/ Mid layer
New to UKC, here's my first post, hope people can help:
I use a Rab VR smock over a baselayer for most of my mountain activity. In winter, I wear it under a shell when climbing ice.
During milder conditions I find it just about okay, with a thin technical t-shirt under it, but if it is wet then when I put a shell on top then I find that I run too warm. I also find it a pain in the arse to get on and off, as the inner lining 'bonds' with whatever I wear!
I am looking for a solution for an item of clothing to replace the VR with, that I can layer under easily and will also work under a shell. I want it to be pretty windproof too. I wonder if this is the role of the traditional 'fleece' of old?!
I am wondering whether a thinner softshell would work well, with layering underneath?
Has anyone got any recommendations of systems, specific products that could work for me in this way? I also read somewhere that softshells don't work well under shells....?
Or, perhaps I can use the VR differently, wearing just a technical T and layering OVER it? Has anyone used it in this way?
PS: I don't get on with Paramo or Buffalo
In winter, if its a soft-shell day (dry-ish) I wear a soft-shell with a micro fleece underneath, depending on temps. on a hard-shell (wet) day I'll layer a fleece under the shell it for maximum breathability.
rab boreas? windproof, nice and breathable, stretchy.
"Softshell" probably covers anything from stuff like polartec windpro (a dense stretchy fleece, not that windproof but very breathable) through to stuff like windstopper (which is very windproof, but pretty sweaty)
So depends on active you are/ how hot you run/ or how cold it is. And also how well your shell ventilates.
If you have a snazzy modern shell that you can open right up with pit zips etc. you can probably get away with a more protective/ less breathable softshell that would require you to put on the shell less often.
On the other hand if you have a rubbery kagoul like a sauna suit, you'll probably want something more breathable underneath.
My system is either a powerstretch (stretchy fleece) vest or a berghaus smoulder hoody (stretchy fleece with a hood) over a baselayer with a thin softshell over the top (Patagonia Readymix)
The problem with soft shells is that they often try to combine the various attributes of layered clothing to create a compromise garment. This compromise inevitably means that they are suited to a narrower range of conditions and activities. It's also why there are so many types of soft shells, ranging from simple stretch wovens (little more than a robust windshirt), to insulated, membraned things that are fully waterproof.
The VR (and shelled micropile generically) is a pretty good compromise for hillwalking, but you're still stuck with the problem of fixed insulation, and fixed windproofing.
I have a whole wardrobe of different soft shells that I've bought and tried, but they tend to get used for specific purposes (since I have so many different ones, I can pick the 'perfect' soft shell for the activity and climate).
But, if I'm going somewhere where I don't know what the weather's going to do, or I may be doing one of a number of different activities, I go back to a layering system, which is very versatile. Like many, I base my system around a wind resistant shell layer, leaving the waterproof shell for when it's actually raining.
<cue cut&paste from much-repeated suggestion>
I use a five-layer system:
1 - base layer
2 - 100 weight fleece
3a - nikwaxed, hooded pertex windproof
3b - lightweight waterproof in case of heavy rain
4 - lightweight Primaloft (60g) overlayer in case of sub-zero temperatures or prolonged stops
Adding a windproof outer shell to a 'conventional' layering system is, IMHO, the best, and cheapest way of improving your comfort on the hill.
It allows moisture to escape from your mid layer much better than a waterproof.
It protects the warm air trapped in the mid layer, preventing it from being blown away, so increasing the efficiency of the mid layer, so you can wear a lighter weight mid layer.
It allows you to create very versatile layering system:
If it's warm and still, you wear a base layer;
If it's warm and windy, you wear a base layer and windproof shell on top;
If it's cool and still, you wear a base layer and a suitably warm midlayer;
If it's cool and windy, you wear a base layer and a suitably warm midlayer, and a windproof shell to stop the warm air being blown from the midlayer;
If it's raining, you decide whether your windproof will provide adequate water resistance, and, if not, replace it with your waterproof.
You can choose the weight of midlayer to suit the weather conditions; lightweight for warmish weather, heavier weight for cooler weather.
You can pick the windproof to suit the activity; lightweight for walking, more robust for scrambling and climbing.
You can replace each of the items as they wear out.
You can wash and proof each layer as appropriate.
It depends which type of softshell it is; membraned ones are very bad under a waterproof shell since you've now got two layers of not very breathable fabric, so you're likely to get sweaty. But if the soft shell has a wind-resistant element of any sort, even if it's just a closely-woven layer, you'll find the breathability of your system compromised.
<more cut & paste...>
A mid layer should be just that; a mid layer, to go between a base layer and an outer layer. Its purpose is to trap a layer of warm air close to the body, to provide insulation, whilst allowing moisture to escape freely.
A windproof fleece with a fixed membrane has little versatility:
you can't change the level of insulation;
the membrane doesn't allow moisture to escape easily;
you can't use only the windproof layer;
you can't remove the windproof membrane for use under a waterproof;
you can't replace each layer separately;
you can't care for each layer separately;
they're relatively bulky and heavy;
they take a long time to dry.
> <cue cut&paste from much-repeated suggestion>
> I use a five-layer system:
> 1 - base layer
> 2 - 100 weight fleece
> 3a - nikwaxed, hooded pertex windproof
> 3b - lightweight waterproof in case of heavy rain
> 4 - lightweight Primaloft (60g) overlayer in case of sub-zero temperatures or prolonged stops
This is pretty much what I do, too. I've got a Rab Cirrus windproof which has some basic pockets and I've generally found that for a wintery walking day I can start off wearing either the base layer + windproof or the base layer + fleece + windproof and then warm up or cool down adequately by taking gloves and hats on and off and opening or closing the front zips and not have to faff around getting stuff out of bags other than at the lunch stop.
> New to UKC, here's my first post, hope people can help:
> I use a Rab VR smock over a baselayer for most of my mountain activity. In winter, I wear it under a shell when climbing ice.
> During milder conditions I find it just about okay, with a thin technical t-shirt under it, but if it is wet then when I put a shell on top then I find that I run too warm. I also find it a pain in the arse to get on and off, as the inner lining 'bonds' with whatever I wear!
> I am looking for a solution for an item of clothing to replace the VR with, that I can layer under easily and will also work under a shell. I want it to be pretty windproof too. I wonder if this is the role of the traditional 'fleece' of old?!
> I am wondering whether a thinner softshell would work well, with layering underneath?
> Has anyone got any recommendations of systems, specific products that could work for me in this way? I also read somewhere that softshells don't work well under shells....?
> Or, perhaps I can use the VR differently, wearing just a technical T and layering OVER it? Has anyone used it in this way?
> PS: I don't get on with Paramo or Buffalo
> Thanks lots,
If a smock is a prob. getting on and off (Which they can be!) and you still like VR Rab gear as a layer system and lets face it there is no supreme layer system out there, very often what works for one may not work for another but as long as you stick to the 'layer' principle... simply get a jacket type VR. Try the vapour rise guide jacket superb bit of kit in the cold. very windproof. Pit zips, and a really big zip down the front if you run too hot! Can't fault mine and I run very hot :-)
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