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inVESTigating another layer
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Nathan Moody
(atomick) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
inVESTigating another layer on 10/14/2006 11:32:41 MDT Print View

With the onset of cold nights in the Sierra Nevada, I'm thinking that I'd like to add a vest to my layering system for camp/rest and sleeping.

Right now I'm pretty comfy into the mid-30's wearing a base layer, hat, light gloves, a Marmot DriClime windshirt, and adding my TNF HyVentDT rain shell (hey, got it wholesale, so what the heck) for added wind protection. (I also sleep in a WM Megalite, often with the DriClime.) Thrilled with all pieces so far, generally speaking.

I'd like to be comfortable down to the low 30's and high 20's, and I'm thinking about adding something like a WM Flash or Flight vest to the ensemble, or maybe a MicroPuff vest.

My main concerns are fit of such lofty layers under the DriClime (which does fit me on the looser side), and which of these might keep the ol' torso the toastier. For example, the Micropuff has an amazing rep and seems is a great value, but the WM Flight vest, while pricier, has 2" of loft (coming back to my concerns about fit).

I suppose I could consider ditching the DriClime and just getting /one/ heavier outer layer, but I like the flexibility of having an additional insulating piece to fine-tune how warm I am in my down sleeping bag...and I hate to ditch the investments I've already made in my existing clothing.

I don't have access to a local store with these pieces in stock to try on, compounding my choice paralysis, so I figured I'd ask for similar experiences, recommendations, or insights on picking a vest for this kind of usage...

John Witt
(johnbrown2005) - F

Locale: Portland, OR
vest on 10/14/2006 12:37:21 MDT Print View

why not put the vest over the driclime? Seems like no driclime is gonna fit right (fairly close to skin IMO) and have room for a lofty vest... As an aside feathered friends has their helios vest on sale for $82, 11 oz. Been thinking about getting one myself.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: inVESTigating another layer on 10/14/2006 12:59:51 MDT Print View

If you are comfortable camp/rest (sitting) in 35F temps, you current ensemble provides about 4.7 clo of total body insulation. To be comfortable at 30F you would need about 1.8 clo of additional total body insulation and for 25F, 3.5 clo. For sleeping at these temperature the clo value increases are +20% over what is required for sitting.

A standard vest will cover approximately 36% of your body (Flash will cover 35% - no neck insulation). The Micropuff provides about 1.8 clo item /.6 clo total, the WM Flash provides about 6.6 clo item / 2.3 clo total, and the WM Flight provides about 9.8 clo item / 3.5 clo total.

Adding the WM Flight vest, to your existing clothing ensemble, is the only option that will achieve your mid 20's goal. The WM Flash will achieve your 30 F goal plus get you close to your 25 F goal.

It doesn't matter what layer you vest is placed at as long as the lofts of the layers aren't compromised. If it is compressed under the Dri-Clime, wear it over the Dri-Clime.

Edited by richard295 on 10/15/2006 13:59:13 MDT.

Ezra Newick
(ezra) - F
a on 10/14/2006 19:26:53 MDT Print View


Ezra Newick
(ezra) - F
Re: inVESTigating another layer on 10/14/2006 19:28:05 MDT Print View

Oops, sorry about the previous post…. I wear a Patagonia Micropuff vest over my Dri-Clime in similar temperatures and am very happy with the combo. They are both a size medium and they layer nicely. In colder weather I add a medium weight wool layer as a base layer… very toasty.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: inVESTigating another layer on 10/15/2006 09:13:51 MDT Print View

If the DriClim shirt is working for you, stick with it. It's a great piece of gear. My daughter lives in hers. I have been tempted to get one, but I am applying the same advise to myself... stick with what is working. I have been using an unlined windshirt + patagonia r.5 base in the same way you use the driclim jacket.

As other have suggested... you should layer the high loft vest over your driclim windshirt for best performance from both items.

I think your idea of adding a vest to bridge the temp rate you have described sounds like a fine plan. I appreciate richard's science based reasoning... but my personal experience that vests less insulating than the WM Flight would be adaquate to close the gap.

I would also remind you that a bit of extra protection for your head and neck can make a big difference. Make sure your hat is warm enough and make sure your neck and lower head are protected using something like a neck gaitor or full length balaclava.


Edited by verber on 10/15/2006 09:25:05 MDT.

Nathan Moody
(atomick) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Thanks a ton, folks... on 10/15/2006 13:45:49 MDT Print View

You've all provided very helpful insights here, thanks a lot! I re-tried my DriClime with some fleece vests here at home and y'all are right, the DriClime's toastier against the base layer, so layering the vest on the outside's (duh!) a superior plan.

As far as model and fit, especially layering over the windshirt, I am leaning towards the WM Flight vest: it has pockets and is the loftiest of the bunch (and the Flash lacks pockets). I'd hate to go for something a bit cheaper and not as warm and have to sell it at a loss to upgrade. But we'll see, at least I can run to a Patagonia store in my area to try the Micropuff vest as another reference point.

As far as headwear, an excellent point; I'm also getting a Turtle Fur gaiter/balaclava tube to supplement my knit cap. I use a Buff now to take the chill off my ears and neck, and it's too lightweight for such temperatures. At least until I find the Smartwool Shadow Hoody for sale again...

Thanks again; I've never used a vest on a backpacking trip as a key insulating layer, but I'm pretty excited to give it a try!

Nathan Moody
(atomick) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
WM vests backordered, went to Plan B! on 10/20/2006 09:50:30 MDT Print View

Update: Some research yielded a local store that carries the Patagonia MicroPuff and Western Mountaineering lines, so I could try them both on!

The MicroPuffs were nice, no doubt...but oh, man. The WM products were out of this world. Luxury and appropriately stripped-down functionality in a lightweight package. Truly impressive.

Sadly, most of Western Mountaineering's clothing products, beyond what are currently in the retail channel, are backordered through January or February 2007, according to a call placed two days ago.

I thought on it for a day and went back yesterday to buy the WM Flight jacket.

Beyond my upcoming travel needs, this thing is warm enough to allow me to make decision to take /either/ it or the DriClime and another layer, reducing overall pack weight more than taking the DriClime and a vest (my Flight jacket in medium weighed in at about 10oz. at sea level in medium humidity), which would have totalled 19oz. or so. And as I did, if anyone's considering buying such a piece, for Pete's sake take your rain shell to make sure the lofty bugger will fit underneath! :-)

I'm still reeling a bit from sticker shock but after having also used a WM Megalite sleeping bag, it's a value-driven, long-term purchase made with confidence. For sure this is the best-engineered and warmest jacket I've ever owned. I'll add a reader review once I get it out into the field a few times in varying conditions.