/ Pertex-Pile vs Classic Layering & Shell for Non-ranges Winter

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neuromancer - on 19 Nov 2012
What are everyone on here's learned experiences with the above conundrum?

Would you go for a merino base / x mid / shell and a down/synthetic jacket for camp+belay? Or do the Buffalo/VR/Driclime solutions actually offer a better solution?

Inspired by reading AK's article: http://www.andy-kirkpatrick.com/articles/view/the_truth_about_breathable_waterproofs

He says a lot, but he never really comes down on either side, or offers recommendations for different activities.
captain paranoia - on 19 Nov 2012
In reply to neuromancer:

> He says a lot, but he never really comes down on either side, or offers recommendations for different activities.

He does say a lot, and I've not had time to read it all tonight, but the reason he doesn't give a definitive answer is because, as with all things 'it depends'...

The one thing I'd suggest adding to a 'conventional' layering system is a pure wind resistant shell, which I wear unless it's actually raining. It's more breathable than a waterproof shell, but continues to provide the protection for the insulation, which, as AK points out, it next to useless for holding on to warm air in the presence of wind; that's the downside of a fabric (fleece) that is open structured to maximize trapped air volume in a light fabric that also allows sweat to escape from the body.

There are many advantages of separate wind resistant shell over fixed (e.g. pile/pertex); versatility in layering (selection prior to use, selection during use), ability to replace individual layers, ability to care for individual layers.
neuromancer - on 19 Nov 2012
In reply to captain paranoia:

I have a Rab Boreas I've been using for this recently; usually over a summerweight baselayer with vapour rise trousers. Seems to have done the trick for autumn climbing.

But for winter, I'm on the bar of pulling the trigger on some overtrousers and a good gore pro shell jacket, and wondering if it's worth it.
Gav Parker - on 19 Nov 2012
In reply to captain paranoia:

Yes I have to agree with a pure wind resistant shell...such a great bit of kit in the mountains and part of a layering system. If you like me and run warm a base layer plus a wind layer is normally enough even in cool conditions.
As to the OP a layering system for me!!
In reply to neuromancer:
> I'm on the bar of pulling the trigger on some overtrousers

You are what?
neuromancer - on 19 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA:

Sorry, personal joke. I try and work as many stupid euphamisms in as possible.
Timmd on 19 Nov 2012
In reply to neuromancer:You'd fit in well in my dad's office.

He challenged somebody to work 'reversing backwards over a cat' into one of thier documents*.

They took it up but not seriously. (:-))

*That almost makes it sound like forced humour in a David Brent style, where it isn't, at least I don't 'think' it is...
iksander on 20 Nov 2012
In reply to neuromancer: By "Non-ranges Winter" I guess you mean Britain? You'll probably want something rainproof then. Buffalo etc are great if your temperature overcomes the amount of moisture you need to evaporate. So running in drizzle - OK. Sat still belaying for an hour in 2oC rain, not OK
Ramblin dave - on 20 Nov 2012
In reply to Gav Parker:
> (In reply to captain paranoia)
>
> Yes I have to agree with a pure wind resistant shell...such a great bit of kit in the mountains and part of a layering system. If you like me and run warm a base layer plus a wind layer is normally enough even in cool conditions.

I agree with this!

I've never shelled out (ho ho) for softshell so I can't compare it to that as a system, but a lightweight pertex windshell is a brilliant (and fairly cheap) addition to a traditional layering system. Bonus points if you get one with pockets to carry gloves etc so you can quickly adjust your temperature that way...
neuromancer - on 21 Nov 2012
In reply to iksander:

I mean I'm not tackling denali or kanchenjunga, but may foray into lower alpine stuff in the bernese oberland as well as scottish winter.

Would you then consider pertex/pile under a rainshell? Or is a classic layering system just more versatile in the end in anything but british drizzle.
In reply to neuromancer:

> Would you then consider pertex/pile under a rainshell? Or is a classic layering system just more versatile in the end in anything but british drizzle.

You can if you want, occasionally I'd take a very light shell out with me along with the Buffalo shirt, but I did a number of regular winter seasons with the Buff big face shirt and Belay jacket. If it was going to rain all day, I wouldn't go out as I wanted to winter climb, but if you walked through rain going up to the cliffs or when walking down, it was never a problem with just the Buffalo stuff.

The "classic layering system" I would say is a base, 200 weight fleece, and a goretex - but that's a 80s/90s paradigm. That wasn't hugely versatile, but I suspect not many people use just that now. I don't know if there is a "classic layer system" anymore, because of the huge variety of softshells, waterproof softshells, puffy jackets, synth mid layers, micro fleeces and windproofs available.
captain paranoia - on 21 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA:

> I don't know if there is a "classic layer system" anymore

I'd suggest the current 'classic layering system' is now:

base layer
100 weight fleece
wind resistant shell
waterproof shell
synthetic insulation overlayer

Much more versatile than the 80s/90s 3-layer, as explained here:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=377801#x5471096

But, as you say, soft shells (of whatever flavour) confuse the issue considerably... I think the 5-layer system above is useful to help figure out what works for you, and then start to adopt soft shell strategies, which I think can work better than a layering system, but in a more limited climatic/activity range; they're not as versatile.
ice.solo - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to neuromancer:

AKs article is old hat, radical for its time, but textiles evolve so fast now you can do better.

much depends on you and your thresholds (bodily and what youre prepared to suffer thru weather-wise).

i find a super thin (therefore better wicking) base and a hybrid primaloft/powerstretch layer works for 80% of the time, then a light real shell (ie something with vents and taped seams, not some 120gm windshell) for when needed.
as a 'big' jacket for anywhere not consistantly under -8c i like to pair a light down jacket with a light primaloft one (primaloft side to wherever has the most moisture, a few stitches or sports tape keeps the cuffs together so it goes on/off like a single jacket, doesnt matter if it gets turned inside out).

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