View Full Version : summer and winter midlayer jacket favs

07-26-2014, 12:04
Just wondering what everyone loves to carry for their summer and winter mid layer jackets? There are sooooo many light weight fleeces and puffy jackets its hard to decide what will be warm enough for early spring and fall and what won't be too hot for cool summer evenings...

07-26-2014, 12:32
When my fleece jacket isn't enough, I use this vest (http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/CAMOmnifindQueryCmd?storeId=226&catalogId=40000000226&langId=-1&searchCategory=&ip_state=&ip_constrain=&ip_navtype=search&pageSize=24&currentPage=&ip_sortBy=&searchKeywords=74725) with a set of JRB down sleeves (http://www.jacksrbetter.com/?s=sleeves) in Spring and Fall. In summertime I use this jacket (http://www.rei.com/product/826287/patagonia-adze-jacket-mens).

07-26-2014, 17:20
Montbell ul down parka is a year round pick for me ...add patagoochie cap 4 exped hoodie good to teens

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07-26-2014, 19:15
I no longer hold a rigid view of what is a base layer, mid layer(s), or shell. I use all those pieces interchangeably. That is, a mid layer may become my base layer or my outermost piece, a wind shirt may become a mid layer, a mid layer needs to be able to be worn by itself as often as possible, etc. My most UL fast and furious thru-hiking rain jacket functions as a wind shirt, possible sleeping piece, is to be worn for warmth even when not raining, etc. I also don't get caught up in necessarily abiding by a single heavier mid or outer insulation layer(jacket) when perhaps two lighter wt pieces(sometimes more!) that are about the same wt combined will offer the same degree of warmth but provide for a greater variety of apparel combinations. *I'm seeking a wide variety of apparel combinations with the least amount of wt that will address the widest variety of trail conditions AND BE EMPLOYED ON A REGULAR BASIS. I find it can be critically important to understand how various apparel accessories(gloves/mittens, hats, socks, even shoes and gaiters, etc) factor into these apparel combinations that successfully address a wide variety of trail conditions. As such, I'm often adjusting my apparel throughout my 14 hr hiking day to meet trail conditions. For example, I wouldn't typically lug along one heavy down jacket for two hrs of total daily use in camp and at short stops when I'm thru-hiking 14 hr days. Deep winter or car camping, when I'm perhaps in camp for longer hrs, I may change this up.

Now, you might think I have a garage full of apparel. Not so. I do indeed have different kits for deep winter but overall largely one basic apparel kit covers me from mid spring to mid fall in the U.S. in the Lower 48. I roll with 1) a tee, most often(90 % of the time) an appropriate wt 1/2 zip merino but sometimes a merino blend(Patagonia, I only have one), and, less often, a polyester one(anything cheap but I snagged some NIKE Running VERY BREATHABLE polyester shirts recently for $18 each, now I'm SWOOSH ready) 2) a 1/2 zip long sleeved 150- 250 wt merino(I like Icebreaker, Smartwool, IBEX, and Minus 33 in that order, I like monkey finger holes in all my long sleeves, I usually snag these $$$ pieces out of season, at outdoor consignment shops, and discontinued/limited number versions), there are many great synthetic less costly varieties but I like Eastern Mountain Sports 1/4 zip Tech Wick Essentials(again, I recently picked up a couple out of season for a sub $20 price) and Patagonia Capilene 1/2 zips, 3) And, my most versatile 3 season mid layer is a vest. Depending on trail conditions I have two down vests of various wts and characteristics and two synthetics too chose from. Even though there are now other manufacturers making quality UL vests that may be lighter wt I still mostly use my old RAB 800 down vest with Pertex Micrlight shell and Montbell Thermawrap 4) shell, usually an UL rain jacket for thru-hikes(Marmot Mica, Montbell Versalite, Westcomb Hoodie)

07-26-2014, 19:39
Forgot my wind/rain shell that weighs almost nothing OR helium 2 pertex jacket

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07-26-2014, 22:28
Down vest. And down vest. I vary the under and over bits depending on the season and location.


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07-27-2014, 08:50
My two go-to insulating layers are a Patagonia synthetic vest (won at a silent auction at a NCTA Conference many years ago), and an REI "Gossamer" synthetic jacket (no longer made, unfortunately).

I carry a down sleeping bag, so like to have some synthetic insulation for "just in case" situations - never needed that insurance, never expect to with proper care of my bag. I also want the flexibility of having it available for hiking in, if it is ever necessary. I have used that flexibility on rare occasions. I really find it a bad idea to hike in down.

In warm/mild conditions, I bring the vest. In late or early shoulder seasons/conditions, I bring the jacket. In expected cold/winter conditions, both find a place in the pack and are EXTREMELY effective.

I really love the REI jacket especially. It is very warm, just shy of 16oz (I know, there are some lighter options), and very compressible. The best part is that it has an excellent hood, probably the best designed hood I've ever experienced. Good coverage and moves exactly with your head. Love this jacket and very disappointed that it is no longer made.

As others mentioned, varying base layers goes a long way in comfort regulation as well. My normal go-to are silk or wool base layers in various thicknesses and combinations. Whatever you get, make sure it is not so tight to compromise circulation - it doesn't take a lot of constriction to make a big difference in keeping your feet warm. Speaking of feet, in extreme cold/winter down booties and good hats are as important to comfort and safety as are extra-efficient mid layers.

07-27-2014, 10:59
I admit that I'm a gear / clothes junkie - with an outdoor jacket fetish. I probably should seek counseling.

amongst my quiver I have: Arc'teryx alpha SL Hybrid shell, covert cardigan by same brand, Filson Double Mackinaw Cruiser, Patagonia Down Vest, Arc'teryx Atom LT hoody and vest, Patagonia nano puff pullover, etc. There are some i'm forgetting b/c I don't wear them or b/c my 17 year old son absconded with them.... (He took my Mt Hardware Monkey Man jacket last year and I haven't worn it since).

The proof is in the pudding: What I wear 90+% of the time is the Patagonia Down Sweater (a down jacket really) it is super versatile and packs down to nothing. I seldom wear the Patagonia down vest but wear the Arc'teryx Atom LT vest a ton over everything from a short sleeve shirt to a wool top and under the down sweater.

I also wear the Arc'teryx Alpha SL hybrid shell in the brutal SC heat when it rains and over the down hoody in the winter/snow. It is awesome. Reinforced shoulders and wear areas. Expensive, but the 'cat's ass' in shells IMHO.

The best wool tops I've found are the BEAN Cresta Wool tops in light and mid. Soft and well made. As good as the uber expensive SmartWool and a fraction of the cost. I stumbled on to these and after wearing it my wife said, "Buy me one please"...
then I noticed friends asking me about them and then I noticed they went out and bought them. Great product and great buy. STOIC also makes some great wool tops in really light weights that I run/climb in. Backcountry has them on sale all the time. I gave one to a friend for Christmas and she wears it constantly.

I also wear the Arc'teryx Atom LT hoody a lot b/c it is super comfy and stretchy. Great for climbing / active stuff b/c it stretches (the Down Sweater does not).

Hope this was useful....

07-27-2014, 20:58
Thanks everyone for the input! I really appreciate it!