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recommendation for vest- on the move AND insulation for camp/sleep
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Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
recommendation for vest- on the move AND insulation for camp/sleep on 01/25/2011 17:35:10 MST Print View

Looking for a vest to use on the move when it's cold, but would also like to have the vest augment my other layers around camp/sleeping

I know that down is out, I'm pretty sure that the heavier (warmer) syn vests are out- which leaves the thinner syns (Thermawrap, others) and fleece (including the myriad of "performance" fleeces)

I'm pretty sure that a lighter fleece will breathe better and dry faster, but what about warmth around camp (most likely layered under a down garment) or sleeping?

edited to add- this is primarily aimed at winter activities


Edited by mtwarden on 01/25/2011 18:09:47 MST.

Travis Davis
(rockytop) - F
Re: Vest on 01/25/2011 17:39:56 MST Print View

Why is down out? I'm only asking because I'm looking for the same thing, and been thinking about a down vest.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: recommendation for vest- on the move AND insulation for camp/sleep on 01/25/2011 17:56:57 MST Print View

If it is warm, I will be wearing a synthetic T-shirt with a very thin long sleeve over it. If it gets cooler, and while I am moving, I will have a thin fleece vest on over that. If it gets cooler in camp, then I pull on my Mont Bell down inner jacket. If it gets cooler than that, I pull on my Western Mountaineering down vest and then the 4-ounce rain jacket. For three seasons, that's all I have with me for layers.


Stephan Doyle
Re: recommendation for vest- on the move AND insulation for camp/sleep on 01/25/2011 18:01:09 MST Print View

I haven't found one worth purchasing. However, Patagonia's R1 might be worth a look. The grid fleece is great for activity, not so much for warmth; roll up the sleeves and pull the zip down. It's packable and rather light. Warmth, OTOH, is a bit lacking without another layer over the top––too much air escapes––but this might be a good thing for you. And it's easy to layer.

Only downside is no, it's not a vest.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: Re: Vest on 01/25/2011 18:08:05 MST Print View

James asked "Why is down out? I'm only asking because I'm looking for the same thing, and been thinking about a down vest"

James- my inquiry is primarily aimed at winter snowshoeing/skiing (maybe some shoulder season)- while down has great insulation properties, maintaining loft when damp isn't one of them- so for on the move, probably not the best choice

Bob- I should have specified this was aimed more at winter or close to winter (the only time I really would need a vest on the move)

Stephan- there is actually a new R1 vest- one of the reasons I'm inquiring :) I do use a R1 pullover as my primary mid-layer in the winter, but in very cold temps something additional is needed on the move (and whatever I choose hopefully can augment my camp/sleep wear as well)

Josh Newkirk
(Newkirk) - MLife

Locale: Australia
fleece vest on 01/25/2011 18:11:20 MST Print View

I have a fleece vest from Kathmandu (New Zealand and Australia)which works pretty good. Unless im moving really slow though I havent really needed it while moving (only really been down to around 20). Pretty packable though and the microfleece sort of material. It is also windproof so is pretty good if i dont have another layer on top of it while moving.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
vest for cold on 01/25/2011 18:43:37 MST Print View

Mike, I'd go the fleece route for sure. Fleece will breath much better than any fill vest. Patagonia R1 or R2, depending on warmth desired, would both be solid options. I have an old heavyweight cycling jersey (essentially made of powerstretch) that I cut the sleeves off. It's a nice layering piece for below zero.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: recommendation for vest- on the move AND insulation for camp/sleep on 01/25/2011 19:20:49 MST Print View

Why no down? Because most of us don't slow down enough to minimize internal moisture production. The backpack is a huge vapor barrier. Down gets wet. If it's really cold, and you are prepared to limit how hard you work, a vapor barrier with down can work well.

When I am activity backpacking or snowshoeing R1 hoody + shell has almost always been enough for me. Other activities like downhill skiing is when I most often find they aren't enough. When I have needed a vest while backpacking, I typically have used a thermwrap vest. lighter and more compact, and I like the way it doesn't feel constraining. Doesn't breath as well as fleece, but is more wind resistant. I tend to use shells that are only wind resistant. If it's gotten cold enough that my active doesn't keep me warm, I often want extra protection from the wind.

As to warmth, there is richard's iclo graph of backpacker's insulation


Edited by verber on 01/25/2011 19:23:38 MST.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
vest on 01/25/2011 19:52:25 MST Print View

Dave- thanks, they are definitely on the list to look at

Mark- they don't list a R1 vest or Thermawrap vest on Richard's list, but if I am interpreting it correctly- thermawrap (or like) would be roughly double the clo than a light fleece vest?

^ if true that's one of the factors I'd like to consider in my decision


jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
re on 01/25/2011 20:22:15 MST Print View

That's an interesting graph

Did he measure clo with a "guarded hot plate"?

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: vest on 01/25/2011 20:39:44 MST Print View

I might have this wrong, but I believe:

thermwrap vest covers around 18% less surface area than the jacket .39 iclo
R1 vest would cover around 27% less surface area that the r1 hoody .23 iclo

I don't recall Richard's methodology. I know he's posted it, but I don't remember what thread. If this is graph is new to you then his best clothing for backpacking will be even better.

Edited by verber on 01/25/2011 20:42:12 MST.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
fleece on 01/25/2011 20:47:19 MST Print View

For fleece you want Polartec Power Dry for Like the R1 or some of the stuff at REI or Polartec Thermal Pro like the R2 or Monkey Man depending on your warmth needs. Personally I would just find the Monkey Man on sale somewhere and pick up one of the Power Drys from REI and do both in case. You can always cut the sleeves off or have someone put zippers on so they are convertible.

Edited by bpeugh on 01/25/2011 20:51:23 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
fleece on 01/25/2011 21:02:56 MST Print View


id find an open weave fleece that allows as much air through as possible .. i have a marmot that you can easily breath through ... thicker than an r1 but just as breathable

that would provide you with more warmth in camp than an R1 ... i would also size the fleece vest so that it can go either over or under yr windshirt ... ie not too tight ... that way you can just put it over the windshirt for quick stops or on the move and under in camp

synth nylon vest/jackets IMO are not as good as fleece for active use though they are lighter .... basically youre looking to breath through 2 nylon/poly layers ... also they take longer to dry as you need to dry the inner shell, the insulation and the outer shell

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
thanks on 01/25/2011 21:03:45 MST Print View

Thanks Mark, interesting

That shows graphically why you don't need to wear very much, when you're hiking or backpacking, even if it gets in the 20s F, which was Richard's main conclusion.

k web
(kbweb) - F

Locale: Tacoma, WA
fleece vest on 01/25/2011 21:05:46 MST Print View

I have an older North Face fleece vest that I use for mountaineering. It's very thin which makes it great for layering. The front is windproof fleece while the back is (100wt?) breathable. I wear it while on the move and while sleeping. Fits my needs perfectly.

Wish I new the model.... but I don't. My size L is 8.10ozs.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
My Solution on 01/25/2011 21:10:42 MST Print View

ON-THE-MOVE VEST> Lowe Alpine 300 weight Polartec pile vest

CAMP INSULATION> Eddie Bauer Downlight Sweater (over vest depending on temps)

SLEEP INSULATION> EB Downlight Sweater and Serius ComboClava head/face cover

P.S. If I know temps may often be too cold for just the thick vest (on the move) I'll take my jacket of synthetic ThermoLite Micro insulation instead of the down jacket. In any case I'll still take my GTX mountain parka, not my light PacLite summer parka.

Edited by Danepacker on 01/26/2011 13:54:18 MST.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: fleece on 01/25/2011 21:13:17 MST Print View

> synth nylon vest/jackets IMO are not as good as fleece for active use

I basically agree with eric here.

The high loft synth will dry more slowly. The good news is that you can choice to adjust your activity level. I typically take a synth vest because it's mostly for when my activity level drops (best warmth/weight), but wear it if the temps end up lower than I expect.


Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
chart on 01/25/2011 21:13:52 MST Print View

If the OP doesn't mind, I have always had some confusion reading Richard's chart. Could someone explain it to me simply? Thank you

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
re on 01/25/2011 21:29:41 MST Print View

clo is the amount of insulation = R value in standard house insulation

a particular combination of clothing has a coresponding clo value which is a horizontal line on the chart

vertical lines correspond to particular temps (duh!)

the angled lines correspond to different exertion levels. I don't know what MET stands for (metabolic?):

If you're backpacking the line is almost flat - you don't need very much increase in clo as the temp goes down - i.e. you don't need to wear much at all when active or you'll start sweating - like you don't need an insulated vest

If you're sleeping the line is steeply angled - you need a lot more insulation (clo) as the temp drops

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
thanks on 01/25/2011 21:47:52 MST Print View

I think I get it now. I do have some dyslexia so it does make some things hard to understand and I was going off the premise that the chart had two parts and not three. Richard's explanation was very confusing unless you knew what he was talking about. It would be nice if there were horizontal lines linked to each of the ensembles and it had a simplified description before it went into technical. I also think the background image makes it more difficult to see some of the lines. The chart itself is just too small also. I can barely see any red dashed lines and the black ones tend to fade into the background.

But Verber sent me a PM and that and jerry's helped me out so I thank you.