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insulation panel for your core?
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just Justin Whitson
insulation panel for your core? on 01/29/2013 22:44:46 MST Print View

I've noticed that a number of people mention hiking with lightweight wind shirts and baselayers for most conditions, but who occasionally get cold because of changing conditions, rests, etc. I'm normally a sweater or fleece guy, but i do see the advantages to the above system especially when wind is stronger and i plan on experimenting with this more lightweight system. Throwing over a lightweight insulation jacket (whether down, or synthetic) seems ok, but may increase warmth too much especially during exertion, plus you have to take your pack on and off to do it.

What about removable insulation panels, just for your front and core. This is what i was thinking: get some thinner Climashield Apex material, cut it to size your front core (maybe coming up to your neck some?), sew some DWR treated silk or other lightweight type material around it. Your back is already extra insulated from your pack (and most likely already sweating heavily most of the time), and so if you get cold, just whip this out from a side pocket and slip it under your wind shirt and over your baselayer. Maybe sew a couple of loops on the top of it and your winshirt so you can easily fasten it (and permanently tie some dyneema cord onto it). Such a small and thinner piece of insulation, covered by a very light fabric, won't had much weight at all, but might make a considerable difference comfort wise and more importantly save you time and effort as compared to putting on a jacket?

It also could do double duty as a pillow.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: insulation panel for your core? on 01/30/2013 02:40:55 MST Print View

I was at a CHAOS (Cal Hiking And Outdoor Society) party at UC Berkeley and a Dutch grad student had ridden his bicycle from school. When it was time to go and the evening had cooled off and he asked for an old newspaper. He took individual sheets, crumpled them up, and stuffed them under his windbreaker, especially in the front. It struck me as very clever, effective, and completely free.

Transferring that to backpacking: You have various materials with you that could be used to create more insulation under a wind shirt. They include any extra clothes, your sleeping bag/quilt, ground tarp, tent fly / tarp. The nature of being UL is that we don't have all the extra stuff many people do, but I think some of the biggest payoffs are to use your day gear at night and night gear during the day. Sleep in your clothes, use your fly as daytime rainwear, etc.

The following thoughts aren't for normal use and aren't leave-no-trace: A variety of natural materials are insulating as well. broadleaf leaves, pine needles, forest duff, cattail fluff, grass, brush branches, etc. All of them are so heavy compared to modern synthetics, you wouldn't PLAN on using them. But if you found yourself in a bad way - benighted with a soaking wet down quilt, or 2 days away from the trailhead when a cold front moved in, you could keep yourself warmer and more comfortable in a pinch. Pine needle and forest duff, especially placed into plastic bags, can go under your wind layer or a tent/tarp/groundsheet. Your sleeping pad could be wrapped around your core. At rest or at night, you could cover yourself with branches, duff, pine needles, etc, which is MUCH more effective if you place that material between tarp and groundsheets ABOVE you.

Edited by DavidinKenai on 01/30/2013 02:42:19 MST.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: insulation panel for your core? on 01/30/2013 08:10:04 MST Print View

I just carry a 9oz Synethic vest to wear if I am cold while hiking.

just Justin Whitson
natural is cool on 01/30/2013 19:41:36 MST Print View

Hi David, thanks for the thoughtful and holistic reply. You're right, various things can be used to add insulation. I was thinking of a super UL trip wherein you're bringing the least amount of gear and clothing as possible--something i haven't tried yet, and yes a lightweight fleece or the like could be stuffed in there as well to do similar. However, the fleece will weigh more, and it comes down to, will you use the fleece or what not later on or not? If so, that would be the better choice to save weight.

Re: the natural stuff, good advice especially for true survival type situations.

Hi Stephen,

With your vest, do you just turn it around and put it over your arms while hiking, or do you take your backpack off to put it on? What i like about the insulation panel idea is that you don't have to stop hiking to do it, you just slip it under, and it will definitely weigh much less than 9 oz. With a very lightweight silk (which i have some extra of), Pertex, or Momentum (etc), and using 2.5 oz/sq yrd Climashield Apex, well for me and my short torso--this piece of gear should weigh no more than 2.5 oz. Even if i decided to make one for my back as well for resting periods, it would come to no more than 5 oz and that's still about half of the vest weight.

Plus you have the satisfaction of having made something yourself and for very cheap (perhaps i shouldn't assume you bought your vest premade though).

Tanner M
Re: insulation panel for your core? on 02/03/2013 12:22:40 MST Print View

Sounds like a good idea to me. If you have sewn other projects and have some scraps around, shouldn't really be any cost involved in trying it out... You might not get a lot of 'yeah' votes, though. It is a bit of an idea that will probably polarize people, i guess. But no reason not to try it.

In the past, i have tucked things in the sternum strap. This was mostly to block wind from the torso.

You mention loops on your pad or insert to connect it to the inside of a wind shirt. Loops make me think you consider tying it in place and that might be awkward. I might just connect the pad directly to the shoulder straps of the pack. The bottom could attach to the waist belt. Then, removing the thing is very easy. Like removing a hat from time to time. It might look like the fronts of the old US calvary uniforms. :)

You would need to see decide where the male and female velcro should go. If you would want to use velcro. Having the pad on top makes it vulnerable to wind. If it fits tightly enough, it shouldn't get pulled loose. If it is very windy and cold, you might have a different plan, anyway.

You mention 2.5 ounce weight insulation and that can be a lot for hiking. For me.. Even having another uninsulated layer of nylon would add some warmth. Air would be trapped between in the bit of gap created by the parmigiano to the shoulder straps and waist belt.

I can slip my shoulders out of the straps of my day pack and leave the waist strap connected. This let's me put on or take off a light layer. Vests are easy. The pack isn't full and might have water, few other clothes and/or several pounds of camera gear. I do this, sometimes, if i really don't feel like stopping. Trust of the waist belt buckle is necessary.

Edited by Tan68 on 02/03/2013 12:25:42 MST.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: insulation panel for your core? on 02/03/2013 13:15:22 MST Print View

I would just rig it to attach to your pack. Once you start putting it inside your windshirt, you might as well put on a light vest and ventilate as needed using full front zippers, which is exactly what I do (rarely). It has to be pretty cold if my base layer and windshirt aren't keeping me warm while hiking with a pack on. If I'm getting too warm with windshirt and base layer and I want more cooling than opening the zipper, I tuck the back up under my pack a bit. If you are consistently cold, I would look at warmer base layers.

just Justin Whitson
good points on 02/04/2013 16:49:41 MST Print View

Hi Tanner, you made some good points and you're probably right that 2.5 oz insulation is probably too much. I don't recollect seeing it thinner or lighter than that, but i could easily cut it half if i needed too. Yes, i do have some scrap material and have some basic sewing skills. I don't even really need more Apex material as i have some Kapok on hand and it's fairly warm and light and very hydrophobic (though it doesn't pack as well as down or even some synthetics).

Thanks for the suggestions.

just Justin Whitson
Thanks on 02/04/2013 16:53:35 MST Print View

Hi Dale,

Thank you for the suggestions. I suppose the best way to find out what i would prefer is to try both the vest and the panel at different times in similar conditions. The reason why i don't want a vest is because i really don't want that extra insulation on my back.

Though, if my UL external frame pack project gets finished and works decently, i suppose i then might need or at least want that back insulation!

Tanner M
Re: good points on 02/05/2013 03:37:52 MST Print View in Oregon sells 1.8 oz. They are quick. Other stores sell 1.8, of course. But i can't think of any other names. There have been threads here requesting info on stores that sell stuff like this. If you like, you might be able to hunt up stores by searching for that type of thread.

The 1.8 Rainshed has is quite thin... I bought a good bit of 1.8 a couple years ago and it was thicker and nice and fluffy. Used it for a lot of stuff. Quilting really isn't necessary for the 1.8

The new stuff is very thin an not very fluffy. I figure 1.8 from other stores is the same... I have thought about starting a new thread to ask if anyone knows where the old type is available..

Good luck.

Oh, the 1.8 is Primaloft but it is easy to work with;it is pre-quilted. There is scrim on each side and it is, relatively, heavier than other weights of insulation. But you aren't using much. Other weights of Primaloft are not pre-quilted.

The older 1.8 i had also had lighter weight scrim than the new. I miss my old 1.8 oz Primaloft...

Edited by Tan68 on 02/05/2013 03:42:33 MST.

just Justin Whitson
Thank you on 02/13/2013 22:30:35 MST Print View

Thank you for the further tips Tanner. I've decided that maybe it would be better to just bring my new 100 wt Aircore Polartec fleece pullover and stuff it up in the front if i happen to get cold. I could use that later when camped and throw a down vest on as well (& of course a windshirt of some kind) and be good down to the temps i'm likely to experience (low to mid 20's at night).