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Insulated Chaps - Arms or Legs
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Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Insulated Chaps - Arms or Legs on 01/04/2007 00:39:40 MST Print View

Insulated Chaps - Arms or Legs

I am getting ready to hike about 60 days or so on the AT starting at Springer Mountain in a few weeks. To help keep my pack weight as low as possible I am trying to make a set of gear where each item will do at least two different things. I used my Tunic / Quilt for my hike in Oct and it worked well when it was below 45 degrees. I was able to wear it so it did not count toward my pack weight. The only down side was that when the temperature was between 32 and 40 degrees and windy my arms got a little cold. I needed something more than just my Patagonia #2 Wool Crew to keep my arms warm.

Back in San Antonio - last week it got down to 32 in my backyard. I am taking advantage of the cooler weather to test my sleeping gear. I am using my home made Bivy, Climashield Combat Liner and my Tunic / Quilt inside the Bivy along with my Stephenson's Warmlite DAM. My feet got a little cold when I slid down the DAM and my feet were hanging over the foot end of the DAM. My legs also got a little cold but not enough to keep me awake. I am only wearing a set of #2 Wool top and bottoms but have my modified #2 Wool Hoody on and one pair of socks. I also have on pair of the new Patagonia Capilene Light Glove Liners.

This temperature was pushing the amount of insulation I had and I was real happy that I was able to stay as warm as I did. To add a little more insulation I decided to kill two birds with one set of gear. I would make a set of Insulated Chaps. I would made them in a way that I can wear them on my arms and under the Tunic/Quilt during the day. This will give me the extra insulation to keep my arms warm when necessary. The Insulated Chaps would be worn at night on my legs to add a bit of insulation to my stomach and leg area.

The Insulated Chaps are made from Pertex Quantum with PrimaLoft One (1.8 ounce per sq yard - pre-quilted) Insulation. The pre-quilted PrimaLoft One is really easy to work with. I have a clo value of 1.51 with the PrimaLoft insulation. The Chaps weigh 4 ounces each or 8 ounces for the pair.

The following pictures show my construction sequence and a with a few of me wearing the Chaps on my arms and wearing them on my legs.

I am going to make another Tunic / Quilt using Pertex Quantum for the shell material and Polarguard Delta for the Insulation. The Pertex Quantum will work better in the weather than the Silk that I used for my Prototype.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
Bill; Pertex Chaps permeability on 01/04/2007 01:44:10 MST Print View

Bill, would you please do a quick air permeability test on that Pertex? Hold a sample up and attempt to blow air through the material? The Ion we were discussing essentially is non-permeable; what about your Pertex?

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Insulated Chaps - Arms or Legs on 01/04/2007 10:51:33 MST Print View

Bill-Are you taking a wind shirt with you? If so, have you tried it with your Patagonia #2 Wool Crew to keep your arms warm while hiking? Even if you did take a wind shirt, I can still see the benefits of your latest creation when resting, for camp wear, or sleeping.

Your creativity continues to amaze me. Are you going to keep us posted relative to your experiences periodically during your trip? ... I hope so!

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Insulated Chaps - Arms or Legs on 01/04/2007 12:40:46 MST Print View

Bill, what a great idea! I love that these become bibs when worn on your legs. I wear bibs when I ski and I've often thought a light weight version would be ideal for backpacking. Bibs direct more warmth to your core and are very draft proof. The fit is so good in the second picture from the bottom that I thought at first that it was a purpose built bib. Do you think a zipper down the front will be necessary to mate the two legs and stop drafts?

It must be hard to sleep around you with the sound of wheels turning and light bulbs appearing above your head. :)

Edited by ericnoble on 01/04/2007 12:44:04 MST.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Insulated Chaps - Arms or Legs on 01/04/2007 12:44:14 MST Print View

Hi Richard,

Thanks for your comments.

I have tried three (?) wind shirts. An older but new Patagonia Dragon Fly, a GoLite Helios, and my Marmot Ion. Walking at night in temperatures of from 40 to about 50 "F" and with some wind wearing both a #2 Capilene Crew and my #2 Wool Hoody my arms never really got warm. The Ion seemed to be better and after a couple of miles I would have to un-zip the Ion but my body never really moved much heat to my arms. I thought for the temperatures I expect going north from Georgia this time of the year I might need something more. I like the Ion and it is on my gear list for this hike.

Between the Insulated Chaps and my Tunic/Quilt I think they can take the place of what ever I would have taken as my insulated upper garment. I will test this first before I put my insulated jacket in a bounce box. I also discovered that when I added the elastic cord to hold the Chaps up / or around my neck the weight went up about 1.5 ounces. I am going to see if I can replace the elastic cord with some other cord I will be carrying anyway such as the guy lines from my tarp during the day or if I am using a Shelter to sleep in at night. I do know that if I wear or carry a pair of briefs, boxers or shorts to hike in I can wear them over the Leg Chaps to hold the Chaps up. A Vest will also work to hold the Arm Chaps together.

I will be warm but I want everything I wear or carry to help with that. I want my pack weight as low as I can get it but not if it means being cold.

The Chaps are made in a way that when wearing them on my arms I can fold back the area my arms pits to open a vent if I need to. They also can vent around my neck if necessary. I also can do something similar between my legs when wearing them on my legs. When hiking my legs get warm fast and most of the time I don't wear long underwear pants. I see the Chaps being used mostly on my legs when sleeping or just sitting around camp.

I expect to keep a journal and update my Hike thread here as I am able. Since I have to mail ahead my food I will be in and out of a town every 5 or so days and when I don't stay over night I may still be able to find a computer to update things. I have thought about a PocketMail device but don't have one and the time is really to short to try and get one now. I have a new digital camera and my learning curve on it has been really slow. It just does to much but it is much lighter than my old one. I would really like to have a Sony VAIO® VGN-TXN17P/T notebook computer. They connect to the internet like a cell phones connects for a phone call. Completly wireless and from anyplace you can get cell coverage. They are almost a full size computer but at 2.8?? pounds.

Edited by bfornshell on 01/04/2007 12:48:41 MST.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Insulated Chaps - Arms or Legs on 01/04/2007 13:24:30 MST Print View

Bravo Bill. Another "Fornshell-First". Patent your idea before someone else steals it.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Insulated Chaps - Arms or Legs on 01/04/2007 13:49:09 MST Print View

Bill -

You mention the pieces vent nicely around the armpits and neck. Does this mean the fit is adjustable around the neck? I could see that being an issue if it was too tight, or rubbed the wrong way.

Also, have you discussed the pre-quilted PGD elsewhere in the forums? If not, could you quickly mention if it's still available?

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Insulated Chaps - Arms or Legs on 01/04/2007 14:14:53 MST Print View

Bill-You said, "The Ion seemed to be better and after a couple of miles I would have to un-zip the Ion but my body never really moved much heat to my arms."

The above leads me suspect that the arm cuffs and neck opening on your Ion are not forming an air seal. Many of my wind shirts would chimney effect draft (natural convection heat loss) from the wrist opening, up the arm and out the neck before modification. I darted the wrist elastic and neck material, as was necessary, to create close seals. For less than a gram in thread, it made a dramatic difference in warmth.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Insulated Chaps - Arms or Legs on 01/04/2007 14:56:24 MST Print View


You are right the "bib" style works really great for something like my Chaps. The standard chaps started to grow toward bibs as I was playing with prototypes to use them also for my arms. I needed some extra length to go around my neck and fasten together. At some point I said go for a bib and it seems to work really well.

I try and stay away from sewing zippers so I seldom use them. If drafts are a problem I may just sew a small hook or eyelet or two on them. If I wear them much on my legs and drafts are a real problem while on my hike I can wear my silk weight boxers over them.

Thanks, Patents cost a lot and I am not sure one would be worth it to me. There are a lot of insulated Bib like garments sold already and my idea is just a "variation on a theme" or something like that.

Yes, I can adjust the fit around the neck area to vent if I get warm.

The insulation I used is factory pre-quilted PrimaLoft One not PGD. When you order a roll of the PrimaLoft insulation you can get it pre-quilted for $0.81 / liner meter extra.

Thanks for the suggestion. My wrist openings are snug but not tight. I will try a rubber band around the arm opening first and see if that helps. I will tie a cord around the neck opening and see if that also helps. If yes then I will sew darts as you did.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Insulated Chaps - Arms or Legs on 01/05/2007 04:25:05 MST Print View

The Ion seemed to be better and after a couple of miles I would have to un-zip the Ion but my body never really moved much heat to my arms.

My first thought was that this is more insulation than I'd want on shoulders and chest while hiking at those temps but I'm not Bill and vise-versa.

But then Richard's note about the words above hilited that your torso was warm but not your arms.

I get to test drive a variety of clothing combos on my daily walk/bus commute with winter temps ranging from below 0F to 40F.

  • I've also experienced the warm torso/cold arms situation

  • I've have found that Richard's suggestion about temperature regulation by opening/closing arm/neck openings is a good place to start before adding insulation.

  • Hands are also good heat exchangers and light gloves/mitts long enough to cover the wrist help with arm comfort in addition to hand comfort.

  • Add wind shell mitts to that as the temps get lower.

Bill doesn't live in the best location for testing winter gear but we appear to be due for some arctic air next week, maybe some of it will make it south to him.

Edited by jcolten on 01/05/2007 04:32:13 MST.