Down and/or Fleecy Pants!
Aug 1, 2022 at 5:51 am #3756312
I figured I would post this as a specific topic: I need either a lightweight fleecy pant or a pair of down pants – or both, I guess – that can layer between a light base and standard-cut softshell pants without being overly bulky, and that won’t over-insulate me. I’d prefer as minimal a waistband as possible. I’ll be using these while moving slowly at altitude.
This is a category of layer that I know nothing about because my legs normally don’t get cold, so I don’t really even use midlayers. I really like the Macpac Nitro hoodie that I just picked up, so I was thinking something along those lines might work. If not that, then a lightweight pair of down pants could be a thing, but I think I prefer the stretchiness of fleece.
All suggestions/input welcome.Aug 1, 2022 at 6:24 am #3756314Iago VazquezBPL Member
@iagoLocale: Boston & Galicia, Spain
- Fleece (pajama) pants
- Fleece base layer / underpants
- Military surplus insulated pants.
- Alpha pants (Timmermade, and others)
- Down Chinese Pants
- Montbell, Rab, GooseFeet Gear, Timmermade, etc…
I think those are your options more or less organized by cost. When I started winter camping, I started using the fleece pajama option. Inexpensive and relatively light. Easy to walk into a couple of retailers and study the fit and features. Many are cut baggy, which makes them easy to slide over other base layers. Eventually, I got insulated pants on gear swap.
My son uses military insulated pants. You could search online, but a trip to the local surplus outfitter, you will be able to find some of the green older, less expensive styles as well as some newer synthetic insulation offerings. They are wide to layer over pants, so take that into account when shopping. Traveling, so I have no clue of weight.
There are some threads about the Chinese down pants offerings. Perhaps a bit old. As always, fit can be an extra challenge compared to the other options.Aug 1, 2022 at 6:43 am #3756316
Thanks for the breakdown, Iago; that’s a better-organized version of my unsorted mental list. I was going to just pull the trigger on a Timmermade pair, but they’re 16 weeks out and I need to go ahead and pick up something. I should have planned ahead, further and better; le sigh.Aug 1, 2022 at 7:40 am #3756317baja bobBPL Member
Contact Farpointe and see if they are doing custom. Website says 3-4 weeks custom.Aug 1, 2022 at 7:48 am #3756318
Contact e-mail sent, Bob; thanks for that lead. I also sent Timmermade an e-mail on the off-chance that they’re going to have any pants as an in-stock item, anytime soon.Aug 1, 2022 at 8:55 am #3756326
All I wear when it’s cold (20 F) is one layer of nylon pants. They hang down, so there are thicker air layers, so it’s a little warmer. And my legs don’t have to be kept as warm as my torso.
I have fleece pants that weigh about 12 ounces but fleece is heavy for the warmth. I’ve had these for years and seldom wear them.
I have some synthetic (2.5 oz/yd2 apex) pants that weigh about 6 ounces. They weigh about half as much and are about twice as warm as fleece. I might wear those if it got to 20 F.
Down pants would be good below 0 F or something, a temperature range I don’t experience. Maybe 6 ounce pants that are twice as warm as synthetic.Aug 1, 2022 at 12:47 pm #3756348
Jerry, your legs are tougher than mine, for sure.
The fleece pants that I have are very heavy, so they’re great for lounging around the house, but they’re bulky and constricting under the softshell layer. I have a lightweight poly layer that I use as a base in cold weather – think 20-30° or so – but once it gets cooler than that, I think I’m going to need just a bit more insulation…so that’s why I was thinking on a lightweight grid fleece of some sort. It’s light, stretchy, and it’ll create a warm layer around the already-warm-layer that’s next to my skin. Right? I feel like that should be right.Aug 1, 2022 at 1:59 pm #3756353baja bobBPL Member
These are probably about as light weight fleece you are going find probably not goi g to be as breathable as alpha bottoms
everyone seems to rave about the top but have no experience.Aug 1, 2022 at 1:59 pm #3756354
yeah, but better would be to get a synthetic pants – half the weight, twice the warmth
if you care about weight, like backpackingAug 1, 2022 at 2:14 pm #3756357
Oooh, zip-off! Now that’s pretty cool. Definitely going to look into those; thank you, Bob!
Jerry, I definitely care about weight on this one; the entire point of me doing an absurd amount of gear shopping/selling/trading in the past month has been to rework my winter layering and sleeping systems in order to clip weight wherever possible. I’ve cut…oh, ten pounds or so?…off my total just from reinvesting in modern replacements for older, aging or just plain heavy bits. I think my base weight is somewhere around 34 pounds, right now…and that’s pretty featherweight, considering everything that’s in the bag.
Also, Dan at Timmermade responded to me quickly, and might be able to help with an expedited order for a 30% fee; that’s more than fair in my opinon, so that gives me at least one known, solid option in the fabric of my choice.Aug 1, 2022 at 2:17 pm #3756358
How many question marks can I type?Aug 1, 2022 at 2:30 pm #3756360
I mean, you can just hold down the Shift and Slash keys if you need to save yourself some keystrokes, man. It work like dis:
That took like, a second. ;)
But yeah, 34. Actually it might be 32…but don’t quote me on that. I recall that before I got started on clipping weight and updating older gear, the total was right at 40 and I wasn’t happy with my layers. For this climb I should come in under 50, because I’m unsure of food weight and I’m not sure if I’ll be carrying any split of the fuel. With a full load-out I think I would be around 60-65, but since this is an instructional climb there’s a lack of other gear, so it’s not a real climbing weight. That’s why I keep calling it bunny-slope mountaineering.Aug 1, 2022 at 4:15 pm #3756375
I used to have a Kelty Tioga and carried a lot of weight like that. A lot of really nice trips.Aug 1, 2022 at 5:04 pm #3756390Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
You say moving slowly at altitude. Is this technical climbing or something else aerobic like skiing or snow shoeing over fresh snow.
In my opinion, it is a PITA to fiddle with a midlayer in winter during the day and the main goal is to arrive at the campsite with the base layer and mid layer as dry as possible.
For the Sierra Nevada winters during the day I have only two layers on my bottom half: a base layer which can be a silkweight wool or a midweight synthetic depending on how aerobic the day will be. The other layer is a softshell. Very rarely I might need another layer during the day while MOVING for example during strong winds during a storm. Then I wait as long as possible, then I put a goretex shell that has full zips down the leg.
For longish stops and for dinner, I put on syn puffy pants that fit over ALL my other layers. These puffy pants can be either a pair from Integral Designs (now Rab) or for colder days, puffy pants from Patagonia that zip off so you don’t have to remove your boots.
If you think you NEED a thick mid layer, look at the bottom base layers from KUIU. The Section Hiker recommended the ones that can be zipper off without removing your boots. https://www.kuiu.com/products/pro-merino-200-zip-off-bottom-charcoal?variant=40340230275230
For winter camping, if needed the syn puffy pants can be part of your sleep system….Aug 1, 2022 at 5:50 pm #3756399MarcusBPL Member
I have the Peloton 97 pants as well as Montbell ExLight Down Pants for my lower half insulation. I like leg insulation below 40 because my typical trip is hike a long day, chill for a couple days, hike a long day out. When you’re putzing around camp or just doing a day hike, a lower layer is very nice in sub-40 temps (to me at least).
I normally use the peloton 97 bottoms as sleep pants, as they only weigh like 4.5oz which is less than a 150 merino layer and dirty clothes/skin never touches my quilts. They are good down to around 35-40* static and low 20’s while moving. I wear them with boxers, but otherwise next to skin. The zip off ability is awesome. On cold mornings I’ll start the hike with them on. After I warm up I’ll stop for 20 seconds, drop the pants, zip off the Peloton’s, stuff in mesh pocket, pants up, keep going nice and warm. One thing to note is they are cut rather short (like 28″ inseam for a medium) because they are cut with high top socks/boots in mind. I need high top socks to prevent skin being exposed.
When its around freezing and I’m static, if I’m standing around my legs are generally ok in the Pelotons. But if there is a cold wind or it gets much below freezing, I throw on the ExLight down pants (3oz fill, 7oz total). I have not found their lower limit, but its below 20. Its sooooo nice to have toasty warm legs at camp. In addition to general lower half comfort, I find the pants add 5-10 degrees to the puffy comfort temp. I can get away with my Cumulus Primelite slightly below freezing with the down pants, but consider freezing the Primelite’s lower temp without down pants.
My go-to setup for 25 degree temps while static is – Peloton pants (worn as base layer) 4.5oz, Montbell Exlight Pants (7oz), Regular hiking pants (mostly worn just for pockets and to protect the MB’s. THe pants are kinda baggy so do not impede lofting, weight not counted as they are my primary outerwear). On my top I wear a 120 merino/poly base layer (4.5oz), Macpac Nitro (Alpha 90) 5oz, Plasma 1000 parka 9oz, lightweight hat (1.5oz), and a Peloton97 buff (1oz) if its windy.
I am a night owl and refuse to go to bed for warmth, thus an adequate puffy and down pants make the evenings much more enjoyable in the cold season. That setup makes me the last man standing in my group after the others retreat to bed to find warmth.
My feet are slightly cold at 25*, but I havent found a light/modular solution for them. I am thinking down socks with no bottom that drape over my shoes (trail runners).
That all adds up to 2lb of wearable insulation, but ~12oz of that is my sleep clothes (which I consider mandatory), so I have ~20oz of additional insulation between the ExLight pants, P1K parka, and Nitro. I think that setup could easily get you into the low teens if you add a shell over the P1k and lower if you are cold-hardy. (I used to be, but am now a total SoCal cold-wuss acclimated to 80-90deg who gets cold at 65 with a light breeze. lol)
And although I generally love Kuiu, I do not recommend their (or anyone’s) merino bottoms for leg insulation below 40*, as they are not warm for their weight. Choose either the Peloton97 or ExLight pants or both. (both together are only 2.5oz more than the Merino 200 but are much, much, much warmer).
I got a pair of Farpointe Alpha 90 pants in 2020 but sold them as they didnt fit well (not articulated, no crotch gusset, high waist). He said he was going to make a more articulated pattern last year so recent ones may be better. If I did this route again, I’d have him make a Double layer Alpha 60 as stephen’s articles show 2×60 alpha is warmer than 1×120.) I think this would work great for me as my normal hiking pants are the RailRiders Ecomesh which have zipable vents down both legs. This would work great with the Alpha as I could effectively vent for comfort when moving, though I would choose different pants if it were 20-30 daytime, vs my normal 20-30 nighttime.
Also Goosefeet Gear and Western Mountianeering offer down pants with zips. the MB’s dont have a zip, but it would be nice in the morning when its time to take them off. Probably a 1.5-2.5oz weight penalty thoAug 1, 2022 at 6:37 pm #3756404
Marcus… can you tell us if the Peloton 97 fleece pants are stretchy???
A lot of stretch or just a little?
Also.. 4.5 ounces??? That seems very low, especially with full side zips which must weight about 2 ounces???
DWR…Aug 1, 2022 at 7:36 pm #3756407MarcusBPL Member
I just pulled them out to check for you –
They are (in my subjective opinion) rather strechy. I pulled on them and was able to easily get 1-2″ strech with a moderate tug. since this is a base layer, if you’re right on the size border I personally would size down so its tight.
2nd, I pulled out my .01 oz scale and reweighed my size medium pair: 4.7oz or 131g. My spreadsheet said 128g so I’ve added 3g sweat and funk to them apparently :) I have a 33-34″ waist for reference and the medium fits well, other than the short inseam (30″ would be better IMO)
I asked Kuiu customer service to make a zipper-less pair. That would probably be like 3oz, no? Everyone, please email them and ask them to make zipperless Peloton 97 bottoms with a long inseam for us! I have both the top and bottom and both are some of my favorite gear for cool-cold weather
Also consider the EE apex pants https://enlightenedequipment.com/mens-torrid-pants/
Personally I would ask them to make a custom 4oz apex version. those are a strong contender if you want synthetic.Aug 1, 2022 at 9:43 pm #3756418Steve SBPL Member
In my experience putting a windpant on makes a tremendous difference. Over midweight underwear and softshell pants should be fine to fairly low temperatures at 5000 feet or more. Higher altitudes = fewer molecules and, so, less cooling for a given temperature and wind speed.Aug 1, 2022 at 10:04 pm #3756421Lowell kBPL Member
I have these from Mont Bell and they are very good. Looks lke they are available now.Aug 1, 2022 at 11:00 pm #3756427
Thanks Marcus… wish they offered a small… web page only shows medium…Aug 2, 2022 at 4:36 am #3756428
Jerry, I still have a Tioga. I also have a Super Tioga, which is both exponentially more super-er and capable of playing all the games that you could play on the original Tioga, because that’s important (lookin’ at you, Nintendo).
You say moving slowly at altitude. Is this technical climbing or something else aerobic like skiing or snow shoeing over fresh snow.
I would call it non-technical climbing: it’s an instructional trip on Baker, so we’ll be up between 5,000′ and 10,000′ and either moving around intermittently or standing while learning/practicing…so it’s kind of a weird mix of activity. I figured that poofy pants really wouldn’t be appropriate for any amount of activity at all (like practicing self-arrests or whatevs) but that a single base layer might be too cold for that exact same activity…so I thought about a mid-layer that could also be its own base, such as the Polartec Alpha. Along with the lightweight base that I have, that would give me a really nice option for very little weight.
Also, yeah, I don’t like fooling around with the base/mid layers during winter; I’ve done a lot of winter hiking and camping, so it seems to me that if I don’t like futzing with that stuff at 4,000′ then I’m definitely not going to like it at twice that…or more. Right now, the layers I have are:
- Mammut lightweight stretch merino/poly base.
- Ibex softshell pants.
- Mammut zip-off hardshell pants.
I think that’ll be fine for most situations, but instead of replacing the base layer with a heavier one (and I have those) I thought a fleecy layer would make more sense…especially one that is thinner and lighter than a polar-weight base. Seems more flexible to me.
Marcus – the Torrid Apex is a cool option; I hadn’t really thought about that, so thank you! And Lowell, that Montbell pair looks really good for the money. Thanks for posting that as well.Aug 2, 2022 at 7:45 am #3756432Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Mammut lightweight stretch merino/poly base.
Ibex softshell pants.
Mammut zip-off hardshell pants.
This is Mt Baker in the Cascades, yes? Those layers would be perfect for 20 degree F fit weather at 10K in the Sierra Nevada. I don’t have any experience of the Cascades outside of Lassen and Mt Shasta but I would think the Washington Cascades would not be much different. You get flexibility by putting the hardshell on or off especially when glissading and changing just the top layers according the conditions.
Self arrest and ropes training can be relatively aerobic because the instructors have you climbing up a slope after you fall down. Even the glissading unless it is at the end of the day, you glissade 25, 50 or 100 yards, then you climb back up to the start point and do it over again. If you are also doing avalanche awareness, you are down in the snow digging out the dummy with the transceiver, and moving snow is hard work. Some of these courses have you dig snow shelters or snow caves which can also be very aerobic.
With the warm weather the Pacific Coast has been having the snow is likely to be wet in places in the afternoon and icy in the AM. If the weather forecast were for the temps to drop below 20, and the instructor is going to be lecturing a lot (and the students standing around) , I would chose a midweight base layer.
Is there a recommended gear list from the guide outfit?Aug 2, 2022 at 8:06 am #3756435
That’s correct, Bruce; Baker up in the Cascades. It’s a bunny-hill, but it’s more than I’ve dealt with before so it might as well be Annapurna I, in my head…but that’s because I’m essentially a scaredy-cat at heart.
I think your approximation of possible events is pretty spot-on; I was expecting periods of aerobc activity interspersed with some stand-around time…so, as best as I can figure, we’ll be playing around at about 5000′ to 6000′, depending on where the camp is located (or how far we go from it). Summit day doesn’t worry me, clothing-wise, because I know I’ll stay warm; I’m worried about being too warm.
There is a reccommended gear list, yes; the specific points for the bottom layers are:
- 1-2 pairs wicking underwear.
- 2-3 pairs socks.
- 1 light insulating base layer.
- 1-2 pieces of midweight insulation (mix of fleece/down)
- softshell pants
- hardshell pants
I’m kind of trimming from that list already, but I can’t see taking two midlayers when one should suffice. I might take a second pair of underwear, but I doubt it. Two pairs of socks should be fine, and the remainder seems fine.Aug 2, 2022 at 8:29 am #3756436
A lot will depend on if it’s sunny or not and if it’s windy or not.
Don’t overthink this… just have flexible, easy to change layers.Aug 2, 2022 at 10:02 am #3756443
Don’t overthink this… just have flexible, easy to change layers.
That’s kind of why I wanted something like the Alpha fleece in a basey-middy-flexy layer. I’m usually warmer in fleece than just straight merino – I’m sure there’s some science behind that – so I thought I could go with either, both, none, etc. and make a more usable system out of it.
That said, I’m REALLY good at overthinking things.
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