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#125527 - 12/18/09 10:48 PM Winter layering opinions
fadetoblack6902 Offline
member

Registered: 12/12/09
Posts: 21
Loc: St. Louis, MO
I am doing a 7 day backpacking trip in Duchesne Utah in January, and am trying to find the most ideal clothing to bring. From what I can tell, the average temps are 33 for the high, 15 for the low. Record lows are -15ish though.

Baselayers. I am trying to decide between some Polartech Powerstretch bottoms (microfleece inner, nylon outer, 88%polyester 12% spandex), and standard mid, heavy, or expedition weight polypro. The polartech has compression, where the polypro fits slightly loose. I know you want a baselayer close to your skin for wicking, but I have also read compression reduces blood flow which makes you cold. Thoughts?

Outer layer bottoms. The only thing I already have are North Face ski pants, with probably 12-14 inch long side vents. I kind of worry I will be too warm while hiking with ski pants if I choose heavyweight baselayers, unless it happens to be extremely cold. Non insulated, 2 layer. I have been told thick wool pants are good also. Thoughts?

I think I have it figured out on tops. Mid weight base layer (unless I decide to spend the money for heavier ones), a fleece of some sort, and both a soft shell and a ski jacket as outer layers. Maybe carry a down vest for in camp. Any recommended changes/additions?



Edited by fadetoblack6902 (12/18/09 10:53 PM)

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#125529 - 12/18/09 11:10 PM Re: Winter layering opinions [Re: fadetoblack6902]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
Ski pants are not only too warm but probably too tight. I really like Smartwool for my baselayer. Then all I need is a breathable water-resistant baggy light pant for walking or skiing. I also like substatial insulation to put on immediately when stopped for camp - like down pants and a huge down parka -can be part of the sleep system. You really cool off fast when you stop in the winter. My parka had a tunnel hood with fur (I believe it was coyote fur). Good for pre-warming the air for breathing. My winter experience has mainly been in very cold-dry conditions where there was no need for waterproof outer ware. In fact in often never got above zero during the day but was always sunny. Even at that, I never was cold skiing in wool and wind pants. Keeping feet warm may be the biggest challenge. Make sure they are big enough - particularly a very boxy toe area. You should be able to wiggle toes with all the socks on you will wear. I prefered bare hands or thin wool gloves for skiing and mittens for camp. I like the mitts with inner gloves that you can pull up the mitts and use gloves when you have to use your fingers. All this said, I have not done winter trips in many years. I am sure there is some nice new winter gear available now that we did not have in the past.

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#125530 - 12/18/09 11:17 PM Re: Winter layering opinions [Re: fadetoblack6902]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
Oh, forgot to add that the "too tight" is not just an issue of cutting off circulation but tight clothing often is too restrictive. You will feel like a stuffed teddy bear and moving will not be fun. You also may need camp shoes - I have used felt mucklucks and also the old "Micky Mouse" boots. Down socks for sleeping are also nice. Do not forget proper sunglasses - they need side shields and need to be really dark. I use glacier goggles. I suppose ski goggles may work too. You did not say if you will be snow shoeing, skiing or walking? If you plan on falling down in snow a lot (the way I ski) bibs are really nice.

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#125531 - 12/19/09 12:15 AM Re: Winter layering opinions [Re: wandering_daisy]
fadetoblack6902 Offline
member

Registered: 12/12/09
Posts: 21
Loc: St. Louis, MO
I do think the ski pants could be too warm, but too tight? They're actually baggier than most pants I have. For the baselayer, they are very stretchy and far from restrictive, so the constriction is the only issue.

Never thought of mucklucks, sounds like a good idea!

I will be walking. There is potential for deep snow, and overshoes or gaiters were recommended. I was thinking snow would just push up under gaiters. Overshoes have the benefit of additional warmth, but traction suffers and adds weight to the feet.

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#125535 - 12/19/09 01:38 AM Re: Winter layering opinions [Re: fadetoblack6902]
Rick Offline
member

Registered: 05/10/04
Posts: 708
Loc: Ontario, Canada
At those mild temperatures and while on the move during the day, I would be comfortable in nothing more than micro light and at most light smartwool baselayers. Definately not expedition weight.

Staying dry in snow when temperatures are near the freezing point is most important. WB shell pants over baselayer with WB gaiters. Waterproof boots and overmitts should not to be overlooked.

Properly fitted gaiters will not allow snow to be pushed up from the bottom.

Ditto on the insulated coat and pants to put on at the end of the day or at stops. And don't forget a nice warm toque for sleeping and day use.

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#125544 - 12/19/09 11:52 AM Re: Winter layering opinions [Re: fadetoblack6902]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
fade
I think you have a good plan. In the temps that you mention - I would not wear the inners with spandex because you would be uncomfortable sleeping in them, however I would wear the ski pants. I mostly ski in loose mid-weight long underwear bottoms with full zip packlite pants over them with the tops of the side zips open for about a foot, this lets the pants breath and prevents over heating but allows easy adjustment by simply zipping up more. Your legs of course are connected to the rest of your body and by not over insulating the top, the bottom will overheat less. So I wear mid-weight long underwear top with fleece jacket. I carry a packlite jacket and if too hot I change the fleece jacket for the packlite over long underwear, of if too cold I put the packlite jacket on over the fleece. I have a fleece jacket and a packlite jacket with matching pit zips so I can easily unzip both to vent under my arms. Its just my way - warm breathable insulation under - water tight easily adjustable shells over.

Since you lose most of your body heat through your head, especially if you have male pattern baldness, a warm hat with ear covering and a baseball cap will also help regulate your body temperature.

In spring skiing I would probably not wear the ski pants but just the long underwear bottoms with high topped gaiters, but I would have the pants along in case it got cold. I also carry a light down jacket in my ski pack - something like a TNF nuptse that can be put on under the packlite jacket and over the fleece jacket.

If you are a very aerobic skiier disregard what I said. One rule to skiing with a pack and camping - do not sweat, take it easy and vent before you get damp, you can always warm up more.
Jim YMMV
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#125546 - 12/19/09 12:15 PM Re: Winter layering opinions [Re: Jimshaw]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6371
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Jim is so right--make sure you don't sweat while you're moving! When you stop, and it's really cold, that sweat is going to freeze. Even if it doesn't freeze, the evaporating sweat will give you hypothermia.

I prefer lightweight baselayers to heavy ones. The idea of the baselayer is to wick the moisture away from your body rather than to insulate. Your insulation should be a number of layers on top of the baselayer. You want to be able to fine-tune your body temperature while you're moving to avoid sweating. When you stop to rest or make camp, you need to put lots more insulation on, and that's when the heavier insulating layer(s) (like the puffy jacket and pants) come into play.

Gaiters actually work very well to keep snow from going inside your boots. I wouldn't go out in snow without them!
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#125554 - 12/19/09 05:08 PM Re: Winter layering opinions [Re: OregonMouse]
fadetoblack6902 Offline
member

Registered: 12/12/09
Posts: 21
Loc: St. Louis, MO
Great advice everyone, thanks!

I am thinking I might bring the ski pants for real cold days and around camp, but also bring my full zip rain pants as a lighter outer layer. Maybe have a pair of light baselayer bottoms and a pair of heavyweights? Possibly use the polar weight baselayer bottoms as an insulating layer, and the rain pants over?

I have a pair of Seal Skins socks that I use for skiing. Would these be good with hiking boots? They definitely keep all water out, but I'm worried about them not breathing well.

What about down or fleece socks to sleep in? Any ideas where to get them?


Edited by fadetoblack6902 (12/19/09 05:11 PM)

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#125555 - 12/19/09 05:36 PM Re: Winter layering opinions [Re: fadetoblack6902]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
fade
I would bring the full zip rain pants and heavy fleece pants to put on under them. Full zip fleece may not be quite as warm but the ability to put them on and remove them with your boots on is worth a lot. That's the way I go. If your shells are large enough you won't have to duplicate anything. Once in camp nothing beats down. Down pants are worth their weight in gold when its really cold, and a pair of mukluks is good. My mukluks where made from cheap x large booties from campmore with gaiter tops attached and sealed with seam grip. Don't forget gloves or better yet mitts, a balaclava, and extra large sleeping socks, this is the one place where I carry wool - sleeping socks large enough to not constrict blood flow. Also carry at least a foam sit pad, without it sitting out a cold night is very uncomfortable. eek
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#125556 - 12/19/09 05:41 PM Re: Winter layering opinions [Re: fadetoblack6902]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Are you expecting snow? if you're expecting a lot of it then
what I'd take in those kind of conditions is a couple of pairs
of medium weight wool or synthetic long underwear, a 200 or 300 wt fleece bottom, a nylon hiking pant and a shell pant (waterproof or goretex). normally I'd wear the regular pants, and slip on the shells if you're digging in the snow or the weather is foul.

I bring liner and three pairs of good heavyweight wool socks that fit in my boots, and gaiters. I keep one sock dry for sleeping in. If I really expect cold I'll bring my primaloft booties for sleeping.

On top, for me that's a couple of merino wool shirts, two 200 or 300 wt fleece (or one and a down sweater) and a shell jacket kind of trip.

I will also have a toque, ragg wool gloves, nylon overmitts,
and a balaclava for sleeping in.

that's pretty much it.

During warmer parts of the day near freezing and/or while active I'm probably moving in only the long johns and the pants, with the merino shirt and jacket on. Change it up for sleeping and add/remove when stopped or it gets colder. Keep one set dry for sleeping.

YMMV






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#125562 - 12/19/09 06:04 PM Re: Winter layering opinions [Re: phat]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
What phat said...

Yes it depends on the temps how many layers you need, and whether you're hunting. Unlike phat I simply slip into down expedtion clothes, however my ski suit and winter clothes cost over $2,000, so you might want to listen to phat and of course shop at Goodwill.
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#125576 - 12/20/09 01:40 AM Re: Winter layering opinions [Re: fadetoblack6902]
Paul Offline
member

Registered: 09/30/02
Posts: 778
Loc: California
I have Powerstretch tights and exp. wt. longs, and mine are about the same in weight and warmth. But either would be too warm for me when on the move. For hiking or XC skiing, I'd be in light baselayer (I have sued light merino wool and various polypro/polyester versions , all with equal success) and ashell pant. My current shells are EPIC fabrica, previous were goretex, both do the job. If your ski pants are just shells (you said 2 layer, but I'm not sure if you meant a 2 layer fabric or that they have 2 layers of fabric) and have ventilation options (sounds like they do with the side vents), they could work. But if they have 2 layers of fabric, even without insulation, then probably too warm unless you are a cool customer, or unless you go without the baselayer.
If you do go with the light baselayer and shells, then bring the exp. wt longs for camp.
On top, it sounds like you'll have plenty. If I'm moving in 30 degree temps, I'll fry in anything more than a light baselayer and a light shell or 100 weight fleece (shell if it's windy, fleece if it's not) - and if the sun is out and there's no wind, probably just the light baselayer. In camp you might want it all - though "ski jacket" can mean a lot of different things, so I'm not clear on what yours is like.
You don't mention handwear - I'm big on layers for the hands - right now I like Powerstretch liners, some old home-knit mittens, and mitten shells. worn in whatever combination suits the conditions. The liner gloves get the most use for me.

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#125578 - 12/20/09 02:07 AM Re: Winter layering opinions [Re: Paul]
fadetoblack6902 Offline
member

Registered: 12/12/09
Posts: 21
Loc: St. Louis, MO
My ski pants are 2 layers of fabric, and probably too hot for hiking. Might bring them for camp though, since I don't have down pants.

My ski jacket is a parka with polyester lining and a hidden zip out hood. Not tons of insulation, but some. I also have a big ugly old (80's?) down parka with no hood I could bring for in camp, though it's not nearly as versatile as the ski jacket. I'll have to try and see which is warmer.

For handwear I just bought some REI switchback gloves, which are a nylon shell with a fleece liner glove. I'm considering finding some cheap overmitts for in camp. I hate wearing mitts while I'm doing anything though.

I think I have a good handle on everything except a pants shell. All I really have that would work are rain pants (Marmot PreCip full zipper). They are rather thin and I worry they could get damaged easily. Also they have basically no insulation, just wind/water blocking. I could maybe find cheap wind pants, but I'm not sure they'll be much heavier than the rain pants. Any suggestions on cheap pant shells?

Also, I found some cheap rubber overshoes, and some down booties. I was thinking overshoes would be great for walking in snow, and for around camp with booties inside. Although, gaiters (looking at OR crocs or the lighter version) would be better for hiking I think. Preferences?

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#125580 - 12/20/09 02:14 AM Re: Winter layering opinions [Re: fadetoblack6902]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Fade, I wear Marmot Precip full zip pants, but I've only been out in moderate conditions. I have them on in a picture I think is posted either in this forum or trip reports from a year or two ago with Cordura gaiters that protect them from my ski edges. For heavier conditions, you might look at snowboard bibs or pants. Not sure how waterproof any particular brand is though. I have a cheap pair of snowboard pants, but rarely wear them since I have a ski suit I wear for downhilling.


Edited by TomD (12/20/09 02:16 AM)
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#125598 - 12/20/09 06:40 PM Re: Winter layering opinions [Re: fadetoblack6902]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Duchesne in January? Are you actually backpacking in the mountains or fishing at Starvation? So, what is your actual destination? If you go in the mountains at all, expect -20's for the low, with lots and lots and lots of snow. If you stay in the valley at 5000 ft (which is were Duchesne is at) then what you said is normal for temperatures. There also won't be that much snow in the low valleys.
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#125604 - 12/20/09 08:15 PM Re: Winter layering W/ eVent [Re: fadetoblack6902]
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
If'n I had the greenbacks I'd just get eVent for my mountain parka and pants. It's waterproof, pretty windproof and very breathable. Really, what more do you want?

Under layers would be mid to polar weight polyester long handled underwear and my Thermolite Micro insulated pants & jacket for around camp.
That's a fairly simple layering system that can take getting sweaty and still dry fast.
_________________________
"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."

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#125605 - 12/20/09 08:31 PM Re: Winter layering W/ eVent [Re: 300winmag]
fadetoblack6902 Offline
member

Registered: 12/12/09
Posts: 21
Loc: St. Louis, MO
I'm going for a training/interview for a job in wilderness therapy, so I have no clue where we will be going! I am pretty sure we stay in the valley though, they said their winter area is mostly high desert.

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