Oct 26, 2013 at 12:25 pm #1309154
Seems all the technical fleeces are riddled with the ubiquitously annoying zipper chest pocket, zippered handwarmers, hoods, thumb loops, and a hundred other things I don't need.
I really like the simplicity of the Patagonia Synchilla Snap-T. Just a few plastic snaps and basic cuffs. It looks good, too, so I'll actually use it.
Is this "ultralight" given it's warmth to weight ratio? It's a 10.6oz Polyester double-face fleece. This is for active use, biking and hiking. I know it's a looser fit, and I like that.
If this is truly just an old-school basic fleece with no whistles, I'm getting it. However, the fact that it's 1oz more than the R4 fleece which also has a windblocking layer gives me very little hope.
Anyone have insight?
This is for layering under a shell or insulating layer, on top of my baselayer.Oct 26, 2013 at 2:46 pm #2038117
I have both and use the snap T pullover more than the R4, although if I were to take one or the other backpacking it would be the R4. I wear the snap T almost daily for outside activity, getting firewood, etc during this time of year. It has its own place next to the door so I can pull it on and go. The R4 is a bit lighter, and seems more suitable to hiking.Oct 26, 2013 at 3:00 pm #2038129
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"Anyone have insight?
This is for layering under a shell or insulating layer, on top of my baselayer."
Pretty hard to beat a Patagucci Cap4 Hoody for the purpose you describe, especially if you are doing active exercise in a colder environment. It has that, to you, annoying chest pocket and thumb loops, but feature sets are a very personal choice. Lots of choices, but I'd say the Cap4 fills the bill as well as any I have come across lately.Oct 26, 2013 at 3:42 pm #2038142
Remember patagonia got it's start as a climbing company and still holds a design tradition harking back to then (even if the designers are working on convention more than knowledgeable tradition). When you're climbing, it's nice to have pockets that zip so nothing can fall out of them…and down a thousand foot cliff. A lot of the "technical" brands are actually climbing/mountaineering companies that are branching out into other and all outdoor sports.
So it's basically par for the pata course. Personally I'm finding if a product thermo regulates better, I can ignore most minor weight penalties. Percentage point for percentage point, I think performance/comfort gains are superior to weight savings, ie 10% improvement to thermoregulation is more useful/noticeable than a 10% weight reduction.Oct 26, 2013 at 8:33 pm #2038206
@bolsterLocale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
I don't know when the Synchilla Snap T was introduced, maybe in the 1980s? but I bought one the first or second year they debuted. No pocket, no thumb loops. Just dense heavy purple fleece. I still own it and it still looks like new. Part of the reason is, it is so farging warm, I seldom use it. It's my "too hot" sweater. It takes me from "too cool" to "unpleasantly hot" in a quarter hour. I really need to live in a colder climate to appreciate it. I seldom take it backpacking, since it weighs almost 18 ounces, which is almost the weight of my 30-degree down quilt. Works great for skiing.Oct 27, 2013 at 2:40 am #2038229
@dmusasheLocale: Pacific Northwest
I'm an avid fleece user, and in my opinion, there are the Regulator fleeces (i.e. Polartec Thermal Pro), and there is everything else. The Regulator fleeces are just head and shoulders above the standard double-faced pile Polartec fleeces out there. They are lighter, warmer, more compressible, more durable, quicker drying, and more breathable. In short, they are, IMO, superior in every technical respect.
Because of this, I couldn't ever imagine choosing the Snap-T fleece over one of the Regulator fleeces. So my vote would obviously be a Regulator fleece.
As for which one, well, what kind of temperatures are you planning to use this fleece in? You mentioned that you were planning on using this fleece while hiking, biking, etc… If that's the case, then I think the R4 might be too warm for your intended use unless you are using it in very cold conditions. That R4 is a very warm fleece, and it's not as breathable as the R3 or the R2 because it has that windproof membrane.
IMHO, windproof fleeces are a waste of money, because they are sort of a one trick pony (outerwear in very cold weather). They aren't nearly as breathable as non-windproof fleeces and they weigh more too. I use my lightweight windshell (which will be with me anyways while backpacking and hiking) to protect my fleece from the wind, and when it's not windy, I have a fleece that is comfortable in a wider range of conditions.
Anyway, my vote for you would be the R2 fleece jacket (hugely versatile) or the R3 fleece jacket for a little more warm.
In case you're interested, here is a breakdown of the lowest comfortable temperature for me while wearing the current R2 jacket:
R2 + baselayer – 55 degrees fahrenheit (without wind and at rest) or 40 degrees fahrenheit (without wind, actively moving)
R2 + baselayer + 5oz windshell – 40 degrees fahrenheit (at rest) or 25 degrees fahrenheit (actively moving)
The R3 would probably push all the temps down by 5-10 degrees or so for me.
I hope this helps!Oct 27, 2013 at 10:50 am #2038293
@skomaeLocale: northeastern US
I have the Snap-T Pullover and Hoodie.
According to Patagonia the Pullover weighs 18.7oz. Not exactly ultralight. The 10.6oz spec is the fabric weight by yard. That's essentially Polartec 300.
However, once the mercury goes down it is just about my favorite thing to wear around for casual wear and light hiking use. It is very cozy. Because it is thick and bulky though, it does not layer well under trimmer fit clothing. I don't take it backpacking or mountain biking, but I wear it at the crag when I am not on the wall. I could probably use it for backpacking just fine, but I have other garments better suited to the task like the R1 Hoody and Houdini for active use and the Atom SV for passive use.
If you are looking for a lighter, simple fleece to use for active activities, the Patagonia Micro D 1/4 Zip has been getting rave reviews by Dane over at Cold Thistle. It's a much lighter fleece (4.7oz fleece) and weighs only 8.4oz total.
I also like the Patagonia Capilene 4 pullover and hoody. The pullover is also supposed to be 8.4oz. It is very nice to wear under something to buff up the warmth but loses warmth quickly without an outer shell. It was awesome yesterday out on the cliffs with the cold winter gusts blowing underneath my light shell.Oct 27, 2013 at 11:42 am #2038310
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Synchilla is bulky, but it has LOTS of loft. Do note that it needs a shell to be really useful– the wind will blow through Synchilla like it was mosquito netting. Fine on a chilly morning with no wind, but almost like a 100g jacket with a windshirt or rain shell over and it breathes. Great for sleep too.
Wind blocking features are okay on fleece, but I think it makes them too sweaty and too single purpose– more like a soft shell and the same paint-yourself-in-the-corner quandary. *If* you use a windshirt, no need for the expense and bulk of an R4 item.
What do you plan do use it for? If you are layering a base layer and midlayer fleece like R1/Power Stretch, the Synchilla or the R4 is going to be a big lump in comparison and it's all one layer or not at all. If you are planning on conditions cold enough to want a layer that lofty, you are on the edge of a 100g style puffy. I've seen good used ones for $20 or so and if you can get one that cheap, what the heck. Paying retail is more of a dice roll I think.Oct 27, 2013 at 1:37 pm #2038348
it all depends what you are using it for
basically you need to look at
– exertion level … are you walking flat ground, climbing up hill, wearing a pack, etc
– continuous nature of the exertion … are you doing belayed climbing and taking frequent stops, are you running up a hill with no rests, etc ..
– conditions … what is the temp level, what is the humidity
– metabolism … do you run cold/hot?
in general though IME …
T2/Cap4 powerdry – used for high output continuos activities like running, scrambling uphill, etc … in cool/cold temps … exceptionally breathable, wicking and fast drying due to the waffle pattern … very durable … no wind resistance at all
T3/R1 powerdry – used for high output top and go activities, or continuous in very cold weather/flatter ground … stuff like climbing or walking flat trails in the winter,etc … exceptionally breathable, wicking and fast drying due to the waffle pattern … very durable … no wind resistance at all
100 wt fleece – same as T3/R1 … same usage more or less, but can be somewhat less breathable … still dries quite fast .. much cheaper generally … do a breath test to find the most brethable one
200 wt fleece – more moderate active uses in very cold temps, or semi static uses such as descending a hill … also works as static insulation in moderate temps … very breathable in general, but varies by the particular jacket … dries very fast … can be very cheap
300 wt fleece – too heavy for most active uses … good for static use around town or in wet weather … can be very cheap
fluffy furry fleece – same as 300 wt fleece … some use it in exceptionally cold weather when active or in semi static situations … works best under a windshell of course …
powerstretch – depends on the weight …. the lighter ones are similar to 100 wt fleece, the heavier ones to 200wt or so … it has some wind resistance
i own quite a few fleeces from mec, dead bird, marmot, westcomb, el cheap ones, etc …
my best advice for active use is to bite the bullet and get something like a T2/T3 hoody … itll cost you 50-75$ in canada … and ive not known anyone whos regretted getting one … to boot they use actual polartec powerdry and are made in canada … so all the materials and sewing is from north america …
or go CHEAP and go around department/outlet stores … and find the cheapest, good fitting fleece that gives the best breath test …
for semistatic situations ,,, i own and use 200 wt fleece … on wet days it works better than down or even synth under rain jackets … ive also worn them while moving in -30C weather
if you are looking for an "action suit" concept and dont want to faff around with taking on/off your windshirt just to put one on/off … get a synth puffy …. thats what climbers use
;)Oct 27, 2013 at 2:16 pm #2038367
All the information I could ever want and more! Thanks guys!
I picked up an Arcteryx Caliber fleece on super-super-sale last year and it's been my go-to, but it's not lofty, so I find it just a bit warmer than my baselayer. I was looking for a fleece for moving (biking and hiking) in very cold weather underneath a wind shell, and for sitting around the campfire in fall/spring weather.
I'm basically looking for something thick and lofty, but not uselessly heavy from a windproof liner or features.
Features aren't a killer and are worth the weight penalty for many people, but for me, I don't keep things in my pockets while cycling and that's 90% of what I do. I think features like zipping pockets and chest pockets and draw cords might be offered more to hook consumers than for actual practical purpose. I use pockets when they're there; I never miss them when they aren't.
Just my 2¢, everyone's different of course.
As for the hunt, I think I am possibly mis-analyzing my layering scenario…
My current layers:
Base: Smartwool Midweight Merino
Middle: Arcteryx Caliber Fleece (or the "new" fleece, if any)
Windshirt: Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer
Puffy: Arcteryx Atom SV
I can't fit everything under the wind shirt. I suspect I wouldn't be able to fit the Patagonia synchilla under the windshirt either, in which case I'd probably get a new windshirt if I liked the fleece enough to use it all the time.
I'm going to go read through some more fleece threads from the days of yore and see if I can dial in the "perfect" layering setup.Oct 27, 2013 at 2:43 pm #2038378
Just ordered the Patagonia Micro-D fleece. Nothing but a neck zip and 8 ounces. Thanks for the suggestion; I'll see how it works!Oct 27, 2013 at 9:37 pm #2038519
Max, I did the same thing when I first started with windshirts. I eventually sized up to layer over a fleece and have not noticed any difference in warmer weather performance (actually it extends the max temp range with more of a bellows effect to aid breathability).
Hope the new fleece works out for you!Oct 27, 2013 at 9:46 pm #2038524
I might end up needing two windshirts, since the bellows effect sucks major when cycling.
Cycling is probably 90% of my windshirt use. I like breathability when I'm hiking, and I don't mind being chilly on summit rests (I find it quite invigorating). So, I usually bring the windshirt as an emergency raincoat, but I almost never use it on hikes or backpacking trips. Maybe I'll try it a bit more as an active-use layer this winter.
I had an Arcteryx Squamish for a while and replaced it with the MH Ghost Whisperer for the 3oz weight reduction, but that Squamish hood was so good underneath my helmet… I regret that swap a little bit. Maybe I'll end up switching back.Oct 27, 2013 at 11:17 pm #2038549
May I humbly suggest that the MARKETING use of the word 'technical' is pure hype? If you want to believe it means something, I have a bridge you might be interested in.
CheersOct 28, 2013 at 7:38 am #2038586
Aha, but herein lies the essence of the post!
I guess the only barrier between "technical" and "casual" is design and fabric, but they never give too many details on casual stuff. I own the Patagonia Retro-X Jacket (no, I didn't pay full price) and while it's amazing for around town and car camping, it will never find its way into my backpack because it's so unreasonably heavy.
So, I was trying to gauge the weight vs. warmth of the Synchilla, but the Micro-D fleece looks to be even better. Time will tell.Oct 28, 2013 at 8:54 am #2038606
@skomaeLocale: northeastern US
Max, you've already made the investment but I thought you'd be interested to hear Dane's thoughts on it:Oct 28, 2013 at 9:11 am #2038615
Very interested. Thanks Steven!Oct 28, 2013 at 2:38 pm #2038757
> the only barrier between "technical" and "casual" is design and fabric,
There is no barrier, except in the mind.
Some people go for 'casual' as a fashion choice, while others go for 'technical' as a fashion choice.
Remember: the amount of such clothing sold to the (genuine?) backpacking market is but a tiny fraction of the amount sold for street wear. No, they are not catering for backpackers: they are selling fashion clothing. Live with it.
CheersOct 28, 2013 at 2:40 pm #2038758
I guess I'm getting caught up in semantics. My point was not to delineate a line between the two.
Rather, my point was to find out if the items in question could be compared in a meaningful way to determine a best warmth-to-weight ratio, regardless of how they were branded and marketed.
Kind of successful? I guess? I found a fleece, even though it wasn't either of the ones in the OP.
I get what you're saying, Roger. You'd have to be a fool to think that marketing had any bearing on purpose. I don't let marketing sway me often (they've got to be pretty clever…)
My "Fashion" Uniqlo down jacket does just fine at keeping me warm, regardless of how incredibly good-looking the models were when they got their picture taken with it.Oct 28, 2013 at 2:51 pm #2038763
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
"May I humbly suggest that the MARKETING use of the word 'technical' is pure hype?"
Explain how one can BBQ without the right tools…Oct 28, 2013 at 7:05 pm #2038886
> Explain how one can BBQ without the right tools…
Well, having successfully cooked a few things over a fire with nothing more than two pointed sticks …
Granted, the apron is kinda useful.
CheersOct 28, 2013 at 8:28 pm #2038933
@lunchandynnerLocale: Pacific Northwest
BBQ is different from grilling. BBQ is low and slow, your picture suggests you are just grilling. Completely different thing. That's like mainstream "lightweight" 5# packs vs what we here would consider lightweight.
:oPOct 28, 2013 at 8:34 pm #2038937
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
Now we know, Nick sells bbq's for a living and loves his job.Oct 28, 2013 at 8:49 pm #2038944
Add "Technical" or "Tactical" as a descriptor to a product and you can add another 30% to the price tag.Oct 28, 2013 at 9:25 pm #2038959
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
So you're telling me that my expensive tactical underwear doesn't improve my combat effectiveness and survivability?
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