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Middle layer?


imajeep
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I haven't done a whole lot of cold weather hiking, seeing as how I live in Chicago. But I'm moving to Southern California, so it looks like there will be ample opportunity to get out for some snowshoing and winter hiking up in the San Bernadinos.

 

So, here is my question: What are good middle layer and outer layer pants for winter hiking, assuming that I'm wearing a polyprope base layer? I am figuring on a fleece and shell as mid and outer layer jacket.

Edited by imajeep
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As you know the most important thing is to stay dry. For years I wore base layer under Hind winter cycling tights, with gaiters. This year I tried Sporthill symmetry pants. The best $60.00 I ever spent. I got them at L.L.Bean. I have tried other snowshoeing pants and found them too heavy. If it is too warm i just ware microfiber boxers under them. If you are snowshoeing and plain on wearing fleece. have a day pack to carry it in when you over heat.

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On my last snowshoe trip, temps were cold enough to ice up my beard, and I was in shirtsleeves.

 

There is a lot of heat generated, and the sunshine comes from the below, as well as above. I did have my coat with me, but once the sun peaked over the ridge, it sure warmed up and I ended up packing it the rest of the way.

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As you know the most important thing is to stay dry. For years I wore base layer under Hind winter cycling tights, with gaiters. This year I tried Sporthill symmetry pants. The best $60.00 I ever spent. I got them at L.L.Bean. I have tried other snowshoeing pants and found them too heavy. If it is too warm i just ware microfiber boxers under them. If you are snowshoeing and plain on wearing fleece. have a day pack to carry it in when you over heat.

Thanks. The Sporthills look like a winner. It sounds like no middle layer is really necessary. It also sounds like no gaiters necessary?

 

BTW, I just found the Sporthill Symmetry at Sierra Trading Post for $34.95. Thanks again for the tip.

Edited by imajeep
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It is usually not the cold that is bad...but the wind (with the cold). Anyway, I always wear a polypro long underwear as a base, a fleece middle layer, then a gortex shell pant. Get your shell pants with full zippers so you can regulate heat if necessary. With full zippers, they are also easier to take off with your boots on. I used to wear ski pants but they were too heavy, not waterproof, and hard to get off with boots on.

 

Me (in yellow) near the summit of Mt. Bross, Colorado (14,172 ft) in February 2005. About 10 degrees and 40-50 mph winds.

 

brossnearsummit.jpg

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If it's not too cold I just wear a polypro layer under with nylon hiking pants. That works to about 20 degrees.

 

If it's colder I throw on thin fleece pants as middle layer under the hiking pants which is good to about 0.

 

If it's below zero, or really windy I swap a waterproof, nylon shell for the hiking pants or wear thick wool army pants.

 

The key is not to dress too warmly when you are active. If you start to sweat then you will wind up colder in the end.

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It is usually not the cold that is bad...but the wind (with the cold). Anyway, I always wear a polypro long underwear as a base, a fleece middle layer, then a gortex shell pant. Get your shell pants with full zippers so you can regulate heat if necessary. With full zippers, they are also easier to take off with your boots on. I used to wear ski pants but they were too heavy, not waterproof, and hard to get off with boots on.

 

Me (in yellow) near the summit of Mt. Bross, Colorado (14,172 ft) in February 2005. About 10 degrees and 40-50 mph winds.

 

I'll second Alan's comments. The last hike I went on was 14 degrees with the 25MPH winds and 30-40MPH gusts on Mt Baker. You didn't dare keep your fingers bare for more than 5 minutes. I wore a water repellant windbreaker with inner arm zippers, polar fleece sweater, with a polypro long sleeved shirt and t-shirt underneath that. I had Polypro pants with full zippered snow pants, good polar fleece inner gloves with waterproof shells. More importantly, is something to keep your head warm. I also wore a full head clava with a beanie on top of that. (It was too gusty for my standard Dorfman hat.) Our group managed to stay out 3 hours before we decided the wind was driving the snow into our faces just a bit too much.

 

Unless we stood in place for more than 1/2 an hour, we didn't feel the cold much. It was the first time in this kind of weather my drinking tube actually froze up within the first 20 minutes of the hike.

 

216b2571-4332-4171-b621-03a73e46c820.jpg

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