Silk

11:17 a.m. on December 17, 2016 (EST)
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There doesn't seem to be any mention of silk in discussions of cold weather garmets. I could swear that years ago it was popular as a wind layer or base layer or am I wrong? 

12:04 p.m. on December 17, 2016 (EST)
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Silk has been around for a long time. It used to be popular with rich people.  Now silk is cheaper and more available. I find it to be a great fiber, but not very durable for field conditions. It runs easily and tears when used as a base layer. Still great for a scarf around the neck.

1:01 p.m. on December 17, 2016 (EST)
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The only silk I use anymore are glove liners. As ppine says, it isn't very durable. Silk gloves are good for using a camera in very cold conditions.

9:41 a.m. on December 18, 2016 (EST)
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OK, thanks for the info. You bet, Pine, silk makes a great wild rag. 

2:36 p.m. on December 18, 2016 (EST)
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I have a silk sleeping bag liner (lakenpose in Norwegian), all you need to carry when staying in Norwegian huts and many youth hostels. Half the weight and bulk of the cotton ones. My wife finds hers a little "tangly". For our Wind River hike this summer we also replaced our cotton double sleeping pad cover with a slik one made out of a hut sheet, again at about half the weight. We then just carry one rectangular sleeping bag to use opened up as a quilt over both of us. Could be the best and highest use of silk for the outdoor life.

4:17 p.m. on December 25, 2016 (EST)
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silk's warmth to weight ratio is excellent, which translated into people using it for glove and sock liners, long John tops and bottoms.  silk is also very soft and nice against your skin, which used to be a big advantage compared to the average wool garment.  silk has, however, some serious downsides.  in addition to the durability issues mentioned above, silk is not particularly quick to dry or warm once it gets wet.  while there is no perfect solution, I think various kinds of wool liners and long johns have become a lot more popular than silk, and with good reason.  merino and other softer kinds of wool are much easier on the skin, retain warmth when damp, and dry faster as you wear them.

my question - why has merino become so popular when Angora has not?  

5:23 p.m. on December 25, 2016 (EST)
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leadbelly2550 said:

"..my question - why has merino become so popular when Angora has not? "

Or for that matter alpaca wool, which is amazingly soft and warm as any fiber? But $$$ here in the US.  I have some scarves I got while in Peru, my favorite of wool, both higher quality that alpaca you can get here, and much cheaper, too.  It also comes in those mountain peasant beanies; I wish I could find an alpaca balaclava.

Ed

6:38 p.m. on February 25, 2017 (EST)
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Silk is great but I must be a monster because darn if it'll last longer than a couple of trips.  

9:54 p.m. on February 26, 2017 (EST)
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I used a slik sleepingbag liner once. I found it to be useless. I was in my long johns and t-shirt. It was low 20's and my the bag I used was rated for 30. It worked good until i got warmed up and woke up sweating with the silk stuck to my like tolet paper. I prefer fleese over all.

November 12, 2019
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