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Long Underwear Question
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Paul Andronico
(Jakesandwich) - MLife

Locale: S.F. Bay Area
Long Underwear Question on 06/05/2013 18:40:44 MDT Print View

I am going on a 4-day trip in Desolation Wilderness in a couple of weeks. I have a 15 degree bag (Marmot brand with 20 oz. of 650 fill; yes I know it's heavy), and a Stoic Hadron Anorak (8.39 oz) with hood. I am trying to figure out whether I should bring my Patagonia Cap 4 long johns (6 oz.) and Cap 4 Hoody (8 oz.), or whether I should get some silk underwear at about half that weight. We will spending more total time fishing than hiking (probably hiking 4 to 6 miles per day). I don't want to bring warmer clothing than I need, but I don't want to end up cold and wishing I had carried a few more ounces. My shell is a Marmot Super Mica to the extent that is a factor. My legs rarely get cold, so one option is to get silk long johns but bring the Cap 4 Hoody. Advice?

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Long Underwear Question" on 06/05/2013 18:59:29 MDT Print View

Good question. You want to substitute silk for heavier capilene.

First of all with a 15% bag you'll be more than covered at night. Since your legs don't get cold, the hoody and the anorak should cover you. Maybe one more thin clean layer for sleeping?

As to how silk performs on the upper body during the day in camp, for example, versus capilene, I don't know.

I'm also looking at long johns for camp/sleeping and it seems that silk is the lightest for performance in 3 season applications...? I'm talking the Sierra here--not too cold.

Hopefully people with experience will chime in...

Edited by book on 06/05/2013 19:11:45 MDT.

terry tiedeman
(Terry62) - F
answer on 06/05/2013 19:38:34 MDT Print View

I think this is just one of those times when I would like to experiment and see what works or doesn't work as the case may be. I like 3 or 4 day trips to test different environments and how to stay comfortable. Then on a longer trip I am more likely to make the best choice because of my previous poor choices or successes. But, personally I really don't like the feel of silk on my skin. Especially if I sweat at all. I use 150 weight (thin) merino from icebreaker under my insulation. It feels good and draws moisture away from the skin and doesn't stink as bad as some base layers. Icebreaker is often cheap at sierra trading post or gear trade and is pretty light weight. Have fun!

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Long Underwear Question on 06/05/2013 19:53:48 MDT Print View

Is the Cap4 Hoody your only top or is it a midlayer?

I like the combination of a s/s wool t-shirt, the Cap Hoody, the Stoic insulation layer only for camp and the SuperMica (I'd have a windshirt too but you may not need one where you are going). You aren't going to save more than 3 ounces going down to a silk base layer top. You will save ounces bringing only 1 top, in which case I'd want a wool l/s zip-top.

Legs are different. Silk tights would be fine, but only you can decide if you want another item that only going to save a few ounces. More important is that you are comfortable with the entire clothing system for your legs (any base and either shorts or pants and wind or rain shell if you needed them for weather.

Paul Andronico
(Jakesandwich) - MLife

Locale: S.F. Bay Area
Good stuff on 06/05/2013 23:40:29 MDT Print View

Thanks for the helpful replies.

Jeffrey: I agree that I will be warm enough in the 15 degree bag at night, and I have the Hoody and/or Hadron to supplement if needed.

Terry: Good point about experimenting. I have to remember this is an adventure and being "wrong" is a minor issue in this case. Unfortunately I don't like wool (even Icebreaker), as I have very sensitive skin and it bothers me. (When I tried on the Icebreaker and said it was scratchy, the salesperson freaked out :))

Steve: I will have a light synthetic T, so the Cap 4 will be a mid-layer for this trip.

All of the replies made think more about this, and I now realize that I really want a fresh set of light clothes to sleep in and I think the Cap 4 stuff may be too warm. I am going to think about it a bit more, but my tendency at this point is to (a) replace the Cap 4 long johns with silk (I have cheapie convertible pants (12 oz.) and rain pants (7 oz.) and doubt I will really need more warmth than those plus silk around camp), and (b) keep the Cap 4 hoody and supplement with a silk long sleeve top just for sleeping.

The weight difference should be negligible as exchanging the Cap 4 long johns for the silk long johns should just about offset the added silk long sleeve top.

The only negative is two pieces of silk underwear are pretty expensive. Has anyone tried the Terramar brand they sell on Sierra Trading Post? How does it compare to the REI stuff that seems to get good reviews?

Edited by Jakesandwich on 06/05/2013 23:42:48 MDT.

Kate Magill
(lapedestrienne) - F
Re: terramar on 06/08/2013 12:57:27 MDT Print View

I have been consistently disappointed in the durability of Terramar baselayers. They're cheap for a reason. I'm sure they'd last through a 4-day trip, but they don't do well over the long term--snags and runs and little tears that get bigger. Silk is strong stuff, but the build quality of the garment does matter too. If they are just designated sleeping layers, I wouldn't worry too much, though. I've never tried the REI silks, so can't compare.

As much as I love natural fibers, I still think Capilene is a great baselayer because it holds up to so much abuse. However, I think I would roast if I slept in Cap 4 bottoms outside of the winter months!

Brian Johns
(bcutlerj) - M

Locale: NorCal
Cap 4 is heavy/hot (take pants only) on 06/15/2013 18:52:36 MDT Print View

And silk is so typically lightweight. I suggest R1 weight top and pants would be perfect. But since you have the hadron and you already have the Cap 4, I'd take pants only. A little extra to keep your lower body warm. The hadron and a LS top should do for your upper body, at the very least with a wind shirt or rain top over it.