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Fleece reconsidered
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just Justin Whitson
Re: Re: Re: Fleece reconsidered - in your pants on 04/09/2013 15:55:11 MDT Print View

Thank you for the further info Bogs.

Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: Fleece reconsidered on 04/09/2013 17:24:36 MDT Print View

I’ve never had the problem of my softshell not breathing. I’ve enjoyed the 11oz Montbell Action Thermawrap. It’s lighter than a midweight fleece, warmer than a midweight fleece, compacts more than a fleece, and almost breathes as easy as a fleece. This jacket performs well in high endurance activities liking hiking up a mountain or biking.

I also bring a 3.5oz Marmot hooded wind jacket. The 2 combined easily keep me warm at 25F sitting. I’m done with fleece.

I’m still wondering if my Action Thermawrap breathes as well as today’s regular Therrmawrap… because after 7 years of harsh use, my zipper, and some stitching is giving up the ghost.


Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: Fleece reconsidered on 04/09/2013 20:34:05 MDT Print View

All you mountain people need to realize that here in the uber flat flatlands, one simply does not generate enough heat in the deep fall through early spring to hike WITHOUT insulation. Unless I'm out for a run, regular ole' hiking here in the Midwest just is too easy. And now with a pack that weighs less than your average child's school bag, frankly going on a backpacking trip is not much more physically challenging than walking to the liquor store on the corner. And for that I need more insulation than a fleece.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Fleece on 04/09/2013 21:44:10 MDT Print View

"All you mountain people need to realize that here in the uber flat flatlands, one simply does not generate enough heat in the deep fall through early spring to hike WITHOUT insulation"

Just to clarify, my point is not that fleece is the ultimate piece of clothing , but rather that I personally think fleece still has a place in the outdoor person's tool kit. Fleece is often ignored in favor of "sexier" options that may not work as well.

I am glad the gentleman above found a layer that works for him, but I find I just swelter in any kind of puffy insulation in all but the coldest, driest conditions. I wore a thermawrap in -12f with fierce winds...but otherwise never wore it while Nordic skiing. Fleece had worked wonderfully for me. In similar conditions this past year (Chaco Canyon over Christmas) though, I was more comfortable in my favorite wool/acrylic blend sweater with my fleece over it. Found it breathed better. Then there is the moisture problem that I find to be the bane of all puffies. But I also generate a lot of heat when moving, too. The sweat just passes better through a fleece when I am in conditions where I have to wear a piece of insulation constantly.

Of course, everyone is different. My system just happens to be the best for me. :) My wife actually hikes and skis in her puffy. She also lets me know when my beater gear is getting perhaps a tad too beat... ;)

Edited by PaulMags on 04/09/2013 23:10:04 MDT.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: Fleece reconsidered on 04/09/2013 21:58:03 MDT Print View

+1 on Jennifer's flatlander corner store booze march post.

just Justin Whitson
Re: Fleece on 04/09/2013 22:25:21 MDT Print View

And, adding to what Paul just said, while fleece is kind of heavy, personally i don't count any on skin weight except for possibly heavy footwear. So if you're mostly wearing it, it's ok, and if not, tie it around your waist instead of putting in your pack. Saves on pack volume and pack weight.

I think it's the height of silliness and anal retentiveness to count on skin weight.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Re: Re: Fleece reconsidered on 04/09/2013 22:54:19 MDT Print View

everyone has different metabolisms

im a sweaty male pig that drips more than a middle age geezer in the middle of a mid life crisis in a strip bar ... even when walking briskly to get my alcoholic fix

everyone has different systems ... whatever works for em

but when yr cold and constantly wet, you arent worrying about the weight of a fleece

its bery bery interesting how far weve come in the last few years ... i remember when anyone who used a fleece here was shouted down as being "heavy" and scorned ;)

just Justin Whitson
Re: Re: Re: Re: Fleece reconsidered on 04/09/2013 22:59:27 MDT Print View

And thusly the Force maintained balance ; )

(or is it, "And thus balance was maintained in the Force?")

Edited by ArcturusBear on 04/09/2013 23:23:42 MDT.

Daniel Fish

Locale: PDX
... on 04/09/2013 23:10:53 MDT Print View


Edited by on 06/10/2013 10:11:01 MDT.

just Justin Whitson
Re: Lands End Fleece on Sale on 04/09/2013 23:33:48 MDT Print View

Hi Daniel,

Yeah, the Polartec Aircore stuff is nice. It's supposedly 20% warmer per weight than their last seasons regular micro fleece because of the inclusion of hollow fibers. I have the men's large PAC partial zip, 100 wt pull over "jacket" and like it. My wife has the boy's XL PAC fleece 200 weight hoody, full zip jacket which fits her nicely (she's curvy and a bit under 5' 10") and seems a bit female fitted almost. We also have some of their socks, which i have experimented with using as minimalist footwear wherein i glazed the bottom with silicone adhesive (plus there are built in little rubberish bumps that help with traction). And i have a pair of the 200wt gloves as well, which i like.

As far as fleece goes, i really like the Polartec Aircore stuff. Started a thread about it back in December and Konrad and i listed some weights. Off the top of my head, i believe the first jacket i mentioned was 9 oz in the size large, the 2nd was 16 oz and some change (that's with a hood, full zip, and pockets), and the gloves were 3.3 oz in medium i believe.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
shells, "softshells" and fleece on 04/09/2013 23:34:25 MDT Print View

I love a good GTX Pro Shell or an eVent shell. They breathe well and keep the wind out well.

A "softshell" usually isn't much of a shell for keeping wind out and mine (Gore Windstopper) isn't very warm. Too much weight and not enough performance.

My ancient (18 year old) Polartec 300 fleece is still very warm under a good WPB hardshell. 200 weight fleece isn't nearly as warm. It's great for active wear.

My 800 fill down jacket in my avatar IS warm, especialy under a good WPB shell or in my sleeping bag.

So, depending on the situation I'll take either fleece for active wear, or down for much less active situations or both(i.e. y 200 wt. fleece vest and my EB down "sweater"). One for hiking and one for camp or both on a bitter morning.

just Justin Whitson
Re: Lands End Fleece on Sale on 04/09/2013 23:38:24 MDT Print View

"Daniel my brother..."

Here is said thread from before:

Hey, i was pretty close on the remembered weights, and i'm not even an obsessive gram weenie!

Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: Fleece reconsidered on 04/10/2013 08:36:13 MDT Print View

Just to add a little bit more to my post above, I’m also a heavy sweater since my clothes become stained white form sweat surfs- any time of the year. So I know how fleece is much appreciated for its breathability. That’s why I love the breathable panels in my Action thermawrap. And I like the thumb holes in the sleeves so the sleeves stay tucked in my short gloves.

And to add a little more advertising, I got my Action Thermawrap while living in the humid Illinois. And it kept me warm there as it does in Idaho now. So it’s quite the flexible piece of engineered clothing. So is there any synthetic puffy that is as breathable as the now obsolete Action Thermawrap by Montbell?

And to add more to the breathability scenario, do quality down jackets breathe well? To be more specific, in 0F weather, I wear my WM Flash Jacket. I put a towel between my backpack and coat (actually I do that all year). The towel is consistently soaked from sweat but my shirt and jacket is dry (although I do get white marks on my shirt). So do WM down jackets wick sweat through its system and out into the environment?

Just wondering.
-The mountains were made for Tevas

Stephen Komae
(skomae) - MLife

Locale: northeastern US
Action Thermawrap alternatives on 04/10/2013 09:33:20 MDT Print View

The Arcteryx Atom LT and the Mountain Hardwear Zonal both feature synthetic insulation and stretch fleece sides. Can't speak to the Zonal, as I've only tried it in store, but the Atom LT strikes the perfect breathability for me for ice climbing. Never used it backpacking however, as I prefer vests if I'm wearing insulation on hiking trips.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Fleece reconsidered on 04/10/2013 09:42:21 MDT Print View

"So is there any synthetic puffy that is as breathable as the now obsolete Action Thermawrap by Montbell?"

Don't know, but Montbell does make the Thermawrap BC, which combines exceloft insulation with fleece side gussets. The Eddie Bauer has the Accelerant Jacket which does the same kind of thing.

Don't know anything about either jacket except that they exist, but they might do for what you're looking for.

Daniel Fish

Locale: PDX
... on 04/10/2013 10:39:03 MDT Print View


Edited by on 06/10/2013 09:32:40 MDT.

Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: Synthetic Puffy vs Fleece: To me the fleece still wins on 04/10/2013 13:01:08 MDT Print View

Stephen and Doug – those are good finds. I didn’t know Eddie Bauer made such a nice jacket; I’ll have to check them out. Thanx.

“Until there a synthetic puffy that insulates while compressed in a bivy or a tight sleeping bag..,”

That’s an extremely tight sleeping bag (or bivy). That puts the bag warmth at risk.

“Until there's a synthetic puffy that can be literally wrung out after hanging off the pack in constant rain and melting snow falling from trees, the fleece wins. ”

Don’t all ‘puffies’ excel here? At least my warmer-and-lighter-than-fleece Montbell never needs to be wrung out. It only retains 1% of water. And plus the melting snow won’t cling to it --- consequently eliminating the snowman look. Thus the bogged-down water weight is greatly minimized.

But let me suggest some pluses for fleece: they’re soft and quiet. That’s why I wear fleece every day in the winter in my house. In fact my whole household wears fleece in the house. I keep the house cold. The money saved is spent on trips :) Oh yea, that’s another plus for fleece: it’s cheaper than puffies.

-The Rockies and Illinois bogs were made for Tevas

Daniel Fish

Locale: PDX
... on 04/10/2013 13:24:59 MDT Print View


Edited by on 06/10/2013 09:28:17 MDT.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Montbell Alpine Light didn't work for me :( on 04/10/2013 14:01:18 MDT Print View

My hiking buddy uses his Alpine Light all the time (in PNW)

Maybe since you put it (directly?) under your shell the wetness was pushed through the ALs DWR by the pressure of the shell.

MontBells DWR is purty good but having the shell physically rubbing on it may have compromised it.

In the rain I've been putting my puffy layer (thermawrap Pro) under my thin Fleece layer (OR Centrifuge) then shell.

So hiking in 40F rain I go

Under Armor T (sometimes 2)
{Centrifuge If its near 30F and an easy trail)

The Centrifuge is the variable- dependent on the trail difficulty and temp. Much above 35F and its too hot unless I'm going downhill.

At camp

UA ts
OR Helium 2

I think having a sacrificial fleece layer to be a barrier between a puffy and a shell is paramount. (is paramount the right word? It sounds cool)

Daniel Fish

Locale: PDX
... on 04/10/2013 14:28:14 MDT Print View


Edited by on 06/10/2013 09:26:42 MDT.