Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Check out Winter Trekking when you get a chance. Some say, if you don't need all your clothes to sleep in, you brought too many. For sitting around camp in the Sierra/Cascades, I have been using some down liner pants. Full on down pants would be better for me, but when I bought them, that was all I wanted to spend. I know some like the bib pants, may come down to what you can afford.
A thinner continuous layer will be the most efficient insulation, like a snowmobile suit, since all of the heat you produce has to pass out of it, you can more easily regulate how much heat you keep in it - does that make sense?, vs say a thick coat and little leg insulation. But - unless you have a thick and heavy, since snowmobile suits are made of cordura and stuff, snaowmobile suit, you will most likely be wearing a down coat over that and often a shell over that. Down bibs are the best thing since sliced bread. Mine are at least 20 years old - they're hanging here next to me and they show no wear. They're old $180 REI goretex shelled full zip down bibs and the way they keep a back warm is well - cool. The seams were "seam gripped" years ago. So actually a shelled down coat over a shelled pair of down bibs is the most efficient warm and adjustable winter outfit, which is why mountaineers dress that way. Waist length full on down pants are nice, but you want a long down jacket and maybe a sweater under to keep your back warm. Jim
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.
In extreme cold I choose the waist belt pants with a good long close fiting parka. It is to big a chill to take off the parka to get the bib straps undone and sorted out when nature calls for #2. It is also nice to have two layers on my lower back for sitting by the stove. I travel with a light woodburning cookstove/chimney (2 lbs). I do not try to heat up the uninsulated tarp shelter to room temperature. I therefore do not like taking all my clothes off to get in and out of the sleeping bag. So I use all the clothes I carry to stay warm when I sleep. No one has posted any dire consequences from sleeping in ones day clothes. I am not really sold on the layering thing, it is easy to unzip the parka or flop the hood back. A hat under a hood bothers me and when I put the hood back I may get some free vitamin D from the sun on my bald head.
if I am being active, I may use a nylon shell pant over fleece.
More usually I have two weights of wool pants, with suspenders. one is a lighter weight wool, more like a heavy jean made of wool, that works fine in warmer temps or as a top layer. For super cold I have a pair of thick green wool "codet" brand pants that I've had for a while (I think you can get them at Wholesale Sports in alberta chimpac) These are alway "pants" but I wear them pretty high with suspenders in winter.
While I may wear a parka for short jaunts or just slow wandering, normally I am a layerer, because otherwise I just end up sweating.
The bottom I will usually have on a layer of synthetic long underwear and a pair of wool pants. the top I will again have a syntheic or merino top. then layers of wool sweaters and/or fleece. my usual outer layer is then a homemade cotton anorack made from a red cotton materiel about the weight of heavy jeans, but any amount of that may be put on or pulled off while I am active. I do often take a big poofy parka to lounge in at the end of the day, but almost never wear it while moving around.
Depends what I am doing in the winter. If I am just snowshoeing X amount of miles and then returning home or to a cabin then I may just wear a Capilene 1 baselayer under a regular pair of hiking or rain pants. For extended periods I will either bring my softshell pants or my Slalom bib pants.
These are all used in conjunction with either a Capilene 1 or 3 baselayer pant and if I am camping out, then my down pants are also used.
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Originally Posted By hikerduane
I have only made a few posts there. Pretty hardcore cold that they talk about. Seems mostly about being out with a canvas tent and pulling a pulk etc., but they mention old, low tech clothing.
I also belong to wintertrekking. I think Rick put a link up here a while back. I've read almost all of the articles on clothing and gear and looked at what the sponsors sell. The focus is on traditional materials because that is what works for them in those conditions, although some members have modern clothes such as parkas and base layers.
What is surprising to me is that under some conditions-dry and extremely cold-traditional materials like cotton for outer layers work better than modern materials and footwear like mukluks work just as well, if not better than modern boots.
It just shows that what you need depends on where you are, when you are out and what you are doing.
Don't get me started, you know how I get.