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Layering for fall in the Sierra

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Layering for fall in the Sierra

Postby FeetFirst » Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:16 pm

Layering for summer in the Sierra is pretty easy, but come fall and I'm always conflicted on what to bring. I normally hike in the Northern Sierra (e.g. Desolation, Mokelumne, and Emigrant Wilderness), so the elevation is generally below 10K and above 7K feet. Most of my trips are 3 days/2 nights. If significant precip and/or a cold front is/are expected then I normally reschedule. My past experiences in the fall have been clear warmish days (60sF) with cold frosty nights (lower 30sF), so that's what I'm planning for with additional measures to be safe down to 20F. I normally like to hang out for a bit after sunset rather than heading to bed when the mercury starts to drop. Here's what I was using last year and while I was happy with it, I don't think I experienced temps much below freezing.

Worn while hiking:
-Nylon pants (Royal Robbins Mtn. Goat Performance);
-Short sleeve T-shirt (Adidas Clima-lite, synthetic) or Patagonia Cap2 long sleeve shirt** (also sleep wear);
-Injinji toe socks (Outdoor series-wool/nylon blend, quarter length); and
-REI Boxer Briefs undies (nylon).

Supplement while hiking:
-Wind shirt (Outdoor Research Ion pullover w/hood); and
-100/200 weight fleece jacket (Patagonia R1 full zip).

Rain wear:
-WPB jacket (RAB Drillium, eVent); and
-WPB pants (Sierra Designs microlight)*generally only used in camp if chilled or on wet mornings.

Additioanl layers, not normally worn while hiking, but possible on cold mornings until I warm up:
-Thermal bottoms (Patagonia Cap2);
-Thermal top (long sleeve, Patagonia Cap2)**;
-Insulation Jacket (Montbell UL Thermawrap jacket, synthetic fill);
-Beanie (Smartwool cuffed beanie, merino wool); and
-Gloves (liners, Mtn. Hardwear Powerstretch).

Misc:
-Rocky GoreTex oversocks
-Balaclava (OR Option Balaclava, nylon/polypro)
-1 extra pair of socks (wool/nylon)
-bandana

Sleeping bag:
-Moonstone Lucid 800 20F (800FP Down, 1.1 Pertex x-ray shell w/DWR)

Sleeping pad(s):
-Therm-a-rest Ridge Rest SOLite, small (20" x 48", 2.8R-value, closed cell); and
-Generic blue foam, regular (20" x 72", 3/8" thick), legs supplemented with pack.

I've considered getting warmer thermal tops & bottoms, (i.e. mid-weight vs. light weight). I've also considered something a bit warmer than the MB UL Thermawrap for more safey factor. Any thoughts or insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
I'm still rather convinced that you can achieve more than you've ever dreamed of if you just lower your standards.



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Re: Layering for fall in the Sierra

Postby hikin_jim » Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:13 pm

Looks like a pretty good set up. Can't say that you need to add anything. Maybe a down jacket if it got colder or you wanted to save some weight over your current synthetic jacket.

How do you like your Injinji socks? Do they make your shoes fit any differently?

HJ
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Re: Layering for fall in the Sierra

Postby FeetFirst » Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:58 pm

hikin_jim wrote:
How do you like your Injinji socks? Do they make your shoes fit any differently?

HJ


I have somewhat of a love-hate relationship with the Injinjis.

I love the fit especially since they've cured the terrible blister problems I use to get on my pinky toes. Shoes fit the same, but the socks do take a while to get use to. Something about the feeling of fabric between the toes.

I hate that I've worn holes in a new pair on one 30 mile trip! I contacted Injinji directly and they shipped a new pair to me for free though. I've since had better luck with the durability so it may have been a bad pair, but time will tell.
I'm still rather convinced that you can achieve more than you've ever dreamed of if you just lower your standards.
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Re: Layering for fall in the Sierra

Postby hikin_jim » Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:27 pm

Interesting, thanks.

I've got skinny feet, so having something add a little width would be a good thing. My dad had the same issue and used to wrap ace bandages around the arch of his foot just so his feet wouldn't slip around.

All that aside, it really does sound like you've got a good gear list for the kind of hikes you were talking about.

I sometimes will go with a lighter bag and sleep with my jacket on; that might be an option if a) you've got a lighter bag and b) are interested in going a little lighter. The other trick is a Nalgene full of hot water wrapped in a spare sock in the foot of your bag. Nice!

HJ
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Re: Layering for fall in the Sierra

Postby oldranger » Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:00 am

FF

Rather than heavier tops and bottoms consider two lightweight pairs. This way you can tune into your needs. For my late season trips all I add over my summer trips is a heavy fleece hat with ties to keep it from coming off when I sleep, a light synthetic hoody in sept (100 wt fleece hoody in oct), an extra pair of long underwear bottoms, and in October thick wool mittens.

If it is over 45 degrees or will get there soon I still hike in shorts and my usual long sleeve synthetic shirt. I much prefer to be a little cool when hiking rather than accumulate sweat.

Mike
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Re: Layering for fall in the Sierra

Postby FeetFirst » Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:34 am

oldranger wrote:FF

Rather than heavier tops and bottoms consider two lightweight pairs. This way you can tune into your needs.

I much prefer to be a little cool when hiking rather than accumulate sweat.

Mike


Mike, good point about base layers. If the weather is forecasted to go below freezing, I'll just throw in an additional pair of lightweight bottoms.

I too prefer to start a bit cool when hiking; keeps me motivated to move fast. :)
I'm still rather convinced that you can achieve more than you've ever dreamed of if you just lower your standards.
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Re: Layering for fall in the Sierra

Postby oldranger » Thu Sep 29, 2011 6:55 pm

FF

At my age moving fast is an oxymoron! :nod:

Mike
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Re: Layering for fall in the Sierra

Postby Flux » Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:01 pm

After shivering my butt off trying to stargaze at night, I finally bought a down sweater, best thing ever really. If you are concerned about wet, then get a synthetic fill. Just about every company is making their version now with 800 fill. Very versatile piece of gear and weighs about half a pound.

Patagonia Down Sweater is what I own, but there are many others.
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Re: Layering for fall in the Sierra

Postby DAVELA » Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:28 am

Flux wrote:After shivering my butt off trying to stargaze at night, I finally bought a down sweater, best thing ever really. If you are concerned about wet, then get a synthetic fill. Just about every company is making their version now with 800 fill. Very versatile piece of gear and weighs about half a pound.

Patagonia Down Sweater is what I own, but there are many others.


i GOT THE PAT SWEATER ALSO AND IT AINT HAPPENING for me.Doesnt make me toasty like my michelin man no-name brand 550 down jacket.I dont know everybody seems to love it?
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Re: Layering for fall in the Sierra

Postby Flux » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:09 am

I'm guessing the no name 550 is loftier and heavier???

I've found a down sweater to be a great layering piece and a lot of warmth for the 12oz, but certainly they are not a full on down jacket.

I think at a certain point, non-lofting layers get diminishing returns.
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Re: Layering for fall in the Sierra

Postby hikin_jim » Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:43 am

Western Mountaineering and Montbell's version of down sweaters get higher marks in the reviews I've read. Having said that, I've got the Patagonia down sweater. Mine's a hoodie which I find makes a big difference. I often will go out with my 32F rated bag into temps in the high 20's. Normally, I sleep a little on the cold side, but if I wear my down sweater to bed with the hood up, I stay pretty toasty. The hood on the down sweater + the hood on my bag makes for a really warm combo.

Image

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Re: Layering for fall in the Sierra

Postby fishmonger » Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:49 pm

I have three down jackets - from thin to fat and puffy. Living in a state where it's freezing almost longer than it's above 32F, you can justify going a little over the top with the warm layers.

for the not so cold days I have a really light 800 fill north face Diez ($110 on Steep and cheap)
http://www.backcountry.com/the-north-fa ... ns-tnf5768

For possibly wet and overall not so friendly weather I have a Mammut Stratus synthetic fill belay jacket with hood (also a Steep and cheap steal)
http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=849


and the really warm jacket is a Mountain Hardware sub zero with hood, but still thin enough to fit below my hardshell. It's warmer than the Mammut, not much heavier, and has a conduit fabric layer to help keep things dry.
http://www.backcountry.com/mountain-har ... acket-mens

the MHW Sub Zero was on Whitney in April - definitely the right amount of insulation for the temps then. I was looking at the Western Mountaineering jacket, but it seemed rather expensive for not a lot of features. Even the Marmot Greenland or the Patagonia Fitzroy seemed like a better choice at the time. when the MHW went on sale, I grabbed it. Like it a lot.

here with the last cup of hot coffee at the kilns before heading up to Telescope Peak in March
Image

Funny that all jackets I have are black. I really don't like black, but when on sale, that seems to be the only color I can score.
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