layering quiz

10:16 p.m. on November 24, 2012 (EST)
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great morning in the DC metro area.  high 30's, nice north wind gusting to 20-25 mph.  hiked from 6-9 a.m.  faced a dilemma:

1.  light/mid wicking long sleeve zip-neck layer plus soft shell; or,

2.  heavy wicking zip-neck layer (polartec powerstretch) plus very light wind shell top.

the baseline: light wool socks, trail runners, mid-weight wool long john bottoms, light wool t-shirt, light fleece beanie, expedition-weight synthetic glove liners.  had to put on windstopper gloves over the liners because my fingers got nippy, despite moving at 3.5 mph.

the question is, would you have chosen #1 or #2, and why? or perhaps something else?

i'll check back in a few days and share what i chose, and how it played out.





5:00 p.m. on November 25, 2012 (EST)
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I vote for number two. use the heavier insulation. or perhaps a combination of both the heavy layer and the softshell. I'm cold blooded.

8:42 p.m. on November 25, 2012 (EST)
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#1 because you had all that other stuff on. I would have used #1's lightweight shirt with #2's hardshell.

12:02 a.m. on November 26, 2012 (EST)
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#2 with a full zipper. If you're warm, just undo the zipper on the fleece and as much of the zipper on the shell as you want. I'll always take 'too warm' over 'too cold' - it's easier to shed a layer you have on than put on a layer you don't have.

9:11 a.m. on November 26, 2012 (EST)
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interesting.  i split the difference because i couldn't decide - one combination on the way out, a chilly few moments changing over, and the other on the way back.

because i run 'hot' most of the time, i anticipated the soft shell would be the better choice; i tend to overheat in the windshirt.  it turns out both were fine, but i was slightly more comfortable with #2 because the shirt was a little heavier and the jacket was slightly better blocking the wind.  the soft shell's fuzzy back, in those conditions, provides a little less insulation than i anticipated.

thanks for the comments!

5:28 a.m. on November 28, 2012 (EST)
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Whenever wind is an issue I go with a wind shell.  If the wind kicks up it is hard to keep warm regardless what the other layers may be, lacking a shell to block the breeze.


9:33 a.m. on November 28, 2012 (EST)
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Rule of thumb, It is easier to cool down than warm back up. And I agree with Ed on the shell.


10:40 a.m. on November 28, 2012 (EST)
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I like #1.  I've always felt that the base layer should be the lightest layer, because it's easier to take off the shell.  I"m sure this statement is as objective as my belief that ketchup is an abomination.

When running in similar conditions, I'll put on a light synthetic long sleeve top, and throw a looser synthetic top with a more open weave over it.

7:18 p.m. on November 30, 2012 (EST)
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I like #1 too.  But my softshell (neoshell) is much more windproof than something like Polartec Powershield.  I too favor the light base layer because I find that it wicks better, and I sweat like a pig when very active (TMI).  Oh, and my shell has pit zips too.  So maybe that's a combo of #1 & #2?

6:08 p.m. on December 1, 2012 (EST)
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the soft shell was a north face apex bionic.  it's pretty good with the wind.

i have another soft shell with the neoshell membrane; it completely stops the wind, just as good as the wind shell.  i tend to keep it for colder/wetter weather.  

6:53 p.m. on December 1, 2012 (EST)
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Wow a Bionic? I had one last year that i returned because it worked too well blocking the wind and it was a little too heavy for my needs. Very nice jacket though.

1:14 p.m. on December 2, 2012 (EST)
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Yup. It was a gift. Great for cycling to work in the winter. I agree, it is heavy.

June 23, 2018
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