“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. The winds will blow
their freshness into you, and the storms, their energy. Your cares
and tensions will drop away like the leaves of autumn. ~John Muir”—
I am ALL about technical layering. I would even say I am fascinated by it and I love to explain the technique and items to facilitate its awesomeness to people. I came across this lovely article over on SetionHiker.com and could not have explained it better myself… so I’m not gonna :)
“KISS Layering in Winter” via SectionHiker.com…
Many winter hikers use a four layer clothing system:
A base layer, consisting of a synthetic wicking long sleeved shirt and long underwear.
A fleece sweater as an insulating midlayer.
A hard shell jacket and pants as a wind-proof/waterproof layer.
A puffy down or synthetic jacket and pants for even more warmth.
During the day when you are active, you’ll most likely be wearing layers 1-3, in addition to gloves and one or more hats, although during periods of high exertion you may take off layers 3 and 2 to vent as much extra heat as possible in order to avoid sweating. If you do sweat, the function of your base layer is to move the sweat away from your skin and into layers 2 and 3 where eventually evaporate without chilling you, because it’s in a higher layer.
Generally, you really only need the 4th insulation layer when you stop for a break, for hanging around camp, or for very cold summit conditions and high windchill.
When you go to buy winter hiking layers, it’s tempting to buy a jacket that combines layers 2 and 3, the insulating layer with a wind proof shell in order to save money. There are also many coats available that are waterproof hard shells with a built-in fleece liner, snowsport jackets that have added down or synthetic insulation in them, or so-called 3-in-1 component jackets which only contain 2 components, an exterior waterproof/breathable shell and inner fleece/insulated jacket that can be zipped out. While these might be suitable for downhill skiing or riding the school bus, I wouldn’t recommend them for winter hiking, backpacking or mountaineering.
Instead, my advice is to implement each of your layers using a different best of breed garment. This gives you the most flexibility and let’s you select garments that are optimal for a specific function. It’s also far easier to control your heat level with individual garments versus garments that combine two layers into one, and the failure of a single piece of clothing (broken zipper, for instance) will only compromise one of your layers and not potentially two.
Keep it simple: a separate garment for each layer.
Note: This layering system adheres to all 4 seasons of outdoor activity. One would just finish layering at lower a number on the list as it warms up!
I attribute a whole lot of the president to which I live my life to my big brother, Bill. As such, 4+ years ago he took me on a hiking/fishing trip and in the process lost an item of notable mention. A Luminox Navy Seal watch he’d worn since the time of his service in the Iraq war. This watch, given to him by a Navy Seal themselves, was at the time of learning of it’s origins, a direct indication to the high level of badass he is. It was since then synonymous to my brothers truly epic persona in my eyes. After it was lost in the drink, it became a personal commission of mine to replace it. I am just to ever so damn pleased to hear that he just received his chritmas present from me… that watch. Although some might hear of such an item and think oh, what pitiful stuff. To me, reuniting him with this token of awesomeness has quite literally made my christmas.
the merrell origins blog really is nice. but, how do you feel about the actual shoes?
Great question! (especially since I just touted them as if I worked there :P ) BUT, I am incidentally, more than somewhat a fan as it where…
In the world of outdoor footwear, there are so many choices with so many prices!?! I mentioned here about a month or so ago that there are lots of things to look for in outdoor footwear and I think Merrel offers a lot of really great options. I like a LOT of their stuff, I am the biggest fan of the Chameleon4… I am lucky enough to work where their footwear is sold, so I often try on their shoes during my shift and test drive them for about 5 hours haha, and I can earnestly say that I was very pleased with them (I will likely purchase the Chameleon4 GORE TX after the holidays…) They fit the foot pretty well, I have very narrow feet and my brother has averagely wide feet and we both get a comfortable fit. (If you have wider feet than I would recommend KEEN footwear ;) )
I hope this was helpful and hope you get to try out a pair if it strike your fancy!