Author Topic: Advice on winter hiking gear  (Read 2462 times)

Barmy_Army

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Advice on winter hiking gear
« on: 13:05:01, 21/10/19 »
Hi,


I have finally joined after lurking for a while. Me and the better half have started chalking off wainwrights this summer, and are looking to continue into the winter. After a rather chilly stroll up Dow Crag yesterday I am seeking some advice on certain layers/clothing items.


Looking for a good (sub 80-100) outer shell for us both. Was thinking of a Quechua MH500? Anyone have any experience with this jacket or the brand?

We both currently have a 100 Microfleece, looking for a better midlayer. This is where I am lost in the range of options. My understanding is that down is a luxury item and not essential, so is it a case of a thicker fleece or just another 100 for over the top?


Many thanks to anyone who takes the time!

ninthace

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Re: Advice on winter hiking gear
« Reply #1 on: 13:12:14, 21/10/19 »
Welcome to the forum.  I have never used said jacket but from the pictures of the Decathlon website, you might have trouble getting at the pockets with a pack on.  Take your pack with you when you try it, or any other jacket, on.
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sussamb

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Re: Advice on winter hiking gear
« Reply #2 on: 13:16:07, 21/10/19 »
I'd be tempted to get a thicker fleece for winter walking, or a synthetic down jacket/gillet to go over your current fleece if you get cold.  You might find this useful


https://www.blacks.co.uk/fleece-buying-guide
Where there's a will ...

gunwharfman

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Re: Advice on winter hiking gear
« Reply #3 on: 13:35:46, 21/10/19 »
I've struggled with what is the best winter clothing for my torso for a long while. I have arrived at the point of now being confident that a long-sleeved baselayer is essential and that my bamboo ones are the best. My merino ones are just as good I think, but in my case, they make me really itch. I prefer to wear synthetic baselayers in the warmer months. I am not keen at all on the elasticated very tight baselayers, they make me feel that I am trussed up like a turkey!

I then make a distinction between keeping dry versus all of the other weathers I might experience in the winter. My most valuable bit of dry weather clothing is my Rab windproof, I have another a Decathlon windproof which I use when out off-road running. The dilemma for me is whats best to wear between my baselayer and windproof? I like to wear a shirt with a collar but this is not essential to stay warm, just my preference. Its the qualities of the windproof that for me makes the difference in how I think about how to keep warm. For example, I have two old (20 year old) Blacks full zip fleece type jackets and they work fantastically well, but only when covered by my Rab. Their drawback is that they do not compress easily to fit comfortabley in my rucksack. The other problem is that without the windproof even a breeze whistles through Blacks material and they then become useless. My latest plan, although I keep hesitating about it is to buy a Rab Microlight down jacket (without a hood) or similar to take the place of my Black's jackets.

If it rains I can put my raincoat over my warm layer or wear it over my Rab windproof, both options work.

forgotmyoldpassword

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Re: Advice on winter hiking gear
« Reply #4 on: 13:43:22, 21/10/19 »
After buying an absolute load of gear, if I was starting out again I'd keep it simple, robust and effective:


For winter walking, most important layer is your base layer - it needs to fit well, merino wool works well but some prefer synthetics.  This keeps your skin from getting too clammy, and since water conducts 20 times better than air, this is what causes you to cool down rapidly in the winter months. Above that - 100wt fleece is what I use in much of the winter since I find it cheap, effective and I don't much care if I snag it on a barbed wire fence.  I've got a Polartec Thermal Pro beefy winter fleece which is exceptionally warm but not effective for moving quickly or uphill, so this usually works best for a winter ambling around town item or I leave it in the car as a dry layer for when I finish.


Windproof above the fleece (good ones are much more breathable than waterproofs, meaning less clammy, less wet, therefore less cold), but if you want a waterproof jacket that will be fine.  Pick something you're happy to wear for hours and I'd always choose pit zips if available as well as an adjustable hood which won't be useless in high winds. 


I keep a Mountain Equipment synthetic belay jacket in my rucksack for the winter months which is oversized and can go on top of everything else.  It works when wet, when I'm absolutely freezing and I find I prefer a simple warm jacket instead of taking layers off and 'adjusting' everything else.  This also works as a good 'loan' layer if you're hiking with anyone who is struggling since they can hand it back to you after warming up without taking everything off and losing heat.


Overall - good base layer (20), 100wt fleece (20), waterproof (60?), warm jacket (50?), good gloves and a hat.  In general I walk in base layer + wind proof and a light pair of gloves for most of the day, but then again I walk quickly and put out a lot of heat.   

gunwharfman

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Re: Advice on winter hiking gear
« Reply #5 on: 14:14:15, 21/10/19 »
Yes, good advice, except in my case the clothing that I worry about least is my wet weather gear, for me I'm very happy with my 15 waterproof jacket. I now take the view that rain doesn't fall that often really, so why spend loads of money just to keep dry when it does. I certainly accept your view about the fleece, I'm only contemplating the Rab jacket because my son and his wife want to buy me one. I've told them to sit on the idea for now because I'm still not convinced about the idea.

One matter I always adhere to these days is to only buy full zipped items, I just don't like smocks ect. Even in the winter, it's easy to get hot and sweaty so I like to be able to chop and change my clothing quickly and easily.

Mel

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Re: Advice on winter hiking gear
« Reply #6 on: 17:37:06, 21/10/19 »
Layers  O0


Wicking base layer (thermal/non thermal, as suits - cheap as chips from any department store that sells underwear).
Whatever fleecy mid layer you think will be warm enough for you (doesn't have to be a dedicated walking fleece - mine's from Marks and Spencer).
Insulated jacket to keep the wind off in non-rainy conditions (again, doesn't have to be dedicated walking specific - one of mine is from Asda).
Outer waterproof shell (only worn when actually raining - spends the rest of it's time in my backpack).  I find breathability isn't a problem when perspiration has all those other layers to get through first).


... and no, I don't feel cold/damp/clammy because I buy cheaper/non-walking-specific stuff  O0


Although if I was going high into the mountains in winter conditions (ice axe and crampon stuff) then I'd invest in some technical clothing, but not for "general walking in winter".





No expense spared in pursuit of a bargain ;)
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forgotmyoldpassword

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Re: Advice on winter hiking gear
« Reply #7 on: 18:49:13, 21/10/19 »
Yes, good advice, except in my case the clothing that I worry about least is my wet weather gear, for me I'm very happy with my 15 waterproof jacket. I now take the view that rain doesn't fall that often really, so why spend loads of money just to keep dry when it does. I certainly accept your view about the fleece, I'm only contemplating the Rab jacket because my son and his wife want to buy me one. I've told them to sit on the idea for now because I'm still not convinced about the idea.

One matter I always adhere to these days is to only buy full zipped items, I just don't like smocks ect. Even in the winter, it's easy to get hot and sweaty so I like to be able to chop and change my clothing quickly and easily.


What is this Rab jacket they're trying to give you GWM?

April

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Re: Advice on winter hiking gear
« Reply #8 on: 20:56:35, 21/10/19 »
Like Mel says, layers!

I prefer to take a few thin layers rather than a thick layer, I find I get too warm on the ascent if I use a thick fleece or thick jacket. In winter I normally wear a long sleeved base layer, then a short sleeve base layer over the top, a thin fleece and my waterproof on as a windproof/waterproof and remove a layer or two if I get too hot. I carry an extra fleece in my pack to put on if I need to. I use a hooded fleece rather than a hat, a buff, gloves and a spare pair of gloves in case one gets wet. My base layers and fleeces are Peter Storm ones from Millets and some Berghaus ones so not that expensive.
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gunwharfman

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Re: Advice on winter hiking gear
« Reply #9 on: 22:43:00, 21/10/19 »
The initial idea was the Rab Summit but this only comes with a hood, as does the Rab Alpine. I don't want another hood so it's now the Rab Microlight. There are so many types of down jacket out there, so just not sure what to buy. The primary problem for me is what to wear between baselayer and windproof, or for some people what to wear between baselayer and a waterproof jacket. I feel guilty as well, why a Rab, are my son and his wife just in love with a brand? Or are Rab that good, above and beyond other brands?

For me, it is also about what I wear when tucked up in my sleeping quilt. My routine is to sort my clothing out for the next 24 hours at the point when I settle for the night. So some of my daywear for the next day is what will also use to sleep in, baselayer, underwear, socks and if cold my warm jacket, it's my way of dealing effectively with waking, early morning cold, and condensation.

I acknowledge that the Rab Microlight is rather appealing, they get such good write-ups as well. I have a mental picture of traveling not only light but warm as well and from all accounts the Rab jacket is the one to buy? Or is it?

hinch184

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Re: Advice on winter hiking gear
« Reply #10 on: 13:31:55, 22/10/19 »
Doesn't have to be OTT for UK winter (unless you're off to the top of Nevis on a shocker of a day).


I tend to go


Nike base layer (have a few from Rugby days)
T Shirt (generic long or short sleeve)
Fleece (nothing major but so long as it's decent quality)
Rab Nimbus (warm and light)
M.E. 2.5 layer waterproof (if needed, if no just pack it up)


Never felt the need for anything more than that yet

forgotmyoldpassword

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Re: Advice on winter hiking gear
« Reply #11 on: 14:12:46, 22/10/19 »
The initial idea was the Rab Summit but this only comes with a hood, as does the Rab Alpine. I don't want another hood so it's now the Rab Microlight. There are so many types of down jacket out there, so just not sure what to buy. The primary problem for me is what to wear between baselayer and windproof, or for some people what to wear between baselayer and a waterproof jacket. I feel guilty as well, why a Rab, are my son and his wife just in love with a brand? Or are Rab that good, above and beyond other brands?

For me, it is also about what I wear when tucked up in my sleeping quilt. My routine is to sort my clothing out for the next 24 hours at the point when I settle for the night. So some of my daywear for the next day is what will also use to sleep in, baselayer, underwear, socks and if cold my warm jacket, it's my way of dealing effectively with waking, early morning cold, and condensation.

I acknowledge that the Rab Microlight is rather appealing, they get such good write-ups as well. I have a mental picture of traveling not only light but warm as well and from all accounts the Rab jacket is the one to buy? Or is it?


Down jacket for what you do is going to be evenings stuck around camp though, surely?  I mean sure you can use it for rest stops, but even hydrophobic down with a DWR layer on top isn't going to repel the constant precip the UK is famed for in the colder months.  Realistically moving in a down jacket isn't going to be great in UK conditions either - unless you specifically get very cold in the mornings and need a rapid way of warming up for half an hour before returning it to your bag.


Way I see it you can do what you want two ways, either:


Consider something like a Black Diamond Alpine Start or Patagonia Nano-Air if you're looking for a between-layer piece which can be useful in year long conditions.  It's a windproof/v light softshell which lets a lot of air through (but also lets a lot of moisture through from the inside).  Goes very well with the warmer 200/300 weight winter fleeces beneath when it's very cold, and you can leave it on and layer on top of it and this lets you focus on getting warmth more from your mid layer - which is useful for UK conditions.  Basically all you're doing is changing to a thicker fleece and making sure the windproof is more breathable - giving yourself a softshell in 2 pieces you can use throughout the seasons rather than a beefy winter softshell like the Special 6 or Extreme which isn't packable and needs to be worn 100% of the time.


Or for down jackets, if you want to wear it just for night time use it needs to be light and packable - and there's nothing wrong with 800+/900+ fill power down which is extra fragile when exposed to moisture.  If you want it to be an active layer I'd look at the 650+ jackets, because down loft is affected less by moisture the lower the fill power (in effect, it retains more of its initial warmth), which is why Everest ascent suits are usually 600+ fill power and not 900+ as you might think.  For UK conditions I'd personally always go with synthetic for any insulation I want to use actively, Primaloft Gold is equivalent to 750+ FP, Silver 650+ FP and is cheaper than down. 


Personally would go with a Montane Icarus Micro since it uses the newer Primaloft ThermoPlume which acts like down in construction rather than the 'sheet' synthetics like Coreloft and Primaloft which degrade rapidly with use/thrown about in packs.   So the Icarus would be happier stuffed in a bag repeatedly than the older Primaloft versions, and at least you can wear it all day if you're feeling chilly.

Ronin83

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Re: Advice on winter hiking gear
« Reply #12 on: 15:45:49, 22/10/19 »
I will echo the general consensus here.
Base layer. (+ t shirt if really cold)
Fleece.
Waterproof walking jacket.


Use a buff, hat, gloves to help out and stick some waterproof overtrousers on if the wind is battering your legs(berghaus deluge, can't beat them)

Lee R

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Re: Advice on winter hiking gear
« Reply #13 on: 19:17:34, 22/10/19 »
Similar to what others have said.....


Long sleeve Merino (winter) base layer or t-shirt (summer) one.
Fleece hoodie.
OEX waterproof jacket.
Hat (I don't have hair to keep my head/neck warm!)
Sealskin finger/thumb gloves or thinner cheaper gloves depending on temperature.


Waterproof trouser in the bag - Although we don't often go out when it's constant raining.

Maggot

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Re: Advice on winter hiking gear
« Reply #14 on: 19:54:36, 22/10/19 »
@barmy, just buy a jumper a coat from a charity shop and see how it goes.


Don't get bogged down with micro this, phobic that or the like.  There is a charity shop just down the road from me that currently has about a dozen fleeces in it, and none are more than 4.49!


It has a couple of anoraks too, you'll be fine.  If you really enjoy it, just buy each other a nice jacket or whatever for Christmas  O0


Just remember, don't buy gaiters because they make you look like a cat strangling weirdo from the 70's  :crazy2: