Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2004 5:07 am Posts: 619 Location: Montana
Which material & brand seems to work best at wicking moisture for you? Is there an ideal combo you've found that seems the ultimate in venting & staying dry in the climb?
Maybe I just sweat too much but I seem to stay really wet on really cold days with the materials I've used so far. I am trying to keep overall clothing to a minimum while climbing ...but... when its only +5 and you're soaked on the inside - transition time (& if you're waiting on others to finish their ascent) gets pretty chilly.
I use Icebreaker wool base and mid layer, which in nearly all but seriously cold conditions is way more than I need. So I end up just using the thin base layer under my shell when it is windy and without the shell when it is not windy. Only problem is it is black and uncomfortable in strong sun. Pit zips on my shell are used very often. The mid layer has a neck zip that runs down to my sternum. It is a really good feature for venting.
For really cold days like you mention I use the above combo and don't end up too wet, but at times I am feeling too hot and on the edge of sweating more than I want. Its always a close balance. So I prefer to run a little light and risk being cold unless I keep moving. The moment I expect to stop moving for longer than 5 minutes I put my sleeveless vest over my shell.
As it heats up on a long tour I strip off fast and luckily don't naturally sweat that much anyway unless it is a sunny windless day on a glacier or something like it. On days like that I prefer a white mesh athletics type of t-shirt that is designed for maximum airflow. Watch out for sunburn on the underside of your winter-white forearms.
The Icebreaker thermal long pants are designed in the crotch like a pair of 1850's gold rush longjohns and so offer zero 'man hammock' support. Not comfortable at all. You soon learn the meaning behind the old tailors' question "sir, on which side do you dress?"
its hard to find in the states, but the underwear never leaves you feeling wet and clammy, even if you are working really hard. If you combine this stuff with the light weight Icebreaker tshirts its a super combo for the colder days with or without shell. Totally agree with damian, most of the time im without shell, which is weird as hell walking in the snow but, Im not sweating if the wind aint too bad
I have really been leaving the fleece at home or at the fireside for the last two years and I dont miss it. Except for a fleece vest even my Patagonia R2 stuff, which is still the best fleece I have tried, hasnt really been used, plus its still too bulky
A good shell, hard or soft, really good underwear, and a down jacket for when you have to wait. I have also stopped wearing the thick ol' wool hats and have been using Buff. Love em, they work well with so many sports.
Been trying some Marmot Active stretch fleece gloves since xmas and really like them when its below freezing, when it gets above, they arent much fun when wet. goretex gloves just get soaked on the assent for me and I leave the shells in the pack until its downhill time.
Other than that remember to zip down your pant legs on the way up. It helps alot.
Joined: Sun Nov 19, 2006 1:56 pm Posts: 373 Location: Jay Peak, VT
Lifa Midweight Prowool with Polyester T-shirt over it: Climbing in the woods at around 25-30F w/ no winds
Lifa + Wool/Polyester heavy weight mid-layer from Bonfire: 30-15F w/ no winds
Lifa + T-shirt + AK Jacket if Windy and from 30-15F if windy.
If below 15F and windy: All 3!
I sometime use a Lightweight base layer from Hot Chilly... but rarely... My pit -zips are always open... windy or not... plus i unzip de jacket at least 2/3 of the way down... And all 6 vents are open in my pants...
Wool on wool on wool. No stink, better wicking, doesn't itch anymore. (merino) I have a few Ibex layers and a few patagonia and a burton that fell apart right away.
I live in a cabin with no running water so let's just say that I don't get a shower in every day after riding. I am also a bartender so you may see my predicament. When I wear poly I stink like a sweaty hog immediately. Wool, I can go a couple of days on the same layers and it's nothing a little generously applied deodorant won't cover up. Also nice for multi day trips where you are sharing close quarters with your pals.
Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2005 11:06 am Posts: 155 Location: Dillon, CO
I've been experimenting for a while, and I've found the perfect mix for me: Base: Bike shorts/ bike shirt ; Mid:crashpads/poly-mid. Keeps me warm in the winter and cool in the spring. I usually only need to add a fleece between the mid and shell on cold days.
_________________ Joey, have you ever been to a Turkish prison?
Joined: Tue May 09, 2006 6:09 pm Posts: 388 Location: Chamonix, France
I'd just like to cast another vote for merino.
I have mostly icebreaker stuff since it's cheapest to ship it from NZ to here, and I'm very satisfied.
Even jogging in goretex (shell, pants, gloves + socks) is OK stink wise (though you'll still feel a wee bit sweaty) when using it as a base layer. I can't tell used from unused by smell till it's been 3-4 days of activities, but I also stink less than most people from working out.
My best merino war story is the Daraje stream near the dead sea - year old water pools in a poop/barf red color didn't even make it stink post factum (the pools themselves reeked). Supposedly the wool deactivates bacteria very efficiently.
Lastly, it also works out quite well with my eczema (i can't wear regular wool on skin at all, and excercising in cotton or synthetics is also sometimes a pain. merino never triggers it).
Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2004 5:07 am Posts: 619 Location: Montana
Interesting variety of choices. Thanks! I was told how great the merino was so I tried 2 different brands. While the end-of-day smell is a vast improvement over capilene I found I was pretty soaked in the climb & transition times - was what inspired my question - but - maybe I just sweat more than most.
Norway brder that stuff looks interesting - thanks. So does the techwick stuff affix.
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 10:57 pm Posts: 4938 Location: California
Disclaimer: sponsored by Mountain Hardwear
In Cali I typically always wear a silk weight base layer. I've found that this allows my sweat to evaporate better due to less moisture being trapped in a thicker layer. On colder days or when I travel to colder states I use a mid weight base layer on the bottoms but generally always run the silk weight up top. In winter I like to use a black base layer top so it soaks up the heat and in spring summer I like to use a light color to stay cooler.
Mountain Hardwear Hyperdry Crew (silk weight)
Mountain Hardwear Thermadry Tight (mid weight)
For mid layer my favorite pieces are a synthetic jacket (Puffball style) and down vest. I try to hike in my base layer only but if its really cold I can hike in the insulated jacket or shell jacket. When I get to the top and need to warm up before the descent I typically put my insulated jacket and down vest OVER my shell jacket. This saves time because when its time to drop I just shed the outer layers and my shell (or descent jacket) it already on.
Mountain Hardwear Compressor PL Jacket
Mountain Hardwear Phantom Down Vest
On some trips I substitute the synthetic jacket and down vest for a down jacket
Mountain Hardwear Phantom Jacket
For bc use my favorite approach to the outer layer always includes a 3-layer fabric. It's just so much lighter and packable than two layer. Depending on weather I genrally take either a hardsell or a softshell. In some situations I take both. The trick to a good layering system is having very lightweight and simple pieces that work well alone or together. When you start out with lightweight gear you don't have the downside of added weight of you need to carry multiple items.
Mountain Hardwear Swift Jacket
Mountain Hardwear Epic Jacket
Mountain Hardwear GTX 2.5 Jacket ( little heavier than the Swift and Epic but also more durable and it incorporates Microclimate Zoning which helps eliminate the need for a insulation layer)