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Shell layer for over down layer for big and tall?
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Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
Shell layer for over down layer for big and tall? on 01/23/2012 11:26:41 MST Print View

I have always had an issue in that since I am so big and tall the only ‘shell’ that will fit over my down layers in winter is a DriDucks in their biggest size, XXL. Is there anything else I should be looking at that might work?

Bobby Pack
(Piddler) - MLife

Locale: West Virginia
Re: Shell layer for over down layer for big and tall? on 01/23/2012 11:59:08 MST Print View

You might try the First Ascent BC-200. The sleeves have volume that is suitable for layering and they come in tall sizes.

Edited by Piddler on 01/23/2012 12:00:20 MST.

Mike Oxford
(moxford) - MLife

Locale: Silicon Valley, CA
B&T on 01/23/2012 12:17:57 MST Print View

Well, you don't really say how big or tall you are so it's hard to help.

One thing you may consider is dropping your baselayer a bit -- go with a light down-sweater instead of a big puffy and then put a normal XXL over it.

Hard to say without measurements, but I'm in kind of the same boat (6'6" 240") and I can get by with a down-sweater in XXL and then a cheapie XXL shell over the top. If I put on my big poofie things get really tight. :)

I've had a light LS merino shirt + mid-weight merino sweater + wind jacket down to 32F while running and was a bit too warm. Put a down-sweater over the base-layers and you're probably good (I had a fleece+big poofie while up all night at the Rose Parade in ~38 degree weather, just sitting in a chair and wasn't cold and the merino+merino is superior to the fleece (IMHO) but then you have less poofie so it's something you'll want to experiment with a bit.


Edited by moxford on 01/23/2012 12:24:43 MST.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
big and tall. on 01/23/2012 12:24:01 MST Print View

I am about 6'5" and 230#s. The FA stuff does not work because the sleeves are not wide enough. As for XXL shells, I am already there wearing a XXL down layer. As for less of a puffy down jacket, that kind of defeats the purpose of staying warm but I can look into it.

Edited by bpeugh on 01/23/2012 18:42:50 MST.

Mike Oxford
(moxford) - MLife

Locale: Silicon Valley, CA
Staying warm on 01/23/2012 12:28:15 MST Print View

You're putting the shell on under the jacket?

Putting it over the top helps with wind/water and will keep you warmer due to that (keeping the wind from penetrating the down layer even more) and trapping more air between the poofie and the shell.


Edited by moxford on 01/23/2012 12:31:29 MST.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Shell layer for over down layer for big and tall? on 01/23/2012 12:33:51 MST Print View

I used a DriDucks poncho last week during a wet day of trail work. I was amazed that I was able to stay dry underneath. I'm sold on this fabric. I just ordered the suit. Since the jacket is too tight for you, perhaps you'll want to try the poncho with a belt or cord to keep it from flapping around.

Mike Oxford
(moxford) - MLife

Locale: Silicon Valley, CA
One last side note on 01/23/2012 12:42:07 MST Print View

Try it with a cheapie down sweater first, before you drop cash on good layers, to make sure you like it.
I think I paid $30 for this one at Ross (ZeroXposur) in XXL. It's not nearly as good as my big Mont-bell jacket (and doesn't have zipper pockets, or a hood or anything) but ... it was $30 and surprisingly versatile.

I got the merino off discount sites like and, while it's not cheap, man I'm a believer.

The stuff is amazing -- I've put a lot of workouts into these and they don't smell. At all. No weird funk. Nothing. I'm trying to see just how long before I have to wash 'em just to find out how long before I can feel/smell/see/anything a difference. It may be kinda gross, but I gotta know. Completely. Amazing. Stuff.


Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: Shell layer for over down layer for big and tall? on 01/23/2012 13:30:45 MST Print View

Check LL Bean. XXL in tall for a few shells, including gore-tex. Their sizing is usually more generous than the high-end gear labels.

Jonathan Whitney
(WalksOn2Wheels) - F
Re: Shell layer for over down layer for big and tall? on 01/23/2012 21:07:07 MST Print View

As a tallish person myself, I had good luck with the Marmot Aegis rain jacket. Actually bought it primarily as a rain jacket for cycling. I'm 6'2" and about 210-215 pounds. The size large Aegis is long enough on the back and in the sleeves on me to not ride up in an aggressive riding position on the bike and the cuffs have some velcro to adjust the openings, but are really wide on the largest setting. My size large REI Spruce Run jacket (lightweight Primaloft) fits fine underneath it. If I had a REALLY puffy jacket, it would be a tighter fit. But, something like a Patagonia nano puff would be fine.

All that to say: maybe go try on some Marmot jackets and see how they fit. I found the cut for my size to be plenty long and roomy for layering.

EDIT: Link to jacket:,303

Edited by WalksOn2Wheels on 01/23/2012 21:12:29 MST.

Adam Klagsbrun
(klags) - MLife

Locale: Northeast US
Why put the shell over the down layer? on 01/24/2012 09:40:27 MST Print View

Maybe I'm missing something here, but why would you want to put your shell over the down layer? I've never encountered conditions where it was so cold that I needed down, and yet it was so warm that it could rain. Those two things should never happen at the same time :) So my suggestion to you is to rethink the layering. For example, if it were really cold enough for you to wear a down jacket while moving around, snow would be falling. Most down jackets use at very least, a DWR coating, or some kind of pertex or water resistant fabric. My best suggestion to you is to wear your shell under the down jacket and over your mid layer. Most of the time during winter sports use in the NE USA you would carry your down jacket on your pack or at the top of your pack and put it on in higher altitudes when things start getting crazy. Personally I would never use down under any layers at all. Why? Because first off, it is sensitive to sweat. Washing down is a pain in the ass. So why put your down in between your sweat and your breathable layer, where the sweat is forced through the down and held in at least somewhat by your shell layer? Instead, you could have it on the outside, only putting it on in the coldest temps, and therefore not only reducing the amount of sweat and body oils getting all over your down layer, but also making it unnecessary to use in all but the most cold conditions. I normally wear long underwear, a sythetic midlayer like a fleece or synthetic down-style jacket, and then put on my shell if the weather is bad. You shouldn't need shell protection over your down. Is there more I'm not understanding that should be explained in your use of a down jacket?

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
See Mike's Post on 01/24/2012 10:17:26 MST Print View

What Mike said.

Adam Klagsbrun
(klags) - MLife

Locale: Northeast US
What Mike Said on 01/24/2012 10:36:52 MST Print View

Not sure if you mean to point out that Mike said its warmer to have the shell on top, or when mike said to use a thinner layer. I would agree that if you want to layer down underneath, you should use a thinner down layer. But I still vehemently disagree with wearing down under a shell. I think you would be much better off with a synthetic mid layer, something like the RAB xenon:

While the down WM flash jacket is only 9 oz vs the 12 from the RAB jacket or something similar, and I love my flash down jacket, I prefer to use it as a shoulder season warm layer and to wear the synthetic jacket while hiking. I find the down loses loft after you sweat through it for a day or two. Not a problem if you don't mind washing it after each hike, but definitely a potentially big problem when it is cold out on the trail. I only use down in the form of a larger expedition style parka on top of all my other layers when reaching tree line or on days where its frigid. I've never needed the warmth of down while moving quickly, and find it is not worth damaging it. Finally, if you use a down midlayer often and wash it often, expect to shorten its life or decrease its loft with not much use or time at all. I have given up using down mid layers for this reason. It was just too expensive and time consuming compared to sythetic, and all that work was worth an extra 3 ounces to me. You can probably find a lighter synthetic layer than mine, I got it as a gift so I didn't get a chance to research and buy the lightest one.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
Marmot XLT on 01/24/2012 10:40:05 MST Print View

I put my Marmot PreCip in size XLT over the outside of my warmth layer(s) because it blocks wind and such, even when it's not raining. In fact, it's usually not raining.

I'm 6'5", 240lb and the Marmot XLT fits great. Now, the longest Marmot pants are still hilariously short, but that's another story.

Adam Klagsbrun
(klags) - MLife

Locale: Northeast US
Wind on 01/24/2012 10:48:57 MST Print View

Down parkas are usually windproof, or at very least, wind resistant. Down sweaters are another story. But again, I don't use down as a mid layer. When winter comes around the only down I've got is a larger down parka and it never lets the wind through. And again, if you wear your down on top of the shell, no wind gets through to your body anyway. I've never had problems with this system and it allows me to own one shell that doesn't look like a sumo suit during the rest of the year.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Down parka fabric not stiff enough for heavy wind on 01/24/2012 11:00:03 MST Print View

I have found that light down parkas do not have a stiff enough shell fabric in heavy
wind. The material billows and pumps out the warm air. When I put a WPB shell over the
outside, I am much warmer.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
you need it over for the wind block. on 01/25/2012 06:58:14 MST Print View

Exactly what David said. Here is my layering list and my thoughts.

Wicking T
Dress shirt
Pat Houdini
Pat R2
GoLite Tumalo

This will usually do me to about freezing but I should probably get a light synthetic jacket for when I stop.

Now for below freezing I use a Montbell Alpine Down Jacket paired with a Nunatak Down Balaclava. Not the light version but the one that has over 6 ounces of down. Very warm down to -10F when stopped which it will get to around here. Also, none of the jackets mentioned so far will fit over it but the DriDucks in the XXL so I am probably just stuck and going to have to have to use them.

martin cooperman
(martyc) - M

Locale: Industrial Midwest
Wearing a shell OVER down on 01/25/2012 07:32:03 MST Print View

Yes, I also concur with David.
Several reasons for a breathable shell over a down garment.
The air space trapped between the down jacket and the shell provides added insulation that works to your benefit. Richard Nisely has written about this authoritatively.
The shell (especially something inexpensive like the DriDucks) protects the expensive jacket from inadvertent snags and tears (e.g. gathering wood for a camp fire).
The shell, again inexpensive, absorbs the pin-hole damage from fire sparks.
The shell pants allow you to sit on damp or frozen and perhaps thawing surfaces without getting down pants wet.
And, lastly, and I what I most like, a huge DriDucks jacket allows room for stashing my frozen trail sneakers (in plastic bags) against my chest, thawing them while cooking breakfast, ready for wearing 1/2 hour later.
Marty Cooperman
Cleveland, Ohio

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
spray on wind barrier? on 01/27/2012 14:28:31 MST Print View

I was thinking today if there was a spray or treatment I could use that would create more of a wind barrier that I could spray on the outside of the Montbell Alpine Down Jacket to cut the wind down going through it.