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What is your winter layering system?
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Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: Re: Re: My planned layers on 10/29/2012 07:54:05 MDT Print View

yup- anything on the thin side, the base layer isn't really about warmth- it's "job" is to move moisture- much easier to do when it's thin, also much is easier to dry when it's thin

when I'm snowshoeing I often am only wearing a silkweight top and a windshirt even into the 20's and very often I'll have the windshirt open to vent out

in the winter it's paramount to stay dry as possible- some of it's means appropriate layers; but a lot of it is technique- starting out a little on the cool side knowing that you're going to warm up, shedding layers before they get soaked, venting w/ your shell, taking hat & gloves on/off, slowing your pace if you're sweating too much (this is a tough one for a lot of us :))


Locale: Western Michigan
Michigan Layering Example on 10/29/2012 12:04:01 MDT Print View

Temp 350 - 400 F Layering Model

ICEBREAKER 200 T SHIRT (0.3iclo)
DARN TOUGH (1714) 1/4 SOCKS (2.3oz/pr)

Temp 410 - 570 F Layering Model

DARN TOUGH (1714) 1/4 SOCKS (2.3oz/pr)

>>When I'm in a ACTIVE MODE, as in snowshoeing and xc skiing the layering is reduced to 150 weight wool Zip T Neck and wind shirt.
>>When I'm in a SEDENTARY MODE, as in a camp setting the high iclo clothing goes on...... NUNATAK SKAHA SWEATER (4.35iclo)(4.5oz/875fp/2.0oz overfill)& FEATHERED FRIENDS HELIOS PANTS (3.17iclo)(4.9oz/850fp) - (15.68oz)

Today's (29Oct2012) temperature was 36.70 F (Wind Speed if 14mph) when I left the house for a 3.1 mile walk and returned at a temp of 410 F. The Temp 250 - 400 F Layering Model above was themo-neutral (not uncomfortably cold or sweating).

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: Tahoe
Winter Layering on 01/10/2013 10:41:34 MST Print View

Reviving this thread with a few questions....

Do you ever remove/change your baselayers (top and bottom) during a trip or do you wear them the whole time and only adjust the other layers over them as necessary?

Do you only bring hardshells if you're expecting cold rain or wet snow? If temps are well below freezing it sounds like the hardshell is not necessary for top or bottom?

For those that use insulated pants like the Micropuff, when you're in camp is the DWR good enough to prevent them from getting wet when hanging out in the snow? I'm planning on using them this weekend to supplement my sleep system and was originally thinking about layering rain pants over them in camp to keep them dry, but I get the impression that this isn't necessary. I will have a foam pad to sit on.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Winter Layering on 01/10/2013 11:26:26 MST Print View


I never remove my base layer. Swap out insulating and shell pieces as necessary.

I bring a 6 ounce WP/B rain jacket as a hard shell. I use it if the weather decides to be weird and I get wet precipitation. I also use it for wind blocking.

For pants, I've been using a pair of insulated Columbia pants. They're heavy, but really durable and WP/B. I don't have to worry about them getting wet from crawling under my tarp or hanging around camp.

Richard Fischel
removing base layers and other questions on 01/10/2013 11:46:10 MST Print View

I do not remove my base layer (and seldom remove my pants even to sleep), which is typically a pair of Patagonia running tights or if (relatively) warm, just stretch woven soft-shell pants. On top it's a long sleeve, white, some variant of a dri-fit top.

For the Bottoms, I will layer over teh tights stretch-woven soft-shell pants. On top, after my base layer would be a power stretch hoodie followed by an epic fabric hooded wind shirt or a wild things hooded insulight jacket. my goal is to be cold when starting-out and cool after 10 to 15 minutes of activity.

Depending on how cold and other conditions I follow-up with a pata micro puff pullover, wild things belay jacket or a FF hooded volant. Bottoms are OR neoplume pants. My last layer can fit over all my lower layers combined and are meant for when stopped.

I consider all of my layers with the exception of my last top layer as part of my sleep system.

I almost never bring hard-shell pants and seldom bring a hard-shell top. Most of my mid/outer layers are epic shelled and that gives me pretty good protection towards the higher end of water resistance.

Edited by RICKO on 01/10/2013 11:57:18 MST.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: What is your winter layering system? on 01/10/2013 12:24:32 MST Print View

Here in California the conditions on a spring day can have an apparent temperature swing of 100F. I'm talking potential frostbite to heat stroke back to frostbite in 8 hours. At high altitudes, extreme solar radiation will bake and burn you, then when the sun goes down the temperature will drop 50 degrees in an hour. I finally seemed to have a system mostly dialed for a climb of Whitney last spring, where temps ranged from cool at the parking lot, to an apparent temperature (calm, intense solar radiation reflected off spring snow) of 80+, to single digits and windy on the summit. With an unlimited budget I would tweak this setup but not make major changes to the basic layering theme.

From the skin out- Top:
-Merino or Merino/Viscose blend T-shirt (about 200 gsm fabric)
-Railriders Regulator Wind Shirt. This shirt is 3 osy nylon which is wind resistant but breathes quite well- not nearly as wind resistant as a Houdini. It has zippered mesh side vents wrist to waist and high sun collar. Tan color. I sewed the rear yoke vent closed.
-Thin Merino Beanie. Keeps the sweat out of my eyes.
-Sun hat or climbing helmet.
-Lightly insulated leather gloves.
-Schoeller Dynamic pants (tough, stretchy, wind-resistant but breathe very well) (I wish they had thigh vents and were not black)
-Long Johns- none to either light 3 oz or heavy 6 oz grid Polartech PowerDry depending on what I expect conditions to be.

These first layers work well climbing up in calm to breezy conditions with extreme solar radiation. Say freezing/calm to 60F during exertion.

Cooler but still moving add:
-Fleece hoodie with thumbloops. If I expect it to be cold all day sometimes I put this under the Regulator shirt or leave the Regulator off. (Would like a Pat. R1 Hoodie but mine was only $25)
-Again, depending on expected temp I may add a long sleeve merino shirt or merino sweater vest ($5 at thrift store, Santorum style)
-Patagonia Houdini wind shirt if I'm sure there's no chance of liquid precipitation. Otherwise a Marmot Precip jacket.

At rest/backup warmth/extreme conditions:
-Puffy down jacket. (New Balance Fugu) I would rather have a hood.
-Lowe Alpine "Magma" Primaloft full-zip pants. Go right over the other pants without taking off boots.
-Thick fleece lined, shell outer "bomber hat". (Would prefer a good hood on the down jacket)
-Thick over-mittens, thin liner gloves.
-Windproof face mask & goggles.

Yes, there's some redundancy in this setup but the two wind-shirts are worth it in my mind. I have never found a puffy jacket to be comfortable on the move so I go with merino, fleece, and separate wind layers.

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: Tahoe
Re: Re: Winter Layering on 01/11/2013 13:42:43 MST Print View

Thanks for the replies. Makes sense....looking forward to testing it out this weekend.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Mostly Synthetics on 01/11/2013 17:48:32 MST Print View

Winter Layering - Depending on conditions:

1. Cabela's ECWCS Polar Weight Power Dry tops and bottoms (new, light, warm!)
or older polyester mid weight long johns, fleeced on inside.
2. polypro sock liners
3. thin polyester glove liners (for using camera)

1. wool or acrylic sweater and...
2. down jacket, or Thermolite insulated jacket (& pants for camp)
3. neoprene VBL sox (seam sealed)
4. thick pile glove liners or fleece for less frigid temps

1. eVent rain parka or GTX mountain parka
2. GTX pants (single layer nylon or Thinsulate insulated for sub-zero)
3. NEOS overboots W/ felt packs & insole inside or Scarpa 3 B-C ski boots
NOTE: Both boots have removable liners to keep feet warm in tent & at breakfast.
4. GTX glove shell or GTX mitten shell

1. Everest fleece lined knit wool Peruvian style hat
2. light wool XC hat
3. light fleece balaclava for sleeping

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Re: Re: Winter Layering on 01/11/2013 18:37:18 MST Print View

One or Two UA Tees
OR Centrifuge
OR Helium II

MB UL Vest
MB Thermawrap Pro

UA 3.0 Grid Fleece
OR Foray

OR Neoplume pants

Marmot beanie
OR Ninjaclava
OR Metamorph Gloves (Liz Taylor Inspired)

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Layering for the weather on 01/26/2013 22:24:04 MST Print View

As Tjaard said, I did not say WHICH of my "winter layers" I'd use because it all depends on the weather.

For example I'd wear light polyester long johns and the 2 layer nylon pants for warmer days - maybe even nylon summer hiking pants.

As it gets colder and/or windier I go to GTX clothes for my shell.

"Bitchy cold" (10F. down to zero F.)may mean 200 wt. fleece mid layer

For extreme cold (below zero F.) I would wear either Thinsulate insulated GTX ski pants or uninsulated GTX and Thermolite insulated mid layer pants under them.

Some days you want a light stocking cap, other days max warmth heavy hat and a face mask to avoid frostbite or for fast blowing snow, which also stings the face like he!!.

Some days light XC gloves, other days mittens and thick liners. In between, GTX glove shells & various weights of removavle fleece liners.

Matt F
(matt_f) - MLife
northern MN system on 01/26/2013 23:51:31 MST Print View

Typical northern MN/SHT daytime temps 0-25F

Top: 150-weight merino SS T-shirt, rab powerstretch half zip, Patagonia Houdini. I pack a Rab Neutrino Parka for camp, and a marmot essence rain shell (<7 oz). The Essence is helpful for extra wind resistance while moving if its really cold and for the worst conditions i can imagine: 33F and rainy.

Bottom: capiline boxers, cap 2 tights, softshell pants with gaiters. I also bring full zip synthetic puffy pants and full zip red ledge rain pants (see above).

Hands: Powerstretch gloves +/- big mitts clipped to my sternum strap. Extra fleece mitts in my pack.

Feet: liner socks, RBH vapor barrier socks, wool hiking socks and insulated Keen boots.

Head: varies: I pack a thin balaclava, a windproof balaclava and a fleece hat.

Pretty conventional, but so far this has worked great for me. I just add or peel off layers as needed without needing to stop to take boots off.


Edited by matt_f on 01/26/2013 23:56:47 MST.

Tjaard Breeuwer
(Tjaard) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota, USA
Warm enough? on 01/27/2013 17:57:41 MST Print View

Matt, are you warm enough touring-skiing in a short sleeve base layer, power stretch and windshirt at 0F?

I usually like a bit more than that for those cold days.

For example, last week, during the cold snap I did some track skiing at -5F, so much harder than I would for a full day/multi day trip, and I was just slightly to warm with my wool mesh long sleeve, power stretch top, Cioch jacket(equiv. to windshell + midweight base layer). I would have been perfect at a touring pace(but i am not in good shape).

Just realized that that was a class, so a lot of standing around.

This year we are having a great winter, so lots of chances to try out winter layers.

Now, wearing wool mesh base, 2nd light base layer and Cioch jacket (equivalent to midweight base layer and microfiber windshell) I have been warm enough at -10F --20F.
This is with no wind, if there was significant wind, I'd need a warmer set.

Edited by Tjaard on 01/06/2014 08:45:24 MST.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
33F and raining on 01/27/2013 18:22:15 MST Print View

I have to agree that's got to be one of the scariest conditions to be out in

Sean P Grady
South central AK on 02/03/2013 09:43:59 MST Print View

XC Skiing/hiking:

old, thin polypro top
boxer briefs - my legs are fine with these under Ferrosi pants down into the single digits.
liner socks

Mid, if necessary:
MH Desna Fleece
old, thin polypro long johns - single digits or lower
varried socks

Powerstretch anorak
OR Ferrosi pants

Extra insulation:
Brooks Range primaloft jacket, no hood
Brooks Range 800 fill hooded anorak
Patagucci micropuff pants

Hats vary, usually light fleece. I always bring a buff and a thin balaclava if it's below 15f.

The powerstretch anorak might get retired soon. I'm sold on the breathability, wind resistance, comfort and water resistance of the Ferrosi pants, so I picked up the Ferrosi jacket yesterday. I'm pretty sure the primaloft jacket and Desna fleece are somewhat redundant. I really wish I could have the features of both in a light insulation layer. The hooded collar on the Desna zips up to my nose, sort of a built in balaclava, which I've found to be a really useful feature. It just doesn't cut the wind or shed rain like the primaloft jacket and isn't quite as warm. I think the primaloft will end up getting left behind on colder trips and brought along in place of down on trips above freezing. I did not include my glove layering system as I still haven't figured it out yet. My hands fluctuate wildly while skiing from roasting and sweating out my gloves to me trying to windmill while skiing to warm them up and back again. All in the span of 30 minutes. It's a little annoying. I'm used to doing most of my winter travel on bike, with pogies, which is simple and easy and works for me. I'm considering some light pogies for my ski poles.

I'm new here, my name's Sean. It didn't look like there was an intro thread, so I just figured I would throw that in.

*edited to add head gear

Edited by anrothar on 02/03/2013 09:54:55 MST.

Matt F
(matt_f) - MLife
0 F on the move on 02/04/2013 19:10:33 MST Print View

Tjaard -

At 0 F I typically would start out wearing a SS base layer, power stretch, wind shirt, and light rain shell (marmot essence) as well as big mitts. Once i've been moving for ten minutes i can typically start to peel back layers, but it depends on wind etc. A couple weeks ago I was snowshoeing on the SHT in 5-10 F weather at the end of the day and had all of the above on but it was breezy, terrain was flat and i was a bit hungry, tired and mildly dehydrated. I find head insulation makes a huge difference. If I'm skate skiing all bets are off: i tend to sweat like crazy after about 10 minutes if i'm wearing what i would for typical snow shoe trips.

Glad to see more Minnesotans on BPL.


Edited by matt_f on 02/04/2013 19:12:15 MST.