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Winter pant systems (looking for suggestions)

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Winter pant systems (looking for suggestions)

Postby labgloves » Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:20 pm

I'm looking for advice on winter clothing systems. I've got a lot of it figured out (upper-body, head, hands, and feet) but I've never come up with something satisfactory for my legs.

I'm posting both to get general ideas as well as specific suggestions (best pants I've ever worn, etc) . . .

I tend to run on the warm side. I sleep very warm and put out a lot of heat during any physical activity. I also sweet a lot - enough to soak almost any material. Presently, my preferred attire for good weather winter days (no precipitation, >10 °F) is shorts and gaiters. This preference is unlikely to change, but it would be nice to have a better system for the following situations:

- cold rain (rain in that 32–40 °F temperature range
- heavy snow
- extremely cold days
- days when the group you are with isn't moving as fast as you'd like to stay warm

I get out mostly in the Sierra or Southern California mountains, so often short and gaiter will do it. But, I'd sure like to have something better figured out for those days that it won't.

Thanks!
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Postby bird » Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:24 pm

Patagonia Cap 1 bottoms
Mammut Courmayeur (Sp?) Pant
Marmot Precip full zip pants.

This gets me through most stuff. If it's very cold, or I plan on standing around belaying, I'll swap out heavier long johns.
The pants are great year round.
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Postby CanadianSteve » Tue Dec 15, 2009 8:16 pm

I use cap 3 and patagonia guide pants for most winter stuff. Served me well at -20*C ice climbing the past 2 weekends.
When I will be moving constantly (snow slog, etc) I will switch out to a lighter base. Add in shell pants in poor conditions.
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Postby Alpinisto » Tue Dec 15, 2009 8:50 pm

bird wrote:Patagonia Cap 1 bottoms
Mammut Courmayeur (Sp?) Pant
Marmot Precip full zip pants.

This gets me through most stuff. If it's very cold, or I plan on standing around belaying, I'll swap out heavier long johns.
The pants are great year round.


This is pretty much my setup, as well: baselayer/softshell/hardshell (if needed). Light/mid/expedition weight baselayer changes depending on expected activity and ambeint temp.

Most of the time, the PreCips only come out of my pack if I'm hanging around camp not moving or if there's a ton of wind (i.e., extended time hiking above treeline). I have a high heat output as well, and most of the other pantz I've tried have all proven too warm.
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Postby DBaker » Tue Dec 15, 2009 9:12 pm

I'll have to echo the 'Baselayer - softshell - hardshell' system. Choose good components and the system will work in the vast majority of situations.

My setup is as follows,

Winter:
>Heavy Duofold baselayer
>Beyond Clothing 'Cold Play' (Schoeller Dryskin Extreme) Shock pants
>Arcteryx Alpha SL pants (got these off steepandcheap for $65 a few years back)- these are in the pack most of the time

Spring/Fall:
>Same as above, but with Icebreaker 3/4 length wool leggings (w/ tall socks) instead of duofold

Summer/Late Spring/Early Fall:
>Either Icebreaker leggings (for say, Rainier) or Capilene boxers depending on climate
>Lightweight Mammut hiking pants (don't remember the name, they zip off)
>Alpha SL pants along for the ride unless weight is an issue, then Dri Duck bottoms instead
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Postby DanielWade » Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:51 am

Patagonia Cap 1 or Wool 2 base, Super Guide softshell (sometimes with GTX gaiters) and Micro-Puff Insulated overpants has served me well. I would rather have additional insulation than waterproof pants for standing around. I have been testing/perfecting this system for the past few seasons in the Sierra and on Rainier. I carry Precip pants in the pack for summer rain but leave them at home in winter.
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Postby brokesomeribs » Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:02 am

A lot of regular people have made great suggestions... for other regular people. The OP wears shorts at 15º (!!!!) Suggesting baselayer+softshell+hardshell will most likely have him dying of dehydration when he sweats out. And I thought I had a high heat output... wow.

Labgloves, I would stick with the shorts+gaiters combo, but look for any waterproof/breathable pant with a fuzzy tricot lining (not insulation, just fuzzy) and (this is crucial) full side zips from waist to ankle. You can go with something a little lighter that doesn't have internal gaiters - you're already wearing gaiters. I have a great pair of Marmot XCR pants like this, no idea on a model name, I've had them for a couple years already.

They've got the fuzzy lining to take the edge off the cold and wind if it starts getting real ugly out, the full side zips let you go easy-on/easy-off without changing other clothing, taking off crampons, etc, and you won't get too hot. Plus you can just open the side zips from mid-thigh down to mid-calf and get plenty of venting.

If it's cold enough that a pair of GTX pants don't keep you warm enough, switch the shorts to a pair of med. weight tights and pick up any insulated pant, again with full side zips. You can roll with just tights/gaiters during high output, and easily throw on the insulated pant when you slow down or the wind picks up.

This is my system, but for slightly warmer temps.
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Postby labgloves » Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:49 pm

Thanks for the advice all - . It seems to me that as soon as I put on pants, some sort of full (or 3/4 length) leg base to deal with the moisture will be important. And, as brokesomeribs pointed out, I can just wear the tights with gaiters.

I have a pair of Patagonia Cap 1 bottoms that I almost always bring with me. But, I usually only wear them around camp. Or on the morning, of an 'easy' walk out. I think for anything strenuous they would be too warm for me. Maybe I should try a pair of 'non-insulated' wicking tights - maybe light running tights?
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Postby DBaker » Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:31 pm

A friend of mine uses the tights + shorts + optional hardshell system 90% of the time, she's had very good luck with the Under Armor stuff, as it's more durable than most underlayers and comes in varieties ranging from 'heat gear' all the way up to expedition weight.
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Postby BLong » Thu Dec 17, 2009 3:16 am

The only thing I would add is that if you want to do any expedition type trips (where you will be re-wearing layers for multiple days without washing them) wool -- I recommend Icebreaker -- will smell far less than synthetic -- such as Patagonia's Capilene.

If you get warm easily or do really aerobic activities, and want to use Icebreaker products, their 150 weight may be enough. To be safe, I recommend the 200 weight or 260 for really cold weather or less aerobic activities.
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Postby labgloves » Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:58 am

hmm - I have never tried Icebreaker. With the degree to which I can produce sweat, smell is certainly a consideration.

How does the Icebreaker 150 compare to the Patagonia Capilene 1 in terms of insulation?

For opposite ends of the material spectrum, I'm tempted to try out Icebreaker 150 and UA HeatGear Legging.
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Postby dskoon » Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:19 pm

Yes, I will 2nd what the above poster from Eugene says about the Sporthill pants.
They are very nice, very weather resistant, and layer well.
Good winter pant.
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Postby labgloves » Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:17 pm

mtnhippy and dskoon - thanks for the tip on Sporthill tip. They do seem to have good gear with very reasonable pricing.

I'll probably end up with a full zip . . . but if not I might very well get a Sporthill XC.
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