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Thread: Layering recommendations for tropical rainforest up to temperate forest

  1. #1
    Widdler
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    Hi guys, Im from Asia where its hot and humid..but i do a bit of hiking around the region where its usually hot and humid in the lower regions( temp range 30degC) up to higher summits where temp can go to -5degC at cold camp nites/early mornings..

    Can you recommend midlayer and outer layer kits which can withstand the wind and rain when on the move and provide warmth when sitting around on cold nites at summit camps, say temp range from high of 20degC to a low of -5degC plus minus? A cheap option I found so far is the Cabela's dry plus 3in1 Spectrum jacket although weightwise is not to my liking, nearly 4pounds..will this be enuf for cold camp nites or do I need an extra synthetic down? And the outer layer shld be tough as I will have my rucsack on most of the time..

    Any other suggestions, from Paramo or Rab? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    For such a wide range of climatic conditions, I'd always recommend a versatile layering system:

    base layer

    mid layer (e.g. generic 100 weight fleece)

    lightweight windproof shell

    lightweight waterproof shell

    synthetic warmth overlayer (e.g. 60 or 100g Primaloft)

    Combine the multitude of layer combinations to suit the conditions and activity.

    Don't wear a waterproof unless you really have to.

    Pick and choose from your favourite supplier. In terms of your temperature range of -5 to +20, that setup should work pretty well.

    I'm not sure of how best to cope with the very humid conditions, as that's outside my experience.

    Some of the more exotic Paramo items might work to your advantage, such as the Summit Hoodie and Fuera Ascent, which, individually would serve as mid layer and windproof layer, but combined would become effectively waterproof.

    The advantage of the synthetic overlayer is that they're light and compact, and, since you're unlikely to need them when moving (and hance carrying your rucksack), can be made with lightweight shell fabrics.

    Hopefully, you'll get some more suggestions from those with more relevant experience of humid to cold conditions.

  3. #3
    Initiate Ben Turner's Avatar
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    +20°C to -5°C in a day is a lot to cope with.

    I would say Paramo waterproof jackets are too warm over about 10°C andtoo heavy to carry so that puts you intolayers as the Captain says.Some of the other Paramo stuff, especially the reversible garments could work well in the conditions you describe as part of a layering system.

  4. #4
    Widdler
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    capt, i have the SH+FA in view, since it says with 1 or both combine shld be able to cope with temp range 20 to -20degC...only the price is making me hold back.. but i like the Paramo analogy and would like to try 1 if possible..

    ben, the temp range of 20 to 0 or -5degC may be over a few days not a day, but i think it can be if say ur in Kilimanjaro where u will start in the high range and at night time ca drop very low, not to say i've been there, only reading blogs of people who have been there.. the mountains in this region can reach +- 0 degC at night depending on the weather conditions..

    Like i've mentioned the Cabelas 3in1 Spectrum is a cheaper alternative than the Paramo SH n FA..or i can just get the fuera ascent for wind protection albeit a bit warm i shld think for weather over here and a snugpak sleeka as my night time warm layer..

    everything will be so much easier to decide if the moolah is there...

  5. #5
    bermensch Nigel Healy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by captain paranoia View Post
    I'm not sure of how best to cope with the very humid conditions, as that's outside my experience.
    I have. Just thin short-sleeve base to spread the sweat out for maximum cooling and shorts. It's the easiest problem to solve

    My "personal best" was walking in 107F 98% humidity, around Houston last summer.

    Paramo waterproofs are heavy, and expensive, they combine insulation and windproof into a waterproof system but you need really to be spending all day in coolish temperatures. Great for winter. 10C was mentioned I found about 13C the absolute upper limit for moving in Paramo waterproofs. You can get a 500g Paramo waterproof, it will be better than a shell but only when its cool enough. The fuera+summit is heavy for insulation+windproof or insulation+waterproof, and doesn't really cover you for warm+wet, you'll be too warm in the heavy rain.

    The 4th outer layer, I'd recommend something like the Paramo Torres gilet, its very water-resistant and you throw over whatever you are wearing.

    For waterproof shell, you really need to try one on for fit you could be wearing for hours in rain. Its worth paying for the best one which (arguably) the concensus is an eVent jacket like from Rab, Montane. I have Marmot Aegis which is nearly as good as eVent but lower cost.

    Windproods should be worn in preference to waterproofs, they are cheaper and so should be taking the most wear, preserve your waterproof shell for when sustained rain. Windproofs dry quickly so handle light or short showers very well. Something like the Paramo Fuera jacket if you can find in a sale otherwise Montane?

    The fleece is an easy choice, cheap!

    Baselayer, my favourite isn't made anymore, the Berghaus X-static but I wear them in hot situations they dry quickly if you are walking in rain and its 100F they are just fine.

    Weight, a fleece mid-layer, a windproof, a shell, overlayer gilet, comes to about 1.2KG depending on weight vs features decisions.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    > a snugpak sleeka as my night time warm layer..

    I'd say the Sleeka is OTT for what you want; too hot, and too bulky.

    I agree that Paramo stuff tends to be heavy; the Summit Hoodie is about twice the weight of an average 100 weight fleece, but it does offer that waterproof option. I see no reason why you couldn't layer a lighter windproof over it, rather than the Fuera. I suggested the Fuera as it's more robust than the lighter windshirts (and, in my preferred system, I'd wear it far more than a waterproof).

    IMHO, if it's warm and wet, I just wear a windshirt and get a bit wet from rain; in those conditions, you're going to get wet somehow, be it from rain or sweat. I prefer rain...

  7. #7
    bermensch Nigel Healy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by captain paranoia View Post


    IMHO, if it's warm and wet, I just wear a windshirt and get a bit wet from rain; in those conditions, you're going to get wet somehow, be it from rain or sweat. I prefer rain...
    Shells and sweat don't go well, the shell's breathability becomes blocked as the shell is worn in a long trip. The grease is pushed off the skin via sweat dirties the shell, this blocks the breathability exactly where water is being pumped from the body. Eventually some shells then reverse and sucks water in if it becomes too soiled and many struggle to then clean. This is commonly why shells fail eventually. Hence the shell should only be worn once the level of rain is swamping a windproof. The less time it is worn the longer it lasts and on a multi-day trip the shell's performance is slowly degrading as it is worn. Grease acts to attach dirt and fibres and makes cleaning progressively harder.

    So wearing a windproof til the rain's heaviness or you stop moving, and then swap to a shell waterproof will make your shell do its job for longer life.

    If its cool enough Paramo is very good. It too fails eventually but the the pump liner can become blocked in places, the fabric is quite baggy so the sweat moves onto other nearby fabric and works its journey out and the dirty places are vulnerable to water coming back in. Paramo however responds very well to cleaning because it does not have a DWR as its barrier but a pump liner. Hence Paramo will last longer than a shell and is good value if you're in cool climate. Paramo costs typically around the same as a good shell.

    As a windproof is typically 30 quid and a shell typically 100 to 200 quid, its far better economics to use windproofs first and waterproofs secondary.

    This also means its worth getting a hard-wearing windproof as you'll be wearing often, and don't get sticker-shocker at a good shell's cost, it should last many years if kept for the worst conditions.

    I have seen many many hikers walking up a hill sweating wearing expensive technical jackets only to later say their waterproofs failed when in fact it was their own sweat and a soiled or worn fabric.

  8. #8
    bermensch Nigel Healy's Avatar
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    The FA+SH, I was very interested in it also but couldn't figure it out. So perhaps my experience was falsely clouded by owning a Fuera it leaked like a seive through the hood stitching and from there inside the whole jacket. That was with the Fuera smock. Possibly the Fuera Ascent has a better hood? However you're at that point the rain is getting heavier and yet its not yet that cold, so you're going to remove the windproof and add the pump-liner fleece Summit Hoodie and then what? You walk in just the fleece? How does that fleece handle that wear? You layer the Fuera back ontop and become too warm? The usual layering approach is windproof for cool, remove and layer under as it gets cooler but dry or replace windproof with waterproof if its still warm but wetter. To get waterproof from adding insulation means in about 25% of the time you're too-warm when its wet.

    Once the temperature is low enough Paramo makes sense but if you're beginning at a high temperature and ascending the FA+SH just seems a lot of hassle for its weight.

    What I did was the Quito route which is a lighter minimum-insulation Paramo waterproof, it is half the weight of the FA+SH so its less problem to pack. It is cooler due to less fabric than the FA+SH so gets me waterproof at a higher temperature. However in this context of beginning in warm weather even the Quito would be weight and too warm for much of the time in the rain, so I agree with the 4-layer idea.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    I take it your posts are meant to be reinforcing, rather than disagreeing with my comments about the use of windproofs?

    I've never managed to find any Paramo that fitted me well enough for me to buy it, but the FA/SH looked an interesting concept. Maybe they need to make an SH in the lighter weight liner fabric?

    My comment about preferring to be warm and rain wet addresses the issue of Paramo being too warm as a waterproof; otherwise I'm inclined to agree with your analysis.

  10. #10
    bermensch Nigel Healy's Avatar
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    yes, CP, am reinforcing and agreeing with you. I think Paramo waterproof as the best solution when you're habiting cool and wet situations and predominantly wearing all the time, but in this situation it would be less flexible weight in the sack and layering makes perfect sense.

    SH+ light windproof makes some sense but will the FA handle the greater rate of water hitting it through a thinner windproof? The ingress through say Pertex is faster than through say a Fuera.

    I think of investing in SH myself but I must try it on for size, with the Pixies of Wadhurst weird view on sizing. If it were the weight and close fit of a simple fleece I'd buy one as then I can simply carry a Pertex shell to make it waterproof. However, SH has comments about weight, bulk, "boxy" and also there are comments on shortness of sleeves and jacket. I am passing through UK next month and I might get chance to touch a SH.

  11. #11
    Widdler
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    The paramo fabric is 1 where i really like to try, especially in our humid conditions here..there is a sale of their fuera peak + trekker hoodie for 100...you guys think that would be better instead of fa+sh? but both them combine is still not waterproof right?

    abt the snugpak, maybe i can get the lite version?they also have their wondproof top which looks ok too.
    say if i have 200 quids to spent on on a midlayer, windproof and waterproof, what you guys suggest imagining if you r here in this region..

  12. #12
    bermensch Nigel Healy's Avatar
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    So the Fuera Peak (FP) and the trekker hoodie (TH) is an interesting one. I have that essentially now I have a Fuera smock and a TH. What the TH does is offer two levels of insulation and it has a fleecy side and a smooth side. If you wet the TH the fleecy side holds the wet fabric off you so you can wear the TH in its warmer (fleecy side in) and as the TH gets wet (from sweat or from rain) you don't feel as cold. This feature is quite remarkable, I can wash my TH and touch the fleecy and the smooth side, the fleecy side feels warmer than the smooth side.

    The difference in heating between fleecy and smooth is real but minor, but the ability to hold water either away or touching your is significant, so the reversing effect is magnified in damp situations. The TH is meant to be a base layer or worn over a thin baselayer, so you could call it mid-layer but can be worn next to skin.

    So... if you layer under a windproof you get a system which is flexible and if its cool enough you can have a water-resistant windproof and the TH underneath in its warmer mode (fleece inwards) and as the rain get inside the windproof, the TH wicks it away and holds it off the skin so you don't feel too cold. That is, you feel comfortable which is what matterss. If you want to become colder you can reverse the TH and get the wet fabric touching your skin.

    So the FP+TH is not actually waterproof, but its quite comfortable in a wet situation, and obviously is flexible to cope with a range of temperatures.

    If you wanted to go that route, I'd recommend a light waterproof shell to add to the system to wear in wet conditions instead of the windproof. The TH would then take any water that gets in or condenses on the shell and either hold it away from the body for maximum warmth or hold it close to the skin for maximum cooling.

    The TH is not my favourite in that fabric type, the Paramo Explorer is, I just prefer the arm-resting position the chest pocket and I find its comfier around the neck and the TH's hood is so baggy it isn't that much warming on the head.

    The TH is heavy for what it is, its heavier and not quite as warm as a fleece but the reversing and water-pushing feature is handy. I often cycle in a Fuera smock and a Explorer (same fabric) and feel warm and dry but my Explorer is getting wet underneath the Fuera and I don't care!

  13. #13
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    > However, SH has comments about weight, bulk, "boxy" and also there are comments on shortness of sleeves.

    AKA 'Paramo cut', in my experience...

    Trekker Hoody as a wicking base layer suggests it's not proofed, or the pile wouldn't wick (the 'anti-wicking' of the proofed micropile is how Paramo Analogy system works, after all)?

  14. #14
    Widdler
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    sometimes too much info makes me go giddy, but its good coz then hopefully i will buy the correct kit..
    and rite now i think i have a few in mind, tell me what you guys think ok?

    base layer-long sleeve lightweight base layer (my own)

    mid layer-either paramo explorer pull-on or snugpak vapour active lightweight wind jacket

    outer layer- cabela dry-plus waterproof ultra parka

    synthetic layer- cabela ultra-pack synthetic down parka or snugpak sleeka lite

    for the outer shell i want the quito but its a bit over my budget..so any other suggestions?

    synthetic insulation- cabela


    campwear insulation- snugpak sleeka lite(need to buy)


  15. #15
    bermensch Nigel Healy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abdul razak abdul kadir View Post
    i want the quito but its a bit over my budget.
    You can do quite well with the Marmot Aegis with a reasonable hood and pitzips, is quite breathable, low weight and low cost.

    For more minimalist consider the Marmot Mica, hood not as good no pitzips but lighter.

    I'd avoid Quito based on your description of intended use. Quito would do better for a general-purpose insulated waterproof/windproof for temperatures in the 0C-10C range.

    The Aegis would be more in the 10C-15C range and you'd layer to extend to -5C.

  16. #16
    Ultra King Parky Again's Avatar
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    edited for nonsense

  17. #17
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    > Paramo however responds very well to cleaning because it does not have a DWR as its barrier but a pump liner

    The pump liner only works because it's treated with a DWR (Nikwax TX) to modify the contact angle, making it 'anti-wick', rather than wick (i.e. water is forced out of the micropile of the 'pump liner' by capillary action, rather than being pulled into the micropile.

    The shell is also DWR treated.

  18. #18
    Ultra King Parky Again's Avatar
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    the paramo explorer pull on has a double layer of fabric at the front where the pocket is. this makes itwarmer. it is reasonably windproof too which is fine but it does have very limited venting opportunities.

    the trekker hoodie, having a nice long zip ups the venting options and the hood, whilst baggy (if it was supposed to keep your head warm it would have a pull cord in it), is effective at taking the edge off the wind and also as acting quite well under a fuera hood to keep you head dryish.

    the summit hoodie has shorter arms precisely because it's supposed to fit under a shell.

    i would thoroughly recommend keeping it really simple with the capt's layering regime as it will reap many dividends because of its simplicity and, importantly, sheer lack of cost. once you gain some experience of what you feel like in certain conditions and what works well and what doesn't you can then start to concentrate in personalising the system with better/differentgear.

    actual shells become academic after a certain temperature/humidity and you won't be able to tell the difference that much between an expensive shell like event and a really cheap kagool type shell so even concerning yourself or even worrying about breathability of this layer is probably pointless. you will get wet. either by sweat or by rain. i prefer rain because i know i will dry quickly - in a shell i will stay wet for what seems forever.

    i usually wear a windproof (fuera jacket and additionally use an umbrella or put on a really cheap waterproof jacket which i have cut up so only the hood and the arms remain with a short "cape" section at the back (a la paramo 3rd element style arms). this keeps the rain off the most vulnerable parts of the windproof (shoulders and back), fits over my pack and allows me to have the superior breathability of the windproof. or i may wear a poncho instead if it's going to be quite warm.

  19. #19
    bermensch Nigel Healy's Avatar
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    So a 4-layer system at least cost?

    base layer - a whole topic in itself but I typically pay about 20-40.

    mid layer (e.g. generic 100 weight fleece) - a whole topic in itself but I typically pay 40

    lightweight windproof shell - 35 with a Fuera in a sale

    lightweight waterproof shell - With Marmot can do for 70 with eVent can do for 100

    synthetic warmth overlayer (e.g. 60 or 100g Primaloft) - recommend Torres gilet typically 65

    So combined cost 230 to 280. For trips longer than 2 nights I pack another baselayer so that's bumping the kit cost to 250 to 320.

    Parky your point that shells will get you wet is not an argument to not buy or carry a shell, just an argument to restrict when you wear one. I'd still encourage seeing the benefits of paying for a more breathable fabric, just know its limits.

  20. #20
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    > So a 4-layer system at least cost?

    Depends on how fancy you want it to be, and how many 'names'...

    My targets would be:

    base layer: 20

    mid layer: 20

    windproof: 40

    waterproof: 100 (Marmot sounds good)

    insulation: 60

    But by shopping around, you can do better than this. I don't expect the OP has a handy TK Maxx nearby, unfortunately...

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