/ Winter mid layer options

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coldwill - on 13 Mar 2019

Anyone using light synthetic jacket as a mid layer for winter climbing.  Prompted by a mate who left his fleece behind last year and used a light synthetic.  Seemed to work ok.  I always freeze and seem to stay cold so was wondering what people thought of the Rab Cirrus flex or similar under a gtx. I already have the jacket but looking for thoughts.

Currently use a power stretch/power dry/GTX combo.

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Lornajkelly - on 13 Mar 2019
In reply to coldwill:

I have a montane prism that works perfectly under my shell outer.  I also am prone to being very cold, especially if I stop moving and sit around for a bit.  I personally avoid wearing it for strenuous walk-ins (I don't winter climb, I just hike, so for me this is the main upwards route of the hike) and then put it on when I stop for lunch or hit an exposed ridgeline.  But I sweat a fair amount when I'm doing strenuous activity, and that's a recipe for getting damp and cold.  

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afx22 - on 13 Mar 2019
In reply to coldwill:

I find the newer 'active' style fleeces better in winter.  They breathe better, so they dry more quickly and I can keep them on through a wider range of temps.  I have a couple of jackets with Polartec Alpha insulation and they've been great.

I've found the more traditional Synthetics tend to work in a narrower temperature range, so I used to be always layering up and down.  The extra lining layer reduces breathability and means they stay damp for longer.  That damp become cold when I stop.  Now they're relegated to chucking on between bouldering attemps in winter.

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coldwill - on 13 Mar 2019
In reply to Lornajkelly:

Hi Lorna, I mean to wear it when I reach the base of a climb instead of a fleece and still carry a belay jacket. I wouldn't wear it for the walk in or out and it would be for cold days. 

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coldwill - on 13 Mar 2019
In reply to afx22:

I used an alpha flux last year and found the outer material became sodden. Maybe a new style alpha then. Hear what your saying obut the lining layer but the Cirrus has fleece panels. 

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HeMa on 13 Mar 2019
In reply to coldwill:

Such things work like a charm and are often a lot warmer than a fleece (atleast for the weight).

I've used numerous years an Inov8 (or was it OMM) thin synthetic insulation piece when it's colder. Sure, you might need to wear something else on the approach (I did that in Scotland) if there is a severe temp difference and/or highly physical approach (for a desk jockey, SCNL it was both, Para Andy was however worth the hike...).

If it is warm (close to zero and not moist like Scotland), I might go with fleece/wool shirt on top of the undershirt and perhaps a Marmot Driclime vest.

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kj001 - on 13 Mar 2019
In reply to coldwill:

For the past few seasons winter climbing in Scotland, I’ve used a Rab Strata hoodie over a base layer for insulation. Hard shell over if inclement weather or when climbing/belaying; belay jacket if really cold when on belay. It works better for me than a fleece - more windproof and the Polartec Alpha filling is great. Sadly Rab don’t do the Strata any more.

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mattc - on 13 Mar 2019
In reply to coldwill:

I use a Patagonia nano air light hybrid it’s brilliant I hardly take it off

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jonnie3430 - on 13 Mar 2019
In reply to coldwill:

My other half wears an atom Lt as mid layer with light fleece and base layer underneath.

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wbo - on 13 Mar 2019
In reply to coldwill: yes, another nano air user.  It's what they're designed for.  I see more such jackets used in such a way now than fleeces

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BnB - on 13 Mar 2019
In reply to wbo:

> yes, another nano air user.  It's what they're designed for.  I see more such jackets used in such a way now than fleeces

I'm pretty sure I was one of the first adopters for winter climbing and I now choose exclusively between Nano Air or the Nano Air Light Hybrid depending on conditions. Both are superb. The former provides more warmth, OP.

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coldwill - on 13 Mar 2019
In reply to wbo:

Excellent, seems like this might be the answer. Will pack a fleece just in case but looking forward to trying the Cirrus  

Now to find a pair of powerstretch tights with some insulation on the thighs.. 

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HeMa on 13 Mar 2019
In reply to coldwill:

Another option is thinner running tights and then on top power strech capris (or wool).

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DaveHK - on 13 Mar 2019
In reply to coldwill:

I bought an OMM Rotor smock for running but have been experimenting with it winter climbing.

I haven't done a long route with hard climbing in it yet so I'm not sure how it will cope with sweat/exertion but so far it seems to be good. Excellent warmth to weight ratio.

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teh_mark on 13 Mar 2019
In reply to coldwill:

I use a Nano Air or (after https://www.ukhillwalking.com/forums/gear/woolly_jumpers-694036) a high-collared thin woolly jumper, depending on mood, weather, etc. The Nano Air is the ideal mid layer in my opinion, if it fits you. I was wearing one as an outer jacket in London in a torrential downpour on my way to work. Thirty minutes of thorough soaking, and it was substantially dry fifteen minutes later. Insanely breathable.

Post edited at 18:47
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LucaC - on 13 Mar 2019
In reply to coldwill:

My go-to has been a powerdry base layer with an r2 hi loft and an atom lt primaloft, all under my goretex. I don't seem to sweat out too badly but the atom is always wet on the face fabric at the end of the day. Keeps me comfortable at least. 

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carr0t - on 13 Mar 2019

I use a Simon's hybrid sprint jacket and a Primark synthetic puffie. It works quite well and is a steal at 70 quid all in

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climber34neil - on 13 Mar 2019
In reply to coldwill:

I've been using a marmot varient for that purpose for a few years now find it works really well, just bought an ME transition jacket which is amazing, put it on and forget about it, no need to change or swap layers all day

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captain paranoia - on 13 Mar 2019
In reply to carr0t:

> I use a Simond's hybrid sprint jacket 

Found one discounted in the Crawley branch tonight. Had to go up one size from my usual Decathlon M, and two up from my normal generic S...

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coldwill - on 14 Mar 2019
In reply to teh_mark:

I remember that Patagonia have a very boxy fit with the arms not very long. Might try one of the Nanos thought if there that good. 

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coldwill - on 14 Mar 2019
In reply to carr0t:

I've tried the cheaper fleeces before and found they don't perform as well when when they get wetted out. Take ages to dry. 

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hpil - on 14 Mar 2019
In reply to coldwill:

+1 for polartec alpha - i use a Rab alpha direct which is great, and (i think) is a bit more wind & weatherproof than the alpha flux due to the pertex outer. Have recently tracked down a second hand strata hoodie for spring & autumn walking - cuff detailing isnt quite as good as the alpha direct / alpha flux. If only rab would do the alpha flux with a more windproof outer...

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coldwill - on 14 Mar 2019
In reply to hpil:

I thought the alpha direct was more jacket that fleece with no ventilation but  Ever used it. Bit like wearing a buffalo under a goretex. 

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teh_mark on 14 Mar 2019
In reply to coldwill:

I'm a slim 5'8, and while it's certainly not tailor-made, I'd say it fits me quite well at rest and climbing. I otherwise fit a Mountain Equipment small very well, if that gives you a better idea?

Going on my 6'3 mate's comments, it doesn't fit the lanky very well. But that's the price you pay for being able to reach past the crux on nine out of ten grit routes as far as I'm concerned...

Post edited at 17:36
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coldwill - on 14 Mar 2019
In reply to teh_mark:

True dat

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kj001 - on 14 Mar 2019
In reply to hpil:

glad to find someone,she who rates Polartec Alpha. My understanding is that the more rigid form it takes means less stitching etc as it can sit as a sheet. This also means very little lining needed so breathability is excellent. Coupled with the Pertex microlight outer of the Strata, this gave the best insulation/windproof/breathabilty balance in any jacket I have owned. Perhaps we can persuade Rab to make them again!

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stevevans5 on 15 Mar 2019
In reply to coldwill:

I like synth jackets as midlayers as you can wear as the outer layer and then stick a shell on top only if/when you need the extra protection. I really like the alpha flux, but as others have noted it's more of a semi windproof hoodie than a jacket. I also have a ME Kinesis which is a fair bit more weatherproof but still thin, light and comfortable as a midlayer.  I also use it as a thicker windshell for colder trad climbing, it's one of those layers that makes everything feel a bit better when you put it on

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captain paranoia - on 15 Mar 2019
In reply to coldwill:

> I've tried the cheaper fleeces before

The Simond Hybrid Sprint isn't a fleece; it's a hybrid of synthetic, softshell, a bit of stretch waffle fleece, and a bit of waterproof.

https://www.decathlon.co.uk/sprint-mens-hybrid-jacket-id_8363309.html

Post edited at 11:51
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coldwill - on 15 Mar 2019
In reply to captain paranoia:

It's the fleecy part of the hybrid that I'm on about.  Always seems to let the jackets down when the cuffs/sleeves get wet.  I see this one is a softshell component thought.

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captain paranoia - on 15 Mar 2019
In reply to coldwill:

> It's the fleecy part of the hybrid that I'm on about

In the Simond Hybrid, it's a thin waffle fleece in armpits, and a strip along the rear raglan seam, to allow articulation. It's not a thick internal panel; in fact, one of the downsides is that the fleece has no wind protection in those points... The upper arms are synthetic insulation, and the forearms are softshell, with a stretch fabric at the cuff.

I'm not saying the Simond is what you want, just trying to correct misconceptions about its design; it's primarily a synthetic/soft shell jacket, with a little bit of fleece at the armpits, for venting.

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