8 comments on “Winter Layering System

  1. Great article Ryan for people who need help/refresh on layering.

    You should look into the Rab Boreas Pullover as a layer for winter, or any season for that matter. It’s heavier than a typical windshirt and resembles a very light soft shell top, but breathes far better and provides slightly more warmth than a light denier windshirt, it would make a great winter layer while on the move.

    Where’s the hood on that down puffy!?

    • Rab does make good stuff. I’m testing out a new Marmot DriClime windshirt I picked up on sale the other day, which should satisfy my outer layer requirement. It’s all about trying new things…

  2. I generate so much heat when I’m hiking in a winter, especially when we are climbing, that I often strip down to my baselayers, but if it’s really cold I’ll wear a light sweater. The biggest issue I have is sweating through hats and gloves – you don’t need anything fancy unless you go above treeline and it is REALLY cold and windy. I now carry 3 pairs of fleece gloves, a pair of monster shell/primaloft mitts, 2 hats and a balaclava facemask for peakbagging. Buy this stuff cheap – it’s just as good.

    • Amen to that. My hands tend to stay dry, but I switch my hand and head layers constantly through the day of hiking. The trickiest bit for me is avoiding back sweat. I generate a lot of that any time of year when hiking.

  3. nice post Ryan. The point on “heat loss” and “evaporation” is key for me. I’m always able to generate more heat/sweat even on the coldest days in the Wasatch that it’s most important to watch my pace. My fav and never leave home without layer would be my hooded Montbell thermawrap. Spendy but I believe is well worth it. I always make sure my baselayers fit tight/stretchy and my top has a zip. I’ll wear another synthetic long sleeve zip top over my base but looser fitting. Both of those block the wind resonably well. I’ll also bring another thermawrap to layer over not under my hooded but it’s like my windshirt it rarely rarely comes out. The only time I bring down is my sleeping bag for emergencies or on occassion I’ll switch out my regular thermawrap for a puffy. Softshells are a sweat box for me. That’s just my 2 cents. It depends on your activity and whatever gear you’re happy and comfortable with.
    The sweaty back is inevitable and there’s no way of getting around it except go at a snails pace. – Steve

    • Yes indeed, Steve. Sweaty back happens pretty much regardless of temperature. If it was exceptionally cold and I wasn’t moving fast, I’d probably put my Thermawrap under my windshirt for some extra insulation as well, but even on a recent trip with a daytime high of 2 degrees, a windshirt and base layer was enough (except during breaks, of course). Light synthetic insulation like the Thermawrap or Micropuff is a great layering piece for all seasons.

  4. Any reason you go for a windjacket instead of a hardshell? I usually wear a Gore Tex or eVent hardshell in winter, keeps the wind and spindrift out just as well and traps a bit more heat. They also usually come with better hoods than windshirts, which I fund useful.

    I’m sewing a EtaProof anorak and pants at the moment, and am looking forward trying that on future trips. It is similar to what the Inuit use, and should allow together with the wool layers I wear a very breathable (yet windproof) system (in theory, so far =).

    • Hey Hendrik! The main reason for me is just that my core, even in cold and wind, stays really warm when I’m walking even at a slow pace. I sweat through even a windshirt all too often. The parts of my body that need the most attention are my toes, fingers, and nose, so I keep those bundled up. There’s also the fact that I don’t want to abuse a GoreTex or eVent jacket too much, since they’re a lot more expensive than a wind shell.

      I’ll certainly be interested to see how your anorak and pants turn out. I’ve never heard of EtaProof, but MYOG projects are pretty exciting.

Comments are closed.