulk, can't get the pants on over them. I'm new to cold weather hiking.
Any suggestions?

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: suggestions for mid layer bottoms on 01/22/2011 12:40:20 MST Print View

Look at Power Stretch for insulation. I think the Sahara pants are too breathable---soft shell pants rock for cold weather hiking. I'll bet the soft shells plus the Cap1 or Cap2 will have you toasty in the 20's.

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: suggestions for mid layer bottoms on 01/22/2011 13:42:03 MST Print View

I've had good luck with Eddie Bauer Midweight Bottoms (gridded fleece similar to Patagonia's R1 Bottoms) and REI Talus bottoms (softshell/elements fabric mix). The REI pants have some long vents on the upper thighs for some extreme venting when needed.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
MID layer? on 01/22/2011 14:17:33 MST Print View

So you mean you are already wearing a thin long john bottom and want an insulating layer? If so the other Eric (Lundquist) has the best idea, the Eddie Bauer grid fleece bottoms.

Cabelas' also sells a similar item under the name Polar Tec ECWCS (Extended Cold Weather System)

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: suggestions for mid layer bottoms on 01/22/2011 15:50:56 MST Print View

My favorite hiking pants in cold weather are the Rab vapor rise trail pant. I can wear just that very comfortably to freezing, at least. A pair of light long johns will take you even further. And they're nice to sleep in as well.

Stephan Doyle
Re: suggestions for mid layer bottoms on 01/22/2011 17:03:21 MST Print View

Are you talking while hiking or at camp? Just want to clarify.

If tights + pants aren't cutting it, then you can either go to a heavier weight tight to wear under your Sahara pants or get a good pair of puffy.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"suggestions for mid layer bottoms" on 01/22/2011 17:10:30 MST Print View


These combos have worked well for me hiking in chilly temperatures. YMMV

1)Lightweight softshell pant + Capilene 1 (20's-50's)

2)Lightweight softshell pant + Powerstretch (10's-20's)

3)Lightweight softshell pant + Capilene 1 + Powerstretch (reversed) (bitter cold-20's)

*When I get to camp I typically throw all my layers on for sleep and extending the warmth of my 3-season quilt.

Edited by Eugeneius on 01/22/2011 17:12:22 MST.

Leigh Baker

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
thanks everyone on 01/22/2011 17:29:04 MST Print View

I'm sorry, I should have said for hiking. I have down pants and jacket for camp. The fleece lined pants I mentioned (that I thought might be too constricting) are NRS wavelite,basically power stretch. I'm going to look into soft shell pants.

Edited by leighb on 01/22/2011 17:46:52 MST.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: thanks everyone on 01/22/2011 17:54:35 MST Print View

In case I wasn't clear enough, the Rab vapor rise are the pants I use hiking/backpacking, not sitting around in camp. Well, I use them for that too. But mainly hiking. They've done better than anything else keeping me warm and dry (from sweat, they're not waterproof) on a hard hike around freezing temps. Depending on your size, Prolite Gear has them for $99.95.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: suggestions for mid layer bottoms on 01/23/2011 08:33:22 MST Print View

I hike in thin merino baselayer and fleece pants. The pants are Polartec 100's in a "sweatpants" style, not tights. Temps have been in the low-to-mid 20's here lately and this combination works well for me. It was actually in the low teens yesterday and I was fine.

I have softshell pants for downhill skiing but I don't like hiking in them -- too heavy and bulky.

Nathan Moody
(atomick) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: suggestions for mid layer bottoms on 01/23/2011 15:21:33 MST Print View

I just updated my leg wear for this season's XC skiing, snowshoeing, and cold-weather hiking. What works for me is the Patagonia Traverse Pant and Smartwool lightweight leggings/long johns. The Traverse fits snugly, has good knee articulation, has great ankle zips but fits much looser than tights - not form-fitting (on me, in size medium, at 5'10" and 165lbs). They're made of stretch fabric, not unlike Schoeller in texture. They're fairly air-permeable, but are great for near-freezing, assuming you're moving. Below freezing (especially with the wind blowing), I just add the Smartwool leggings and the Traverse pant still fits great. The wool gives moisture transport, absorbency, and warmth, while the pants give some snow and moisture resistance and rapid drying. YMMV!

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
for me on 01/23/2011 16:18:02 MST Print View

I am pretty warm wearing a pair of Ex Officio boxers, Sahara pants with some 100 wt fleece pants and a trash bag rain skirt to cut the wind and rain. I am thinkin of ditching the fleece and getting some kind of full zip insulated pants.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
20's on 01/23/2011 16:50:37 MST Print View

on the move in the 20's I've found Cap 1's and light softshell pants (Pat Rock Guides) to be more than sufficient

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: 20's on 01/23/2011 17:09:58 MST Print View

Cap 1 under MH Transition Tights good in the 20's for me. With their Windstopper membrane, I suspect they would be good down into the low teens with a heavier base layer, such as midweight Polartec Thermal Pro, although I haven't had a chance to try that combo out yet.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: softshell pants on 01/23/2011 17:13:23 MST Print View

The term "softshell pants" is like saying fleece pants--- there is a dizzying array of fabrics, weights and designs. Some are a just a bit thicker than summer hiking pants, popular with runners and are more like tights in design--- drawstring waist, fewer pockets, etc. Other are heavier, with full fly zippers, belt loops, Velcro-tabbed cuffs, etc. Weights I have seen run 14-19oz for softshells in general. They are wind and water resistant and comfortable to move in. They mate well with varied base layers. Me like!

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
softshell on 01/23/2011 17:27:17 MST Print View

^ that's why I stated which ones I use :)

Eric Swab

Locale: Rockies
suggestions for mid layer bottoms on 01/23/2011 21:24:05 MST Print View

I am not sold on soft shell bottoms, they are nice but not flexible enough year year round for the price. I wear the same upper clothing as you and have been experimenting with bottom layers as well. In the high twenties, with a good wind, my bottom half was plenty warm with the REI heavyweight baselayers and REI wind/rain pants, actually too warm. I did vent the short zippers on the bottom of the legs which did cool things down. The Sahara pants are pretty light, try switching them out for your rain pants before spending the cash on soft shells.

Aaron Reichow

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Re: suggestions for mid layer bottoms on 01/24/2011 00:49:19 MST Print View

Never fails to blow my mind to see the variation of how much insulation people wear when hiking in cool to cold weather.

Between 30 F and 0 F, I'm wearing a baselayer and a pair of light stretch woven softshell pants. I only started wearing the softshell pants this winter; before that, it was uninsulated nylon winter guide pants.

Mind you, softshell pants don't have to be all that expensive... I've been wearing a pair of Arc'teryx Gamma LTs I got off of Gear Trade for $40 and a pair of First Ascent Mountain Guide Lighs I got for $43 on clearance. Rab Vapor Rise, MH Winter Wander, and Marmot Scree all sound like similar softshell pants, and all cost $99 IIRC. I've been happy with my switch of pants, mostly because they seem to be more comfortable in a wider range of temps, wick sweat better, and the stretch makes for a comfy active pant.