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Please critique my layering system

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Please critique my layering system

Postby matai » Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:41 pm

Hey, I'm new to SummitPost and new to mountaineering. I'm planning to do Shasta, Hood, Adams and Baker at least this year. I'm trying to combine what I already use for hiking with my mountaineering gear. Below is what I'm currently thinking, do you all have any tips or advice for me? I'm trying to do as much research and get as many opinions as I can. I've compared the major guiding companies gear lists from the Washington area but I know they're sponsored so they may be a little biased.

Please let me know what you think.

Thanks!

Top
Mountain Hardwear Wicked Lite T-Shirt (already have)
First Ascent Midweight Baselayer (already have)
First Ascent Hangfire Hoody?
Arc'Teryx Gamma LT Softshell (already have)
MontBell Thermawrap Parka or First Ascent Peak XV Jacket
Arc'Teryx Beta SL Jacket (already have)

Bottom
UnderArmour boxer-briefs (already have)
First Ascent Midweight Baselayer (already have)
Arc'Teryx Rampart Shorts (already have)
Arc'Teryx Gamma LT Pants
Outdoor Research Furio Hardshell Pants (already have)
Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaitors (already have)

Head
Arc'Teryx Rho Balaclava (already have)
Buff Merino Wool (already have)
Eddie Bauer Fleece Beanie (already have)

Hands
Outdoor Research PL150 Liner Glove (already have)
Arc'Teryx Cam SV Mideight Glove (already have)
Heavy Mittens or Gloves?

Feet
Scarpa Charmoz Boots
SmartWool Mountaineer Socks
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Re: Please critique my layering system

Postby DukeJH » Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:41 pm

You asked for it so be prepared...

My $0.02 is that you may be heavy on the upper body. I usually don't need more than a lightweight base layer or synthetic short sleeve shirt, Patagonia Cap 2 zip-T, Montbell Thermawrap, and a hard shell and I'm good down to 0 F if I'm working. Stop and I put on my down parka.

I use my sofshell gloves (approximately PL150) almost exclusively and add a hard shell mitten if it gets really cold, windy or otherwise nasty.

I see a lot of Arcteryx which is pricy stuff. There are cheaper alternatives that I believe are just as good.

Make sure you get your boots well fitted which shouldn't be a problem in your neck of the woods. The boot fit will affect your sock choice and vice versa. Some wear liners and other don't. Some like the heavy wool, others prefer a thinner sock.
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Re: Please critique my layering system

Postby sneakyracer » Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:52 pm

Hi, When its in the 25-35F range I generally Hike in my Capilene 3 long sleeve top and shell jacket and capilene 2 bottoms and softshell pants. Thats it. I take the down parka for stops and camp. I also take a full zip light fleece for camp and to layer under the shell if required. I dont have full zip waterproof pants but I might add them for wetter climates. Above 35F I generally just wear synth boxer briefs under the softshell pants and the Cap 3 shirt by itself if it isnt windy. You will be surprised how little clothes one wears while hiking with a pack on even in cool weather.

I would ditch the softshell jacket, the hardhsell is a must.

The Down Parka is very important, dont skimp. Take the peak IV. One gets cold easy when tired after a long day and in the mornings.

I would just take softshell pants and the hardshells. I use my softshell pants even in 70-80F weather and am very comfortable.

I also use the SmartWool mountaineering socks, awesome. Gaiters are key also, make sure they fit well.

I take an extra cap 3 top and bottom for camp + extra socks. Regarding gloves, I have some cheap fleece windproof gloves and a pair of thin wool liner gloves (most used) and a pair of TNF Guide Mittens. I usually take a fleece neck gaiter and facemask + goggles but most times the sunglasses suffice and a wool hat.

Regarding boots. I was comfortable in Colorado hiking in 20-30F in my hiking boots even on snow but for more vertical terrain a stiffer boot like the Charmoz is advisable. Take Camp Shoes, can be trail runners, something light so you can take off your boots at the end of the hike and allow them to vent/dry and give your feet a break.

Always check the weather right before you head out to see if you need to make any adjustments on your gear list but looks like you have it covered.
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Re: Please critique my layering system

Postby Alpinisto » Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:53 pm

DukeJH wrote:My $0.02 is that you may be heavy on the upper body.


Seconded.

I have the Peak XV and I think it would be overkill for the peaks you're talking about. (Isn't down verboten in the PNW, anyway? :o ) I'd go for the Thermawrap and throw the Beta over it if the weather goes tits up on you.
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Re: Please critique my layering system

Postby Dane1 » Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:22 am

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Re: Please critique my layering system

Postby drpw » Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:41 am

Layers are nice but I've found the concept leads to overkill. I have two layers: moving layer and camp layer. I move in a t-shirt and silkweight bottoms with unlined/uninsulated bibs. If its colder then 15 or the sun isn't out I might throw on my hardshell jacket. When I get to camp I throw on a puffy and swap the bibs for fleece pants. This means I'm wearing my layers except for the puffy and fleece pants which means my pack is way more compact.

No need to cover anything in between because when I'm moving I'm warm no matter what and when I'm in camp and not moving I'm cold.

Regarding feet, one thing I don't see on your list is down booties for camp. They take up some space but for me personally the feeling of dry warm booties after your feet have been mashed by boots is worth it. If you wanna save space but still have nice warm dry feet you can try fleece socks but they arent as warm and cant wear them outside the tent.
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Re: Please critique my layering system

Postby sneakyracer » Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:51 am

The thermawrap seems to have 80g synth insulation which is a tad lighter than the 100g in my Patagonia Micro Puff. Its a great midlayer or outer layer to be active in cold conditions. Its too warm to wear if being active unless its very cold (-10C or lower) and I think its too thin to use over baselayer in cold temps for camp or inactive use.

If there is any threat of rain I usually take the hardshell instead of the softshell. If there is zero chance of rain then the harshell stays and I take the softshell. But, I recently got a First Ascent Frontpoint jacket, which is a hybrid softshell/hardshell. I found it to be quite waterproof and windproof but breathable. So I just take that shell for winter/shoulder use. Love the thing.

So, In short. My clothing system (for the expected weather you might encounter) goes something like this:

Top:
First Ascent Frontpoint jacket (great hood)
Marmot Powerstretch fleece jacket
Capilene 3 1/4 zip
Capilene 3 crew (for camp)
OR Superplume Parka (or a MH sub z) (For Camp and stops only)

Bottom:
Light Synth Boxer Briefs
Cap. 2 Bottoms
Cap. 3 Bottoms (for camp)
MH Navigation Softshell Pants (love the things)

I really like changing into dry clothes in camp. Makes a big difference in comfort. Some might not take the extra baselayers. And yes, down booties rule. My feet get cold at the end of a long day. Those things rejuvenate feet!
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Re: Please critique my layering system

Postby kevin trieu » Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:28 am

for the past few seasons i have been able to reduce my clothing system down a bit but still stay relatively comfortable. i've used the system for the lower Alaskan Range in May, Rainier in late May, Sierra in winter/spring and Cordillera Blanca in June-July. i have reduced my bottoms to Patagonia Guide pants & mid layer Capilene. i have found the Guide pants to have a great range. for upper body, 1 Capilene mid layer, R1, Micro Puff, Dead Bird SV, Das. lately i have been leaving the Micro Puff behind & bavaclava behind. accessories include 2 Smartwool mountaineering socks, OR mid layer gloves, mittens & warm beanie. i guess the range is between 0 and 80 F. if you get cold while moving, move faster. if you get cold in camp, move in your sleeping bag.
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Re: Please critique my layering system

Postby Hotoven » Sat Apr 09, 2011 2:17 pm

Alpinisto wrote:
DukeJH wrote:My $0.02 is that you may be heavy on the upper body.


Seconded.

I have the Peak XV and I think it would be overkill for the peaks you're talking about. (Isn't down verboten in the PNW, anyway? :o ) I'd go for the Thermawrap and throw the Beta over it if the weather goes tits up on you.



I agree, when your moving you will overheat, then that's just a lot of extra weight in your pack you don't need. There's a lot of good advice here but in the end, it will truly come down to you yourself trying out different systems and figuring out what works best for you. (Be careful not to fall into the trap of buying super expensive gear when you might not really need the brand name stuff).
"Hey, careful, man, there's a beverage here!"
- The Dude, Lebowski
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Re: Please critique my layering system

Postby Brad Marshall » Sat Apr 09, 2011 3:07 pm

Hotoven wrote:There's a lot of good advice here but in the end, it will truly come down to you yourself trying out different systems and figuring out what works best for you.


I really have to agree with this. Clothing systems are very personal and what works well for some may not work well for others. For example, I generate a lot of heat when moving and probably wear the same clothing in -25F weather that some would wear down to 0F, and still sweat quite a bit. The down side for me is that I tend to get colder than others when I stop moving because of this.
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Re: Please critique my layering system

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sat Apr 09, 2011 3:21 pm

I would add a sun hat to your list. I have a white, mesh, baseball type cap I like. I can tuck a bandanna under the cap to make a neck cape on really sunny days.
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Re: Please critique my layering system

Postby matai » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:21 pm

This is some great stuff! I love that Cold Thistle blog and read a ton more there. I'm definitely rethinking my system like something below. I know I'll have to just try it out to see what works best for me. I'll probably do some day hikes up Muir and Helens for testing.

I know Arc'teryx stuff is expensive but I sure love the stuff and nothing has ever fit me better. That Atom LT Hoody is also cheaper than the First Ascent Frontpoint jacket even with my 30% off.

Top
Patagonia Capiline 2 (already have)
Arc'Teryx Atom LT Hoody
First Ascent Peak XV Jacket
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Re: Please critique my layering system

Postby sneakyracer » Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:01 pm

Hi, The Atom LT Hoody is an synthetic insulated jacket. Good for moderate activity but only in very cold weather (lower than minus 10C) and too thin to use as belay jacket unless its warm. It can be used for layering obviously.

The Frontpoint is totally uninsulated, its basically a shell that breathes well but its still basically waterproof.

Yea the Arcteryx stuff is expensive but they put some thoughts in their designs and use quality fabrics, zippers and other parts put together quite nicely. They also offer a very wide range of garments to tailor one's specific needs/wants.
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Re: Please critique my layering system

Postby Denjem » Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:13 am

I would go with a snug fitting next to skin layer. The wicked Tee's are fine for hiking, but I think you will stay more comfy in something with a snugger fit. The Gamma LT pants are killer for hiking, but again a pant that you can make a gaiter for is more ideal. I know new Gamma's have a cinch, but old ones do not (I have old one's) and when in snow you will want that gaiter, even if you carry a seperate gaiter. I would probably get a softshell jacket similar to the weight of the Gamma, you will be uncomfortable if you have to wear the Beta and hike in it. The broad brim hat is a good suggestion. As far as the Arc'teryx haters, don't worry about them. They don't have to pay and if you can afford it , the shit rocks.
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Re: Please critique my layering system

Postby Dane1 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:30 am

Glad you like the blog but I think you are missing the point for your own objectives. The Peak XV is an incredible jacket, just not very useable in the lower 48 outside the dead of winter and in some really cold places unless you want something to sleep in. Seriously, I have one and it gets little to NO use in WINTER. No need for one in the Cascades in summer or fall. Compared to the jackets I will name below the XV is heavy and bulky to pack.

"Patagonia Capiline 2 (already have)
Arc'Teryx Atom LT Hoody
First Ascent Peak XV Jacket "

Two Pata tops might be OK, one (a lwt weight) would likely better under a Atom Lt. Add a Pata Nano puff pull over with that Atom LT and you'd be set for most winter climbs. Use the Nano pullover in warmer conditions without the Atom Lt over a R1 and a lwt Pata top. I used this combo a lot this winter in the Alps. If you want something warmer try the Atom SV to use over the Atom Lt. I wouldn't suggest it for what you are doing but it is a warm option that works well.

More here on the Nano:

http://coldthistle.blogspot.com/2011/04 ... -over.html

A few pictures scattered through out the blog of my pumpkin orange Atom SV.
My thought is you are way over thinking this and planning on being way over dressed.
One trip to Muir will likely change that mnd set.
The Atom lt on the blog can be found here:

http://coldthistle.blogspot.com/2011/02 ... od-is.html

Another jacket I am very excited about and used a lot and when not in use carried in my pack this winter is the Brooks Range, Cirro Hoody.
It might be a better jacket for most of us than the Atom SV.

http://brooks-range.com/cirro-hoody.html
Last edited by Dane1 on Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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