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Layering over your shell

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

My wife has issues staying warm when we ski.  We get a lot of cold days that hover around the zero F mark.  She wears a synthetic base layer, a layer of thin merino, a layer of fleece, a primaloft coat and a gore tex shell.  She still gets cold.  There is no more room under the shell.  Would a roomy primaloft coat worn over the shell help her?  


I'd hate to dump the shell because it has provided the best protection by far for the cold and wind we get.  The gore tex pants she wears have been a godsend.  We ski in Maine.  





post #2 of 23

That's a lot of layers on top already. The general rule of thumb is three, and that's already five. What's she wearing under gore tex pants (if I may ask)? And what's she wearing on her head?


post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 

Long johns and a fleece layer.  She has problems with feet and hands as well; probably because she has a hell of a time keeping her core warm.  I think the girl needs some fat on her body :)

post #4 of 23

Get rid of the fleece and go with a down vest? keep the core warm and the rest will follow. But some people will always have cold extremeties and nothing but hotronics and hand warmers will help.

post #5 of 23

 A one-piece suit will be warm. Replace the primaloft with down. Or replace the shell with an insulated coat. When it gets that cold here (which is not that often), I use those thermacare body heat wraps, for bad backs and necks.

post #6 of 23

Nothing beats down for light weight and warmth.  An insulated shell will also up the warmth factor quite a bit.



post #7 of 23

Whats the elevation and relative humidity? 0F in VT is alot colder feeling than 0F in UT or CO.


The insulated snowsuit or down puffy would be my first step.


Insulation only works to trap heat the body is already producing. There is a practical limit to how much insulation you can add to a body and 5 layers is getting there IMO. Solution, Produce more heat! Hike to a run, ski some bumps, Sing on the ski lift, Dance around, etc... do something to promote more aerobic metabolism.

post #8 of 23

If it's not moist drop the goretex shell and replace with a down jacket. Or you can add a down over the goretex shell, it's very common in the climbing world to wear down ontop due to the amount of times it comes off and goes back on. Or if it's moist out then you can do the same with primaloft as opposed to down. If it's not wet there's no reason to have gore.

post #9 of 23

^^^^Agree about replacing primaloft with down. Significantly warmer. But you have to have something water/wind proof over it for Maine. Two ways to do it: Some down parkas come with Gore Tex or similar (Spyder, for instance). That's simple, bomber for cold, but $$$. Otherwise, find a 800 fill down sweater - big thickness difference between that and typical 600, so you get the same bang for half the loft. Then put the Gore Tex shell over it. 


Would also suggest some of the Spandex undies. They work as advertised, in terms of saving some muscles, but side benefit is that they're weirdly warm, far better than similar thickness of poly or similar. 


Tromano is right on two counts. She already has too many layers, will constrict her natural skiing movements. Also, she may benefit from an exercise program to build up some lean. Or simply walking briskly from your car to the slopes carrying some stuff, start the first run with the furnace going. But women in general suffer more from cold due to a variety of innate features I talk about in this thread: http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/97592/skis-bindings-boots-for-a-skinny-girl#post_1267880

post #10 of 23

I suggest:


Top:  Smartwool midweight zip-t, a wool sweater, Patagonia down sweater, gore-tex jacket.  The Patagonia down sweater is extremely lightweight, warm, and easy to layer over.


Bottom:  Smartwool midweight wool underwear under insulated pants


Plus good wool socks, maybe even down gloves or mittens, a neck gaiter, and a helmet for warmth.

post #11 of 23
+ make sure she eats a good breakfast.
post #12 of 23

Mittens and whisky. 

post #13 of 23
Originally Posted by onyxjl View Post

Mittens and whisky. 

You have two kitties with those names too?

post #14 of 23

If it's 0 F outside Waterproof isn't as imporant.  A farmer-john style pant (haven't seen too many in ski shops, lot's in snowmobile shops though), and down vest under a down jacket is quite warm.  Nothing wrong with having a different outfit for cold days.   The farmer-john design snowmobile pants are surprisingly warm.

post #15 of 23
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

If it's 0 F outside Waterproof isn't as imporant. 

but wind-proofiness becomes amazingly relevant, quite a lot of softshells and even some Gore jackets don't do very well.
post #16 of 23

Does she have a big, furry muff?















It might help on the lift.


post #17 of 23
Originally Posted by karpiel View Post

Does she have a big, furry muff?















It might help on the lift.


Looks like that top is a bit cold LOL


Most is already said.

For sure use something on head and around neck. A person loses about 15% bodyheat from those two areas.

post #18 of 23

right, comp, shells designed for maximum breathability, most suitable for some hiking etc, are not super windproof. you can feel the heat just wicking off of your body on a cold windy day.

the insulated ski jacket designs, while not as breathable, are generally more windproof, if they are a quality piece to begin with.

some soft shell fabrics, scholler for one, are basically fancy sweaters, not much good at anything, certainly not wind proofing. a rip-off IMO.

post #19 of 23

As mentioned the head and neck are a likely problem.  A balaclava makes a huuuge difference in warmth. 

post #20 of 23

I agree with the down sweater.  A super cold day will find me in a thin wicking tank, 2 synthentic (I can't wear wool unless it's socks) baselayers such as REI MTS Midweight or TNF Impulse or Bubblecomb hoodie, a down sweater and my outer shell.  Neck/face protection and a helmet (warmer than a hat) are key as well. 

post #21 of 23

She needs to grow a beard.

post #22 of 23

Are her hands and feet the problem or her core? If its hands and feet she probably has a circulation problem. Hand warmers and boot heaters will be her best bet.You can't do it with core insulation alone. She's not generating enough heat internally to stay warm. If she's cold all over, shivering, etc. then I'd start with an insulated one piece suit that fits over her prim-aloft coat. Also, make sure she has a good balaclava, a windproof hat, good mittens plus a hood if possible. Get one cheap on Ebay to see if it helps.

post #23 of 23

Replace the primaloft with an 800 fill down jacket.  The 800 represents the warmth to weight ratio, so an 800 fill jacket is going to be lighter and less bulky than a 700 fill jacket that gives the same warmth.   Super lightweight, super warm.  You don't have to worry too much about getting one that's got DWR coating or anything like that for waterproofness because she's already got a gore-tex shell.  Something like the North Face Summit Series (Or an equivalent) would do perfectly. 


Sounds like the Shell is good (Anything gore-tex is good), she's got the merino wool base layer which is good, upgrading the primaloft to down is really all you can do. 


Does she wear a helmet?  That's good for warmth, splurge on a Gore-Tex Windstopper Balaclava if that seems to be an issue.  Make sure she has good gloves, ski socks (merino wool), and hopefully she should be good to go.  If not get some of the hand/feet warmers....I've never used them myself but if she's having difficulties getting warm that might help. 

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