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Good Breathable Mid-Layer

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I am currently wearing a Hot Chillies poly base layer, LL Bean Windbloc, and an ArcTeryx XCR shell.

I was wondering if it would be better to get a fleece that is more breathable then a windbloc one?

What do you guys wear under your shells?

Also what do you guys wear for a bottom mid layer under XCR pants?

I currently wear fleece pants which works well bu I would like something more form fitting so I have less bulk.
post #2 of 23
Yeah, the Windbloc is redundant. The shell xcr shuts out the wind.
I'm using wool under the shell pants. For me works down to about
10 degrees F.
post #3 of 23
Wearing any kind of windblock under your XCR outer layer is probably going to defeat the whole purpose of your expensive XCR jacket. The XCR is designed to be more breathable than regular Gore Tex, so putting a layer under it which further restricts breathing is a bad move.

I also have an Arcteryx XCR jacket, and usually I'll wear a thermax or similar wicking t-shirt with a long sleeve running type shirt over it such as a Nike Hydromove, etc. Then I put on a fleece vest.

This usually works down to ~ 10-15 degrees. Below that, I may swap the t-shirt for a second thin thermax type shirt. Wind is never a problem, and the XRC is all you should need.
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
That's what I figured. I wear a windbloc in the winter just to go to work and stuff so I didn't buy another one last year since I have a ton of jackets and fleeces at home. I will have to pickup a form fitting no-windbloc vest and fleece before this season.

post #5 of 23
hot chilies = overpriced

windbloc = irrelevant to mid layer

polartec fleece or one of its variants is the best midlayer. what weight to get depends on your metabolic rate, your sensation of "cold", and your under and overlayers.

my typical skiing clothes:


thin "lightweight" wicker zip-T next to skin
patagucci R2 levitator pullover
Gore XCR shell -OR- Cloudveil softshell


midweight thermal bottom
running shorts to cover me bum from wetness on chairs
Gore shell -OR- Lowe softshell
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the posts.

I got hot chillies because my mother in law gives me gift certificates to LL Bean all the time so I had money to kill. That is also why I have the many fleeces.

I have heard alot of people like the Patagonia fleeces. Are they better quality/more comfortable then other brands?
post #7 of 23

I get Patagucci stuff mainly for the warranty. I don't really think they make things more comfortable than anyone else. I've got fleece jackets and pullovers from many different makers, and they all seem to work about the same for a given thickness/weight.

BTW, if you get LL Bean certificates, they make some excellent affordable wicking underwear under their house brand. My brother gave me a nice zip-T that is a Bean brand and it works as well as any Patagucci, Helly-Hansen, Marmot or other underwear mfr's product.
post #8 of 23
Base layer Merino wool (great at regulating temp and doesn't smell even after days of use).
Mid layer - Lightweight fleece (polyester).
Mid layer 2 (when colder) Mid-weight Patagonia fleece
Outerlayer - Arcteryx XCR jacket

Fishnet Stockings and leopardskin thong (but if it's wet - pampers).
When it get's chilly I grease my knees with butter/lard to stop the skin cracking
With XCR pants it's best not to wear anything under them just go for a pair of brightly covered Y-fronts over the top to get that superman look.

Seriousley ....
Merino wool base layer and some decent breathable snowboard pants that are proving to be indestructable. If its cold I also wear a pair of jogging bottoms over the base layer.

Clothing with vent holes under the arms and by the side of the legs is also great for regulating temps and getting rid of excess moisture.
post #9 of 23



Try the cloudveil Run Dont Walk Top w/ the XCR for average winter use.
I use one w/ my Arctryx sidewinder shell and it is warm for all but the worst Jan-Feb windblown days. Then I add a vest (Marker, $12.00 at the Bean outlet in Concord, NH) or if it is really frigid ( Tremblant, anytime, Cannon or VT alot) I change to a Poly Wicking Tee w/ a Carbon heavy fleece JKT under the shell. Along w/ a helmet it really keeps me warm.

The better alternative to the Carbon is something like a Arcteryx Delta AR or maverick fleece Jkt.

Run Don't Walk long Johns are really warm Too. I find 'em too warm and usually stick to a capalene bottom.
post #10 of 23
Pata Capalene base layer then 100 wt micro fleece mid for most days. Add a Arc' gamma AR vest or SV/AR jacket depending on temp with sidewinder Jacket, Pants- try Rho pants under shell pants. Very warm. If very cold, then capalene under Arc' Rho pants, then shells. Although the leopard skin sounds tempting
post #11 of 23
Agree completely with Gonzo (how's that for a risky statement!: ). Another alternative to the midweight fleece middle layer that I found last year and really like is Powerstretch. It is a bit warmer, since it is snug fitting, but really comfortable. The donwside is it that is pricy, but I found one top by Lowe Alpine and one by Mt Hardwear heavily discounted (previous year's model). Both are pullovers with long front zippers that allow you to ventilate. SInce I am really skinny, I find that some of the Patagonia tops are a bit too baggy for me.
post #12 of 23
Wool is the absolute best for me. I hate fleece as it makes me sweat like a pig (I also wear an XCR jacket & pants). On really cold days I will wear a fourth layer (like duofold underwear) over my Hot Chilly's.

For pants, I tried fleece over HCs, but it was too much, so now I go with just the HCs and XCR (TNF) pants, which is surprisingly warm enough.

BTW TNF pants are highly over rated. Very poorly constructed, but at least they back them up.
post #13 of 23
For pants, I tried fleece over HCs, but it was too much, so now I go with just the HCs and XCR (TNF) pants, which is surprisingly warm enough.

Terp, check out the Arc'T Rho Pants, they breath very well, have decent warmth (15-20 degrees) and are not restrictive. They are not that expensive for a product that is guarenteed for life.
post #14 of 23
I got a Under Armour Cold Wear top for Christmas last year. It's unbelievable insulation as a base layer. You can reduce the bulk on all but the coldest days when its worn.
post #15 of 23
I was wondering about that (how well the Under Armour cold wear worked). What would you say that top replaces from the more traditional stuff mentioned above?
post #16 of 23
I've been wearing a long sleeve cool-max shirt as a middle layer with a fleece vest over that and then an old North Face shell. On really cold days I swap the vest for a heavier fleece.

We have so many fleeces from different promotional items etc. that I had to institute a house rule a couple of winters back - No new fleece.
post #17 of 23
The patrol I ski with is turning towards the Under Armour brand. The patrollers who wore it last year raved about it. Hot Chilies were second........

I warn you though the UA were expensive. $50 top, $50 bottom.

Nobody admits that they use anything cotton or wool.
post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 
I have also been wondering how well Under Armour works.

Galyans, http://www.galyans.com/stores/ , has a ton of UA and I think it is slightly cheaper then other stores.

I was going to pickup some boxers for ski season but I got some at REI on sale instead.
post #19 of 23
Hmm.. so if I go the Under Armour route.. then it seems like the under armour (being pretty thick) replaces the heavier mid-weight middle layer (such as the Patagonia R1).. but then I'd go with a lighter middle layer?

I have been wearing a light zip capilene type layer, then the Patagonia R1, and then a vest or a fleece depending on how cold it is (with a lightweight shell above that).
post #20 of 23
Under Armour is great, but I agree it is pricey. Be careful though, once you use it you'll be hooked as it's unbeatable in terms of warmth and comfort. On even the coldest days I get by with UA bottoms and my g-tex shell pants. On occasion, I'll add a fleece over my UA top as a mid-layer under my shell jacket.

ps. There is a major difference in terms of warmth for their coldgear vs heatgear products despite looking quite similar. Make sure you know what you're ordering/buying.
post #21 of 23
Thread Starter 
Is UA any warmer then Hot Chillies?
post #22 of 23
Originally Posted by Scalce
Is UA any warmer then Hot Chillies?
I have Hot Chillies as well and I don't know that the UA cold gear products are measureably warmer, but they are certainly just as warm. I think the real difference for me is fit, comfort and the UA's ability to wick away moisture/sweat as compared to other products that I've used. I never get uncomfortable (hot or cold) in my UA gear.
post #23 of 23

Under Armour

I haven't reduced the layers that I wear with the Cold Wear UA, I have just stayed warmer as a result. The UA is supposed to allow water vapor to escape when you become overheated. I think the insulation poperties of Cold Wear UA may eceed its ability to breathe when you get hot. I know if I have this on when I ski in warn weather I get wet,However, on a cold January day it's really great.
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