more lightening the pack thru down questions. This time - down jackets.....

6:12 a.m. on November 23, 2004 (EST)
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Couple years ago, I asked you good folks how to lighten my pack load by getting warmer, more functional synthetic clothing.

I did. I bought a lot of different polypropolene underwear, duofold expedition weight underwear, thermal long sleeve shirts, fleece jackets, down jacket and I already had a Nuptse down parka.

Now question is, am I kind of taking away the insulating qualities of the down jacket and parka by having all this stuff on underneath?

I sure would have a lot more room in the pack and drop a few more pounds if I knew I could be perfectly toasty with say, just the thermal long sleeve shirt and the down stuff.

Whatcha think? Metabolism thing or am I causing a problem being dressed like a kid going out to sled ride?

10:36 a.m. on November 23, 2004 (EST)
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Hi Ed,
We used to layer in the winter and I found that when I got up to 4 layers I could no longer move, so I cut down to three, but 2 is more comfy if its warm enough. Since I have a specific outfit that I ski in (while aerobic), I merely need to add some warm clothes for the less aerobic in cap time.
Whithin the realm of my experience - thick down layers will protect your core heat, but if you want to feel toasty - its the layers next to your skin that provide that level of warmth. My ideal winter outfit (and I camp in much colder, dryer weather at altitude, than you do) is :
1) a Marmott Tech Tee, and Rei 100 weight fleece pants. Over this I wear a goretex shelled down coat - 39 oz and goretex shelled down bibs (32 oz). My day ski gear includes paclite jacket and pants, and the pants will go over my bibs. This outfit is comfortable way below zero.

An overshell will make that Nuptse a LOT warmer. Do not underestimate the warmth or weight (or dryness) of real mountaineering shells...

Bibs are a lot warmer than pants and keep you dryer while cutting down on drafts.

Based on somethings that you have said - you might try insulated pants, fleece shirt, nuptse, overshells, hat gloves. Oh yes - my TNF down pants weigh 24 oz but are not waterproof, which isn't a problem since my rain pants will go over them - get full side zips on the rain pants/bibs.
Jim (:->)

1:39 p.m. on November 23, 2004 (EST)
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Mostly, second what Jim said.

Answer to your first question is - no, the underneath layers do not diminish the insulating of the down, .... unless ... If you have not fit your down outer layer to allow for all the underneath layers, you will compress the down and lose insulating capability. Also, if your wind shell (gtx outer) is not sized large enough, you also compress the down and lose insulating capability (loft = thickness of down or synth fill = insulating capability).

The idea of layers is to be able to adjust your insulation to your activity level. When you are moving, your body generates heat to keep you warm. If you get too warm, you generate sweat to cool you down. I find that when I am moving, say on skis or climbing with the pack on, I often need to go down to just the expd wt long johns, even at 17k to 20k on Denali (it was breezy enough there to have the gtx bibs and parka over them, shells only, temperature about -10F). The poly long johns wick the moisture away, so I am not getting soaked, hence chilled. However, sitting around at temperatures of, say, +10 to +15F, I will need to put another layer or two of fleece (300 wt) plus the expd down parka and maybe even the down pants. In those conditions, I am not exercising, so not generating heat. But I am likely to be in a sheltered location, so I might not need the wind shells.

The "little kid stuffed with a hunnert layers" thing is not really a problem when you are sitting around and needing the extra insulation, and when you are moving, you don't have all the layers on. Now in your part of the world, it doesn't really get that cold. If I go by the coldest I encountered in Mississippi or the Smokeys, I would be wearing a light long john, fleece shirt (or my good old Pendleton), Supplex pants, and wind shell (my gtx) while moving, at most. When sitting around, I would add a fleece jacket, and maybe a light down parka.

But, ya know, it really depends on your personal metabolism, whether you are cooling from hard exercise, whether you have eaten recently, whether you are well hydrated, and so on. I would say, try out various levels of layers and see what works. One thing I have seen work well for some people is dress very lightly in layers during the hike/climb/ski, then put on a huge down parka when sitting around camp. That is, a couple of light layers for moving and an additional thick layer for sitting around. But YMMV

6:48 p.m. on November 23, 2004 (EST)
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Re: more lightening the pack thru down questions.



Are you suggesting that Ed won't need extra leg insulation? I bet those 300 fleece pants you mentioned would feel pretty good. My 300 fleece pants are so heavy that I prefer my down pants (for about 6 oz more). But I see Ed was really asking for down coat info. So as I said - I have a winter down coat with a goretex shell guaranteed to keep me dry... it weighs 39 ounces. Either get a down jacket with a breathable waterproof shell, or a large light shell that goes over everything and anything else. Do not pass up the new 700 to 800 down items. If you do buy a new coat get a baffled coat and and not get a really light one - they are not that warm. My jacket is insulated with insulite around the waist so it works better with a pack and the pockets are high so they do not interfere with the waist belt, or visa versa. I prefer coats with built in hoods.

5:53 a.m. on November 24, 2004 (EST)
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Thanks guys. Nope, I don't need extra leg insulation...

My rare cold weather camping really is usually about 35 degrees at the coldest. I get most uncomfortable when lounging around camp. When my legs do get cold (and not very often), I will put on the polypropelene underwear and if I continue to get cold, on goes the Goretex rain suit - which I did buy a size larger to accomodate the Nuptse parka without smooshing it too much.

I guess the clothes that I have been humping are appropriate and I should continue with what I have been doing, all these layers of clothes just take up so much room in the pack! The down jackets in the sleeping bag stuff sack do make a great pillow.

My marathon running season is winding down (last one in February) and camping season is beginning. Nice to get out of the house again!

Have I mentioned lately what a nice sleeping bag the MountainSmith Vision is?

You guys steered me toward that - now one of my favorite pieces of gear.

5:53 a.m. on November 24, 2004 (EST)
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11:34 a.m. on November 24, 2004 (EST)
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Warm the torso warms the extremities

Well, I'm not sure what Ed is wearing on his legs. But if he already has long john bottoms on plus something like Supplex pants (not cotton or cotton/poly blends), or even wool, putting the gtx over them works quite well when he puts the down parka on his torso. Oh, yeah, forgot to mention the warm hat on the head. Anyway, if you get the torso (and head) warm, it does a lot to warm the legs, hands, and toes.

Hey, he's in Florida where they wear skimpy swimsuits all year ;=>D When I visit my son in Colorado in the winter (CU undergrad and CSU grad), the students all seem to be wearing shorts and T-shirts, walking around in sandels, even in snowstorms (I, on the other hand, needed my gtx and multiple layers of long johns and fleece jackets, and on one day, my down parka). Metabolism, I guess, or maybe it's just that these young kids are hardier than the Old GreyBeard.

I agree that filled pants and jackets are lighter and stuff better for the warmth than pile. And the newest synth comes very close to down in weight for warmth and compressability. Based on my Dolomiti jacket and Renaissance sleeping bag, I would say that Primaloft is very close to matching 500-600 fill down. I agree that isn't up to the 800 I have in my FF Ptarmigan or FF down pants. But (a) the Primaloft is a whole bunch cheaper and (b) I don't have to worry anywhere near as much about getting it wet (I have been using the Dolomiti as a belay jacket on ice climbs for the past couple of years and on some very wet Sierra BC ski tours).

One thing about the 300-wt pile pants. The lack of compressability has the advantage when sitting of providing more insulation between you and the snow/rock (admittedly not much), compared to down or filled synth pants.

Good point about making sure your filled gear (jackets, pants, sleeping bags) are baffled and not sewn through. We too often forget to mention this in these threads.

One other thing about the sitting around - even without show on the ground, it is a good idea to sit on some kind of insulation, whether it is a sleeping pad, a small pad dedicated to sitting, or a pack.

Happy Turkey Day to all! Go eat a turkey, and stuffing and yams and cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie and mince pie and all that stuff. If you can, share some of it with the needy (the food banks seem to be extremely short this year, so maybe take advantage of the local grocery store's $8 turkey special - up to a 16 pounder - and drop it by the food bank).

Reminds me of my most memorable Thanksgiving. 5 of us in my university mountaineering club went into the Sierra Palisades for a climb. We ended up mostly sitting around in the tents, stuffing ourselves with the feast we prepared over our Sveas - turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mincemeat (straight, didn't make it into a pie, just heated it), yams, some kind of veggies that I can't remember. What a feast! And in deep snow, too. We had to hike on skis from the trailhead (several miles beyond the old Glacier Lodge where the end of the road is now). 9 miles to Sam Mack Meadow. We did get up on the glacier to the foot of the U-Notch, but the short days kept us from doing North Pal or Sill. But, a full turkey dinner in the wilderness was the real memory.

12:23 p.m. on November 24, 2004 (EST)
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Aha and Eureka!...

Ya know when I'm sitting around camp, I'm in my hammock! Nothing under me but nylon string and atmosphere.

I'm betting if I throw the thermarest under me, I WILL be able to go with less clothing.

I knew you guys would come up with the answer - thanks!

Oh, btw, I wear some kind of teflon coated, synthetic zip off leg pants until I reach my cold satiation point and then put on the polypropolene... under the pants of course.

I keep telling ya kid, when you throw that sod down, it's green side up!

When you smoke a turkey, which end do you put in your mouth?

10:21 a.m. on November 25, 2004 (EST)

Are we in the same state??

Ed, where are you using all this cold weather gear? I thought you said you hiked So GA and FL. No? I hike N GA in the winter and have never thought of a down jacket or fleece pants for the hikes here. The only time I need my down jacket is out West or up North. Are you using good moisture management techniques? Like trying to dress so as not to create excessive sweating for the particular exercise level? I know we get pretty damp here in the winter and to me 40F and rain feels colder than 20F and clear and dry, but still, down?? It must be a difference in metabolisms and what we each think is cold (I grew up in the Midwest where it only snowed sideways) and I do know that FL people think it

6:48 a.m. on November 26, 2004 (EST)
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Yep Adam, I camp in Southern Georgia/Florida!........

Fleece pants aren't in my future.

I get pretty darn cold hanging around camp at night when I'm not out bushwacking or marching around. Temps can get down to 50's and I start getting chilled.

Guess living in Florida has "thinned out my blood" and made me a little less tolerant of lower temps. When I lived in Pittsburgh, I was comfortable winter camping with less clothing then I wear now.

'Course Strawberry Fields mescaline was readliy available then.

When I am moving about, I'm perfectly warm in a T-shirt even when it's in the 40's. I will start sweating within hiking a 1/2 mile. sometimes I'm hiking with no shirt while my buddy has a coat on.

I do my distance running wearing a singlet and shorts when it's in the low 40's, colder than that I will wear shorts and a long sleeve shirt.

So, in short, my complaint is getting cold when I am not involved in an aerobic activity.

Again, I think the pad under me when I'm hanging in the hammock may be the answer.
Hydration and eating enough is not an issue.

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