I am a sweaty man. If you are one too I'd like to hear what you wear on your upper torso to keep warm (forget dry) in cool (below 50) and breezy weather.
By sweaty I'm talking at least 3 pints an hour of sweat that soaks you from head to foot, leaves patches of white salt on your clothing when it dries, drips off your glasses, etc.
I wear a polypro or other synthetic pullover and a windbreaker or rain coat. If I'm still cool I'll add an army surplus fiberfill coat liner. All of this gets soaked and I change into dry clothes when I get to camp.
I've also experimented with a home made closed vest. It retains its insulating value when wet.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Sweaty woman here!
I generally wear a very loose long-sleeve lightweight supplex nylon shirt with plenty of ventilation (including underarm vents). I also try to adjust my clothing to my sweating level. While I'm hiking, especially uphill, I don't wear any kind of wrap even if it's cold. As soon as I stop, however, if it's cool and windy I put another layer on to keep warm. It comes off when I start hiking again. If it's cold when I start hiking, I don't bother wearing a wrap because I know I'll have to stop in 10 minutes to take it off. So I am cold for a few minutes at the start, but it quickly goes away.
Adjusting outer clothing to one's sweat level is particularly important when it's below freezing, because the sweat can freeze once you've stopped.
If it's rainy and warm, I just get wet, because even inside breathable rain gear my body becomes a sauna. The supplex nylon dries really fast. And I have a dry base layer to put on at bedtime. If my supplex nylon shirt and pants are still damp at bedtime, I put them in a plastic bag. Admittedly, it's a bit of a shock to put them back on in the morning!
If it's rainy and cold, I wear a lightweight non-breathable rain jacket and pants (I've found no real difference between breathable and non-breathable rain gear in cold weather, but YMMV). Even in 30* weather, I don't need to wear a wrap under them when I'm actually hiking. Once again, the wrap comes out when I stop, although it requires some contortions to get the jacket on under my rain jacket without getting things wet--the rain jacket is really loose, which helps.
I must admit that I really wanted a heavier shirt on a hot, windless day in Wyoming's Wind Rivers when the horseflies were attacking me in droves--never mind the sweat. Permethrin sprayed on the shirt was just an appetizer for them. I got pretty chewed on through the shirt, especially once they'd found the vents. What I really needed was a suit of medieval armor!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
Well, I've never quantified my sweat production, but I always seem to sweat more than anyone I've hiked with, and I can definitely relate to the sweat-dripping-off-my-sunglasses part...
The total outfit depends a bit on how far below 50 you're talking, but I *always* wear a merino wool shirt, short or long sleeve. The next thing I'd add would be my Montane wind jacket; I went for the full-zip model because I find the half-zip ones essentially useless for ventilation unless it's really cold and/or windy. Actually, now that I think about it, that has me covered for all of the temps I've ever encountered while actually hiking with a pack. Obviously I haven't done any winter camping...
When I stop hiking and it's sufficiently cool, I use a down vest to deal with the evaporative cooling.
Like Oregon Mouse, if it's cool or cold, I always start hiking with clothing that's not quite warm enough. If I'm still cool after 10 or 15 minutes, then I'll either swap the short sleeve for the long sleeve shirt, or add the windshirt.
Loc: north carolina
Yeah, I'm with you on the sweat.
I wear a very light Icebreaker wool top -- short sleeve in the summer and long sleeve in cool weather. If it's chilly and windy, I add a 3-oz windshirt on top.
The nice thing about wool is that it reduces the thermal shock of stopping for a break with a wet top. I always got chilled when I wore synthetics, but wool has eliminated that issue. The other nice thing is that wool doesn't ever get the hiker stink. I wore my s/s top last weekend on a very warm hike in NC. I could have wrung the sweat out of my shirt. And it never started to stink.
I also sweat like a running faucet. So far I have just delt with it, normaly wearing shorts. I am looking at getting a wool shirt to help with the upper body. What do you wear over the wool shirt? I understand that they do not hold up well to pack straps.
I understand that they do not hold up well to pack straps.
That has not been my experience. I just wear the shirt by itself, or with a light wind shirt over it if the weather gets cool and breezy.
Nor has it been my experience. Then again, I only get out for serious backpacking a few times a year. What I have discovered, though, is that the fabric does not hold up well when chewed on by a red squirrel for a while...
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
Wool shirts work well for me too. I have some Icebreaker shirts that I really like. When it gets very humid and I sweat a lot while hiking the wool is great because it still smells nice. You can wear it for days without washing and it still smells nice. NOT TRUE of synthetics I can tell you.
I haven't had a problem with shoulder straps causing undo wear on the wool shirts. I think if you have a problem with that you may be carrying too much weight in your pack or be carrying too high a proportion of the weight on your shoulders as opposed to your hips. But there may be other factors as well and YMMV.
If you are sweating that much below 50, then you are wearing too much. Take off the windbreaker and only wear your base layer. If that is too cold, then put on the field jacket liner. You are sweating because your body is overheating and is trying to cool off. Help it by not wearing so much. Don't wear gloves or a hat. Or don't wear anything on the upper torso, but wear gloves and a hat. Having layers is perfect. Take off if you sweat, put on if you shiver.
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.
If your sweating that much you should look into the suit they wore in the movie Dune. It somehow reclaimed all body fluids to be used to rehydrate. You could fill a platy with it. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> All you MIT grads should be working to make this happen. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
When exerting I sweat heavily, regardless of clothing. I can be uncomfotably cold on the outside and still sweat heavily.
My guess is that the muscle exertion generates internal heat that triggers the sweat glands to let loose....regardless of external temperature.
Sooooo, my strategy is to wear as little as I can to stay warm while hiking and then change into dry clothes when I stop.
Here's a tale of two hikers......a sweater and non-sweater. On our last trip my buddy and I started out on a trail with a slight incline at 40 degrees F. I'm wearing a thin polypro pullover and am very cold. He's wearing a thick polorsomething pullover plus a wind jacket and is confortably warm.
In less than 200 yards I am glistening with sweat, my pullover is damp and I'm getting colder by the minute. My hands are getting too cold to button a shirt. I start adding clothes.
He's uncomfotbly warm but dry. He strips down to just the windbreaker.
By the time we reach the ridge top (about an hour and 1000 feet elevation gain later) he's still wearing only the windbreaker and is quite comfortable in spite of a brisk wind. I'm wearing polypro, jacket liner, insulated hat, windbreaker, rain paints and rain coat and am soaking wet head-to-toe. Sweat is dripping off my glasses. I'm too cold to stop for more than a moment and don't want to drink water because it will cool me down even more.
Actually, I saw a medical procedure on a woman that had sweaty hands. It involves snipping a nerve near the spinal chord that triggered her sweat glands in her hands. Doesn't sound very fun but it may be something to look into if your very uncomfortable with your current sweaty situation.
As a sweaty person I dress in layers, and begin removing layers before I start sweating, as soon as I feel overheated.
My layers, starting with bottom layer, on my torso, are: tshirt sweatshirt, normally without hood coat scarf VERY light knit hat
I have found the cheap $3 cheapo knit hats are perfect for wintertime. And I often remove the scarf once I warm up. Most hats sold in stores are way too thick. I never wear wool except to bed, because it retains too much heat.
If it is 20F in the winter and I wear snowpants, the heat retained in my legs often causes me to remove my coat, and sometimes my sweatshirt too, so I will be wearing just the sweatpants and tshirt, plus boots and gloves.
Our long-time Sponsor, BackcountryGear.com - The leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear:
Affiliate Disclaimer: This forum is an affiliate of BackcountryGear.com, Amazon.com, R.E.I. and others. The product links herein are linked to their sites. If you follow these links to make a purchase, we may get a small commission. This is our only source of support for these forums. Thanks.!