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Layering for extreme cold

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I usually wear a hardshell with a thermal fleece for midlayer & thin merino wool baselayer. This combo works fine for down to about -10 to -15C. If it gets colder or the wind picks up, then I find it isnt quite warm enough. I can add another fleece vest or jacket layer, but it starts to get pretty bulky.

Any suggestions for a good warm insulating midlayer that will work for extreme cold conditions (below -15C). Or layering tips for real cold conditions w/o adding too much bulk?
post #2 of 20

i had the same problem

choices include 1) extra expedition weight long underwear 2) synthetic fill like patagonia puffball 3)down.the ultimate in warmth....wear a wind breaker layer underneath the down 4)a real ski jacket. i resisted this for a long time, since i like to use outerwear for different sports, but i got a phenix with thinsulate and it is warmer than all but the down, not bulky, and more windproof than 2 other goretex shells
post #3 of 20
I like to go with thicker base and insulation layers rather than go back to an insulated outer layer. So, as duke says, I have expedition weight base gear and have added thicker insulation layer, too (fleece like the R4 lightweight from Patagonia or down/puff). For extremely cold, do both.
post #4 of 20
On a bitter day at Stowe I donn a midweight capilene layer, then a spyder sweatery type layer followed by a vest and then a primaloft jacket topped off with a shell.
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Any suggestions for a good expedition weight base layer? Also what type of primaloft jacket or vest?
post #6 of 20
I really like my Capilene (Patagonia). It layers well, is warm, and wicks.
post #7 of 20
Primaloft- almost as warm as down with a fraction of the bulk but still a good degree of loft.
post #8 of 20
Did someone say "down"?

>Sigh< 4th year I don't get to wear it.
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard View Post
Any suggestions for a good expedition weight base layer? Also what type of primaloft jacket or vest?
Patagonia Capilene is great, but I use Hot Chillys (level 8 or 9) more often. Hot Chillys level 10 is almost too much (except for my wife who was born cold!).
post #10 of 20
I have a wind shirt I bought for riding motorcycles that I sneak in on windy days, just wear it over all my other layers, under my NF heavy shell. It is a gore tex pull over shirt and stops any and all wind. From Rider Warehouse, good investment for $60.
post #11 of 20
I have a pair of fleece pants that I wear over my base layer and under my ski pants for really cold days. I also have an old down jacket that I put on under my NF shell. Bulky, yes. Warm though.
post #12 of 20
I agree with Duke Walker. I would either use different insulators or maybe add the vest you already own if you dont want to buy more clothing.

Id also check to make sure youre not sweating too much. Remember that perspiration next to your body feels cold. If your hardhsell doesnt breathe too well and you are working up some sweat like from skiing bumps or crud then you might be feeling cold because of sweat accumulation and not from lack of insulation.
post #13 of 20
On the topic of a windblicking inner shirt, I got a craft s3 under shirt and that thing rocked.. You can get it for pretty cheap right now on their website bargain bin..
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard View Post
I usually wear a hardshell with a thermal fleece for midlayer & thin merino wool baselayer. This combo works fine for down to about -10 to -15C. If it gets colder or the wind picks up, then I find it isnt quite warm enough. I can add another fleece vest or jacket layer, but it starts to get pretty bulky.

Any suggestions for a good warm insulating midlayer that will work for extreme cold conditions (below -15C). Or layering tips for real cold conditions w/o adding too much bulk?
Go with 2 layers of baselayer/long underwear instead of 1. I found keeping the layer next to your skin thin or thinner layer works well.

Using 2 layers helps wick any moisture away from your skin. Plus, you can use the polypro you already have to give this try. (I’m assuming you have more than one set of baselayer)

This is something I started doing when I was doing winter whitewater rafting. (Yes, it’s a bit chilly) When using a drysuit, I was more comfortable with two layer of polypro vs. 1 layer polypro & 1 layer of medium fleece. For me, the bulk of the fleece under the drysuit made it uncomfortable for sitting in a boat all day and was a bit restricting on movement.
post #15 of 20

-15C and lower....

To -15C I'm simply wearing PolarMax (mid-weight), and a thin Vest(MtnHdwr) underneath my Marmot breatheable hardshell.
To be honest...this is the first year for the MtnHdwr vest and Marmot shell....so I obviously haven't faced any cold temps yet!!(Big Sigh!), but as anyone who skis Sugarloaf on any sort of schedule knows....the wind and/or dampness in the air is/are the biggest enemy(ies), and the outer layers are the most valuable items.
I think adding fleece underneath the shell can take care of lower temps....to ~-30F, raw 60mph wind...kind of like a day or two in January @the Loaf : I can vouch for some of the baby powder, but have not incorporated the black? pepper in with it....to the feet.
I do like Stormday's idea of the additional wicking layer...!

$.01
Steve
post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
I've found a few synthetic insulator vests that I'm considering. Would anyone care to comment on the warm & quality of any of these vests:

Marmot TR6
North Face Redpoint
Patagonia Micro Puff
Salomon Juneau
MEC Northern Lite

Thanks
post #17 of 20
Once it gets down to the -10, -15 celsius range, I'll usually have two mid-weight Patagonia capilene pieces on, top and bottom. Throw a 100 or 200 weight fleece on over that and that's about all I need. I have some fleece's from Mountain Hardwear and some from LL Bean. All of them work just fine. My pants and jacket (both Patagonia Primo's) are about as wind / water proof as they get and they seal up nice and tight everywhere, which I think has more to do with staying warm then anything.

The coldest I've ever been out in is 30-something below, as in Fahrenheit. From skin-to-outside, I had on one mid-weight layer, one heavyweight layer, one 100 weight fleece, a 200 weight fleece over that, and my jacket over that. My legs just had a mid-weight and a heavy-weight covering them. My head had my balaclava and my helmet and a scarf to cover everything else.
post #18 of 20
Poor Gaper here.

I can remember skiing in -40 without wind chill. My layers consisted of cheap long johns with themal top, sweatshirt, bottom half farmer-john type snowmobile suit lower half and down-filled parka. My feet still got cold though.

Anybody know the wind-chill at -40 with a 50 mph wind?
post #19 of 20

Extreme Cold? What's that?

I ski in the northeast / mid-Atlantic region so I don't need to worry about "extreme cold". At least not this season...

I wore flip-flops on the warm and sunny walk from car to lodge yesterday. On the drive up the other day, I was wearing shorts. So yeah, for extreme cold I would probably wear socks and long pants.
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
Poor Gaper here.

I can remember skiing in -40 without wind chill. My layers consisted of cheap long johns with themal top, sweatshirt, bottom half farmer-john type snowmobile suit lower half and down-filled parka. My feet still got cold though.

Anybody know the wind-chill at -40 with a 50 mph wind?
Here you go...

http://www.srh.noaa.gov/elp/wxcalc/windchill.html

-87.9 deg F :::
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