Layering light down jacket and down vest

4:03 p.m. on December 21, 2019 (EST)
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After reading the "Down Jacket Selection" thread by Taylor Bates I remembered a few times I layered my Eddie Bauer First Ascent down vest under my EB First Ascent down jacket (shown in my avatar).

This combination does compress the vest a bit, but it is a very warm system. Worn under a GTX mountain parka it can, in my experience, easily be warm to 10 F. when moving if wearing proper boots, gloves and hat.

Anyone else do this kind of layering?

Eric B.

10:29 a.m. on December 22, 2019 (EST)
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Sure. I used to cross country ski every weekend in Wyoming.  With some exercise it is good way below zero.  Might have to take off the jacket. 

10:50 a.m. on December 22, 2019 (EST)
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I don't use multiple layers of down generally. I prefer to use varying amounts of base/mid layers and a single layer of down over the top. Even at -20°f I don't see much benefit from adding another layer of down. I use different down jackets depending on conditions ranging from something light like the Ternua Loughor Jacket to an extremely thick, ancient TNF Nuptse I found at Goodwill years ago. Thin grid fleece layers provide better warmth to bulk ratio in my experience and are easier to dial in for conditions by adding or subtracting layers.

1:59 p.m. on December 22, 2019 (EST)
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The coldest weather I’ve hiked in this era has been 17f/-8c and no way could I have worn any down or synthetic puffy. I was sweating with a silk weight base with powerstretch fleece over. The snow covered 90% of the terrain and it was mostly sunny. Even hiking while it is snowing I can’t wear a puffy unless the wind is howling so that system of layering puffies is not for me. 

I used to live where it got down to -40 for weeks on end and did learn to travel in that but that was a long time ago and I’ll never seek that again. In still air I’m not sure I’d wear a puffy in those conditions and I didn’t then but everything does change with howling winds. That might do it but we found on the move we could do most weather with a wool sweater and a windbreaker. You really don’t want to sweat in -40. 

9:26 p.m. on December 22, 2019 (EST)
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@eric: Yes, I do. Like lonestranger, I prefer a synthetic vest under the down down jacket. I generally layer with the thinnest baselayer I have, a synthetic vest, and the appropriate shell, be it a windlayer, or a down hoody.

Like ghostdog, I rarely wear more than two layers while I'm moving, to keep keep accumulated moisture out of my clothing and let it evaporate.

In this review: https://www.trailspace.com/gear/the-north-face/thermoball-full-zip-jacket/#review31284 I reference the MET scale and tend to think in those terms for matter like these, and I find if I can maintain 5 MET I'm pushing enough heat to hike in rain indefinitely wearing a Houdini windshirt and nylon supplex pants as my outer-layer, with the appropriate baselayers and optional vest.

1:08 p.m. on December 23, 2019 (EST)
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As a former cross country ski racer and Nordic ski patroller I'm well acquainted with "moisture transport" when vigorously exercising.

I should have noted that here I'm referring to moderate exercise with a double layer of down. In truly bitter weather with some wind (or a lot) double layered down comes into its own.

Lone Stranger's Teruna down parka is very similar to LL Bean's Ultralight 850 Down Big Baffle parka. But Teruna does take recycling all the way with recycled shell materials and also recycled down. Kudos to them.

I guess the main reason I posted this thread was because it illustrates that you can "get away with" adding a warm vest, down or otherwise, to a light sen jacket for a lot more warmth. Would it be a good "camp combo"? Likely not that great. In my experience I have needed a heavier parka for sitting around camp for a few hours. The Teruna parka or theLL Bean "Big Baffle" parka are good examples of that. And my Eddie Bauer Peak XV -30 F. expedition parka is a more extreme example.

Eric B.

BTW, I do advocate DWR treated down because it helps with more "moisture transport" away from the down.

1:26 p.m. on December 23, 2019 (EST)
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@eric: Gotcha. I've got a hooded down jacket with 7 oz of fill (Rab Infinity), which I'll layer over a down vest with 4 oz of fill (Brooks Range Mountaineeering), to get a total down load very close to my Marmot Iceland parka (12 oz of fill), at half the weight. I end up with a solid 4" of loft around the torso, which, when paired with a pair of synthetically-insulated Eddie Bauer FA Igniter pants (here: https://www.trailspace.com/gear/eddie-bauer/first-ascent-igniter-pants/) has worked to keep me warm when somewhat-active down to around -10 degrees Farenheit.

If I pair the BR vest worn under the Iceland, even things like deep-winter wildlife glassing become fully enjoyable. When I need even more leg insulation, I layer up a pair of military-surplus M-85 bottoms and Integral Designs Hotsox.

I'm not a fan of treated down. I've read that the coating allows the manufacturer to use smaller, lower-quality down clusters while achieving the same loft. Many cottage companies are moving away from using treated down as the standard option. As feedback comes in it seems that, more quickly than expected, the down is compacting and clumping and so insulation gaps develop. Also, that at the level of moisture the down would typically encounter (the user's vapor),  the performance of top-quality, untreated down is better, and even when considering the occasional contact with water.

4:38 p.m. on December 23, 2019 (EST)
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pillowthread said:

@eric: Yes, I do. Like lonestranger, I prefer a synthetic vest under the down down jacket. I generally layer with the thinnest baselayer I have, a synthetic vest, and the appropriate shell, be it a windlayer, or a down hoody.

Like ghostdog, I rarely wear more than two layers while I'm moving, to keep keep accumulated moisture out of my clothing and let it evaporate.

In this review: https://www.trailspace.com/gear/the-north-face/thermoball-full-zip-jacket/#review31284 I reference the MET scale and tend to think in those terms for matter like these, and I find if I can maintain 5 MET I'm pushing enough heat to hike in rain indefinitely wearing a Houdini windshirt and nylon supplex pants as my outer-layer, with the appropriate baselayers and optional vest.

 

Pillowthread that is an amazing review for the Thermoball. Holy cow that could sell a container ship of that product. I ad to go look at them and there is a dandy sale right now, $125 down from $200 for the pullover. I have a fairly new Nanopuff pullover, got it last year so I’m pretty happy for now but I’ll keep that Thermoball in mind. I tried to leave a comment on your review but could not find a post button on my iPad.

Today we did 10k in the mountains/canyons from home and the start was chilly enough for a Houdini for the first mile but as we reached the climbing I shed that and did the remainder in a long sleeve light weight stretchy shirt. Like you I like the Houdini and have had several since they were first offered. It is probably my favorite and most used piece. I keep a ul down jacket in my pack for stops and backup but rarely use it. If rain is forecast a fleece or the Nanopuff will sub for the down. 

10:39 a.m. on December 25, 2019 (EST)
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Yes in isolated circumstances. I have a feathered friends vest that fits nicely under my down sweater and adds a fair bit of warmth if it gets unexpectedly cold during late fall or early spring, times I would not carry a heavier down jacket.   

I virtually never wear puffy jackets while hiking with any vigor because they interfere with sweat management. I will wear fleece vests for that. Recent gift, patagonia retro pile vest, is great.  

10:41 a.m. on December 25, 2019 (EST)
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Yes in isolated circumstances. I have a feathered friends vest that fits nicely under my down sweater and adds a fair bit of warmth if it gets unexpectedly cold during late fall or early spring, times I would not carry a heavier down jacket.   

I virtually never wear puffy jackets while hiking with any vigor because they interfere with sweat management. I will wear fleece vests for that. Recent gift, patagonia retro pile vest, is great.  

https://www.patagonia.com/product/mens-retro-pile-fleece-vest/22821.html?isSearch=true&dwvar_22821_color=ELKH

8:04 p.m. on February 3, 2020 (EST)
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Thanks guys for the comments. I have a very thick "retro" style pile vest that I bought in the '90s from Sierra Trading Post in their Wyoming store. Still works and looks good.

And yeah. fleece is great when moving but it's far heavier than even good synthetic like Climashield and is quite bulky when stored. I'll take my old insulating layer Thermolite jacket and pants if I'm moving in very cold weather or even my ancient but still good Thinsulate insulated Gore-Tex Cabela's ski pants for very severe weather.

Eric B.

March 29, 2020
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