Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Looking for holes in my 3 season alpine/town list, with clo calculations.
Display Avatars Sort By:
Wilson Lee
(krazedout) - F
Looking for holes in my 3 season alpine/town list, with clo calculations. on 04/01/2012 18:44:47 MDT Print View

Hi everyone,

(Long post ahead!)

I've been working out an alpine/town layering system for 3 seasons and I would greatly appreciate it if the BPL community could help me see if there are any glaring oversights in the pieces I picked. :)

Basically, I'm looking to have 2 sets of clothing - one for moving, and one for rest stops. For reference, I run really hot and sweat when moving, but freeze when stopped. So I'm looking to maximize breathibility on my moving set while maximizing warmth on my rest set. I've also done some basic clo calculations to help me decide on pieces, although I'm not completely sure if they are correct. My target clo values were made using gross extrapolations from Richard's graphs in his "Best clothing combinations for backpacking" thread.

I expect to use this system mainly on climbs, but I'm hoping to be able to use this around town as well. I'm new to mountaineering but I intend on climbing rainier (Early June-ish) and orizaba (Mid Feb-ish) so I'm aiming to tailor my system towards these mountains first. However, I'm unsure what the temperatures are like on the mountains., so I've targeted a range of 5F to 50F.

Some other notes: I'm an asian male, 175lbs, 5'9" with a 41" chest and 35" waist. Euro brands generally don't fit me because their armholes are too small, while US brands tend to run too boxy in the waist for me. I currently have a Rab Photon in large which I rarely use. (I overheat in it if I start moving, and it only fits comfortably over a t-shirt.) I don't like the feel of pit zips, so I'm only limiting myself to shells without pit zips.

My main question is - Did I miss or mispick any piece of gear, and would these pieces be too warm for beginner mountains such as Rainier? From greg's comment, I was also wondering if synthetic/down pants are needed?

Without further ado, my system (Parenthesis indicate reason for picking gear):

Moving Set - Target clo: 1.5 clo ~7 MET climbing. (5F - 50F)

Hardshell: Westcomb Specter LT (Only wearing this when it's raining)
Torso Top Layer: Arcteryx Squamish (Picked for slightly higher cfm than the Houdini)
Torso Mid Layer: MEC T3 Stretch Hoody (Microgrid fleece, cheaper than R1) [0.32 clo]
Torso Base Layer: Icebreaker Merino LW 200 zip tee [0.2 clo]
Gloves: MH Epic
Bottom Base Layer: Midweight "Comfortrel" leggings (Cheaper version of powerdry) [0.27 clo]
Bottom Top Layer: REI Acme softshell pants

Total clo: 0.6 (Air pocket) + 0.32 + 0.2 + 0.27 = 1.4 clo

Questions: Richard's graph recommends 1 clo for 5F at 7 MET, but this seems a bit too low. Am I making this too warm by aiming for 1.5 clo instead?

Rest Set - Target clo:
1) 4 clo for 2 MET average talking/camp chores at 5F - 32F.
2) 2.3 clo for 2 MET average talking/camp chores at 32F - 50F.

Torso Top Layer (Layered over moving set on rest stops):
(For cold nights:) Montbell Frostline Parka (Layered over softshell.) [2.23 clo]
(For warm nights:) Montbell Thermawrap Pro (Nanopuff does not seem warm enough, but if the Rab photon is any indication, 100g/m2 PL1 is going to be too warm. I'm assuming this to be slightly warmer than PL1 60g/m2. Will layer this without softshell.) [1 clo]

MH Epic + BD Windweight gloves for warmer nights
MH Medusa Mitts + BD Windweight gloves for cold nights.

Total clo:
(Cold nights) 2.23 (Frost Line) + 1.4 = 3.63
(Warm nights) 1 (Thermawrap pro) + 1.4 = 2.4

Questions: I'm assuming that it'll be slightly warmer if I layer the down parka over my softshell - would this be right? Also, would anyone happen to know how Excelloft compares to Primaloft? I'm not sure if the Thermawrap pro will be too warm.

Thank you very much for going through such a long post! Your comments would be much appreciated. :)

Edited by krazedout on 04/01/2012 23:18:49 MDT.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Thoughts on 04/01/2012 19:54:48 MDT Print View

In the winter I dont understand the need for both a windshirt and a hardshell even whenactive. Just vent the zippers on each layer until you get to equilibrium. When i am moving i would usually just be in the T3.

For your static layer I think the range you need to cover is quite large. The 100g primaloft is probably good to around freezing with a base layer. For your colder trips i think you could leave it behind and use your T3 plus your parka. The lightweight poofy coat doesnt servevthat much purpose if you need to layer it but already are carrying a heavy active layer. Insteas of the lightweight poofy down pants would be more useful

I also dont understand the point of the torso midlaryer 2 squamish. It doesnt seem to add value to the system. Overall try to simplify and use garmets for both active and resting. I would look at something like this.

Soft shell outer layer or Hard Shell depending on your preference
T3 type mid layer
Down Parka
Base Layer.

Soft shell pants
Base Layer
Down Pants

All you add for resting is the down jacket and pants, the rest is reused

Select warmth to suit.

Edited by GregF on 04/01/2012 20:05:06 MDT.

(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
I'm confused on 04/01/2012 21:22:28 MDT Print View

So your looking for clothing to walk around town and also climb Rainier? That's like me saying I'm looking for clothing to wear to trader joes and also to hike the JMT in February, I am confused.

Clothing is like sleeping bags. If its 5F you need a 3 pound sleeping bag, if it's 50F you need a 10oz quilt. Adapt that to your clothing strategy.

Edited by KalebC on 04/01/2012 21:30:18 MDT.

Wilson Lee
(krazedout) - F
Some clarifications on 04/01/2012 23:19:53 MDT Print View

Thanks for the input so far!

Kaleb - Well, the main purpose of the gear is to use them while climbing, but I would like to be able to use them around town as well. Basically this means that I'm hoping to make a system versatile enough to handle heavy exertion and cold rest stops on the mountain, while also being able to handle light activities such as walking around town.

Greg - I read somewhere that taking off shells to put on a jacket will cause unnecessary heat loss, so I was thinking of just layering a down jacket over my moving set when I stop. (Hence me listing the squamish as a midlayer for rest stops.) I'm not sure if the heat loss from taking off a softshell is significant though.

Also, edited my post for a bit more clarity.

gmod d
Might help... on 04/02/2012 02:22:57 MDT Print View

I run similarly hot and here's my xc ski touring set up which is light and OK from about -15 to 40 if you're moving. It does a reasonable job of not letting me freeze to death when I stop too. If it isn't enough I either light a fire or hop in my sleeping bag, I unzip the foot box and wear it like a cloak to walk around. If it's stupidly cold, like -30, I'll add another pair of looser fleece pants under my shell pants. And yeah, I totally wear this stuff around town too. I wash it first if I've been wearing it for a week in the BC. Usually.

Mt Hardware Butter shirt quarter zip
100wt or 200wt fleece quarter zip shirt, regular fleece not one-side-smooth fleece. That's not as warm.
Arc'teryx ATOM LT Hoody for slow movement like ski touring on the flats in normal cold or all the time at colder temps (-20).
REI Ignitor Down jacket for stopping. This has good pockets for hand warming and a hood. It's warm, it's light and it's cheap.
I rarely bring a shell. If I did it would be whatever I own at the time the purchase of which is generally based on it having long enough sleeves for a tall skinny person and not being too heavy or expensive. Right now I have a stretchy Mt Hardwear one and it's fine but I wore it once this winter, maybe? More of a spring/ fall garment for me.

Silk weight long underwear
Polartec powerstretch tights.
REI Taku softshell pants.
SKHOOP insulated skirt, long primaloft version for stopping. NB: NOT fireproof! Insulated pants would undoubtedly be wamrer but I already own the skirt, it weighs nothing and it makes a good dog blanket at night.

Smartwool socks, just one pair for me no matter how cold. I'll go to overboots if my toes are freezing rather than risk blisters by stuffing my shoes/ boots with extra socks. So far I haven't ever needed to wear extra foot gear.
Integral Designs Hot Socks for sleeping. I use them as camp booties too and they work great for drying my wool socks out every evening.
Cheap fleece neck gaiter. I like it because it's tight. When it gets ice on the front, I rotate the ice to the back under my hair/ hood where it dries out. Otherwise you frostbite your cheeks- ask me how I know this!
Loki fleece hat, which converts to a face mask or gaiter if you need it to and also opens at the top to vent heat on warm days. I have the heavy weight one. Very good hat, highly recommend.
400wt fleece mitts for warm (>10) weather or moving fast. I think mine are OR brand.
Down or synthetic mitts for colder weather. They get horrendously funky so I buy whatever is on sale.
Chemical toe warmers. I stick these inside the mitts if I need to keep my hands warmer or I'm going to be taking my mitts on and off a lot. It says not to put them against bare skin but I've never had a problem. They only work marginally below 0 anyway.

And that's it. I'm usually wearing most of it, maybe carrying a couple pounds of clothing. Biggest problem I have is sweating into my boots or gloves and trying to dry them at night. Everything else works OK at this point.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Sqaumish as stopping Laryer on 04/02/2012 09:31:32 MDT Print View

My thought was that you don't need a special jacket dedicated to stops you can just use your parka for in camp.

I would have one jacket that is warm enough around camp that you can also toss on during rest stops. To have a dedicated item just for stops just seems to add extra weight.

I would agree that I would just toss it over top of whatever outer layer you are wearing at the time.

Wilson Lee
(krazedout) - F
Thanks for the input! on 04/05/2012 01:00:54 MDT Print View

Thanks for the input! Gillian - your list is really helpful. I'll probably add a pair of synthetic pants to my set and remove the thermawrap except for town use.

One small (And some might say laughable) concern though - I'm wondering if wearing black colored gear would significantly increase warmth during the day?

gmod d
Black Pants on 04/05/2012 16:02:08 MDT Print View

Yes color matters does! I usually buy med/light colored pants for alpine bc skiing because otherwise you bake yourself climbing in the sun. Even in cold temps. Conversely my cold weather down jacket is black and is noticeably warm in the sun.

I'm not familiar with the Thermawrap but if it's anything like my ArcTeryx jacket (lightly insulated with breathable panels) you might keep it. That jacket has been incredibly versatile and has seen constant wear since I bought it last fall. Just my $0.02

Wilson Lee
(krazedout) - F
A Glove Conundrum on 04/11/2012 22:56:40 MDT Print View

So I went out and tried on some gloves to see how layering gloves feels like - previously, I've always been using single pairs of gloves until now. Unfortunately I have massive hands and I found that I needed to take an XL in glove liners, and it turned out that XL shell gloves were too tight for me to layer over the liners. (I tried an XL Mountain Hardwear Epic glove over the XL OR versaliners.)

I am unsure on how to solve this conundrum - I was thinking of just sticking to single gloves, or perhaps buying 'bomber gloves' (E.g. OR Alti gloves) and replacing their liners when they get wet.

For instance, in the context of simple ascents (E.g. no ice-climbing), between these two systems, which one would you go with?

1. 2x OR Stormtracker gloves (Swapped when one gets wet) + RBH Mitts (Layered Over if cold)

2. OR alti-glove (Liners removed if unsatisfactory) and 2x powerstretch liners (Swapped when liners get wet) + MLD Shell mitt

Thank you!

Edited by krazedout on 04/12/2012 00:05:18 MDT.