What is your winter layering system?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
What is your winter layering system? on 10/24/2012 08:10:56 MDT Print View

I've never had reason to question my winter clothing system for Michigan's predictable winters. However, reading Dave C's recent article and some of the older links got me wondering if others were doing something radically different, particularly for harsher conditions.

Here is my system:

Wool base layer hoodie
R1 fleece pullover
Patagonia houdini
Once temps are below 20 F, these are worn almost all the time. Might take off the houdini if overheating.

Insulation:
Synthetic jacket (nanopuff)
Down sweater (skaha)
I'll wear the synthetic for light camp chores, and the down on top when at rest. Using two pieces allows me to extend the use of 3 season gear (ie too cheap to buy a proper parka), and gives me some flexibility with insulation for light activities or if getting too hot when sleeping.

Lower body:
Base layer and stretchwoven pants. Just about never need to modify this.

This system works well for Northern Michigan winters (consistently below freezing, no rain, lots of lake effect snow, not ridiculously windy), and I've been comfortable down to -20F nighttime temps. Just wondering what others are using and why. What is your proven system?

Scott Pickard
(gon2srf)

Locale: Southern California
Re: What is your winter layering system? on 10/24/2012 14:30:10 MDT Print View

Ike-

My system is similar to yours.

Patagonia long sleeve cap 2 base
Patagonia R1 hoody
Patagonia Nano Puff
Stoic Vaporshell
Zpacks Goosedown Hood

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: winter layering on 10/25/2012 08:08:20 MDT Print View

Again, my setup is similar to Ike's.

120 g/m wool t-shirt
Cap 4 Hoody (which is absolutely brilliant)
Windshirt of one kind or another (I've got an old Epic shirt to which I'm going to add a fox fur ruff)
Tights
Softshell pants

When it's really cold I also bring a light synthetic puffy and a massive down jacket (MEC Reflex). The syn is good for moving when it's very cold, chores, and has the added bonus of keeping moisture which evaporates out of my clothing from getting into the down parka. I use Micropuff pants as well, the full side zips are very nice.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Winter layering on 10/25/2012 08:23:15 MDT Print View

What initiated this thread was that old RJ article describing a 3 layer system consisting of vapor-rise, softshell jacket, and large synthetic puffy. Got me wondering if I was missing something. Is anyone using stretch woven shells or other protection heavier than a windshirt (for snow, not rain)?

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Re What is your winter layering system? on 10/25/2012 13:49:51 MDT Print View

For activity, my winter layering system looks like this:

Base layers:
1 pair heavy weight merino wool socks
1 synthetic bra/panties
1 pair quick-dry synthetic (nylon) pants
1 150 or 200 weight merino wool long sleeve shirt

Outer layers:
Windproof/water resistant snow pants (weight depends on activity and weather)
Windproof/water resistant shell (weight depends on activity and weather)
Vents are an absolute must- I won't buy outerwear that doesn't have venting. I also prefer built in gaiters on my pants.
Vest
Boots (type and insulation level depend on activity and weather)
Gloves (Arctery'x SV Alpha)
Beanie or light balaclava

I generally carry stuffed away in my pack a heavier 300 weight merino sweater, a puffy layer, extra socks, and a heavy weight balaclava also because I tend to not use a lot of layers when I'm moving actively. If I have to stop or hunker down for some reason, I want more layers to stay warm. If it's really cold I'll add synthetic long underwear bottoms to my base layers but my legs rarely get cold.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: Winter layering on 10/25/2012 14:18:40 MDT Print View

"What initiated this thread was that old RJ article describing a 3 layer system consisting of vapor-rise, softshell jacket, and large synthetic puffy. Got me wondering if I was missing something. Is anyone using stretch woven shells or other protection heavier than a windshirt (for snow, not rain)?"

The three layer system is exactly what I use in Colorado in the winter.

1] Base Layer - R1 Hoodie
2] Mid Layer - Soft Shell (Mammut Ultimate Hoodie)
3] Outer Layer - Heavy Insulation (First Ascent Igniter which has 100g of Primaloft)

This setup allows me to never have to exchange layers. The Mid Layer is only added when winds pick up or it's snowing or very cold. The outer layer only goes on when I am stopped or if the combination of wind and cold is significant.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: heavy windshirts on 10/26/2012 07:47:55 MDT Print View

"Is anyone using stretch woven shells or other protection heavier than a windshirt (for snow, not rain)?"


I do think for colder wind a heavier fabric which is less easily deflected can be good. The epic shirt I mentioned is an old Patagonia Essenshell which weighs around 9 oz stripped down. Under harsher conditions I prefer it to a standard ~4 oz windshirt.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
similar as well on 10/26/2012 08:04:12 MDT Print View

my winter system is similar- cap 1 ls top, cap 4 hoody (this replaced my R1 hoody) and a windshirt for on the move (can shed either the windshirt or hoody depending on conditions)

softshell pants w/ cap 1 bottoms

insulation- if it's a little warmer, but on the wetter side I'll bring my nanopuff pullover, little cooler MB Alpine Light parka- really cold- both :)

I always carry a balaclava and over/under mitts, but typically wear a light beanie and light gloves on the move

Misfit Mystic
(cooldrip)

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
Winter layering on 10/26/2012 09:06:44 MDT Print View

My winter layers can vary quite a bit. As You've experienced before Ike, the weather in my neck of the woods can be quite variable, from warm and sunny to heavy, wet snow with a low ceiling. Lots of freeze/thaw cycles, so the ice creates a need for durability.

I have a "quiver" from which I choose pieces depending on expected conditions. My winter trips are usually shorter, 3-4 days, so I usually have very accurate forecasts at my disposal.

Tops:

--Cap 2 Longsleeve
--Cap 4 Hoody

I usually wear these if conditions will be below 40F

--Fleece vest WS front/100 wt back
--100 wt fleece pullover

I wear one or both of these as layering pieces when on the move in conditions from 25F-0F. The vest in particular is nice as it is effective when layered both over or under my windshirt.

--Houdini windshirt

Always. Most used piece of gear.

--Shell. About to order a Montbell Torrent Flier, 9 oz. Paclite, pitzips. Hope the hood works for me.

I always carry a hardshell in winter; it's not uncommon to have rain and temps just above freezing in my locale.

--Montbell Mirage Parka
--Arcteryx Atom LT Hoody

Haven't used the Montbell yet, hopefully it and the Atom in conjunction will provide me with lots of options.


Bottoms:

--Cap 2 briefs
--Cap 2 tights

Much like the tops, these are pretty much always worn if it's below 40F.

--Powerstretch tights

If it's going to be really cold, I'll use these instead of the Cap 2 tights.

--REI Sahara convertible pants

I wear these year round, they work well to cut wind, they're breathable and durable. I zip off the lower legs when it warms up, allowing my gaiters to keep my calves dry.

--Marmot Precip full-zip shell pants

Again, I always carry shells. These allow some venting and also make it easy when I'm wearing snowshoes or microspikes.

--Arcteryx Atom LT pants

I use these in camp and to supplement my sleeping bag, though the full-zips allow them to be used for layering. I've ner had conditions that cold, and don't want to!

Charles P
(mediauras)

Locale: Terra
Re: similar as well on 10/26/2012 15:17:33 MDT Print View

Hey Mike M,

I'm curious. Your regular base system plus MB Alpine Light, how cold will you take that? I bought an MB AL this summer and wil use it during winter activities, but have yet to be in temps colder than low 40s with it.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: Re: similar as well on 10/26/2012 20:04:50 MDT Print View

I'm comfortable into the low 20's and probably even a little lower- that's w/ a base layer/midlayer/windshirt and appropriate head/hand/feet coverings- I run a little on the warmish side

if it's going to be colder yet, I'll throw in the nanopuff as well- I'll be honest if it's too cold, I usually elect not to venture out :)

Charles P
(mediauras)

Locale: Terra
Re: Re: Re: similar as well on 10/27/2012 12:45:21 MDT Print View

Awesome, thanks for the info. Looking forward to using the jacket in some cold temps! (If they ever come, I'm in the Bay Area, and after a week of fall weather we're back to wearing tee-shirts.)

Nick Brown
(ojsglove)

Locale: Highland Park
Nanopuff vs. exlight on 10/27/2012 19:52:40 MDT Print View

Mike, or anyone else for that matter,

How does layering your Micropuff under your MB Alpine Light work for compression of the garments? I think I read in the past you have a MB Exlight. I was wondering if the loft and compression of the Micropuff would be similar to layering the Exlight and Alpine Light the same way?

Thanks!

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: Nanopuff vs. exlight on 10/28/2012 08:31:30 MDT Print View

Nick- yup, both the exlight and nano are relatively thin and the Alpine Light is cut a little roomy, so it works very well for either. That's definitely something you do want to mindful of when combining insulating garments.

MIke

Nick Brown
(ojsglove)

Locale: Highland Park
Thanks on 10/28/2012 18:19:40 MDT Print View

Thanks, Mike.

Planning on using my exlight and Alpine light in conjunction this winter. Was curious how the synth matched up. I get a little compression of the exlight in the sleeves but figure it's not enough to cause a lack of insulating value.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: Thanks on 10/28/2012 18:35:49 MDT Print View

I think you'll have good luck w/ that combo :)

Yes 1000
(mamamia)
My planned layers on 10/28/2012 19:49:18 MDT Print View

Patagonia Cap 3 upper.
REI polartec lower long underwear
Patagonia R1 (when moving and cold)
FA Serrano insulated jacket when in camp
Patagonia Torrent shell as my hard shell
Patagonia Torrent shell pants.


I think this should be fine for Oregon rain hikes and backpacking, however I haven't tried this combination yet.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: My planned layers on 10/29/2012 07:28:51 MDT Print View

my experience is that the thinner the base layer the better (this is the layer that has to move moisture), I have a few Cap 3 pieces and they are relegated to mid-layer duties

Yes 1000
(mamamia)
Re: Re: My planned layers on 10/29/2012 07:36:03 MDT Print View

You mean something like silk weight caps?

Brendan Swihart
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
Re: Re: Re: My planned layers on 10/29/2012 07:49:31 MDT Print View

I'm with Mike--you want something thin and light as your first layer regardless of season. I use a short sleeve tee as my first layer year round. I use merino 1 for cooler weather and Arcteryx Motus (similar to cap 1 but quite a bit more breathable) for warmer. You want your base layer to wick and dry quickly.