- Mar 7, 2018 at 12:47 am #3522803
so why get a synthetic jacket? I haven’t owned a synthetic insulated jacket in 35 years.
So my question is why did you choose to go for a synthetic jacket.Mar 7, 2018 at 2:12 am #3522829
Ross BleakneyBPL Member
Much lighter for the amount of insulation. So much so that it replaces fleece for backpack trips. I still prefer fleece for day hiking (it just breathes better) but for backpacking, I can wear a synthetic hoody that is both lighter and warmer.Mar 7, 2018 at 2:45 am #3522836
@iagoLocale: Boston & Galicia, Spain
I realize that I can save a significant amount of weight with a synthetic puffy and the convenience of dealing with putting on/off and packing one piece rather than two. But when on full day hike or backpacking, I prefer the fleece/windshirt combo for temperature regulating reasons as conditions change throughout the day. Also they seem to be quicker to dry when wet as you separate the layers.Mar 7, 2018 at 4:46 am #3522853
I can sleep in the fleece. Switch out a rain jacket when needed.Mar 7, 2018 at 4:55 am #3522854
Ken, do you find a fleece and windshirt to be warm enough for around camp or do you rely on a quilt for that? Or do you set up camp and crawl right into bed?Mar 7, 2018 at 5:55 am #3522859
If I planned right it works perfectly for me. I never use my bag or quilt out of my shelter. Usually have down time in camp.Mar 7, 2018 at 9:59 am #3522870
Mole JBPL Member
Cos you live in California? ;)
In the UK, unless it’s definitely high summer weather ( which dependong on our variable climate, often only happens for the odd week or few days at a time in our hills – not for the whole “summer” season) then we carry fleece, windshirt and synthetic ( Rab xenon). We do the same in the Pyrenees ( we go late summer into September)
We have on occasion needed to walk in all the layers under a waterproof in bad weather in Scotland, Wales and Spanish mountains. Others run hotter.
Though, as one UL person was heard to remark when met on a dreich Lakeland hill – the gearlist looks better on a spreadsheet. In sustained rain n wind it’s unpleasant to be cold.
I leave a layer at home for fast solo stuff ( which I do less often these days) or if lowland walking.Mar 7, 2018 at 12:43 pm #3522879
Very interesting. Let’s assume there is a moderate breeze and you are going to sit and watch the sunset while chatting with some other people. What temperature does the fleece and windshirt combo keep you comfortable to?Mar 7, 2018 at 2:23 pm #3522892
Gary DunckelBPL Member
I like to wear synthetic top layers when snowshoeing, as I know that they’ll get a bit moist from sweating. My layers from skin out are a merino base layer, then a thick fleece shirt, maybe a second fleece layer if it’s fairly cold out, and finally, a synthetic hoody for lunch or longish rest stops. My current favorite is a TNF Thermoball. Usually there’s a WP/B hooded shell over everything, or maybe just an oversized wind shirt.
For 3-season backpacking, I’m pretty much a goose down sort of guy (greater warmth for the weight). But I’m also in love with my BPL Cocoon hoody and pants, which of course are synthetic Polargard Delta. The choice usually depends upon how much precipitation I’ll likely encounter. If it will be moist and gloomy, I’ll probably take only synthetics. If it will likely be classic Colorado bluebird weather, I’ll probably take a down jacket. My base layers are always merino, with some Cap 4 pieces in the mix.
Keep in mind that my usual stomping grounds are in semi-arid desert climates (CO, GNP, and YNP). I can only guess what the folks in the PNW would wear.Mar 7, 2018 at 3:23 pm #3522902
Yep California. Where you never have to go where it gets below 25f unless on purpose. Matt it will be fine for me to freezing depending on which fleece and base layers. And to be fair a lot of that 35 years was spent in the dry deserts of CA.Mar 7, 2018 at 3:24 pm #3522903
Brett PeughBPL Member
With an OR Echo t or ls I usually can get down to about 40F or lower depending on how much I did that day and the humidity using an R2 with a wind jacket, fleece mitts and a fleece hat. Or I can substitute the Gerry thin down Costco jacket. Yes, synthetic high loft insulation can weigh less but fleece lasts so much longer, I don’t have to baby it, and it costs less. I have a synthetic jacket from about 10 years ago and bring it out of the closet once a year and usually put it right back in. I will let other people buy a new, expensive jacket every four years.Mar 7, 2018 at 4:03 pm #3522910
Daryl and DarylBPL Member
@lyrad1Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Warmer insulation for the weight.
Dries faster (haven’t tested this recently…going from memory)
Less wait gain when soaking wet (I’m almost always soaking wet) (Haven’t tested this recently…going from memory)
Less heat loss from wind/chill. The inner and outer shells are like wearing two windbreakers.
Because it puzzles Ken.Mar 7, 2018 at 4:30 pm #3522915
If it’s cold and humid ( foggy, drizzly) then a rain jacket over a fleece would be more likely to make one sweaty than a thin synthetic insulating layer. That has been my experience, not so much here in California but definitively in alpine conditions in Europe.Mar 7, 2018 at 5:21 pm #3522922
Nathan MeyersonBPL Member
Informed use of synthetic, hi-loft insulation tends to be mostly in wet/humid environments.
A fleece/windshirt is more versatile than synthetic-insulation alone.
A separate hi-loft layer adds camp comfort for lower temperatures. Have you ever pushed hard to make it to camp before dark, suddenly to find your fleece damp from sweat just as temperatures drop?
Really, it comes down to intended use, willingness to suffer, understanding internal metabolism, and zealotry in gram counting. If you can define yourself here, that is 95% of the work regarding finding a layering system.
Mar 7, 2018 at 6:41 pm #3522939
- This reply was modified 9 months, 2 weeks ago by Nathan Meyerson.
Paul S.BPL Member
Lots of uses for synthetic insulation mentioned in the thread. The two main categories are fleece replacements and down puffy replacements.
Ken, would you use a synth jacket that was lighter than your fleece and with the same/better next-to-skin comfort and breathability? I would but I haven’t found one that hits all 3. I need both an active layer and camp layer most of the year.Mar 7, 2018 at 8:39 pm #3522958
Garrett TurnerBPL Member
Most of the weight to warmth comparisons that I see tend to exclude the a rain/wind jacket over the fleece. This makes a huge difference and really promotes an pretty bias comparison between the two. Given that I always bring a rain jacket I don’t include this in my weight comparisons either.
A 100gram Prima-loft insulated jacket would be equivalent to a 16oz high-loft Melazana after about two weeks of use (this is with a rain jacket or windbreaker). Sure a brand new insulated jacket would be slightly warmer right off the shelf, but that really becomes moot after you get back from a week long trip of shoving it in a backpack or sleeping in it. I use my fleece as a pillow as well since I don’t have to worry about compression. This actually makes fleece lighter than an insulated jacket when you think about it.Mar 7, 2018 at 10:16 pm #3522980
“Ken, would you use a synth jacket that was lighter than your fleece and with the same/better next-to-skin comfort and breathability?”
I don’t know. Does it exist? Can’t imagine anything with a nylon liner being more comfortable next to skin, even just arms. And being able to remove the shell and continue to wear the insulation is a big plus for me.
”Have you ever pushed hard to make it to camp before dark, suddenly to find your fleece damp from sweat just as temperatures drop?” No. If I’m pushing it I have to strip off the mid layer or burst into flames. So two separate pieces still seem to make more sense for me.Mar 7, 2018 at 10:27 pm #3522983
Hey Mole, it’s so nice and dry here that I use down almost every time. No midges either. I saw loss of loft on a couple of trips along the coast while I was living there. But trips were short enough not to be an issue.Mar 7, 2018 at 11:02 pm #3522985
Mole JBPL Member
You are so lucky. :)
A friend managed to get his home loving wife to come and do an overnighter with him using his Trailstar. He said it was a beautiful summers day/night. Apparently, despite the “dry” benign conditions, her constant refrain was “why is everything so b****y wet all the time”. :D
About sums it up here. Unless you can get under trees. (Not many in the hills apart from the not so pleasant factory forests).
That damp can get into your bonesMar 7, 2018 at 11:59 pm #3522998
Paul S.BPL Member
Ken, the Nano Air fabric is very soft and supple. It’s more comfortable next to skin than a fleece. Problem is it’s heavier.Mar 8, 2018 at 1:05 am #3523018
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Maybe we should define terms.
Fleece + windshirt: are we talking about something like a Patagonia R1 or Thermal Weight + a windshirt for active hiking vs something like a Nano Air for active hiking?
Or are we talking about a heavier synthetic for non-active hiking?Mar 8, 2018 at 2:00 am #3523020
R1 or something a bit heavier Nick. With a long sleeve base layer.
Never seen a Nano Air
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