/ Which fleece for climbing
Hi all. I am trying to decide about which second layer to buy for mountain multipitch climbing. Mainly I would use it in granite Alps (Furka, Chamonix...) so around 3000m altitude in summer. Normally I climb in my base layer T-shirt as the temperature is ~15°C or even colder but sunny... As soon as it gets colder or windy or for any reason I start feeling chilly, I put on my old Decathlon fleece which I carry along with other important things in my backpack. So it is second layer and top layer at the same time until the conditions get really nasty and I put on hard shell.
I would like to replace it now by something at least as warm, light, low volume but also resistant (no down jacket...), I would really like if this new fleece (or whatever) would be tight and stretchy as it is good for climbing and moreover I have a feeling that tight fleece will tend to stay under the harness rather than the loose one which gets out after a few moves. I want to replace my old fleece even though it works because I think that it is heavy and bulky and moreover I do not like the color so much so I want to keep it only for winter time sport climbing.
For the new one I am thinking about something in the range 300 - 450g of weight (or is it too much?). So first thing that I found were great reviews of Polartech Powerstretch material. I can buy for example Dynafit Thermal Layer 4.0 which is made of Powerstretch. I believe that it meets all my needs and wishes but at the same time there is a deal on Mountain Hardware Atherm jacket which is from Polartec Alpha. It is a little bit heavier but that is roughly all I know about it. My impression is that it could be also a little bit more wind resistant than Powerstretch but I am not sure whether it will be also stretchy and tight and whether it could also serve well as mid-layer when I put rain-protecting hard shell over it (is it going to breathe?).
Actually for ice climbing in mild temperatures down to ~ -10°C I am so far using exactly this setup. Base T-shirt, Decathlon fleece and hard shell jacket, so it would be great if my new fleece would be as well useful for this.
How would you decide? Does anyone owe this Mountain Hardware Atherm jacket? Unfortunately I can not try them.
I would go soft shell for alpine climbing. Trouble with fleece is that the wind goes straight through it and I find that protection from the wind rather than insulation is best. One of the most versatile garments I've ever owned was a Marmot lined wind shirt. I could set off at 2 am and finish in the valley in the afternoon without stopping to change. I only got cold if I stopped for any length of time in the shade. In summer I find heat a bigger problem than cold to deal with.
Try something from here https://www.technique-extreme.com/cat-polaires-homme-184_0_0_0_0.htm
Really like my arcteryx fortrez. Not sure I'd pay full price for it though
I fairly recently got a Rab Alpha Direct and it's brilliant for exactly this kind of thing. It's fleecy with a pertex outer but it's tight fitting and light and doesn't get in the way when you're climbing. It has a hood too, so great for breezy belays.
I don't usually give such shameless plugs but after a baltic day on the slate I'm completely convinced!
Rab Vapour-rise? I bought the hooded ‘Trail Smock’ version a number of years ago and have made good use of it during all my recent trips to the Alps. Also use it for winter trips to Scotland, North Wales and the Lakes A truly versatile piece of kit indeed.
Thin syntectic down jacket. I use one from Inov8, but numerous others also exist. Has pretty much replaced all my fleece shirts/jackets, Bar the ones I use when hanging around at the chalet.
Blocks wind or is semi permiable, Depending on which way around it is. New model seems to have Polartec Alpha. https://www.inov-8.com/eu/men/clothing/jackets/thermoshell-insulated-running-jacket-mens-black
Patagucci Nano or What ever it was called could also be considered.
This is the best of all worlds. I use for summer rock over a tee and winter ice/mixed. Layers brilliantly under a wind- or hard-shell. Also superb for winter mountain biking as it blocks wind at the front while breathing hard under arm and at the rear.
Available for £70 - £80 as far as I can tell. Adeptly combines the breathability of fleece with the wind-proofing and extra snugness of a filled layer.
Only improvement would be a lightweight hood
> Only improvement would be a lightweight hood
Like the Nano-Air Hoodie
> In reply to BnB
> Like the Nano-Air Hoodie
An obvious alternative but which doesn't benefit from the less bulky, heat-dumping, hybrid construction. I have both and find myself turning to the hybrid for higher output activities.
I take it you haven't tried it?
First and foremost I almost always wear a thin stretchy softshell (an ME Squall at the minute), which deals with wind and UV. If it's cold enough to need more than a T-shirt and softshell my current go-to is a Nano Air, but previously used to just be a microfleece pullover.
I keep the softshell on nearly all the time because it's not uncomfortably warm on hot still days, and it means less stopping to faff about with layers if the sun goes in or the wind picks up. The most important thing for me is that each layer needs a full zip; it's a lot less faff to extricate yourself from your unwanted fleece if it doesn't have to come off over your head, if you're wearing coils.
> An obvious alternative but which doesn't benefit from the less bulky, heat-dumping, hybrid construction. I have both and find myself turning to the hybrid for higher output activities.
> I take it you haven't tried it?
Yes, I have. But I prefer no hood on that layer or you end up wearing 4 hoods.
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