Cold Clothing

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lilcliffy

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Re: Cold Clothing

Postby lilcliffy » Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:51 am

Oh- and I wear a softshell outer- not a hardshell.
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.

Akearns

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Re: Cold Clothing

Postby Akearns » Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:31 am

lilcliffy wrote:
Akearns wrote:If you are interested, I could send you the Army’s cold weather operating manual.

Alex

Yes please Alex!
Gareth


Pmed for your email

Mountain Mitch

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Re: Cold Clothing

Postby Mountain Mitch » Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:52 am

Thanks for all the responses. Very helpful. I used to wear German Army Pants in the 70s. They must have made WAY too many of those! I found them a bit heavy and prone to getting wet especially for multiday trips.

Normally I wear MEC T3 longjohns (polyester) under Helle Hansen ‘goretex’ (their version) bibs for above -5. From -5 to -12 I’ll add a pair of cross country tights under the HH bibs. I have some insulated goretex downhill ski pants but I don’t think they’d be any good on uphills (sweaty) and don’t really flex enough to be great tele pants even on the groomers. Up top I wear long sleeve polyester base, a very thin fleece midlayer and a goretex hardshell. I pack a light down puffy for the downhill. If it’s a bit colder than usual I’ll wear the puffy but it tends to make me sweat on the uphill so I’m very wary of that. Having read the comments I think I’ll wear an extra fleece layer below -10 and see how that goes. I also normally wear a pack (nowadays an avalanche pack) which I find adds a lot of warmth on my back and, unfortunately, tends to make my back sweat a bit.

I’m surprised how many wool fans there are. I don’t find it as comfortable as newer tech fabrics like polyester. My wife is a huge fan of merino and argues for its advantages. Chacon son gout!

But today it’s -6, partly cloudy, 5cm new snow on a 1.5m base and my usual outfit will work great - so I’m off to the mountains to scout a route I’m taking a group up in two weeks. This retired life is tough to take!

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Woodserson

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Re: Cold Clothing

Postby Woodserson » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:27 pm

bgregoire wrote:
For the upper outer, I have become fond of tightly meshed cotton or cotton/polyester anoraks and such. Check out the Fjallraven Keb...its amazing for XC. What an amazing hood its got too...

Seize the day! The snow is COMMMING...


Leo Tasker wrote:Also another climber called Andy Kirkpatrick who has done many harsh winter trips (including one or two with Aleksander Gamme) has a lot to say on the matter: https://andy-kirkpatrick.com/articles/view/the_best_softshell_in_the_world - the rest of his blog has a lot of good info even if much of it is aimed at climbers.


This is becoming a great thread! So much good info!

OK so Ben, can you please explain what is so great about the Keb and the cotton/poly blend tops? I would love an education. I feel like these work well when you know that temperatures are going to remain below freezing, but what if one encounters all sorts of temperatures-- skiing in the rain in the Keb seems like a bad idea? I have no experience with these products. I always wear tightly weaved wool sweaters as my outer as long as it's dry, but when it starts snowing so hard the melting snow wets out the sweater or it rains I got for my generic gore-tex light jacket, but then of course, I start sweating inside it...

...which being said, this question is almost answered by Leo's EXCELLENT article he posted above. I learned a lot and it seems to dovetail into my above question to Ben, but I'd like to read more from Ben himself.

Leo, I loved KISS or KILL by Twight. Thanks for referencing him.

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Woodserson

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Re: Cold Clothing

Postby Woodserson » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:29 pm

lilcliffy wrote:I personally find it easier to dress for cold conditions than cool-warm.
Was out on an excellent 9-hour tour on Saturday that started out at -10C and climbed to the freezing point by mid-afternoon- the trees were heavily laden with snowfall. We got COMPLETELY SOAKED.



How did the soft shell work in this instance? (and what is it?)

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Verskis

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Re: Cold Clothing

Postby Verskis » Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:02 am

Oh, forgot to add that mesh base layers are really good because they do not absorb much moisture. I use this one under my wool or fleece layers:
https://www.svala.com/en/products/100-d ... irt-black/

The yarns are quite thick on the Svala shirt, so there is a layer of mostly air next to your skin when you wear the shirt. It also makes it really warm when you have additional layers on top of the mesh shirt. On it's own it's not very warm, but nobody would wear it on it's own, except maybe in some kinky parties :P

There are also similar merino wool mesh shirts here, these could be even nicer:
http://www.aclima.com/collection/woolne ... 0000001653

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Leo Tasker

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Re: Cold Clothing

Postby Leo Tasker » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:06 am

@Wooderson, that's such a great book! I wore out my copies of both that and Extreme Alpinism from reading them so many times!

Heard good things about polypropylene mesh base layers, will try one at some point. https://www.varusteleka.com/en/product/svala-100pros-dry-stretch-mesh-hunt-undershirt-black/59745 has slightly better prices than the official site and also has a lot of other good stuff (merino, army surplus gear)

I have also used some Fjallraven polycotton clothing, namely one of their anoraks: https://www.fjallraven.com/shop/fjallraven-singi-anorak-m-F82248/ both for skiing and general winter use.
Pros: Very tough fabric, excellent breathability, amazing hood design, looks very Norwegian :lol:
Cons: Heavy, not very water resistant, takes a relatively long time to dry when damp.

I think polycotton works best for low to medium output activities in very cold, dry (arctic) environments, where the priority is avoiding moisture build up inside your clothes, rather than protection against the wet. I found in warmer temps, 0°C to -5°C that wet snow and sweating quickly wetted out the fabric, especially under a backpack. The fabric is bombproof, which is why a lot of bushcraft types favour this type of clothing, it is easy to repair and you don't have to worry about sparks from a fire burning holes in it. The snorkel hood design is phenomenal, especially when paired with the fur trim, completely shield the face even in the worst weather.
In short, I like the jacket, but now use something lighter which works much better for higher energy skiing in warmer temps, mainly this: https://arcteryx.com/no/en/shop/mens/squamish-hoody or this: https://www.montane.co.uk/mens-c1/hydrogen-extreme-smock-p711

That said, the Keb jacket mixes polycotton panels with stretch polyester ones, which may solve the issues I found, mainly reducing weight, increasing weather resistance and speeding up drying time and giving the best of both worlds?

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bgregoire

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Re: Cold Clothing

Postby bgregoire » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:06 am

Woods, Leo,

Just before going into the polycotton or Ventile (100% cotton)...I also endorse the mesh liners. I have the polyproylene and the wool versions from Aclima, great great stuff.

Woods, about polycotton in warm weather, you are right. But I live north of you and we frequently ski on cold snow, not rain! Than again, the fabric can be waxed to improve water resistance and wind resistance.

For me, the major advantage of these types of fabric over the hi-tech membrane stuff (which also has its merits) is the high breathability combined with high wind resistance. Its two that the polycotton can get wet, in rain, or in high sweat areas like the back (especially with a backpack on). But unlike Leo, I have found they dry out really quickly when worn while skiing. Besides, they cut out the wind even better when wet (the threads expand)!

The Keb does in fact offer a great compromise. The polycotton is on the front panel, the shoulders, and most importantly, the hood. The back panel is a thin softshell material, so its excellent for skiing with a backpack. In fact the Keb is not soft as a winter jacket, more so a fall one, but I have found its perfect for my needs here in Québec (when its below zero of course). As leo mentionned, the real awesome aspect of the Keb is its full on tunnel hood. You can have that on in a snow storm and feel like you in your living room...no more need for goggles.

By the way, I first went for the cotton outer layers when researching for my Laponia ski traverse in 2014. I went for a Klattermusen Rimfaxe jacket I got on sale. Its such an amazing piece of workmanship. Super functional for pulka pulling in windy nordic climates. On somedays when it was really warm, it could get soaked while I shoveled snow to prepare camp. When i'd get in my tent, I would shove it in a corner of the tent. The next morning, it litterally looked like an old dirty frozen rag, but I would suit up and ski, and within 10 minutes is was a pristine dry, 900$ top notch jacket. sweet.

Oh, and when I do plan on skiing in near zero temperature, I do not pull out my cotton outers, those are for colder days. Instead, I go for a very basic breathable (no membrane) windshell with hood. Personally, I have a MEC RD Windshell from a few years back. Again, not built for winter, but its precisely what I need for warm temp skiing! Its just so breathable and LIGHT!

I reserve my Gore-tex upper for the rare occasion I go resort skiing or BC downhill trips on colder days. Without a doubt, Gore-tex offers the best windproofing and very good heat retention. Its just really bad act actually breathing in cold temps.
I live for the Telemark arc....The feeeeeeel.....I ski miles to get to a place where there is guaranteed snow to do the deal....TM

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bgregoire

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Re: Cold Clothing

Postby bgregoire » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:24 am

I just read Andy Kirkpatrick's article diagonally and remain unconvinced the Marmot Driclime shell would be as great as he says it is for the type of high intensity nordic backcountry skiing I do.

I bought into Rab's version a few years back:
https://rab.equipment/ca/vapour-rise-alpine-jacket

Just like the Driclime, you wear it on the skin. This thing is WARM for its weight. But its just not breathable enough for me when XC skiing (the back especially gets soaked in a few minutes when I wear a backpack). I cannot not wear it when the temps are above -5C. Then again, the jackets are great, but I have found I prefer layering with solid or mesh liners and the various shells I mentionned in my previous post.

I actually think the type of shell Andy mentions is better suited for climbing.
I live for the Telemark arc....The feeeeeeel.....I ski miles to get to a place where there is guaranteed snow to do the deal....TM

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Leo Tasker

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Re: Cold Clothing

Postby Leo Tasker » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:44 am

I should probably clarify, the Fjallraven fabric does dry fairly quickly, just not as fast as a fully synthetic pertex/pile jacket. My understanding is that waxing the fabric increases water resistance but cuts the breathability? I haven't tried waxing mine, so can't really comment but would be interested to hear your thoughts. I think polycotton has a lot of benefits, especially for skiing in very cold temps, unfortunately we don't get those very often where I am. I would like to try the Ken pant when my current softshell pants wear out as these look very good.

@Bgregoire, I didn't find the Rab Vapour rise breathable enough either, I don't know if this is due to the face fabric or the micro pile liner? My newer Montane top is a lot better, even though the Polartech Alpha insulation is thicker. The article I linked to is a bit dated (2008) but he has other articles on his site that are worth reading. https://andy-kirkpatrick.com/blog/view/antidote_to_grimness

Most of my thinking regarding winter clothing has crossed over from my climbing days, which tended to be much more stop/start than skiing. I still think the "action suit" concept of thin breathable layers for active use and a thicker "belay" jacket to put on when stopped works extremely well. As with so much else, having a flexible clothing system is key, as so much depends on the weather and terrain of the day.

Don't even get me started on gloves... :lol:
Last edited by Leo Tasker on Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.


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