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JonMain

Pros & Cons of Layering with Laminated Garments

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Is there a downside to wearing multiple layers of clothing containing membranes (such as Gore Windstopper) in a layering system? For example, wearing a windshirt such as the MH Transition base layer combined with the MH Alchemy jacket. Such a combination would seem to be highly versatile since both layers have a high degree of fucntionality. I'm wondering, however, if there are drawbacks to having 2 or more membrane-based layers in the layering system. A possible drawback would be decreased breathability, which messes with the whole point of having a softshell layer like the Alchemy jacket in the first place.

 

Thanks for the input.

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A GI Joe avatar once said:

 

"I wear clothes. When I am cold, I wear more of them. When I am hot, not so much."

 

thumbs_up.gif Wise words... yes indeed, wise words...

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the idea of most of these is that they are single layer garments...

 

for instance you dont see someone wearing three fleeces one over another or with two goretex jackets layered...

 

why exactly do you want to do something like this anyway?

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the idea of most of these is that they are single layer garments...

 

for instance you dont see someone wearing three fleeces one over another or with two goretex jackets layered...

 

why exactly do you want to do something like this anyway?

 

The Transition is intended as a base layer garment although it can be used as a single layer in warmer temps. I'd layer the two so that each component of my system has more functionality. I want to keep bulk to a minimum. Fleece would suck under the Alchemy jacket (which I already have) since it would be bulky, slow the movement of moisture, etc. The Transition shirt seems better since it is very thin and light - more freedom of movement, better movement of moisture, etc. Also, it could fucntion on its own as an outer layer in warmer weather or during periods of very high activity. Bascially, I would like to have more flexibility built into my layering system.

 

I've been wearing Alchemy jacket with a single synthetic base layer. The freedom of movement, wind protection and breathability kick ass but this combination it just isn't quite warm enough. So, I'm looking for something more insulative to put underneath. Whatever this extra layer is has to be thin and highly breathable. The Transition base layer seems like a good option.

 

I think this is called "the paralysis of analysis".

 

Put your clothes on and get out there.

 

I haven't been waiting till my layering system is optimized to go out. Every time I get back from an outing I take stock of what worked, what didn't and then think of possible ways to improve. It's an ongoing process. Next time I go out I'm going to double up my base layer and see how that goes.

 

Cheers

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Good for you.

 

A good layering system can be a lifesaver. Got caught in a January whiteout on the way down from Muir a couple years ago and had to spend the night in a cave in my clothes laying on my empty pack. Was reasonably warm all night.

 

So continue on with your analysis of what works and what doesn't in your applications. To some extent all of us have. It may save your skin some time. Literally.

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I like to wear a synthetic base layer or smartwool with my softshell, as you've been doing. Then if it's so cold that that isn't working I'll throw my belay jacket over the softshell, or maybe just my hard shell if it's just a little too cold. I wouldn't use the alchemy in conjunction with the transition shirt...I would use one or the other at a time. I do the same thing, except my light warm weather softshell is a Golite Covert and my cold weather softshell is a Montbell Roche. A couple weeks ago I was showshoeing in Michigan and it was 4 degrees out. I only had on a MH wicked tee and the Roche jacket and I was plenty warm, at least while moving.

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I have the Alchemy. It is damn windproof, but not so breathable. I like it for skiing (windproof), but I don't think it is so versatile for highly aerobic activities (climbing, b/c skiing). Adding another windproof layer underneath may further reduce breathability. I was so disappointed in the breathability and lack of hood in the Alchemy, that I picked up a Cloudveil hoody at Sierra Trading Post (cheap!). It is made out of Schoeller Extreme, which is much more breathable than Gore Windstopper, but maybe not as windproof. To combat this, I picked up a wind vest from Mont-bell, similar idea to Marmot Driclime windshirt, but lighter and only a vest. It only weighs 7 oz! Then in windy conditions I can add this vest between my long underwear layer and my softshell. Haven't used it in many conditions yet, but I think it will be very good and, most importantly, VERSATILE.

 

As far as the Alchemy, I just wear a long underwear under it. Thick if it will be cold, thinner if not or I will be more active.

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I've worn the Alchemy jacket while mountainclimbing a few times and have never had problems with moisture build up. What base layer were you using? I use a single medium weight polyester base layer.

Cheers!

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I have a fair amount of experience using N2S (transition in the case of MH).

 

Personally I find that it doesn't work that well if you put much over top of it. My personal maximum is a fleece vest. In the past I tried it a full layering piece, but found moisture stayed inside for much too long. It's hard to explain, but it's as though I couldn't develop enough of a temperature gradient to make the N2S work.

 

N2S does have its place, but I'm not convinced it's in the mountains. Use it when you're just hammering (cycling or trail running, in cool, blustery and possibly wet conditions). For those purposes, it is remarkable.

 

Cheers,

 

GB

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My experience with the Transition has been the same. Best when worn on the outside, and only at its best when you are moving. The second I stop I need to put on another layer to keep from getting chilled.

 

Good piece for the right applications though, like cool spring days doing something fairly aerobic like skiing.

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I wear a silk T-shirt and a schoeller jacket.

When it gets cold I either put on a belay jack over the top or just a stretchy long sleeve base layer under my Schoeller, depends on whether I'm cold while I'm moving or not. Schoeller usually isn't that windproof, but the belay jacket is. I've been thinking about ditching the Schoeller Jacket and going with a long-sleeve windshirt instead. But Ill wait until my current jacket is totally trashed first!

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I've spent a lot of time in my Transition shirt. Regardless of how cold it is, I'll still sweat it out - then it gets clammy. I wear it for the ascent, then change out of it into a polypro shirt and my soft shell jacket. It is good for yo-yo skiing. I'll overheat in it for a short time, but can just head down the hill and stay reasonably warm.

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I've been having good results from my polyester base layer and softshell Alchemy jacket. It vents moisture remarkably well, stays comfortable under a wide range of conditions, and is very light. When I stop for an extended period of time I pop on my Coumbia jacket with fleece liner. This jacket is pretty heavy so I'll replace it with a lighter alternative at some point. Suggestions?

 

Below the waist I'm wearing a North Face Mountain Bib. It kicks ass for what it is, a tough hard shell bib. It does not, however, vent moisture adequately during ascents. I'm looking at either the MH Alchemy Pant or the GoLite Propel Pant as a softshell bottom. I'm leaning toward the Propel because of it's substantially lighter weight. Anyone have experience using either of these bottoms?

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Why does a leg-shell need to be so breathable. I always wear my Gore-Tex bibs on the bottom, and don't have problems, yet I have problems with the Alchemy jacket not being so breathable. I find I don't generate that much heat/sweat from your legs (but then I am a relatively unsweaty type).

 

The Alchemy is not light, nor packable. Offerings from Arc'teryx and Cloudveil (and probably Mammut, etc) made out of Schoeller extreme (vs Gore windstopper on the Alchemy) are more breathable and can save 1/4 lb weight with a hood!

 

Alchemy = 22 oz, no hood, not breathable

Cloudveil Icefloe = 19 oz, nice hood with extra windproof lining in it, breathable throughout and more packable.

 

Your choice.

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Why does a leg-shell need to be so breathable. I always wear my Gore-Tex bibs on the bottom, and don't have problems, yet I have problems with the Alchemy jacket not being so breathable. I find I don't generate that much heat/sweat from your legs (but then I am a relatively unsweaty type).

 

The Alchemy is not light, nor packable. Offerings from Arc'teryx and Cloudveil (and probably Mammut, etc) made out of Schoeller extreme (vs Gore windstopper on the Alchemy) are more breathable and can save 1/4 lb weight with a hood!

 

Alchemy = 22 oz, no hood, not breathable

Cloudveil Icefloe = 19 oz, nice hood with extra windproof lining in it, breathable throughout and more packable.

 

Your choice.

 

I generate a considerable amount of moisture in my lower body, particularly in my groin area. Hardshells just can't vent moisture fast enough and quickly become saturated.

 

I still like my Alchemy jacket after a few months of owning it. It breathes well enough to keep me dry when I'm working hard, blocks all wind and is much ligher than my previous jacket. It does have three issues: First, I'm a short broadshouldered guy and I have problems with jackets either being too long in the sleeves or too tight in the chest the Alchemy is no exception. Second, it lacks of a hood. Third, and more importantly, it doesnt provide enough warmth when I stop moving - I've heard this from others who have Windstopper garments as well.

 

As for the jackets you mention, there is one major problem with the Scholler Dryskin Extreme: It blocks only 70% of wind. It is a great fabric for mild-weather or when there is no wind. Any high winds, so common in mountains, and it won't provide adequate protection. I'd rather have the windproofness of Scholler WB-400 even if the breathability is reduced. From reports made by people using it, WB-400 is very nearly as breathable as the Dryskin Extreme anyway.

 

I've ordered a pair of Cold Fusion pants from Beyond Fleece. If I like them I'll sell the Alchemy and get the Cold Fusion jacket.

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Wow, I guess I'm retro. rolleyes.gif I wear midweight polypro top and bottom. Goretex over that. Light insulated jacket for breaks. Sheesh.

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For me, I have three areas that I don't want to get cold. My feet, hands and torso. For 90% of the PNW winter stuff that I do I wear expedition weight underwear, plastic boots and big gloves.

 

I wear gore-tex or schoeller pants. Then it depends on the temperature and wind. I generally just wear a windstopper fleece vest. It vents well and keeps the torso warm.

 

If it is very windy or rain I may use a gore-tex shell and skip the vest. I think layering is good only to a point. In my pack I carry a big puffy down coat. It is light and stuffs well.

 

The stuff above almost always keeps me warm. If not, I go straight to the coat.

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You are right about Shoeller Extreme being not so windproof. To combat this, I got a windvest from Mont-Bell, 7 oz. I wear poly insulation, windvest, and softshell for most conditions. It has worked well on the one "full conditions" trip I've been on since I got this system (its only been a couple of months, though). Then I shed the softshell if it is warm, or add the down jacket if it is cold. I am pleased, but to each his/her own. I have also noticed the Alchemy jacket is very snug in the torso/shoulders. I am a narrow-type guy, I have a size Medium, and it is still quite snug.

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You are right about Shoeller Extreme being not so windproof. To combat this, I got a windvest from Mont-Bell, 7 oz. I wear poly insulation, windvest, and softshell for most conditions. It has worked well on the one "full conditions" trip I've been on since I got this system (its only been a couple of months, though).

 

You are now carrying 26 oz instead of 19 oz. (Cloudveil Icefloe = 19 oz + Mont-Bell, 7 oz) Now compare to 22 oz Alchemy. Hmmm...

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Yeah, but it handles a much wider range of conditions and has a hood, and is more breathable. I just don't think the Alchemy is well suited to mountains, more for day climbing like ouray. It is too clammy, the sleeve gaskets are wierd, no hood, etc.

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I wear my Patagonia Silkweight boxers (because I am civilized) then Silkweight top and bottom. Followed by my Krushell "softshell" jacket. The Krushell has the thickness of 2 layers of Epic with a little stretch. If Im cold, on goes my R2 jacket, under the Krushell. Colder than that my Wild Things EP. Colder than that my sleeping bag.

 

On my legs just Silkweight bottoms and BD Alpine Pants. My legs have been warm enough down to 15 degrees and 40 mph winds in the undies and BD pants. I'll have on my gaiters and the double layer of under wear on me arse and the Krushell covering me arse as well my legs are quite comfortable. If my ass is OK usually my legs are warm. Colder than teens on goes my WT EP pants, and again colder than that my sleeping bag.

 

The only Gore-Tex items in winter are my gloves, gaiters and boots (and my old FF bag is Gore-Tex). I just don't see a reason for Gore-Tex jackets and pants in the Winter. All the Patagonia stuff just breathes so well. With this combo I am comfortable down to at least zero. By comfortable I mean sitting around melting snow.

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With this combo I am comfortable down to at least zero. By comfortable I mean sitting around melting snow.

 

Sounds like you've got some "built-in" insulation, though.

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