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Need a puffy layer...
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Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Does down absorb humidity? on 12/20/2011 08:10:35 MST Print View

Yes but... put things in perspective by the fact that, at 100% relative humidity, the Moisture Regain for Merino wool is ~33-35%, cotton is ~23%, down is ~17%, the nylon shell is ~8%, and PET is ~2%.

Edited by richard295 on 12/20/2011 08:23:28 MST.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
Golite on 12/20/2011 08:24:55 MST Print View

Golite is having a great sale on their big puffy jacket today.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
rain on 12/20/2011 12:01:02 MST Print View


id get a 100g/m synth for freezing rain conditions ... i have 650,800, 900 and synth puffies .... and in the freezing rain and humid conditions the high fill down seems to lose some loft ... if you were to go with down, id get a bit more fill than needed, something with ~4oz or so of high fill down

as to which particular brand, only your fit can decide that, but the "best" synthetic right now is primaloft one, try to get something using that if possible

try not to spend too much on a synth as youll likely replace it within 5 years anyways

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Need a puffy layer on 12/20/2011 18:23:40 MST Print View


Edited by rmjapan on 06/19/2015 07:21:33 MDT.

Scott H.
(handyman439) - F
650 vs. 800 on 12/20/2011 21:18:59 MST Print View

I read an article comparing 650 vs. 800,+, but can not find it right now. The bottom line was 800 and greater fill power is much more susceptible to loosing loft due to being dirty or damp. In less than perfect environments (often the case in the great outdoors), it claimed the loft/warmth of 650 can actually be greater than 800+.

I honestly haven't researched it much, but it made sense to me at the time. Maybe someone else can chime in on the subject? The comment about down feathers degrading over time makes sense too.

Case-in-point, I can tell my montbell 800 fill power bag looses some loft when it is really wet or humid (outside or in the tent). I have no idea how much loss of warmth that relates to, but I think it would be fairly significant.

Edited by handyman439 on 12/20/2011 21:19:45 MST.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: 650 vs. 800 on 12/20/2011 21:30:16 MST Print View

That's interesting Scott; I had never heard that before. Hmmmmmm. Hopefully those more knowledgable than I will offer their insight.

Chris Jones
(NightMarcher) - F
Re: Need a puffy layer... on 12/21/2011 05:42:52 MST Print View


Ah, you are intimately familiar with the conditions I am talking about. Hypothermic rain. Granted, Tokyo has some beautiful, clear, dry winter days, but when it rains in winter (or even mists), man it gets cold. Ironically, I never get this chilled in Hakuba.

I think I head over to the Patagonia shop (near Omotesando) to check out their Nano Puff. I had problems with Patagonia gear in the past in terms of fit, but I read somewhere that they retooled their sizes, increasing arm length and decreasing body width, so it may work for me.

Oh, also, I would be wearing this puffy layer over normal "street clothes" (wool T-shirt, dress shirt, light merino sweater). I wonder if the Nano Puff is warm enough to last all night through New Year's eve, standing in line at the local temple to ring the gong...

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Need a puffy layer.. on 12/21/2011 07:20:22 MST Print View


Edited by rmjapan on 06/19/2015 07:20:58 MDT.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
Marmot Zeus,Venus? on 12/21/2011 08:10:09 MST Print View

I've noticed sales on Marmot's Zeus and Venus 800 fill puffys, and that they include inside pockets. I don't know if they include a stuff sack, but they are light.

Anyone with experience on those? Prices are down at about $100 in several places and clearance on REI.

(habakkuk) - F
Puffy on 12/21/2011 10:38:18 MST Print View

Chris, you got some great advice - I'd agree with the poster who suggested a synthetic puffy with 100g of fill. This means Patagonia Micropuff or Arcteryx Atom SV. Thermawrap parka is very nice but it might be too thin to keep you warm in conditions you describe if you find yourself static for a period of time.

Chris Jones
(NightMarcher) - F
Puffy Layer Update on 12/28/2011 03:44:42 MST Print View

Well, the need for a warm jacket is here. This past week we've been having highs of 10 degrees Celsius (50 F) and lows of 0 degrees Celsius (32 F). Rick had mentioned the heat island effect. That probably explains why it never gets below freezing. On the rare occasion that it does snow, it doesn't stay around for long.

I went around town and tried on some jackets, all sized 'M':

OR Trancendent Hoody
Rab Microlight Jacket
Patagonia Nano Puff
Patagonia Micro Puff
MB Thermawrap Parka
MB UL Light Alpine Down Parka
MB UL Down Guide Parka

The fits for all of these items varied. But before I get into that, I wanted to run something by everyone. My understanding is that for best heat retention, it is best for the layer item to fit snugly, not in a constrictive sort of way, but in a way where the item is in contact with the body. With some jackets the torso is very big, so I have a very large air pocket around my body. This pocket of air tends to chill me. However, whenever I put on a jacket with better (more snug) fit in the body, the air pocket is reduced or elminated and I feel warmer.

If that's the way puffy layers are meant to be warm, then the MB UL Down Guide Parka seems to fit the bill (it fits me snugly without being constrictive). The only thing is that the sleeves come up a bit too short. I will either have to just learn to deal with it or get creative.

Other likely candidates include the OR Trancendent Hoody, as well as the Rab Microlight jacket (I prefer a hoody though, but the shop didn't have any).

I did try on the Arcteryx Atom SV, but strangely it was a bit large in the torso area. I already have the thinner version, the LT, and I don't recall it fitting me so loosely. Perhaps I need to go back and try it on again. I did do all of this running around and trying things on on Christmas Eve, and with the shops crowded and all, I wanted to get the heck out of there the moment I entered.

I did think of another use for the jacket--something I can use for breaks on snowshoe/cross country (ski) trips. I'd keep it in my pack and pull it out whenever I stop. So, with that in mind weight is now a concern.

Thanks for everyone's input. Much appreciated.

Chris Jones
(NightMarcher) - F
Tokyo Weather on 01/21/2012 00:09:52 MST Print View

Hi Rick,

If you're around in Tokyo this weekend (1/20 - 1/21), the weather that we're currently having (3°C Light Rain Wind: N at 11 km/h Humidity: 87%) is the kind of weather I had in mind for the puffy layer.

I went out in my hardshell + Atom LT and still felt a little chilled. Had I not been moving along at a brisk pace I would have been pretty cold...

Edited by NightMarcher on 01/21/2012 00:16:21 MST.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Need a puffy layer..." on 01/21/2012 00:54:02 MST Print View


Edited by rmjapan on 06/19/2015 07:32:29 MDT.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: Re: Does down absorb humidity? on 01/21/2012 01:52:47 MST Print View

Richard --

Are you suggesting that a merino wool top might be a good (better?) alternative to down for OP's needs in cold humidity (cold high moisture)?

When I read the OP's description of his needs, merino wool occurred to me based on my personal experience with merino in cold, wet conditions.

I really like lightweight and mid-weight merino because it provides great warmth in cold, wet conditions, especially when layered, but it's also comfortable in mild conditions with insignificant (at least if lightweight merino) weight penalty.

But I don't know anything about that term you used ("moisture regain") and wonder if that quality is the reason why I like merino for cold humid conditions.

I googled "moisture regain" and found the following definition in an article that evaluated bison hair as an insulating fiber (hey, now that's innovative, although maybe not for native Americans!):

"Moisture regain of bison wool ranged from 13 to 20 percent. This is a broader range than that of sheep's wool, which ranges from 14 to 16 percent. Moisture regain is a measure of the amount of moisture a fiber will hold without feeling wet and is used to understand the comfort level of a fiber. The more moisture a fiber will hold, the more comfortable it is to wear."

If merino is your recommendation for the OP's needs in cold, wet conditions, it may be that one downside is weight insofar as that's a factor for the OP, but a "penalty" I'm willing to bear.

A merino wool top that has "warmth" (insulation value) equal to the warmth of a given down or synth top is going to weigh more than the down/synth top for the equivalent warmth provided.

Or not very much weight difference perhaps -- especially for the warmth retained by merino wool compared to a soaked down or synth garment.

Edited by JRScruggs on 01/21/2012 02:03:26 MST.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Your Reference to Bison Fur and Wool Were Measured Using the D1909 Standard on 01/21/2012 16:11:30 MST Print View

NO; in cold high moisture environments it is the worst.

The D1909 standard is a test done at 65% RH and 70F. The D2674 Standard, done at 100% RH, results in wool's moisture regain of ~30% as I stated in the my earlier post to this thread.

Natick scientists expressly prohibit any branch of the US Armed Services, including the Special Forces, from using wool as a base layer. Roger Caffin is BY FAR the most knowledgeable person on the BPL forums relative to the characteristics of wool... he also doesn't use wool as a base layer.

Chris Jones
(NightMarcher) - F
Cold and Wet on 01/23/2012 08:29:22 MST Print View

Actually, tonight's weather is what I had in mind when I wrote the OP: 0°C, Light Snow, Wind: N at 21 km/h, Humidity: 95%

Per Richard N's post, I will try wearing synthetic base layers to see if that makes a difference.

Edited by NightMarcher on 01/23/2012 08:32:03 MST.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: Your Reference to Bison Fur and Wool Were Measured Using the D1909 Standard on 01/23/2012 11:34:07 MST Print View


Thanks for the clarification about wool.

I'll check out articles Roger has written for more info on wool. Already found one of his articles (Lightweight gear for long-distance hiking) which didn't say much about wool, but he does discuss "wool vs synthetic" in the comments.

So far, my search also turned up this old article by Alan, Will, and Don comparing wool & synthetic:

The three testers wore hybrid shirts -- half wool (Smartwool microweight) and half synthetic (Patagonia lightweight capiline) -- under a variety of conditions.

Here's a photo showing Will wearing the hybrid shirt:

BPL photo of hybrid shirt

Thanks again for info.

Edited by JRScruggs on 01/23/2012 11:54:29 MST.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Your Reference to Bison Fur and Wool Were Measured Using the D1909 Standard on 01/23/2012 11:38:01 MST Print View

"Natick scientists expressly prohibit any branch of the US Armed Services, including the Special Forces, from using wool as a base layer."

I guess I'll have to pitch out all of my US Army-issue wool long johns (c.1970).


Mike Oxford
(moxford) - MLife

Locale: Silicon Valley, CA
Linky? on 01/23/2012 12:51:31 MST Print View

Attribution (link) on the US military prohibiting wool?

Because here's a press release from 2011 where they want more of it...



Edited by moxford on 01/23/2012 12:54:09 MST.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Linky? on 01/23/2012 13:09:40 MST Print View

There's a difference between what Richard said and how it's being interpreted. In any case: