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Thread: Insulated Kilt

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    Registered User KG4FAM's Avatar
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    Default Insulated Kilt

    So I just spent three days hiking in cold and windy and it sucked the life out of me so I am looking for something new. What do yall think about hiking in an insulated kilt. Something like this, but for men. Does anybody even make something like this for men? Maybe go back to an old school wool one?

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    Doting Membrane Skidsteer's Avatar
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    Wearing pants when it's cold is out of the question?
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    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    Speaking as someone who wore both skirts and pants while living in Russia for three years, I can say that layering works for skirts just as well as for jackets. Skirts can be very, very warm--sort of like wearing a personal tent. However, if you're really wanting warmth, you need to go calf-length or longer, which limits your mobility somewhat. (Stepping on your skirt while walking uphill is comical to onlookers but not fun for the wearer.)

    The Montbell skirt looks pretty much like a gimmick. To experiment, if I were you, I'd make the equivalent of a fleece slip to go under whatever you're wearing now.

    Or you could go with a traditional Scottish kilt that has many yards of wool in it. It's essentially three layers of wool thick, but moves well. Expensive--yes. Heavy--yes. But warm.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marta View Post
    Or you could go with a traditional Scottish kilt that has many yards of wool in it. It's essentially three layers of wool thick...
    I'm not sure what you mean by three layers thick.

    A "standard" kilt is thick, heavy wool as Marta says. I can tell you from experience it's quite warm - but only from the knees up. Hence the wool hose worn with them. Unfortunately, as you probably know, wool is very heavy when wet.

    The ancient Scots wore a kilt that was just a length of material about sixty inches wide and twenty-some feet long. They wrapped the skirt, belted it, put the rest over one arm as a sash. In the depths of winter they wore woolen pants under it. According to my research, anyway.
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    I think a light down quilted long coat with hood would be interesting, big enough to wear over all your other layers when its extremely cold. For 3 season I think it would be interesting to try traditionaly travelling clothes that do away with a sleeping bag, like a wool poncho or kilt or cape.

    Wool kilts are heavy, but if you keep them on they never get totally soaked, and when they do I think you are expected to dry them. Still they are heavy even when kept dry, but again the idea is that they replace your sleeping bag and all the stuff you carry to protect your dear old sleeping bag. It would be interesting to see how much other gear you could do away with if you wore a great kilt. I would still bring some sylnyon as a rain layer and to sleep on throw over the kilt when used as a sleeping blanket. Your pack could be much smaller.

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    A kilt or any other type of skirt is still going to be colder than pants in cold weather as the movement of your legs allows cold air in.

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    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manach View Post
    I'm not sure what you mean by three layers thick.
    What I mean is that the fabric is pleated.

    This is looking at a pleat from the top.


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    So when a pleat is lying flat, you have three layers of fabric between yourself and the outside air.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

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    This whole idea got started in my head when I was outside in the freezing wind waiting for the Dogpatch Tavern in Maryland to open so I could get inside and warm up and have a good meal. I wrapped my blue foam pad around me, especially my legs which had the least amount of insulation on them. I am not so much talking about ditching pants or anything like that, but a insulated wrap around my waist kind of like a rain wrap is used for rain. I just don't want to have to take my shoes and gaiters off and make a production of things just to bundle up so that I am not freezing while I am hiking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by River Runner View Post
    A kilt or any other type of skirt is still going to be colder than pants in cold weather as the movement of your legs allows cold air in.
    I would agree with that. The think about wool kilts and wool ponchos is you are basically hiking in you blanket, so 90% of the time you don't want to be covered evenly, but hiking with most of your weight still in your pack is no more efficient. Even when it gets below freezing and windy certain parts are less prone to frostbite than others. Its only when it gets really nasty that you need to cover yourself most evenly and effectively. Something a little more worth trying is to include a lightly woven wool blanket. It can be handy to have and worn and used in many ways, and not weigh all that much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 33whiskey View Post
    I am not so much talking about ditching pants or anything like that, but a insulated wrap around my waist kind of like a rain wrap is used for rain. I just don't want to have to take my shoes and gaiters off and make a production of things just to bundle up so that I am not freezing while I am hiking.
    Now I get it.

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    I wore a kilt for several miles during my hike in 2003. That said ...if it gets THAT cold the Kilt gets packed away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 33whiskey View Post
    This whole idea got started in my head when I was outside in the freezing wind waiting for the Dogpatch Tavern in Maryland to open so I could get inside and warm up and have a good meal. I wrapped my blue foam pad around me, especially my legs which had the least amount of insulation on them. I am not so much talking about ditching pants or anything like that, but a insulated wrap around my waist kind of like a rain wrap is used for rain. I just don't want to have to take my shoes and gaiters off and make a production of things just to bundle up so that I am not freezing while I am hiking.
    This past winter Stumpknocker had a silnylon rainskirt that he also wore over his shorts for warmth. It makes a lot more sense than silnylon pants, which are so poorly ventilated.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

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    http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=3277

    Instagram hiking photos: five.leafed.clover

  13. #13

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    If all you are looking for is a temporary wrap for rare occasions you would be better off with a light weight blanket modified with a belt of some sort. The key to comfort will be making sure it includes at least a few pleats to allow for flexibility and a wide range of motion.

    You can be very warm in a kilt. As Marta said you do have about 3 layers of cloth wrapped around you. Kilts are being made in many materials today that are much lighter than wool and dry quickly and are machine washable. Keeping your upper body warm is the more important issue. As long as you have the right layers over your core to keep that warm you will be very comfy with a kilt and a good pair of socks (maybe gaiters also).

  14. #14
    Kilted Thru-Hiker AT'04, PCT'06, CDT'07 Haiku's Avatar
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    In a kilt the pleats overlap each other too, so in many places it's actually 5 layers of wool. Remember that in a traditional kilt you have approximately 24 feet of wool wrapped around you. Not cold. I hiked the entire AT and entire PCT in a kilt, and it never got so cold that I wished I were wearing trousers. I've worn the kilt (both traditional wool and modern cotton Utilikilts and poly-viscose kilts) in sub-zero temperatures (Fahrenheit). You can wear traditional kilt socks, which are knee-high wool, but most of the time I just left my legs bare, with gaiters for when I was in snow, not so much to keep my legs warm as to keep them from getting cut by the snow when I postholed.

    Most people assume the kilt is no good when it's cold. It's quite warm, especially when hiking.

    Haiku.

  15. #15

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    just wear some mid weight poly pro or smartwool long underwear under the kilt. you still have all of the freedom of movement and the warmth. i did that once when i was just hanging out around camp but i do winter backpack and have yet for it to be too cold for just my kilt while hiking and i've worn it down to 15*F. you will stay warm enough until you stop walking.

    geek

  16. #16

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    Pittsburgh kilts used to make lined kilts with a good flannel inside. I've never seen one in person but people who had them said they were extremely warm in very cold weather. I'm not aware of anyone currently making them now. I was able to get my MarPat kilt from him before he closed and it is an excellent hiking kilt. Side slash pockets are just part of what make it a great hiking kilt.

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    Registered User Doctari's Avatar
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    I have:
    A "summer kilt" very thin wool, think golf shirt weight. Good for over 60 degrees.
    A standard hiking kilt; Stillwater kilts acrilic. Good for 70 to 30, or so. 30 is as cold as I have gotten barelegged, the leg warmers go on below that.
    A winter kilt: my heaviest kilt, don't know the weight, but it's about 4x thicker than the summer one, & about 2.5x as thick as the Stillwater. I have worn this kilt outside down to 32, wearing: the kilt, long sleved cotton shirt (Yea, I know) tee shirt wool, socks & nearly knee high boots while working at the ren fest. I was warm enough.

    My "Great kilt" weighs about 12 lbs, so: Sorry, I'm not hiking in it. BUT, this kilt will decidedly keep me warm in all but the coldest windy conditions. And, I can make it longer so it hangs below my knees if I chose to.

    So, Yea, a insulated kilt may indeed be a good option. On my last hike, I wore only the SWK & occasionally a pair of (prepare to laugh) winter panty hose, with my upper body insulation. I was warm enough.
    Curse you Perry the Platypus!

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by 33whiskey View Post
    I am not so much talking about ditching pants or anything like that, but a insulated wrap around my waist kind of like a rain wrap is used for rain. I just don't want to have to take my shoes and gaiters off and make a production of things just to bundle up so that I am not freezing while I am hiking.
    There are full-length side zipped insulated pants, which you may want to consider, simply because something like that may end up being heavier than you like. However, one thing I'd add is that something like this (as a parallel to the ULA Rain Wrap) would be very easy to DIY. Just get a yard or so of insulation, a couple yards oh shell material, sew them together, add a strip of velcro or something and you're good to go.

  19. #19

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    Just to add to what I said above, another option you could consider is just using your sleeping bag or your sleeping quilt for such situations. An insulated quilt would, in any case, just be a small quilt anyway, so rather than bringing duplicate gear, just use the gear you already have.

    Quote Originally Posted by JAK View Post
    I think a light down quilted long coat with hood would be interesting, big enough to wear over all your other layers when its extremely cold. For 3 season I think it would be interesting to try traditionaly travelling clothes that do away with a sleeping bag, like a wool poncho or kilt or cape.
    I've often thought about using specialized long coats/trench coats for backpacking. Even if an insulated one might be a bit cumbersome (though maybe not), a Goretex long coat that was cut to have a slim fit could take the place of both a jacket and rain pants and might be lighter than both combined. It wouldn't be perfect protection because you'd need the slits in front and back for leg movement and water could always get in there, but for it might work.

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    Can I just say that when were in Scotland last month and I took a real honest to God kilt off the rack in a store that they weighed so much I could barely hold one up and they were solid wool. You have to remember that the Scots who fought the Brits at Prestopans and Culloden wore kilts and it was FREEZING cold. They knew how to wrap up an extra piece of wool to keep "the boys" warm and they "did na suffer" in the cold. (Yes, I know my history well enough to know that they lost at Culloden - but it wasn't because of their clothing!!) A true authentic wool kilt is a heavy duty piece of clothing that would drag someone my size (think Hobbit) to the ground.
    "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

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