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  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    I can't imagine hiking in a puffy. That's a mistake if epic proportions unless it's subzero temps with a wind. Puffys are for when you aren't hiking. I've not cared if it was synthetic or down, as long as it was light and warm.
    +1

    I sweat too much when moving for an insulated layer. Starting in early March at Springer A nylon short sleeve t shirt, and a nylon long sleeve quarter zip shirt was all I needed. Used a down puffy (after cooling/drying off) when I stopped for a long lunch and in the evenings. If I was cold when walking, it was due to wind, and I occasionally broke out a wind shirt for a third layer.

    I carried a lightweight fleece for a walking insulating layer, and the only time I used it was when I was doing laundry. By April, I was down to a single layer, and I mailed the fleece home.

  2. #22
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    You're going out on the AT in Mar-Apr. It's assumed you'll have wet weather protection. Whether down or synthetic jacket it's assumed you're not going to let the piece get totally soaked, damp maybe, but not soaked. Experiencing drenched 100% non insulative down apparel is a rarity...OR should be!


    In wet humid environments like the southeastern AT in Mar-Apr I lean towards the latest synthetic jackets or down jackets that aren't necessarily manufactured using hydrophobic down but with consideration of protective face fabrics and a qualitative functional DWR. Your $30 dept store down piece likely doesn't offer these qualities and will wet out quickly or even if does have a DWR it's not a high quality DWR.

    So, either down jackets noting the particulars or a synthetic can work if you work it.

  3. #23
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    The trip will be at least 3-4 wks on the AT but you will not(likely) be out on trail with no capability of ever drying a down piece for 3-4 wks. When doing a resupply stop at the laundromat as most do on the AT. The AT is a more forgiving comfortable 3-4 wk hike with oodles of amenities and conveniences.

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thedude18e View Post
    OK..1st there is no such thing as warm when wet unless you're wearing a neoprene wet suit. It's just physics. Water will conduct the heat away from your body. What most people are concerned with is ambient humidity. To combat this most newer down jackets have down that is treated to be water resistant. These jackets are just as, if not warmer than synthetic jackets under the same conditions.
    Hydrophobic down may (or may not, depending on which manufacturer's perspective you look at) be an improvement, but it's still affected by moisture to a significantly greater degree than any modern synthetic.

    As to 'warm when wet' - that may be true to a point. However, those of us who sweat at the slightest exertion are forced to choose our battles. There is no layering option I can choose that will not leave me wet if I'm hiking at a moderate pace up any sort of incline. That leaves me avoiding down entirely (except for static in-camp use) above freezing and choosing a light fleece or synthetic mid layer along with a houdini or equivalent to compensate for changing terrain/wind/temperature on a typical shoulder season day.
    Last edited by CalebJ; 12-19-2018 at 19:49.

  5. #25
    Registered User linus72's Avatar
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    thanks everyone these are all awesome arguments and ideas. as is obvious i clearly run hot when hiking. i rarely hike in more than a long sleet synthetic or wool base and either my houdini or my dual aspect. i even hate the feeling of hiking in a rain coat as i heat up so much even with pit zips and dont use the raincoat in hot weather. just when its cold to prevent getting to the shivering stage. being rained on is fun when its hot as hell out and you're doing all that climbing and hiking. but i do get cold when not moving and thats when i would throw on the jacket. down or primaloft. considering their weight is practically the same and the primaloft is less fragile in a few areas, i am leaning towards that and keep the rest as is.
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  6. #26
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    i choose the long sleeve base because i can always roll up the sleeves but have them when needed for extra warmth. in the summer i go short sleeve
    Doin' the trail one section at a time
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  7. #27
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    Outside of the mid summer months I regularly layer in a light down or light synthetic vest when backpacking and hiking whether on the move or in camp. A vest and a 150-260 wt or so 1/4 zip LS merino shirt tend to be staples in my kit. With those less experienced, on the AT in particular, I see more folks more often having a heavier and warmer than absolutely required jacket. The packing out of fear and unfamiliarity factor possibly at work?

  8. #28
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    my favorite mid layer is my dual aspect. had an r3 too which is lighter but otherwise very similar and kept going back to the dual aspect. i even use it as a skiing/snowboarding mid layer. its very durable and breathes great.
    Doin' the trail one section at a time
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  9. #29
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    maybe i should just ditch the jacket altogether since i have a wool base layer long sleeve, the dual aspect which is quite warm and rugged, and a raincoat for water protection and heat retention. and throw in the houdini for when i want a windbreaker....
    Doin' the trail one section at a time
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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by linus72 View Post
    my favorite mid layer is my dual aspect. had an r3 too which is lighter but otherwise very similar and kept going back to the dual aspect. i even use it as a skiing/snowboarding mid layer. its very durable and breathes great.
    In that case you might want to consider a 4 torso apparel layering approach with each layer having insulting qualities that cumulatively address warmth under a diversity of applications/conditions rather than the heavy puffy thinking it's the only or main insulating piece only used when in camp approach. When done well with each of the 4 layers light enough to not get overly bulky and chosen for the hike's and one's own backpacking style it can also save wt. If you do this you'll start moving away from getting into narrowed dichotomous down verse synthetic main insulating debates incorporating insulating pieces made of other materials or a combination of materials like merino and composite apparel pieces. You'll also start recognizing every layer has the ability to insulate, add warmth.

  11. #31
    Registered User linus72's Avatar
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    yeah im kinda heading that direction too - look at my next post from the one you quoted.. i was getting there when you were! layering rules. especially when you overheat easily
    Doin' the trail one section at a time
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  12. #32
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    I've never tried synthetic but I would never wear my down outdoors with a rain jacket over it... first of all, if it's warm enough to rain it is way to warm for any down. Also, a rain jacket never keeps you 100% dry no matter how good of a rain jacket it is and I would not want to compromise my down underneath. If it's warm enough to rain, I hardly ever even need a base layer under my rain jacket while I'm actually hiking.

    I carried a good winter down bag and a hooded down jacket then switched to my 35 degree down for summer, swapped back before the Whites. You hear so much about "down is no good when wet" but I had absolutely 0 issues on my hike. As far as I'm concerned any down should be put away water proof (and water proofed very well) just like camp clothes. I admit I'm overboard but I had heavy duty water proof sacks for my dry stuff, my pack was highly water resistant and I still used a liner and a pack cover.... no way I was getting to camp with wet stuff.

    I always recommend a hood because what's the weight difference like 1 oz? ….. the warmth you get with a hooded down compared to without is such a difference I can't imagine compromising without it.
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  13. #33
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    Yet another opinion.

    Please don't fool yourself into thinking that synthetic is warm when wet. IT IS NOT! Yes, synthetic is warmer than down when wet and synthetic dries more quickly than down, but wet synthetic is frigged cold also! You gotta keep your insulation dry no matter what you choose for that insulation. I disagree with Just Bill in that I wouldn't want to hike in synthetic insulation. I would carry the extra weight and bulk of fleece if I planned on being active in my insulation. Fleece is just that much better than any puffy at keeping you warm with wet or even just damp.

    I prefer the loft of damp synthetic to damp down (only a serious mistake or true idiocy leads to soaking wet insulation, so I don't consider than a particularly important issue). If I'm planning on endless daily drizzle and rain, life is much easier with synthetic. On the other hand, if we are dealing with dramatic storms or otherwise occasional rain punctuated with drier times and/or sunny hours or days, I prefer down as keeping it dry instead of constantly damp is pretty easy and it is much puffier and lighter than any current synthetics.
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    Synthetic simply degrades quickly.
    Both my synthetic bag and jackets show this

    I wear nano puff around for daily wear.
    I got one I slept in
    Flat flat flat...no loft at all. I can wear it in house without being too warm
    I just got a new one..,.significantly more loft...significantly warmer too.


    I

  15. #35
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    "If it's warm enough to rain, I hardly ever even need a base layer under my rain jacket while I'm actually hiking."

    Hmm, i'd like to hear more.
    Then, by that statement maybe it's too warm to be wearing a rain jacket just hike wet as I thought you wrote you do?

    I used to do this(just a rain or wind jacket over skin) but found without a Next to Skin(NTS) layer breathability, durability, and other performance traits of the rain or wind jacket decreasing from oils, sweat, body salts, body grime, applied bug juice/sun screens, and hygiene products and things like sticking zippers and velcro cuffs increasingly prone to failure. My use, as you've described yourself doing, resulted in several rain jacket delimitation issues, very pricey rain jackets, making my decisions a pricey mistaken approach. Rain and wind jackets already can have performance compromised from external sources(DWR degraded from unnecessary abuse and wear and not being 'refreshed', external grime, smoke, dust, not being cleaned appropriately, etc) without me adding to internal sources as well. THEN, what typically ensues is blaming the rain jacket's performance - breathability, not truly durably WP assertions, design was faulty, marketing BS was hype claims, I wasn't thermoregulating effectively because of the rain or wind jacket, etc. It's not always all the gear's fault!

    I've accepted virtually all backpacking problems, including gear failures, appropriate thermoregulation while backpacking, and kit issues begins with me as the greatest causal component. I am usually my own worst enemy. I'm not the only one who has ever been in this place! If I'm going to be better, do better, it has to begin by me personally being better - changing, being willing to harshly examine my own actions, challenging norms - not necessarily knee jerk focusing on externalities as the primary cause of challenges. That's how I evolve - advance - get better, as a backpacker...a road always under construction.

  16. #36
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    "I always recommend a hood because what's the weight difference like 1 oz? ….. the warmth you get with a hooded down compared to without is such a difference I can't imagine compromising without it."

    There's virtually always a price difference too. For example, the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket with hood is $40- 50 extra than without the hood?

    You don't have to compromise warmth when going without a hood! Want greater apparel/accessory versatility and possibly lesser wt while quite possibly being just as warm than an attached puffy hood while maybe saving a few bucks for that in town well earned cold one at the end of a hike try the .6 oz Smartwool 150 wt NTS merino micro beanie at about $20. Over the last almost three yrs this has become my goto beanie. It hits the shweet spot. Ryan Jordan at BPL, who I think still lives in Montana and hikes there yr round, just said the same thing recommending it in the 2018-19 Publisher's Gear Guide. https://www.rei.com/product/112548/smartwool-nts-merino-150-beanie?CAWELAID=&cm_mmc=PLA_bng%7C404_1050537077%7 C%7Cnone%7C57970b3e-1af4-47a7-a6bc-47c68cdc85eb%7Cpla-4585100929475764&kclid=57970b3e-1af4-47a7-a6bc-47c68cdc85eb&msclkid=3ac9bc24f1801a56a391e03fc20e2 67f

    https://backpackinglight.com/publish...ing-2018-2019/

    Want more combine it with a synthetic light-mid wt BUFF for around the neck(neck gaiter) or face protection or ear band over the SW NTS Beanie @ about 1.4 ozs additional(about $15-20) OR opt for a Lightweight - Mid wt Merino BUFF @ 1.7 - 2.3 ozs(about $25-$30) for milder to harsher winter backpacking/hiking conditions worn alone Shemagh style. If having a shell or wind jacket with a hood that can be layered over the top for additional warmth. What's one of the first things that heat up? It can be the top of the head. I'm often willing to give up a backbreaking oz maybe two to achieve greater apparel /accessory versatility and micro thermoregulating. Seriously, how many of us are that SUL across the board with everything typically carried and skin out that an oz or two makes that serious a quantifiable dent in comfort and personalized physical performance metrics? I for one used to believe BUFFS were a passing fad or limited in use or for "girls." Wow, I was wrong. Many thanks to a female backpacker friend who finally setting me straight! Now a BUFF is always part of my kit rather than the old Hippie bandanna.

    https://www.buffusa.com/shop-buff/me...ol-family.html

    Don't want to drop the do re mi on a NICE ready to unwrap trail stylin' BUFF look for a knock off at around $10 or make your own as an easy peasy DIY beginner project.

    If you want to do the hood great HYOH but there are options.

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