Mar 1, 2012 at 5:30 am #1286434
I am pretty much done with tinkering around with my spring/fall base weight gear lists and I am very happy with them. For rain or high chance of rain, my base is just under 8lbs, and for dry weather it is closer to 7lbs. My summer base is sub 5lbs I am also happy to report.
I had to cancel a trip I was going to take this coming weekend due to illness, so I figured what the hello, might as well do something I have been putting off for some time now.
Please note that the below list is for the coldest temps in early spring and late fall, around freezing to -2C (28F) or so. I can obviously ditch a layer if it is warmer, but figured I'd do the heaviest possible combination of clothing. Also note that a rain poncho is accounted for in my base weight (see my profile to check that out), as is a synthetic vest (in case it is extra cold at night), sleep socks, and a synthetic beanie. Final note, for deep off-trail/bushwacking adventures I will switch out the shoes for boots, weight be damned. I'd say it's about 50/50 usage of the New Balance vs. US army issue boots. Insanity, I know.
On to the list:
Underwear – 92g
Wool socks – 88g
Synth base layer bottom – 165g
" " top – 255g
Synth hiking pants – 365g
Synth sweater – 266g
Synth soft shell jacket – 460g
Hard shell jacket w/hood – 560g
Baseball cap – 77g
Wool buff – 55g
Leather gloves – 105g
Synth glove liners – 35g
Shoes (New Balance) – 714g
Total = 3237g (7.12lbs)
Which means I am wearing less than what I am carrying, even when it is really cold. I'm pleasantly surprised, actually, I was expecting it to be more, I think because the first time I weighed my base weight gear it was like 22lbs. But then again, I am not really sure what a "light" 3 season clothing worn list looks like, because I haven't really bothered with looking into it that much. I have focused the bulk of my attention getting from 22lbs base to around 7-8lbs base and still be just has comfortable and safe, which was no small task!
Any tips, suggestions, questions, and feedback are welcome. I am pretty broke at the moment, so free/cheap fixes are the most welcome, as you can probably tell by the complete lack of down clothing I own.Mar 1, 2012 at 7:33 am #1847190
Hmmm, that's pretty heavy. My 3 season worn clothing is around 3 lbs…4 if I wear a softshell. Now granted most of my time is spent in the desert and you're in Sweden, but my clothing also seems to work for the much colder Rockies.
If you're constantly moving you shouldn't need that much insulation, even in really cold temperatures. Once you rest, sure throw on a huge puffy to maintain warmth.
My list, for only things I wear all the time, looks somethings like this:
Underwear – 92g (ExOficio 74g)
Wool socks – 88g (DarnTough 70g, if snowy/wet then 0.5mm neoprene socks 85g)
Synth base layer bottom – 165g (Same, though may move to wool)
" " top – 255g (Replace with wool hoodie, ~200g)
Synth hiking pants – 365g (Lighter pant, I use Arc'Teryx Rampart 244g. If really cold move to softshell either with or without longjohns)
Synth sweater – 266g (Nix in favor of wool hoodie)
Synth soft shell jacket – 460g (Nix, use Windshirt at ~90oz)
Hard shell jacket w/hood – 560g (Lighter options, my Arc'T Alpha LT is only 358g)
Baseball cap – 77g (Lighter caps/visors with front bill, I usually don't carry one)
Wool buff – 55g (Same)
Leather gloves – 105g (Lighter shells, my OR Versaliners, liner+shells 73g total)
Synth glove liners – 35g (Ok, find lighter shell, maybe MLD eVent mitts which are highly regarded)
Shoes (New Balance) – 714g (VERY heavy, my Roclite 315s provide a lot of cushion and support and weigh 594g and I'm thinking they're too heavy ;)
Total = 3237g (7.12lbs) My system tailored for what I think Sweden Three Season means: (~1923g/4.23lb)
Reread your temp requirements and I would nix even more. This past weekend I was in a deep shaded canyon with the morning in the mid 30s and had to walk in icy water. I was perfectly fine in 5oz shorts, a 4 oz L/S, 2oz Windshirt, 1.3oz original buff, 3 oz neoprene socks with 1.2 oz liner socks, 21oz roclites. That's a total of 1.3 lbs. Had I been on trails I probably would have worn pants instead of shorts. If a touch colder a wool longsleeve or hoodie which would still have been under 2lbs. For reference I get really cold standing still, but generate a lot of heat if moving.
I'm not sure why you are wearing so many torso layers (heavy at that). If you need the warmth, you'd be better off with a burner hat like a down or synthetic beanie. If you want the abrasion resistance for bushwhacking you really only need one bomber jacket and just need to find one you like. Softshell will work, my Arc'T Gamma MX has held up amazing to dense desert scrub where our non-thorny plants are dry and scratchier than most brambles elsewhere in the world.Mar 1, 2012 at 8:36 am #1847218
Wow, thanks for the great detailed feedback. I will definitely take it into consideration, seems like you know your stuff.
When I am moving I usually take one of my layers off, mind you, usually the poofy soft shell, which is the warmest layer. When it creeps up to 3 or 4 degrees C I will leave it at home.
*sigh* Of course re-evaluating my worn clothing feels a lot like what I went through re-evaluating my base weight last year. More planning, research, and money will be needed it seems. Which is why I was avoiding this, but in the end if I can go lighter and be just as warm and comfy, perhaps it will be worth it. Not that I'm not having a blast with my "heavy" worn clothing, either! The past year has been the best backpacking I've had in my whole life!Mar 1, 2012 at 8:53 am #1847232
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
You said 28F. Is this the nighttime low or the daytime high?
If you are not wearing something all the time while hiking, it should be categorized as part of your base weight.
I don't do well in cold (call me a sissy). But at around freezing in 3 seasons I usually wear a Cap 1 top, a R1 Hoody, and long nylon pants. If the wind picks up, I wear a Houdini wind shirt and maybe some Cap 1 bottoms. If it warms up then the Cap 1 top and nylon pants; the rest goes into my pack, which really makes those clothing items part of my base weight, they are not worn 100% of the time.Mar 1, 2012 at 9:21 am #1847245
Take my advice with a grain of salt. I've done a lot of fine tuning for my own body, specifically since I hate feeling cold and seem to chill easily. Also most of my experience is in temps where a cold snap means I'm dealing with your average 3 season weather!
That said, you don't need to spend money yet. Most of your weight is stuff that you can leave at home or in your pack. You may find that you are "cold" but that it isn't unpleasant (took me a while to adjust to that concept). I actually tend to move faster when cold, mainly to ensure I keep generating heat for warmth. Also food starts to play a bigger role as the temps drop (I prefer fats to pure carbs despite the traditional wisdom that carbs are king, I think that only applies in high aerobic activity which hiking isn't for me, YMMV).
I definitely say stick with the overkill and slowly pare down your gear as you find what works for you. It just takes a while to learn exactly how much, or little, insulation you can get away with. That is, more skill than gear is required since each person's physiology is wildly different. I'm skinny with a fast and efficient metabolism. I also usually pay a lot of attention to the weather before a trip and adjust accordingly.
As for the softshell, I love mine but I've pretty much retired it to city use. If I spent time in sub 20F/-5C weather I would consider leaving the hardshell behind and just taking the softshell since any precipitation will be frozen and "dry." Since you have a synthetic puffy, you may be better off using that for warmth while hiking (sweat won't degrade it like down) and using the hardshell over it if you're worried about tears.
If the past year has been the best backpacking of your life, you're clearly doing something right! You can always go lighter but there is a happy medium where you have a minimum of compromise between gear and skill/convenience. For baseweight I find 7-10lbs is good (going lighter means just spending more money or losing conveniences without really making huge changes in gear) and for clothes I think 4 lbs is the sweet spot if you have to deal with rain and cold. Less than 4 lbs just requires spending more money or time sewing and more than 4 lbs means you're probably carrying to many items and can simplify.Mar 1, 2012 at 9:24 am #1847247
Nick brings up some good points, and if 28F is your daytime high…well that's a different ball game (although looking at average temps for Stockholm I think its a low with highs in the 40s at the extremes of 3-seasons)Mar 1, 2012 at 10:10 am #1847275
Sorry, I forgot to note that -2C lows are for nighttime in March and November. It can go lower, but that is just a personal estimate. Actually last year was a colder year, it got down to -15 one night I was out.
So 4lbs is good number huh? I will be happy if I get to 5lbs.
And I agree, Nick brings up a good point about base weight. Though in fairness I do wear most of my layers most of the time. Which got me thinking… why with all this weight and layers when others (like you, Dustin and Nick) are able to be, apparently, just as warm.
Well one thing might be quality. Most of my gear is generic stuff. I bought my shell at the supermarket, of all places. In buying El Cheapo generic clothing, I saved to spend on nice gear. I got the synth sweater on sale at Target for 9 bucks. Well, at least everything is very comfortable. But yeah, I'd like nicer backpacking clothing in the future, though it's not a deal breaker at all. The nicest piece of clothing I own, and one of my favorites, is the Buff. But ouch is Smartwool expensive. Ah well, I can always wait for birthday and X-mass.
But thanks again for the feedback. I will check out those suggestions. My goal will be 5lbs for now. I am not sure what to do about the shoe situation. I have gotten stress fractures before from hiking many kms of rough terrain before, though that was with a pair of slip on Vans, not the best choice of shoe for backpacking :/Mar 1, 2012 at 12:32 pm #1847385
I think replacing the soft shell with a windshirt would help the most. You can usually find one on sale, so it would be fairly cheap as these things go, and it adds a ton of warmth for its tiny weight (for example, I just got one for $36 that only weighs 145 g / 5.1 oz and it keeps me warm while hiking in a base layer down to ~freezing temps). I would also consider replacing the sweater with a grid fleece or wool hoodie. It might be a little heavier than your synthetic sweater, but it sounds like your sweater might not be keeping you warm enough anyway if you still have to add hard+soft shells to stay warm at those temps. I'd put the money into the windshirt first, in any event.
Cheers!Mar 2, 2012 at 6:29 am #1847760
So I went to a sporting goods store to look at windbreakers to replace one of my layers, when lucky for me, not only was there a sale on windbreakers, but also on base layers! So I now have a new windbreaker along with merino wool top and bottom, each only costing about 22 USD (150 SEK), for a total of only 66 bucks with is excellent (especially here in Sweden with higher taxes). I also picked up a pair of running pants because I figured with the new warmer and slightly heavier base bottoms, should break even as far as comfort and warmth. Not sure about durability, though, will have to wait and see how they deal with thick woods. If worst comes to worse, I have my rain pants that can double spare pants anyhow.
Bridget, thanks for the advice, it was what pushed me over to get a windbreaker rather than replace my soft shell, which would be both more money and weight. I hope it will be as effective as everyone says it is. Tonight I am going on a long walk with my new clothing system to see how well it keeps me warm. Temps will be between zero and -2C, which also validates my personal estimate ;)
I also have re-evaluated my spring/fall base weight list and will adjust it accordingly, more on that later.
So here is the new list:
Underwear – 92g
Wool socks – 88g
Merino wool base layer bottom – 196g
" " top – 227g
Synth running pants – 155g
Synth sweater – 266g
Synth windbreaker – 207g
Hard shell jacket w/hood – 0 (+380g to base)
Baseball cap – 77g
Wool buff – 55g
Leather gloves – 105g
Synth glove liners – 35g
Shoes (New Balance) – 714g
New total = 2217g (4.88lbs)
Not bad for one day of re-planning and relatively low expenditure of funds. Now one might notice my hard shell magically got lighter and will soon be counted as part of my base weight. That is because I am nixing my rain poncho and will rely on my hard shell for rain protection. I will also be adding a pack liner to my base and nixing some stuff sacks. While my base weight might take a small hit, my clothing worn will be much lighter and hopefully keep my just as warm and dry, we'll see. And Nick is right, if you don't wear something all the time (or at least nearly all the time) it should be in base weight.
My "new" hard shell is not new at all, it is my Marmot Precip that I have been using as my city rain jacket for the past 10 months or so. I didn't want to add it to my backpacking gear, because I already had a decent rain poncho in there, and needed a rain coat for city use anyhow (the poncho will now go to my city backpack). I am a bit worried about how bushwacking will treat it, but I've had it for a good bit now, so I've got my money out of it already. So far it has been excellent at keeping me dry in the city, though in fairness it's not like I go hiking for 20km though the city in the rain like I do in the woods. On the other hand, in the woods I have partial coverage from trees, so you don't get the full brunt of the rain in the woods unless you are out in the open. I spend more time in the woods, so I expect/hope to stay just as dry as before.
I will report back on how this new system performed. Thanks again everyone for all the help! :)Mar 2, 2012 at 2:10 pm #1847953
Now I like to think of myself as very skeptical, and acknowledge things like confirmation bias, the power of suggestion, and the placebo effect. Being mindful of these things drives me to attempt to be more objective. However in this little experiment of mine, I am not sure much of these issues are at play, due to one very important control factor: shivering.
I am sure it is possible to do the whole mind over matter thing and not shiver even though you are really, really cold. But I really don't think that I would suddenly overcome an involuntary bodily function just to validate my new clothing system as effective. I think I would just shiver, be cold, and then go back to the drawing board. I am happy to report that I don't think I will need to go back to the drawing board, only polish a few things here and there.
Test 1: I put on my new and lighter clothing system above to go for a walk around my neighborhood. Before I left, I checked my thermometer, and it was -3C, a bit colder than the weather report predicted. I did not take backpack, and I decided to leave my outer gloves at home and see how just using my inner gloves would work. I went on a 30-35 minute walk. The first 5 minutes I was indeed chilled, shivered mildly, and thought that things were not looking good. Then I got moving and warmed up and stayed warm. By the end of the walk as I was coming home, I am convinced I could have gone on walking all night and been warm and comfy. I did not shiver at all after the initial chill wore off after 5 minutes. The only part of me that was chilled a bit were my hands, so the outer gloves stay in the mix. If I would have had my backpack on me, I would have been even warmer, it is also important to note.
Test 2: After I got home I put outer gloves and my two "night layers", a synthetic vest and beanie, then went into my backyard and sat in a chair to simulate sitting around camp. Of course at camp I nearly always have a fire. Anyhow, I sat for about 15-20 minutes and did nothing. I was warm and comfy the entire time. If not for boredom, I could have stayed out much longer. Again, no shivering–this time no shivering at all. Throw in a campfire and I would probably have needed to take off a layer and my hat. I checked the temperature again when I got inside, and it was -3.3C.
I am pleasantly surprised, I must admit. I am perplexed how a 207g windbreaker seems to provide about the same amount of warmth as a 460g poofy synth jacket.
Once again thanks for the great feedback. I have lowered my clothing worn weight by a solid 1020g (2.24lbs) and kept the same warmth and comfort level, though my base weight did go from just below 8lbs to 8.36lbs. I think a lot of it has to do with the new base layer. Merino kicks ass!
2012 looks to be even better backpacking than before, I can't wait to get out more. I think I just might convert the content of this thread along with some pictures and write post for my blog. But first, I have to finish reading Sartre.Mar 7, 2012 at 8:23 am #1850012
For anyone that might be interested in my new and improved clothing worn list, along with pictures, as well as my current favorite big three gear items are, I got around to finish reading Sartre, and then writing a blog post:
Feedback welcome :)Mar 7, 2012 at 10:36 am #1850086
I'm kind of lost here. Your big 3 are really nice items. The clothing worn…in my opinion could be better.
You're wearing a jersey over a base layer and a base layer over a base layer (and/or taking too many base layers, you do list a merino and then a synthetic and then list a soccer jersey) and then you have a track jacket and then a synthetic sweater (what is that?)? As for the 'stylish' comments…..function OVER fashion makes more sense to me.
By no means am I trying to be mean at all. Please don't think that.Mar 7, 2012 at 11:17 am #1850101
Thanks for the feedback, and I don't think you are mean at all, no worries.
I did note in the blog that the combination of clothing represents the ALL the clothing for the most challenging situations, like say November Rain. Do you need some time, on your own? Ooooooh everybody needs some time, on their own…Ooooooh Don't you know you need some time, on yer ow-wn.
But I digress…
Yeah, it could be better. You may have also noticed that I mentioned I am a post-graduate student, i.e. poor. Arguably my nicest piece of gear was a gift from my loving mother, the sleeping bag.
So I'd like to get a down sweater eventually, sure, but this the best I can do right now to get me out in the worst of my 3 season conditions. Oh, and no I am not wearing a base on a base on a base, but a synth base, then the jersey, then a synth sweater, then the wind breaker for cooler temps. The sweater would stay at home first, then the base layer.
Do you have a clothing worn list I could check out?Mar 7, 2012 at 11:36 am #1850111
My list is interesting because it is what I have been wearing for years, before I caught the UL bug.
What I wear: (Ounces)
Pants: Patagonia Rock Guide (Size 31) 10.5
Shoes: Brooks Cascadia 7 (Size 11) 15.0
Shirt: Patagonia Cap 2 LS (Size Medium) 3.4 (I might wear my ExOfficio Air Strip Lite if it's buggy).
Socks: SmartWool PHD Outdoor UL 1.6
Underwear: Exofficio Boxers 2.8
Watch/Compass: Suunto Vector Black 1.9
Visor: Zpacks Headsweats 1.5
Insulation: Patagonia Nanopuff Hooded 14.0
Rain Jacket: Patagonia Torrentshell 10.1
Wind Shirt: Patagonia Houdini 4.1
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Leg Insulation: Patagonia Cap 2 4.5
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Mar 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm #1850178
Pretty sweet list, thanks for sharing. Always interesting to see other people's systems. Yup, if my math is right, your set up is 332g lighter than mine (clothing worn, that is), or 877g if you include my rain gear from my base weight. What low temps temps is your clothing able to handle?
I have drooled over a few Patagonia layers, but they will have to wait for now, out of my price range. Everyone seems to say good things about the Houdini, I have seen it mentioned many times. Still, I was able to cut almost a kilo of weight without loosing any warmth with some research and a lucky clearance sale, not too shabby. Getting to 4lbs will be a new long-term goal for me, gotta go out and get my 5lb set up dirty for now, unless there are some tips or tricks I am missing (other than increasing my tolerance for the cold and rain or if I win the lotto).Mar 7, 2012 at 4:11 pm #1850275
My worn clothing in cold temperatures (highs below freezing):
1) A light, quick drying base layer. Light, breathable, quick drying! This is in some ways an unnecessary layer.
2) A fleece. This keeps me warm-ish, but hopefully a bit chilly. I don't want to sweat.
Then, if needed (on a windy ridge)…
3) A shell. This might be a windshirt, a softshell, or a hardshell, depending on the trip.
I have pants and gloves, too. My fleece has a hood, so I don't need to carry anything for my head.
If I will be in moderate to warm weather (highs 40-90F), I skip the fleece, but might wear a wool baselayer. Shell + baselayer will keep me warm if I'm moving down to about freezing, and I'll probably only carry gloves if I plan on getting wet – cold and wet hands are miserable.
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