Jan 22, 2011 at 11:09 am #1268069
@leighbLocale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
I've been experimenting with layers in dry temps in the mid to upper 20's. I have the top worked out. Capilene One long sleeve 1/4 zip, Polartec 100 fleece 1/4 zip, and Marmot Ion wind jacket. Hands, silk liners, wool liners, and 400PL mitts. Head, Gortex, fleece lined aviator cap with bill(keeps the sun out of my eyes) and fleece neck gaiter.
I'm not hitting a home run with the bottom layers. I tried cap 1 base layer, a pair of fleece lined tights, and my REI Sahara convertible(so I can vent if need be.) My lower body (except for feet) was bearable but noticeably cold.I suspect the fleece tights are too tight not allowing any air layer, (sort of like a wet suit that's too tight.) Cap 2 with the pants too cold. I have a pair of fleece lined stretch pants that fit much less constricting but with more bulk, can't get the pants on over them. I'm new to cold weather hiking.
Any suggestions?Jan 22, 2011 at 11:40 am #1687065
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Look at Power Stretch for insulation. I think the Sahara pants are too breathable—soft shell pants rock for cold weather hiking. I'll bet the soft shells plus the Cap1 or Cap2 will have you toasty in the 20's.Jan 22, 2011 at 12:42 pm #1687085
@cobbermanLocale: Northern Colorado
I've had good luck with Eddie Bauer Midweight Bottoms (gridded fleece similar to Patagonia's R1 Bottoms) and REI Talus bottoms (softshell/elements fabric mix). The REI pants have some long vents on the upper thighs for some extreme venting when needed.Jan 22, 2011 at 1:17 pm #1687094
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
So you mean you are already wearing a thin long john bottom and want an insulating layer? If so the other Eric (Lundquist) has the best idea, the Eddie Bauer grid fleece bottoms.
Cabelas' also sells a similar item under the name Polar Tec ECWCS (Extended Cold Weather System)Jan 22, 2011 at 2:50 pm #1687117
My favorite hiking pants in cold weather are the Rab vapor rise trail pant. I can wear just that very comfortably to freezing, at least. A pair of light long johns will take you even further. And they're nice to sleep in as well.Jan 22, 2011 at 4:03 pm #1687138
Are you talking while hiking or at camp? Just want to clarify.
If tights + pants aren't cutting it, then you can either go to a heavier weight tight to wear under your Sahara pants or get a good pair of puffy.Jan 22, 2011 at 4:10 pm #1687140
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
These combos have worked well for me hiking in chilly temperatures. YMMV
1)Lightweight softshell pant + Capilene 1 (20's-50's)
2)Lightweight softshell pant + Powerstretch (10's-20's)
3)Lightweight softshell pant + Capilene 1 + Powerstretch (reversed) (bitter cold-20's)
*When I get to camp I typically throw all my layers on for sleep and extending the warmth of my 3-season quilt.Jan 22, 2011 at 4:29 pm #1687151
@leighbLocale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
I'm sorry, I should have said for hiking. I have down pants and jacket for camp. The fleece lined pants I mentioned (that I thought might be too constricting) are NRS wavelite,basically power stretch. I'm going to look into soft shell pants.Jan 22, 2011 at 4:54 pm #1687164
In case I wasn't clear enough, the Rab vapor rise are the pants I use hiking/backpacking, not sitting around in camp. Well, I use them for that too. But mainly hiking. They've done better than anything else keeping me warm and dry (from sweat, they're not waterproof) on a hard hike around freezing temps. Depending on your size, Prolite Gear has them for $99.95.Jan 23, 2011 at 7:33 am #1687318
@detroittigerfanLocale: Ann Arbor
I hike in thin merino baselayer and fleece pants. The pants are Polartec 100's in a "sweatpants" style, not tights. Temps have been in the low-to-mid 20's here lately and this combination works well for me. It was actually in the low teens yesterday and I was fine.
I have softshell pants for downhill skiing but I don't like hiking in them — too heavy and bulky.Jan 23, 2011 at 2:21 pm #1687409
@atomickLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I just updated my leg wear for this season's XC skiing, snowshoeing, and cold-weather hiking. What works for me is the Patagonia Traverse Pant and Smartwool lightweight leggings/long johns. The Traverse fits snugly, has good knee articulation, has great ankle zips but fits much looser than tights – not form-fitting (on me, in size medium, at 5'10" and 165lbs). They're made of stretch fabric, not unlike Schoeller in texture. They're fairly air-permeable, but are great for near-freezing, assuming you're moving. Below freezing (especially with the wind blowing), I just add the Smartwool leggings and the Traverse pant still fits great. The wool gives moisture transport, absorbency, and warmth, while the pants give some snow and moisture resistance and rapid drying. YMMV!Jan 23, 2011 at 3:18 pm #1687420
I am pretty warm wearing a pair of Ex Officio boxers, Sahara pants with some 100 wt fleece pants and a trash bag rain skirt to cut the wind and rain. I am thinkin of ditching the fleece and getting some kind of full zip insulated pants.Jan 23, 2011 at 3:50 pm #1687429
on the move in the 20's I've found Cap 1's and light softshell pants (Pat Rock Guides) to be more than sufficientJan 23, 2011 at 4:09 pm #1687435
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Cap 1 under MH Transition Tights good in the 20's for me. With their Windstopper membrane, I suspect they would be good down into the low teens with a heavier base layer, such as midweight Polartec Thermal Pro, although I haven't had a chance to try that combo out yet.Jan 23, 2011 at 4:13 pm #1687439
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
The term "softshell pants" is like saying fleece pants— there is a dizzying array of fabrics, weights and designs. Some are a just a bit thicker than summer hiking pants, popular with runners and are more like tights in design— drawstring waist, fewer pockets, etc. Other are heavier, with full fly zippers, belt loops, Velcro-tabbed cuffs, etc. Weights I have seen run 14-19oz for softshells in general. They are wind and water resistant and comfortable to move in. They mate well with varied base layers. Me like!Jan 23, 2011 at 4:27 pm #1687452
^ that's why I stated which ones I use :)Jan 23, 2011 at 8:24 pm #1687593
I am not sold on soft shell bottoms, they are nice but not flexible enough year year round for the price. I wear the same upper clothing as you and have been experimenting with bottom layers as well. In the high twenties, with a good wind, my bottom half was plenty warm with the REI heavyweight baselayers and REI wind/rain pants, actually too warm. I did vent the short zippers on the bottom of the legs which did cool things down. The Sahara pants are pretty light, try switching them out for your rain pants before spending the cash on soft shells.Jan 23, 2011 at 11:49 pm #1687676
@areichowLocale: Northern Minnesota
Never fails to blow my mind to see the variation of how much insulation people wear when hiking in cool to cold weather.
Between 30 F and 0 F, I'm wearing a baselayer and a pair of light stretch woven softshell pants. I only started wearing the softshell pants this winter; before that, it was uninsulated nylon winter guide pants.
Mind you, softshell pants don't have to be all that expensive… I've been wearing a pair of Arc'teryx Gamma LTs I got off of Gear Trade for $40 and a pair of First Ascent Mountain Guide Lighs I got for $43 on clearance. Rab Vapor Rise, MH Winter Wander, and Marmot Scree all sound like similar softshell pants, and all cost $99 IIRC. I've been happy with my switch of pants, mostly because they seem to be more comfortable in a wider range of temps, wick sweat better, and the stretch makes for a comfy active pant.
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