Best Winter Hiking Jacket?

Info on gear, conditioning, and preparation for hiking/climbing. Gear Classifieds
User avatar
Posts: 85
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2006 2:41 pm
Location: Denver

Best Winter Hiking Jacket?

Postby superdawg » Mon Oct 08, 2007 7:54 am

I'm looking for a good winter jacket for hiking, so I thought I'd ask the experts on this site. :) I currently have a Mtn Hardwear softshell that I wear skiing, but I'd like to find something warmer, easy to move in (but not too bulky). Any thoughts?


User avatar
Posts: 110
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 10:01 pm
Location: summit cove, co

Postby summit co kc » Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:29 am

primaloft is a nice insulation, warm, light, and will stay warm when wet. i own a mt hardwear compressor that i like.

User avatar
Posts: 85
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2006 2:41 pm
Location: Denver

Postby superdawg » Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:44 am

i had thought about that... i know that layering in general keeps you warmer than one big coat. so i guess my next question is: what type of layering is best? when i snowshoe, i typically just do a layer of t-shirt, one or 2 long sleeve shirts and jacket (nothing cotton of course). i haven't yet experienced the cold of a 14er summit in winter, so i was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on whether that would be different than just day-snowshoeing at around 8-10K feet.

User avatar
Posts: 5045
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2004 8:54 am
Location: Woodland Park, Colorado

Postby CO Native » Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:53 am

My upper body layers are usually a long sleeved poly pro shirt, another synthetic shirt over that, a fleece (cheap and not wind proof), a windproof fleece, and a shell. Rarely do I ever need to wear all of these, but the layering options with that are great and I've been in -15 temps with 60 mph winds and stayed warm (well warm enough).
Remember what your knees are for.

Posts: 312
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 7:35 pm
Location: Boulder, CO

Postby ADKben » Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:05 am

I'd go w/ summit co kc on this one; substitute the fleece for a light synthetic/down insulation; much warmer and will weigh much less and also pack better; if u go w/ down, it will be even better all around. IMO a light down sweater or a light synthetic works better than a fleece at regulating temperature.

honestly i didn't even know people still wore fleece! you old-schoolers!

User avatar
Posts: 310
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2006 9:51 pm
Location: Cumming, GA

Postby cushman » Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:13 am

A winter hiking jacket is pretty dependent on the individual. Everyone has different output levels and has to find their own system. I usually dress cold and have a short or long sleeve base layer and a softshell. I vary the weight of the base layer based on the temps. If I'm cold, I hike faster. I carry a synthetic belay parka with a hood to put on during breaks that fits over everything so I just have to slap it on and I'm good. This system is good to combat sweat and the potential it has to freeze you. More layers are warmer, but I've found more layers wick sweat less efficiently.

I also carry a few extra base layers that I'll change into if I'm working really hard, typically at the high point of a hike I'll take off my damp base layers and change into a dry base layer. Having a dry base layer really helps with your overall system. My back usually is the worst because of my pack - I haven't found a base layer yet that can wick THAT much.

Softshells are perfect for hiking - especially when you are outputting a lot of heat and moisture. I find a hard shell is only needed in the most extreme conditions or when you might possibly run into an epic situation where you might have to bivy and need a 100% waterproof layer. Gore-Tex hardshells can easily become overloaded when hiking (downhill skiing isn't as high-output). I haven't tried ProShell yet, though
Fourteener? I hardly knew her!
Mark Cushman

User avatar
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 6:54 pm
Location: Littleton, CO

Postby Cruiser » Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:19 am

When it's cold (below zero) I use a Smartwool longsleeve baselayer, Beyondfleece 200 weight fleece turtleneck, Beyondfleece 300 weight windproof fleece vest, and one of an obscene number of hard or soft shells that I have. I usually carry my down jacket or down vest in the pack in case something happens and I really need heavy duty warmth. In addition to that I use a powerstretch fleece balaclava, and an OR Seattle sombrero. I have a primaloft jacket that I throw into the mix occasionally, but it's not as versatile as fleece when used in a layering system.

The down and synthetic insulated jackets are better suited, IMO, to more stationary activities than hiking or skinning. It's nice to have one to throw on when you stop for lunch though.
Where ever you are... There you are.

Posts: 340
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 9:29 pm
Location: Calgary, Alberta

Postby mtnview » Mon Oct 08, 2007 10:00 am

I agree with Cruiser. It does also depend on your metabolism, how much you heat up and cool down when hiking in cold weather

A wool baselayer top look at Smartwool or Icebreaker products. A thinly insulated vest and some sort of windbreaker. I say wool as a baselayer because I just don't like how fleece quickly begins to smell. If it is really cold add another long sleeved layer to this setup but not too thick or bulky of a layer. The Marmot Driclime jacket or windshirt might be an option here for that layer or 100/200 weight powerstretch fleece.

The cheapest option would be a baselayer, one of those inexpensive nylon jackets which is fleece lined and a warm jacket of your choice when you stop but layering gives you the most options depending upon weather that you encounter but it is more expensive.

I usually use a warmer pair of underwear such as wool boxer shorts, then just a wind pant.

The problem is usually when you stop you need some warmth so a compressible down jacket is nice. Since you are from Boulder take a look at what the MontBell store offers. I just picked up the Alpine Light Down Parka only 15oz here $165. ... id=2301315

You might also take a look at the NorthFace Redpoint primaloft jacket with hood but pricey $200.

I also would recommend two pair of gloves as the first pair will get damp as you go up and you will greatly appreciate a dry second pair for at the top and on the way down.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise (of his return), as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

User avatar
Posts: 110
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 10:01 pm
Location: summit cove, co

Postby summit co kc » Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:07 pm

dont know if you noticed but they said they wanted something warmer than a mt hardwear soft shell. the only options are some sort of light insulated piece. my last three ive hiked in my primaloft with like four layers underneath. now im leaving early or going at night and not a fat ass so i need the insulation. read the post. yah you could of answered marmot dri climb wind shirt, but it wouldn't be warmer than the average soft shell. there are warmer softshells but you sacrifice weight. a nice light primaloft coat is the right answer.

User avatar
Posts: 575
Joined: Sun May 14, 2006 6:33 pm

Postby Geof3 » Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:13 pm

Arcteryx Gamma MX hoody.... Dress it up, dress it down. Works in all flavors. One of the best winter pieces ever made. Won't see too many in the hiker crowd. They are pricy too. This is a GREAT piece...
Blue Steel

User avatar
Posts: 110
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 10:01 pm
Location: summit cove, co

Postby summit co kc » Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:14 pm

oh and the down is nice, montbell, that light patagonia, but for the fourteeners, i worry about the leaky camel back, and other wetness. for midwinter skiing the down layer will be your best friend, when you dont have to worry about the 100 0z bladder leaking

User avatar
Posts: 293
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2004 9:10 am
Location: Back in the Drrty South

Postby telehead » Tue Oct 09, 2007 5:09 am

base - expedition weight capilene

mid - marmot windshirt

shell- Marmot Alpinist

pants - marmot gore-tex (can't remember the name
Merrell Wilderness boots

I'd pack along a Patagonia Puffball for the summit, or if it got real cold. But most of the time, the heat generated by walking kept most of my clothes down to the mid layers, gloves, and wool hat.
"Going where the wind don't blow so strange, maybe off on some high cold mountain chain"


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: brettrob and 10 guests