Updated SUL Clothing 40F
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Jeremy Rardin
(JearBear) - M

Locale: Cumberland Trail
Updated SUL Clothing 40F on 01/29/2014 10:02:09 MST Print View

Alright, so I have roughly 20 or so ounces to give to clothing, although I ideally would still want to keep it at less than 15 oz to give more flexibility to my pack. I am preparing for this to be for temperatures as low as 40F. I could always wrap my quilt around me, but for the most part I would like to comfortably be able to perform camp tasks. Everyone has different preferences and threshholds and much of SUL is testing yourself, but I also think with a certain level of experience SUL does not HAVE to be uncomfortable.

Wear:
Athletic Polyester Socks
Rei Hiking Pants
MH Wicked Lite LS
Bandana
Ex Ficio Underwear
Merrell Mix Master 2 Trail Runners

Rain Gear:
SMD Gatewood Cape

Carry:
Athletic Polyester Socks: 1.5 oz
DIY Mittens: 1 oz
Beanie: 1 oz (Haven't decided between DIY, Zpacks Fleece, or Black Rock)
Terramar Silk Top: 2.7 oz
Terramar Silk Bot.: 2.9 oz
Montbell Wind Shell: 2.9 oz

Total Weight Carried in Clothing: 12 oz

This still gives me the flexibility to add a down vest. I could easily leave out the Silks and add a Borah Gear Down Vest (3.6 oz), but I also like having sleeping clothes that are not sweaty or wet and the Down Vest costs $100 whereas the silks cost me $40 lol. Also, I have though about the option of wearing a heavier base, but with day highs of 60 and up, I really like my Wicked Lite it BREATHES so well.

I like generating conversation especially about SUL because there isn't much discussion about it. Any thoughts?

Edited by JearBear on 01/29/2014 10:07:24 MST.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
no primary insulation layer? on 01/29/2014 10:59:32 MST Print View

No primary insulation layer.

The silk is not insulation - I actually have those exact same pieces so I know what they are like. If you are going to rely on down items (bag especially) you better make damn sure you can keep it dry in the worst conditions you will experience. Otherwise suck it up and carry a primary insulation layer that will more or less work using your cape for extended periods of time. A vest might be enough, but NOT a down vest, and NOT with this gear list.

A down vest is almost never a good primary insulation layer to rely on by itself, as in a pinch it will be exposed to moisture from both within and without. More like a "luxury" item for lounging and extra warmth in your bag. Montbell makes a nice synthetic vest that is only 5 oz. Nanopuff vest, or better jacket.

I don't do a ton of SUL trips anymore, but I made this exact mistake back in the day. But only once. You put a lot of thought I assume into what you have here. Now put some more though into how you will handle the tails of the bell curve in terms of temperature, humidity and precipitation conditions.

Otherwise carry a space blanket as your ultimate back up and hope for the best.

Edited by millonas on 01/29/2014 11:14:44 MST.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Updated SUL Clothing 40F on 01/29/2014 11:10:04 MST Print View

what kind of weather will you encounter during the day? will it be warm and sunny until its 40 degrees at night? If you will be encountering challenging weather during the day then maybe a very light fleece will help you out during the day and give you just enough during the evening. Just a thought.

Or build a small campfire while doing camp chores, if possible, thats what i usually do to avoid too much camp clothing.

Jeremy Rardin
(JearBear) - M

Locale: Cumberland Trail
Re: Re: Updated SUL Clothing 40F on 01/29/2014 12:18:20 MST Print View

Alright, 40F is the lowest temperature that this will be in. Let's say at the coldest point of the night, it will be 40 F. The highs for days like that (depending on overcast and elevation) is high 50s to low 70s in TN. After hiking, I arrive at camp and setup my things. As it gets cooler, depending on how cool it gets, I will wear all of what I have. I will add the bottoms under my pants, and I will add my silk over my base then wear my WindShirt. I cook, read, write, talk to hiking partners, then go to sleep. Maybe it is that I am warm blooded but I don't forsee a problem here. This season I anticipate being on the AT as well as the Cumberland Trail, all typically below treeline. If there is an incoming monsoon trip will be postponed.

In terms of backup insulation, I do understand the inherent risk and need for testing these garments, but that inherent danger exists when you use a 20 F quilt in near 20F temps. This clothing list is hiking, sitting at camp, and then sleeping in nothing below 40 F.

todd harper
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: Sunshine State
Re: Updated SUL Clothing 40F on 01/29/2014 12:42:45 MST Print View

At your specified temps, absent a bad wet&cold experience, you should be fine WITH the down vest. I wouldn't want to hang around camp w/buds at 40 without it.

I've carried down as my primary insulation on almost all my trips for years and am happy.

Also, At your low weights and given that you seem to be a warm sleeper, I'd go with fleece beanie for headwear. MYOG or store-bought will be fine. I like something I can pull down over my nose so a beanie with a cuff is my choice.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Updated SUL Clothing 40F on 01/29/2014 12:48:54 MST Print View

I think the Borah vest will do the trick. You have enough insulation and warmth for walking. The extra is just for warmth in camp. If you screwed up bad enough you can just use your bag. If your down bag gets wet, you're going to have to walk. But that's usually the case anyway.
I know your area pretty well and I think a big part of the year is above 40. Just look at reports and take elevation into account

Jeremy Rardin
(JearBear) - M

Locale: Cumberland Trail
Back to the boards lol on 01/29/2014 13:32:18 MST Print View

I have no problem with carrying and keeping dry my down insulation. Anything above 30 I am warm hiking in just my wicked lite and a windshirt, when I stop I could throw on the vest and some gloves. At camp, I suspect I would be good wearing my base, wind shirt, then vest. I like the silk bottoms for sleeping in case it rains and my pants get really wet or very dirty.

What do you think about just the vest, or maybe even a Montbell Ex Light, and a windshirt? That would put me at 10 oz carried clothing give or take.

Edited by JearBear on 01/29/2014 13:45:11 MST.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Updated SUL Clothing 40F on 01/29/2014 13:43:41 MST Print View

Didn't I SAY it was for when it was cold, wet, and possibly windy? If you %100 sure you will never get caught out in those conditions you are fine. If you are not, but will always be within reasonable walking distance for leaving, then you are fine. If you expect the listed gear to protect you if you get caught out in rain at 50 degrees, especially when the sun goes down, when you are already cold, soaked and tired without a reliable primary insulation layer I think you are foolish - if you have not personally experienced these situations yourself, instead of speculating what it will be like sitting in front of your spreadsheet, even more so.

At any rate, my advice is you ever do find yourself under those conditions with that gear is to NEVER use the bag (possibly not even the vest)as insulation until you are ready to stop and hop in your bag under shelter.

The key point: the worst alternative to getting your bag soaked because you decided to use it under a glorified poncho is NOT just having to walk some more.

Have a look at this old but good blog post - in particular the story that starts it. Food for thought.

http://www.jwbasecamp.com/Articles/DryGear/

Edited by millonas on 01/29/2014 13:59:36 MST.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Updated SUL Clothing 40F on 01/29/2014 13:56:48 MST Print View

Part of the problem is that cold rain is so common in your area. When it's rainy, the highs and lows are often about the same. Forty degree rain is pretty challenging. So 40 degrees and raining is no fun without some light fleece, but I've walked in it without fleece. You'll want to move fast setting up your Gatewood Cape in cold rain. But I still think it will work. You'll need to get dry and in your bag right away. You're just not going to be very comfortable doing it. That's why I typically carry some light fleece or Cap4 type top. You might consider the new Cap 4 or MEC T2 in place of the silk. It breathes well and adds some warmth.

Edited by alexdrewreed on 01/29/2014 14:09:25 MST.

Jeremy Rardin
(JearBear) - M

Locale: Cumberland Trail
Re: Re: Updated SUL Clothing 40F on 01/29/2014 14:00:28 MST Print View

I will have to look into that fleece and check it out. I have a marmot reactor 9 oz and that has served me well.

Edited by JearBear on 01/29/2014 14:02:25 MST.

Jeremy Rardin
(JearBear) - M

Locale: Cumberland Trail
MEC T2 on 01/29/2014 14:06:17 MST Print View

This is my first time seeing the MEC T2, I actually am partial to trying that. Of course I will have to read some reviews, but that seems interested. Thanks!

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Updated SUL Clothing 40F on 01/29/2014 14:06:59 MST Print View

@Ben, good call. I was at first going to suggest that a hoody base layer, preferably a wool one like the wool version of the T2 you mention (or the Ibex hoody or its equivalent) might be the thing, but then I thought he would think the extra 8 oz or so too heavy for him, LOL

For the gram weenie I suppose a synthetic puffy, even if it is only a vest, is probably the thing. The key thing here is compensating for, with a bit of insurance, the imperfect nature of granny gatewoods shelter as waterproofing while walking.

If you take something like a T2 or ibex merino hoody (loose the silk top in that case) that I would more or less withdraw my worries, if only because I would be sure you would never be tempted to take out your down to keep warm during the day. Good luck.

FWIW, I usually do use down as my primary insulation layer, I just have gear that heavily strategizes not getting it wet. And it is a fully hooded UL down jacket. So as soon as I stop moving and get under shelter this will snuff out the cold much more effectively than anything else.

Edited by millonas on 01/29/2014 14:29:10 MST.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Updated SUL Clothing 40F on 01/29/2014 14:12:54 MST Print View

The T2 hoodie is around 6 ounces and it has a hood. Its kind of a cross between a heavy base and light fleece. It's really a nice weight.

Jeremy Rardin
(JearBear) - M

Locale: Cumberland Trail
Re: Updated SUL Clothing 40F on 01/29/2014 14:25:07 MST Print View

I have not worn had anything like the T2 or Cap 4 personally. I have read about them, but I have been using my Marmot Reactor for my fleece and have never had any reason to change it. With the T2 and my windshirt, would you still advise a down vest? If you have worn the T2, Cap 4, relatively just than and a wind shirt at 40F?

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Gatewood rain pitch on 01/29/2014 14:33:36 MST Print View

"You'll want to move fast setting up your Gatewood Cape in cold rain. But I still think it will work. You'll need to get dry and in your bag right away."

Caution is needed regarding wet insulation, but as far as setting up a Gatewood or any poncho shelter in the rain: wear your ground cloth! A "polycryo shawl" will keep you dry unless it is a torrential downpour. I rarely see such rain in the PNW and it is usually short lived at that. A light garbage bag could be used, or one of the DriDucks emergency ponchos could be carried for use in camp, latrine calls, etc. Even a cheapie plastic poncho would do the trick and only add 2oz. You can go without insulation for the time it takes to pitch you shelter, so it can stay safely tucked away until you have refuge from the rain.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Updated SUL Clothing 40F on 01/29/2014 14:38:12 MST Print View

At 40 in camp, I still like to have a little puffy. A vest would probably do me. But for SUL purposes, you can probably get by without the puffy. That 4 oz Borah vest would be a nice addition though.

Jeremy Rardin
(JearBear) - M

Locale: Cumberland Trail
Re: Updated SUL Clothing 40F on 01/29/2014 14:52:25 MST Print View

Alright thanks! I have some new things to consider. I did not think about walking and cold rain. I will check out the MEC T2, see if I can find some thorough reviews. Thanks!

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Updated SUL Clothing 40F on 01/29/2014 15:03:19 MST Print View

I would agree that you generally don't want to walk in your puffy, especially in cold rain, which we see a lot of in the SE. A T2/Cap4 under a windshirt and/or cape is plenty down to 40 degrees as long as you are walking. I used this combination well 2 weeks ago in Va. and it was well below 40 degrees with very high winds and some rain and sleet. At night, I think it is be nice to supplement that with a little puffy anyway.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Re: SUL on 01/29/2014 17:18:38 MST Print View

At 40 degrees, I'd ditch the mittens, beanie, and both silk layers, and add a synth puffy as others have said, plus minus a wind shirt. Down to 30 F, I routinely get by with what I'm wearing plus a cocoon pullover and wind shirt.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Updated SUL Clothing 40F on 01/29/2014 17:19:41 MST Print View

"I did not think about walking and cold rain"

Jeremy, the time that really decided me on this issue I was expecting to be too hot, and took about what you had - no real comprehensive upper body rain protection and no real insulation layer. Guess I didn't read the weather forecast. The temps were not that cold - high 40s to low 50s,and the rain was not intense but constant for the whole second day I was out. So what with saturated air, saturated wind shirt and base layers, 10 hours of hiking, by the end of the day as soon as I stopped moving I instantly started to shiver. I had a very minimal tarp for wind protection (it was by then strongly gusting). Not a nice situation to be in, especially if you don't take it seriously enough and lollygag around looking for a better place to camp, and so forth. It was ok, but with one or two more minor mistakes and the negative feedback might have set in. Its fine to go SUL, just know when you do so the margins are less, so think through those scenarios more beforehand. With SUL clothing if you say to yourself "oh, if that happened I'll just do X" you need to be very sure that X will actually work for you, because there may be no Y and Z options.