Winter Layering system?

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Winter Layering system?

Postby oldschoolczar » Sat Oct 27, 2012 2:04 pm

I remember some posts about this in other threads and it seemed like a lot of people were using a similar layering system. I guess I was feeling a bit lazy today so here's a new post..

I'm looking for examples of what people use for a winter layering system for winter climbs and backcountry skiing?

I've pretty much always used:

Base layer - Hot Chilis long underwear
Insulation - Wool sweater or fleece
Outer layer - Hardshell

However, most of the time I've been at resorts, so I'd like something a little more sophisticated as I venture out into the backcountry. Any info is appreciated..
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Re: Winter Layering system?

Postby bking14ers » Sat Oct 27, 2012 2:26 pm

Ok this a dumb question, but what exactly is used for an outer shell? Is it just a non-insulated waterproof nylon jacket? Or a lightly insulated waterproof jacket?

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Re: Winter Layering system?

Postby Justin9 » Sat Oct 27, 2012 3:17 pm

Layering systems are discussed on the first pages of this thread.

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Re: Winter Layering system?

Postby susanjoypaul » Sat Oct 27, 2012 3:24 pm

I like a hood on my outer shell, to pull over my fleece hat and protect my head and neck from the snow and wind.

Also, a down jacket may keep some people warm, but for me it would be overkill. If I hiked in down I would sweat profusely, soak it through, and it would get very wet and cold, and lose its insulating qualities. I prefer fleece, but that's a personal preference. I do always keep a down jacket in my pack, though, for lunch and summit stops.

Don't forget head and face protection: a hat, "buff," glacier glasses or ski goggles, and face mask if needed. And of course, glove system and socks.

I'm pretty excited about the cold, and the snow, and the gaiters and the axe, and all the icy summits and snow-capped views we have to look forward to in the coming months, so thanks for posting this topic!

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Re: Winter Layering system?

Postby smoove » Sat Oct 27, 2012 4:35 pm

A bunch of people (including me) like using something like an R1 hoody for the midlayer. I hardly ever need a wool hat anymore. And the hood makes it that much easier to regulate my temperature. I also like that it offers pretty decent face protection when zipped up all the way. (I still have a balaclava and hooded hard shell just in case.)

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Re: Winter Layering system?

Postby Cruiser » Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:24 pm

I have a bunch of layering pieces but the ones I find myself in the most for bc skiing are a long sleeve merino shirt, a windproof heavyweight fleece vest, and a Schoeller WB400 hooded softshell up top. Then I usually do some merino tights and a pair of Schoeller WB400 softshell pants. If it's cold out I'll swap the fleece vest for a down one and the wool tights for some mid-weight stretch fleece ones. On really nasty days I'll swap the softshells for Goretex. I also have a stupid warm merino tuque that I use during breaks to keep my dome toasty.
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Re: Winter Layering system?

Postby DaveSwink » Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:40 pm

My winter layering system for Colorado:

R1 hoody
1/4 zip baselayer shirt (denser weave than R1 for more wind resistance)

Capeline 2 baselayer pants
Running tights

The R1 hoody provides amazing warm/venting adjustment with its hood/deep zipper/thumb loops so I seldom have to stop for layering changes. The two baselayer shirts work down to the high 20s (no wind), when I am moving steadily. When it gets colder or windy, I layer on an FA shell.

No hat since I use the hoody. I use liner gloves inside nice warm mitts. I carry a light down parka/pants/booties for long stops or emergencies, but a core principle of my layering system is keeping stops to two minutes or less to prevent chilling.

I substitute a Patagonia merino hoody for the R1 if the forecast is for mid-30s and higher.

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Re: Winter Layering system?

Postby MuchosPixels » Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:35 am


For winter with a backpack I take the following:

Baselayer: Patagonia Capilene 2 or 3

Midlayer: I take one from the following choices depending on conditions (from mild to very cold): A)Patagonia R1 Pullover (used as baselayer if very cold) or B)Marmot DriCLime wind shirt or C)Marmot Variant jacket or D)Arcteryx Atom LT

Outer Layer: Rab Stretch NEO Shell (bombproof!) or the FA Frontpoint (Hybrid shell/softshell jacket, awesome, pretty light for what it is)

Insulated Jacket for Camp and stops: A) Arcteryx Atom SV or B) OR Superplume Parka
Last edited by MuchosPixels on Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Winter Layering system?

Postby Bean » Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:09 am

The Baron's advice is as accurate now as it was years ago.
"There are no hard 14ers, but some are easier than others." - Scott P

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Re: Winter Layering system?

Postby Mindy » Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:04 am

Bean wrote:The Baron's advice is as accurate now as it was years ago.

Thanks Bean. What about the face? Likely a thread somewhere dedicated to just that, but I can't find it.

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Re: Winter Layering system?

Postby Mindy » Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:25 am

jasayrevt wrote:A balaclava and ski goggles combined with the outer shell hood is a good system for keeping all of your face and skin covered on the really cold and windy days up high...

A balaclava is cheap and lightweight. Like Susan noted on the lightweight down jacket that fits in a small don't always have it on but always have it in the pack.

Yes - thanks. I should have clarified I am interested in which face cover (brand) would be suggested and type. I see there are wool, polyp, etc. out there. Anyone out there really love the one they have - easy to breathe, breaks the wind, no fog issues with goggles?

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Re: Winter Layering system?

Postby GregMiller » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:27 am

I actually prefer having a fleece facemask, a neck gaiter, a wool hat, and goggles/glasses. I think it lets me have a little more flexibility, but I've never tried a balaclava.


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