Expand and enhance my clothes selection

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  • #3701992
    Philipp S



    I would like to ask you what would make sense to buy to expand my gear of clothing. I try to get a structure in my post to make it as easy as possible to read and understand :-)

    What I do or need me cloths for:

    • Hiking & Mountaineering (100-4’500m elevation) in Switzerland (the higher grounds only in Summer)
    • Camping in the mountains
    • commuting by bicycle (in the morning short downhill, longer uphill, so sweat is the bigger problem)
    • strolling outside

    What I already have:

    • Merino Shirts and Longsleeves
    • Merino Sweater (Icebreaker Descender, kind of fleece)
    • 750 cuin down jacket with Pertex Quantum
    • Arc’teryx Alpha AR jacket (Goretex Pro)

    How do I react to activity:

    I sweat a lot and fast. In summer even with a Shirt and no activity.

    What I wanted to buy, iteration 1:

    Because I sweat easily I thought it would be a good idea to buy a vest. This would protect my body from the cold (f.e. when strolling or riding the bicycle to work) but would not let me sweat on my arms. The more I read abouth vests, jackets, insulations, breathability and activity, the more I got the knowledge that maybe just a vest is not the best thing I can buy and my jackets are maybe the reason I sweat in the mountains. Because they are not exactly the definition of breathability, especially during activities.

    Iteration 2:

    Now I thought, maybe I don’t need to have “free” arms with a vest but just a more breathable jacket. This would have e bigger range of use. But what should I buy?

    • A jacket with an active insulation like Polartec Alpha or FullRange from Patagonia (their Nano Air jacket?) with high CFM?
    • If this is with wind protection (any Pertex) I don’t win much (CFM would be below 10)
    • If this is without a wind protection, I would destroy all the breathability with my Alpha AR (CFM would be below 2 I think)
    • Additionaly to the active insulated jacket, do I need a windshirt to protect me from wind but still have better breathability than the Alpha jacket? F.e. the Patagonia Houdini is mentioned a lot.

    This setup would cover the following situations, in my opinion:

    • During activity without wind: Merino base, merino fleece, active insulated jacket
    • During activity with wind: same + windshirt
    • During rain & heavy wind: Alpha AR on top to stay dry
    • During camping / no activity: down jacket
    • Bicycling: active insulated jacket + windshirt (good enough protection downhill, no sweat uphill)

    What do you think about this plan? Am I missing something or doing a mistake? Is there anything I can do better?

    Appreciate your time and answers. Thank you for helping me!

    Have a nice afternoon or day!

    Mark Verber
    BPL Member


    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    The issue with sweating is not just amount of “breathability” but likely over insulation. My suggestion would be to add a windshirt to your mix and figure out how that works. Even when the wind is not blowing you would be surprised how much it helps retain your warmer. Convection cooling happens even when the wind isn’t blowing.

    If after you try a windshirt you need something else then think about some fancy active insulation. I think you will find the high tech active insulation will have thermal characteristics not unlike your merino fleece, it just lighter for the amount of insulation.

    I would also suggest checking on a powergrid base like the patagonia thermal weight hoody for when you are active in cooler weather. I found that when combined with a windshirt it is comfortable in a wide range of conditions depending on how unzipped the base and windshirt are. I have also found that if I start sweating it keeps move more comfortable while I am sweating and drying more quickly than just about anything else I have tried.

    I also wouldn’t count vests out in the long term. For a number of years I found the combination if a heavy base, vest, and windshirt worked really well.

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