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Shell vs. insulated jacket

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I have a Rugged Ridge LL Bean insulated jacket that I paid about ~$200 for a couple years back. Has wrist gators, powder skirt, and armpit vents. I also picked up a Mammut Shell for ~$80 that is rated at 20,000mm, has taped seams, and armpit vents. I wanted something lightweight and water proof for hiking and to replace the light jacket I lost. I like the color and I am wondering if I should layer up and try using it as a ski jacket. I usually ware a champion base layer + cheapo fleece with normal ski jacket. I am wondering if anyone uses just a shell and layer up and how many layers do I need to add to be close to what I had with my old jacket. I guess I can try it out on the slopes. Should I toss on an extra fleece or something else?

post #2 of 13

You want warmer layers, not more layers. Adding extra layers will stop wicking and stop the 'system' from working correctly.

 

1st- base layer, next to skin. Keeps you dry by moving perspiration away from the skin.

2nd- insulation. Keeps you warm and continues to move moisture toward outer layer.

3rd- Outer layer. Blocks the weather keeping wind and moisture out while allowing water vapor from perspiration out.

post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post
 

You want warmer layers, not more layers. Adding extra layers will stop wicking and stop the 'system' from working correctly.

 

1st- base layer, next to skin. Keeps you dry by moving perspiration away from the skin.

2nd- insulation. Keeps you warm and continues to move moisture toward outer layer.

3rd- Outer layer. Blocks the weather keeping wind and moisture out while allowing water vapor from perspiration out.

 

Why would more layers stop working?  The mid-layer shouldn't care if the source of the perspiration was a "1st / base layer" or a different mid-layer.  So long as none of the layers are made of non-wicking material (i.e., cotton or cheap nylon or some such) I find that the whole system keeps working just fine.

 

I've had four or five layers going on stupid cold days and nothing is damp at the end of the day.

 

I'm genuinely curious as to your rationale for your "warmer, not more" layers comment.

post #4 of 13
My general pattern is a base layer (anywhere from silkweight to midweght), light/heavy fleece and/or synthetic puffy (not down because I'm a heavy sweater), and shell. Someone who'se less temperature sensitive than I am might use one heavy insulating layer rather than my bag of options, but my recipe wicks great, lets me adjust easily, and keeps me warm. Note that the layers go from most wicky/breathable to least.

I've recently lost enough weight that I need a new shell, and this time I'm looking at 3 in1 jackets. They all seem to use the same zipper as my collection of fleeces and puffies, and having the outer insulating layer come off together with the coat is a nice little convenience--although I could sew snaps into the back of the neck and cuffs of the sleeves if I could find the right uninsulated shell. The problem being that I haven't seen many decent shells that I can afford.
post #5 of 13

I ski 90% of the time in a light zip-T wicking layer, an "expedition weight" layer, a puffy, and a shell.  When it's hot, I unzip or even drop off the expedition layer in the lodge.  I've almost never gotten a cold body; it's the exposed parts and the hands.  

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
I have polyester champion base, with a fleece core. Should I get a puffy down jacket for a core?

Also a good friend got me a spyder blended t-neck for my birth day. I was always told cotton kills, it is made by spyder and is poly/cotton blend. I dont know if it is okay for skiing, at the same time I dont want to offend my friend.
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by solarity View Post
 

I have a Rugged Ridge LL Bean insulated jacket that I paid about ~$200 for a couple years back. Has wrist gators, powder skirt, and armpit vents. I also picked up a Mammut Shell for ~$80 that is rated at 20,000mm, has taped seams, and armpit vents. I wanted something lightweight and water proof for hiking and to replace the light jacket I lost. I like the color and I am wondering if I should layer up and try using it as a ski jacket. I usually ware a champion base layer + cheapo fleece with normal ski jacket. I am wondering if anyone uses just a shell and layer up and how many layers do I need to add to be close to what I had with my old jacket. I guess I can try it out on the slopes. Should I toss on an extra fleece or something else?

 

First, I want to make sure you're talking about using the Mammut Shell as the ski jacket, right?  I think I misread this before.  I looked at the Mammut site and guessing to what you could get for around that price on a great sale and the waterproofing you listed, I would guess it is something close to the Mammut Kento.

 

The shell I used last year from Patagonia material wise was similar (hard shell 20,000mm dwr) but had different features.  I was quite pleased with it most of the season for skiing/coaching.  Typically I had a couple techwick shirts from EMS and the Patagonia Nano puff liner.  I was usually quite warm.  I have also used this set up with an EMS Windstopper fleece.  Again, quite warm.

 

You should be fine with the champion base layer with the Spyder T neck over that and your fleece.  If you're concerned, bring a sweat shirt or something with you as a back up.

 

With regards to "cotton kills"; that is only if it is up against your skin.  It does a decent job of insulating and with wicking shirts next to your skin, you should be fine.

 

Ken

post #8 of 13

I am a shell guy.  I layer up under the shell to handle that days weather forecast.  For a normal day of skiing with temps in the 20's I will wear a base wicking layer, a fleece sweater, and a fleece jacket under the hard Gore-Tex shell.  I have different weights of all base and mid layers so I use the weight appropriate for the expected temps.  Once temps get to the low 20's or teens, I will add a vest.  I also find that by using a balaclava under my helmet, I reduce the heat loss through my head and usually don't need quite as many layers to stay warm than if I did not use it.

 

Stay warm out there!

 

Rick G

post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post
 

 

Why would more layers stop working?  The mid-layer shouldn't care if the source of the perspiration was a "1st / base layer" or a different mid-layer.  So long as none of the layers are made of non-wicking material (i.e., cotton or cheap nylon or some such) I find that the whole system keeps working just fine.

 

I've had four or five layers going on stupid cold days and nothing is damp at the end of the day.

 

I'm genuinely curious as to your rationale for your "warmer, not more" layers comment.

 

You already know the answer to this, Kevin.   It's all about the mode of transport and the net a) amount of fluid at body temp for wicking layers  b) vapor pressure differential on the two surfaces for vapor transport layers. 

 

Wicking layers work like sponges.    They are most effective for their weight when there is both a) enough fluid to fill capillaries b) the fluid is actually warm enough to be transported.   

 

Vapor transport layers work like chimneys.  They are most effective for their weight when the temperature and vapor pressure differential between the two surfaces is largest.

 

1) Wicking-vapor-vapor-shell can work fine, doesn't get damp, but that just means a 3 layer wicking-THICKvapor-shell would work better without the vapor pressure break in between.    One long chimney works better than two short ones with mismatched ends.      

 

2) Wicking-vapor-wicking-shell does not work as well as a 3 layer system unless the shell is defective and not blocking enough wind.    It's like putting a sponge on top of a chimney.  

 

3) Wicking-wicking-vapor-shell can be colder than just wicking-vapor-shell and is the only case in which internal dampness can be readily expected.     Stacking two sponges - unless the second sponge is insanely good at its job  there will be high moisture between the two and it will be colder than body temp.

 

 

Sure, you can layer 4 layers in stupid cold.     If case #1 is working for you, a thicker fleece would work better for equivalent weight.    If case #2 is working for you a windblockier shell or insulated coat would work better for equivalent weight.    If case #3 is working for you, you have both a) awesome wicking layers and b) you're not sweating much.   Down would work better for equivalent weight.

post #10 of 13

I have a sizing question on shell jackets. Considering that you may need more layers, should you buy a size up to have room for them, or is that eventuality considered in the design?

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrGolfAnalogy View Post
 

I have a sizing question on shell jackets. Considering that you may need more layers, should you buy a size up to have room for them, or is that eventuality considered in the design?

Seems to me different companies do it a little differently. Some will have an "expedition fit," which means room for lots of layers. Others aren't quite so particular. Makes it tough to buy w/o trying. 

post #12 of 13

Fwiw to the OP I use a shell to ski

I been using the same shell for probably 15yrs along with my old straight skis lol. But it looks no different than anything else on the mountain but the point is I have skied (through the years) in the coldest, windiest scenarios as well as warm spring like days and I would never (if this shell ever become ruined) buy nothing but a shell again. I loved it from the first day I used it and still love it now. Without actually going to get it I cant remember what brand it is.

 

But I have never been wet, cold, or hot no matter the weather and always feel loose and free. I just dress accordingly underneath. Of course it always pays to have a tad too much as you can always then take a layer off. But I've never had to do that. Opening vents and loosening the neck and dropping the hood has never lead me to having to take off a layer. On the other hand when its very cold, I zipper up all, raise the hood, protect the face and I've never felt cold even in conditions where they had to close the top half the slopes due to cold and wind. And honestly I don't overdress underneath and still I stay warm.

 

I go on about it because I never knew (prior to owning one) just how great it works and how versatile and useful a shell could be vs a traditional insulated jacket. I never feel bound up and always feel loose even when I'm all zipped and snug.. And let me say I sweat a ton with just about anything I do and yet without even wearing special wicking materials I am barely ever wet from perspiration while in the shell with a little exception on the rare warmest of days.  I can just make the shell it work for whatever I'm feeling at the time. I think that part is the reason I love it so much. Whether its cold or warm it just works great (for me).

 

I don't know much at all about the shell you have in specific but if it blocks wind well, is water proof, can cover you up well, but also offers good ventilation and allow good freedom of movement I think they are the best thing to ski in imo. Give it a try.

post #13 of 13

I am a shell guy if I'm skiing.  If I am coaching, then I wear a parka because if I'm standing somewhere on the course, I need as much insulation as possible to keep from freezing my a## off.  If I'm skiing, then I need layers that "I" can control under the shell to match the day.  You should be in good shape with the Mammut and layer accordingly.  My stand by ski wear, as has been mentioned, is a quality wicking undershirt, a quality 1/4 zip t-neck, then a vest with a full zip collar, then the shell outer.  I find this to be spot on 90% of the time in the Rockies.  On "really" frigid days, I will add a fleece over the t-neck, and on warm days, lose the vest.  I hope this helps!

Bob

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