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Warm hiker, cold camper layering question
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Rishi Sugla

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Warm hiker, cold camper layering question on 02/27/2014 14:15:40 MST Print View

Hi all ,

Looking to refine my layering system a bit. I know the baselayer/mid/puffy/outershell combination I generally radiate heat like a space heater when moving, but get cold pretty easily when at a standstill. I'm a cold sleeper as well.

Does anybody have this same issue?

I was thinking about purchasing a 100wt fleece (anybody know where to buy a cheap/light one?) and a warmer puffy than something like a nano. Any recommendations for a puffy like that? I'll be primarily hiking in the Sierras over the next five years, fyi. I'd prefer my layers to be hooded, if possible, but not a deal breaker either way.


David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: Warm hiker, cold camper layering question on 02/27/2014 14:21:14 MST Print View

Sierra = mostly dry = down, in my book. Montbell Mirage, Rab Neutrino, Golite Bitterroot, etc. Seems like a pity to not camp super high because your jacket isn't quite warm enough.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Re: Warm hiker, cold camper layering question on 02/27/2014 15:45:27 MST Print View

A mirage would be plenty warm for what you expect to see, and very light too. That plus a cheap/light Target fleece (under $20) should probably cover much of your proposed hiking conditions give your parameters. I'm pretty similar and am actually thinking of moving to to a similar setup myself once I can justify buying more down jackets...

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
Re: Warm hiker, cold camper layering question on 02/27/2014 16:10:29 MST Print View

I feel your pain -- I am exactly like that! Last August in the Sierras I took a Ghost Whisperer down jacket, and found that it was not warm enough (I like to camp near those gorgeous high alpine lakes). This summer I'll be taking a much warmer down jacket -- something similar to a First Ascent Downlight (whereas the Ghost Whisperer is more like their MicroTherm). It'll be worth the extra 5 oz to me.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Warm hiker, cold camper layering question on 02/27/2014 16:15:26 MST Print View

What do you carry for rain gear?

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Warm hiker, cold camper layering question on 02/27/2014 16:37:07 MST Print View

If you are a warm hiker, all you will need during the day is a base layer and rain jacket/windshirt.
Instead of layering a midlayer, you should go for a heavier down jacket. The heavier you get with a down jacket, the more warmth per ounce you are getting because of the base shell weight. Plus you can always sleep wearing that down jacket if you need extra insulation.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Mirage on 02/27/2014 19:37:08 MST Print View

The Montbell Mirage looks outstanding, and it sounds like you have good justification to buy one. Use this warm puffy around camp and at rest breaks on the trail (on cool days). Pair that up with pretty light baselayers (one SS, one long sleeve) and a suitable shell (windshirt perhaps on a lot of occasions).

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Mirage on 02/27/2014 20:14:00 MST Print View

The Mirage that Dan mentions is a very nice piece, I can highly recommend it.

Rishi Sugla

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Re: Re: Warm hiker, cold camper layering question on 02/27/2014 20:27:21 MST Print View

Thanks everyone.

Seems like the montbell mirage would be a great choice. Hopefully I can find one for slightly cheaper than list price! My graduate student salary won't be making me rich unfortunately!

My current rain gear is a Patagonia rain shadow. I'll upgrade eventually but for now it does the job just fine.

Valerie- its funny you mention the ghost whisperer because that's the exact jacket I have that doesn't feel warm enough for me!

I plan on getting a windshirt, leaning towards a rab alpine right now unless I can get my hands on a pre-2013 houdini in good condition. Not likely though. Since I haven't hiked the sierras a ton at this point, I'll probably carry a mid layer still. If I end up never using it then I'll start leaving it and just carrying the down jacket. Part of me likes the comfort of knowing I have an piece that can insulate when wet though, but I'm still on my east coast mindset right now :)

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: Warm hiker, cold camper layering question on 02/27/2014 20:46:47 MST Print View

Two questions before i give you a proper answer

- what layers do you usually wear when moving out of those you listed

- when you stop are you damp from sweat ... Of are you still fairly dry


Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Warm hiker, cold camper layering question on 02/27/2014 21:27:50 MST Print View

You should get warmer pants as well as or instead of a warmer jacket. What are you used to carrying for your legs?

I'm a little bit that way myself - I'll often find myself wearing less than my companions on the trail and more in camp.

Stephen Komae
(skomae) - MLife

Locale: northeastern US
Just get a heavy puffy on 02/27/2014 21:49:53 MST Print View

Like you, I run hot when active and quickly spin down to very cold when inactive. During spring and fall I use an Arcteryx Atom SV (100g/m2) and in winter I use a Patagonia DAS Parka (180g/m2).

I find that in shoulder season the Atom SV is quite sufficient and as the season gets warmer I switch to the Nano Puff (60g/m2). In the winter, no reasonable amount of clothing will keep you completely warm while static, and I find that 180g of insulation is enough to stave off discomfort long enough to get your camp chores and eating done.

These aren't the lightest or most compressible but I like synthetic jackets as I often don them while I am still a little sweaty and they do a good job of drying me out. Additionally (shamefully), my down jackets are all hoodless!

I do have insulated pants and like them for winter but I find them a hassle to put on and off, so I've been working with one of the cottage makers of UL gear to make something less annoying but still warm.

I do not bother with fleece unless I expect to be wearing it while hiking. I do sometimes make an exception to carry a lightweight fleece if I expect a lot of cold rain, since it keeps you much more comfortable under a hard shell in those cold, wet conditions.

Edited by skomae on 02/27/2014 21:52:19 MST.

Rishi Sugla

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Reasonably priced down jacket on 03/02/2014 16:29:19 MST Print View

This is probably a silly question, but is there a warm down jacket that is reasonably priced?

Eric- I don't get particularly sweaty. Not sure why.. but I've never been a big sweater.

I don't plan on hiking in dead winter anytime soon... most likely late spring to early fall. Because of that, I only carry a baselayer + pants as my bottoms.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Reasonably priced down jacket on 03/02/2014 16:59:06 MST Print View

i would get a down poofay with 4 -6 oz of 800 fill down personally if you arent in a humid climate

the moment you stop zipper up ... and if you stop for anything more than a few min put on your poofay

you can find stuff on sale on the time on the various sites, i use an EB FA downlight hoody which has around 4 oz of down

theres tons of others around, order from somewhere with free return shipping and youll be fine ... there likely stuff for 50% off if you look around


Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Re: Reasonably priced down jacket on 03/02/2014 17:05:46 MST Print View

Put an advert up on Gear swap and you would get a very
Reasonably priced down parka.

Jeff Jeff
(TwoFortyJeff) - F
Re: Warm hiker, cold camper layering question on 03/02/2014 17:50:12 MST Print View

I hike in a light baselayer and I have a warm down jacket when I am resting. If it gets colder than that I hop in my sleeping bag. No extra layers necessary.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Warm hiker, cold camper layering question on 03/02/2014 18:16:40 MST Print View

I prefer the R1/Power Dry or Power Stretch over 100w fleece. Land's End has had some good deals on their light fleece tops that are made with Polartec Aircore 100.They have them on sale right now too-- like $20.

If you run cold, do consider a puffier version than a Nano Puff. If you use a windshirt, the 100w fleece with a windshirt is nearly as warm. I like 100g Primaloft jackets and there are lots of versions out there. There should be good sales coming up on down "sweater" style jackets if that is your preference.

Edited by dwambaugh on 03/02/2014 18:24:00 MST.

Rishi Sugla

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Re: Warm hiker, cold camper layering question on 03/04/2014 13:30:40 MST Print View


Is the power stretch material in something like this worth the price over something like the link you posted?

I'm on a budget, like I mentioned, but I'd like to get something that could last me reasonably long and be versatile.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: Reasonably priced down jacket on 03/04/2014 15:03:37 MST Print View

Golite's Roan Plateau for 130 bucks is a lot of coat for the money. Now is a good time of year to look for sales on "winter" coats. Patagonia's Micropuff is going for 139 on their site, Black Diamond has their Stance Belay Hoody for 137, etc. The Stance wouldn't be quite as warm as the Roan, but is a very nicely cut and detailed coat.

Rishi Sugla

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Re: Reasonably priced down jacket on 03/04/2014 18:08:11 MST Print View

Thanks for the response Dave. Do you know anything about the uniqlo down parka? Its getting some attention in the Gear Deals section right now and is only 60$...

Edited by rksugla on 03/04/2014 18:11:13 MST.