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The Dirt Catwalk: Modern Layering Ensembles for Backpackers


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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable The Dirt Catwalk: Modern Layering Ensembles for Backpackers

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 28 total)
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  • #3812088
    Ryan Jordan
    Admin

    @ryan

    Locale: Central Rockies

    Companion forum thread to: The Dirt Catwalk: Modern Layering Ensembles for Backpackers

    In this article, I discuss some of the challenges that an effective layering system needs to address. In addition, I highlight a handful of the layers that I use the most and how I combine them into various ensembles for different use cases.

    #3812092
    Thom
    BPL Member

    @popcornman

    Locale: N NY

    Thanks nice

     

    #3812095
    Tjaard Breeuwer
    BPL Member

    @tjaard

    Locale: Minnesota, USA

    More pros for the EE Torrid Jacket:

    It’s available in tall sizes, and custom fabric options.

    So many brands make very similar items, and often in multiple colors. Instead, what we really need is more size and fit options, so any item that comes in a wider range of sizes, or short and tall fits, should really get a big pat on the back.

    #3812096
    Terran Terran
    BPL Member

    @terran

    I’ve been using a DAS light hoodie along with EE’s Torrid pants. I don’t find the synthetic insulation that fragile. Certainly not a deal breaker.
    Don’t be afraid to experiment. I often wear fishnet as a second layer over AD.
    Then a question on the bags in the first set of pictures. Who makes them? Are they annoying at all?
    Good article as always. Thanks.

    #3812114
    Ryan Jordan
    Admin

    @ryan

    Locale: Central Rockies

    I don’t think Apex is that fragile. It looses a little bit of loft (20%) out of the gate, but after that, it’s a pretty slow fade as long as you aren’t using a compression stuff sack or really stuffing it tight with other gear in a sack. Sometimes I think the act of stuffing (some people are rough) can cause some damage. When you grip a handful of jacket and shove it hard into a stuff sack, you may be causing some shear stress on the insulation that could tear it.

    The Torrid Apex Pullover I’m still using today was purchased in 2018 and it has several hundred user days of use. I’ve taken good care of it, and honestly don’t feel like it’s lost enough loft to warrant replacement yet.

    Here’s how I deal with it:

    • I machine wash it (gentle cycle, cold water in a front-loading machine with no agitator) with non-detergent soap;
    • Line dry, then a gentle air-temp fluff in a dryer for 10 minutes.
    • Stored with sleeping bags in cotton stow bags.
    • Packed in (usually) its own stuff sack (a bit oversized) in my pack.

    Issues:

    1. The main wear area for insulation on my Torrid is in the shoulders. I do wear it with a pack in the winter occasionally.
    2. The 7d fabric is fragile. I have a few holes and tears! Easily repairable though.
    #3812122
    PaulW
    BPL Member

    @peweg8

    Locale: Western Colorado

    Thanks Ryan. As I’m in the market for some new gear, this article is very timely for me. As far as the Brynje fishnest shirt, last year they were out of my size so I purchased a much less expensive brand called Darevie to tide me over. I’m incredibly pleased with it. It’s made of 66% polypropylene, 28% polyamide, 6% elastane, not 100% like the Brynje. Do you think there would be a noticeable performance difference with the Brynje?

    #3812136
    Ryan Jordan
    Admin

    @ryan

    Locale: Central Rockies

    I like the Daravie, but I was surprised that it actually starts to smell (body odor) in spite of the lower PP content. But Brynje uses some pretty expensive PP that’s antimicrobial treated (from Schoeller) so that’s probably part of the cost.

    Also, the Brynje Super Thermo fishnet has bigger holes than the Darevie. It also dries a bit faster. I thin the polyamide and elastane in the Darevie hang on to water a bit.

    #3812139
    Charlie Brenneman
    BPL Member

    @cwbrenneman

    Locale: Primarily Desolation Wilderness, Yosemite, and SEKI

    Great article. Appreciate you being to able to save us the money testing gear, and also saving us time in the field figuring out what works. I’m relatively new to backpacking and it’s hard to get out enough in a variety of conditions to get better at it.

    I know it’s relative and hard to give exact advice but what kind of daytime/hike temps are we talking about? Warmer (70s+), Cooler (50s-40s), and Colder (40s-30s)?

    I guess the evolution of systems has made jackets like the Atom LT, Proton FL, and Nano-Air hoody strictly for grocery shopping use, and out of the lineup for being too heavy?

    Interesting you’re using the Bryne shirt in the summer. I might consider that under my OR Echo Hoody. I have a few of these treated for bugs and they’re great, but they tend to stick to my body and get really wet from my sweat.

    For insulation at rest/camp, does anyone recommend AD pants sized up to wear over trekking pants, or slim fit to wear under them? I have torrid pants for fall nights in the upper teens-20s, but for colder late summer nights in the upper 20s-30s I am considering the far pointe pants.

    Since I’m camping in 2 season conditions I think I’m pretty well covered, and would plan on just using two layer systems if I ever dip into colder seasons. (instead of zero degree down bag use my magma + larger synthetic summer quilt, instead of bigger down jacket use my Decathlon or SD down jacket + larger LW synthetic jacket, instead of down pants use AD + torrid pants)

    #3812141
    Mark Verber
    BPL Member

    @verber

    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    Thanks for the comprehensive write-up Ryan.

    Have you tried the OR Astroman button up.  I have been using one for the last 9 months from recommendations from some other folks.  So far, I have been pleased with its performance. One claim made by others, which I have yet to verify is that it’s pretty good keeping mosquitos at bay.  So far, all my trips have been miraculosuly low bug pressure.  If it does work, it will be the best shit I have used when facing heat and bugs.

    It’s useful to hear good things about the EE Torrid Jacket.  When I need a new jacket it will be at the top of my list. For now, I continue to be happy with a Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody, though doesn’t quite match the Torrid’s reported warmth/weight.

    #3812142
    Terran Terran
    BPL Member

    @terran

    I use the Vado 90 weight AD under torrid pants. I’ve used torrid pants over pants for warming up. . I have worn pants over the AD, but not for hiking.

    #3812145
    Terran Terran
    BPL Member

    @terran

    I prefer the PlumaFill over the Apex.

    #3812221
    David D
    BPL Member

    @ddf

    The Brynje under Lifa has been very versatile below freezing.  As temp drops into the 20s, just layer an octa if not too windy, or a nylon quarter zip with zone fabric if a slight wind.  As winds pick up more, layer on a Dooy.

    I use either short sleeve or long sleeve Brynje, the long sleeve providing 10f lower temp coverage.

    Below about 5f, the quarter zip gets replaced with something heavier but still breathable.   But the Brynje plus Lifa is a base that works for me from -15f to 35f with great moisture management

    Above that it’s button down, or Echo all the way with no base.  I still think a mesh base above 35f is kinda kooky

    #3812242
    Terran Terran
    BPL Member

    @terran

    Kooky and comfortable.

    #3812244
    David D
    BPL Member

    @ddf

    And hot!

    #3812247
    Terran Terran
    BPL Member

    @terran

    You’re probably faster than I am and take fewer breaks.🤠
    If I have air going through, I don’t get that hot. I guess it’s not a base layer at that point.

    #3812267
    Jason Brooks
    BPL Member

    @drytool

    Have you ever reviewed any of the Buffalo system garments? I never had any Buffalo clothing but I had the Patagonia Infurno Jacket, which was a silicone impregnated polyester jacket lined with really thick Retro Fleece (not called Retro at the time). It was the best garment I ever used in 35F driving rain. as my body heat was enough to always keep a dry layer next to my skin no matter how hard it was raining. It was totally windproof and breathable at the same time.

    #3812321
    Mark Verber
    BPL Member

    @verber

    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    I think buffalo products tend to be a bit heavy weight for this crowd. I don’t recall buffalo ever recieving a full review here, though they are sometimes mentions such as Ryan briefly mentioned them in https://backpackinglight.com/episode-49-untraditional-layers/

    The only “review” I remember this side of the pond was michaelO’s review from 20+ years ago… though still relevant, the products haven’t changed:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20021005195116/http:/www.monmouth.com/~mconnick/clothes.htm

     

    #3812335
    Haakon R
    BPL Member

    @aico

    Well thought out and timely article, Ryan!

    I’m a long time user and beliver in fish net base layers and have been using Brynje since the late 90’s (and LIFA even longer), but I never saw the point of a short sleeve or tank top brynje shirt. Until reading this. I guess I’ve dismissed fish net shirts for summer use outright due to poor sun protection and not the most versatile for social encounters / modesty police encounters. I still feel like thin wool shirts holds an edge in versatility for my use, but you convinced me to give fish net a try this summer.

    What I feel is missing, from this otherwise well written article, is leg wear/pants. Both what you look for as it relates to your layering philosophy and specifically what you found to work best for you. While the upper body is more complex and needs more fine tuning of layers to keep comfortable, it is very easy to adjust upper body layers on the fly. Whereas adjustments to lower body layers takes more effort and as such I often find myself contemplating much more about what pants to choose for a specific outdoor activity, than I do for the more easily adjusted upper body layers. In essence this probably boils down to a pair of pants that strikes a good balance between sun protection, sufficient protection against insect bites and decent enough breathability/ventilation to get you through a hot day. The supporting layers, e.g. rain pants, base layer etc. are a lot easier to pick because the use case is more limited.

    #3812342
    David D
    BPL Member

    @ddf

    TT, I like to make myself sweat I guess  :)

    What I love about the Brynje is that it adds a lot of warmth under a tight Lifa because the Lifa traps air pockets in the open mesh.  Thats what provides the warmth.

    Used in warm weather without a tight over-layer, I don’t see the point. Using a button down loose fit to bellows air provides all the evaporative cooling needed and a mesh won’t improve that.

    Thing that I don’t like about the (non wool) Superthermo polyprop Brynje is that it gets stanky faster than even my 30 year old polyprop Lifa.  They could really improve it by adding an antimicrobial into the fabric.  I have a MEC hiking shirt with it and it works well.

    The Brynje would stink to high Hades at 30C working hard.

    #3812379
    Tjaard Breeuwer
    BPL Member

    @tjaard

    Locale: Minnesota, USA

    @David D, that’s very strange that you find the Brynje PP smelly.

    Ryan mentioned before that he doesn’t find it to be so, and so I bought some.

    I really tested it this winter, in a 5 day backcountry ski trip. Wearing a shell over it all the time, and a pack, there was plenty of sweating. The last day was warm, but I fell a lot, so kept my shells zipped up to keep snow out. I was sweating like a pig. The Brynje PP still smelled fine.

    #3812403
    Terran Terran
    BPL Member

    @terran

    30c is rather warm.

    #3812411
    David D
    BPL Member

    @ddf

    @Tjaard, I wonder if it comes down to whether an individual has any proclivity for it?

    I wore the Brynje on ~ 15 long winter day hikes sweating pretty hard in snowshoes, microspikes, some post holing.  After each it had a taint to it, not throw it out strong, but noticeably above average.  I always washed it immediately and use a spot remover spray on strong areas.

    Only select garments get smelly for me (including a couple poly tennis shirts). OTOH, I routinely soak my Columbia Silver Ridge Light shirt right through with sweat where I had to ring it out by hand at the end of the day, but it never has any noticeable strong odour.  I backpacked~ 12 days in it in the last month and this shirt never smelled.    Same with a few other tennis shirts, cycling shirts, hiking shirts, bball shirts… no problems worth mentioning.

    For me, the Brynje was one of only a few shirts that had a consistently noticeable smell after hard work.

    #3812424
    Tjaard Breeuwer
    BPL Member

    @tjaard

    Locale: Minnesota, USA

    @David D, strange. For me, the Brynje PP is the least smelly baselayer I have. Miles better than my ~25 y.o. Helly Hansen Lifa (the smooth fabric one, not the OG fuzzier one), better than the few polyester baselayers I have, and way better than the fine mesh (not fishnet) polyester baselayer that I use for mtb (because it has pads for protection). All of those get -ratty bad after 1 or 2 days.

     

    #3812665
    Perry Clark
    BPL Member

    @obi-wan

    Good, interesting article, with some excellent discussion of pros/cons of (some of) the fabrics in play for layering.

    The fishnet underlayer reminds me of similar sleeveless tops, generally knit polyester, I used to wear under my cycling jersey back in the day. Occasionally wore ‘em under other thin layers as well for purposes similar to those described here, but somehow moved away from that practice over the years. I’m gonna be rethinking that.

    Regarding smells, I note that some posters report rare problems with odors, whilst others describe variable rates of such, depending on fabric, treatments, construction, etc. My own experience is that most synthetics tend to accumulate odors, just at different rates. MOE re: treatments is that they don’t really last very well; after a while, one is down to the native fabric behavior, it seems. But it is something I have to combat with just about all synthetics; less so with thin wool underlayers. (Icebreaker merino is my current fave.)

    Query re: sizing of the Brynje Unisex Thermo C-Shirt. The sizing chart on the website includes three columns of size-guide info: height, waist, and chest dimensions. And the three don’t seem to necessarily correlate in a helpful way. Example: Size Small corresponds to a height range of 5’4”-5’6”, waist of 29-31”, and chest of 37-40”. Medium: height 5’7”-5’9”, waist 32-34”, and chest 40-42”. I’m 5’ 8-1/2”; waist 30, chest 38. Do any of y’all know the utility of the height in the sizing? It seems to me the most unreliable/unnecessary parameter for consideration.

    Finally, a shout-out to the Patagonia Houdini. About an ounce lighter, with a better fit (for me, anyway) than the REI Flash, and only $10 more.

     

    #3812669
    MJ H
    BPL Member

    @mjh

    How much of this “smell” is assessed by independent raters? You certainly can smell yourself, but I doubt the sensitivity is the same as if you asked someone else to smell your shirt.

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