Lower Body Layering Setup

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Lower Body Layering Setup

by kstan » Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:08 pm


Here is some background info. I am planning on climbing Mt. Rainier this May. I just got into mountaineering. On this trip
I have independent guide that will first take us to the North Cascades to train in the mountains, and will backpacking below the tree line for another part of the week. Then we will travel back down to Rainier to try to summit.

I am not sure what my lower layers should consist of.

I just bought Patagonia's Torrentshell hardshell pant that I plan on using as a outer layer on the Rainier climb with Patagonia Cap 3 base layer, and Prana Bronson hiking pant as a Mid-layer. Would this set up work? I've read a lot of good things about soft shells and I'm considering taking back the torrentshell and getting Outdoor Research Cirque Soft shell Pant. Is this a good Idea? Should I buy both? Or should I opt for a cheaper pair of soft-shell pants and use both layers. I would like to go cheap but I will buy whatever is necessary. Also I would like something that would be well suited for the whole trip not just on the mountain.

I am not from the northwest so I'm not sure exactly what the weather is normally like in the area or on the mountain during May.

Any help would be much appreciated. Other gear recommendations would also be helpful too.

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Re: Lower Body Layering Setup

by norco17 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:53 pm

I don't have any experience in the pac NW, but my general lower body layering includes
-base layer
-mid layer (zip off pants)
-down insulating layer
this combination should get you through just about anything you are likely to experience

Most of the time I jus wear my mid layer, because I am moving fast enough to stay warm. If it is cold or I am planning on moving slowdue to altitude or a slower partner I will add the base layer(often with the pansts zipped off).

If it gets windy or rainy the hardshell goes on. If I am in snow the gaitors go on. If I am out in very cold weather than the down pants get worn around camp. This setup works to below 0F.

I have heard some people mention that down absorbs alot of water in the Pac NW so that may be a concern. Ask your guide he should be able to give you tips.

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Re: Lower Body Layering Setup

by pvnisher » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:31 am

Ask your guide!

I've been on Rainier twice, once in zip-off hiking pants up to the summit (with long underoos), and another time with softshell pants, long underoos, and full-zip shells.

Weather will dictate what you wear. Softshell pants are nice but not always needed. Fullzip shells are necessary (but hopefully not needed).

You'll be fine with a pair of long underoos (take your pick of midweigh options), a zip-off pant (particularly for your hiking/training), and a full-zip shell.

Down pants are not needed or recommended.
Last edited by pvnisher on Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Lower Body Layering Setup

by Strider » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:32 am

why not light softshell pants like Shoeller instead of regular Zipp off pants? more stretchy,durable and sheds moisture and snow= better for mountains.

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Re: Lower Body Layering Setup

by pvnisher » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:35 am

For me, even light softshell pants are too much for backpacking unless its winter. I love being able to open the zips to vent, or take them off entirely. And I don't think that Schoeller is more durable than a nice nylon hiking pant (which dries very quickly).
But thin softshell pants do work for some people hiking and backpacking. Just too hot for me.

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