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Thread: Baselayer suggestions

  1. #1
    Senior Member skidoc22's Avatar
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    Baselayer suggestions

    I know this has been discussed in the past but I 'd like to get some current thoughts on baselayer tops for those of us with, shall we say moisture management issues. I am not looking for suggestions on anything other than brands and fabrics which people may have found to transmit moisture away most efficiently. I have tried most of the fabrics in the EMS stores such as techwich and the featherlight mocks, but nothing has kept me dry. EC2, Marmot and many generic wicking and breatheable have been tried unsuccessfully. The only solution I have found is bringing multiple shirts and changing frequently. If anyone has overcome similar problems and found a magic fabric or brand I'd love to hear about it.
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    Senior Member ecc's Avatar
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    If you are a profuse sweater, you may need to dress more lightly. Carry a thick top layer for when you stop, but wear something really thin when moving, making sure whatever you wear will still block the wind enough to keep frost bite away. This works for ski touring. It may not work if you're at altitude though.
    ecc

    PS I like a silk weave for my bottom layer. Soft wool is good too.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Neil's Avatar
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    Big time sweater here.

    This year I got turned on to the Mountain Hardware Transition Featherweight base layer shirt. It's by far the best I've tried yet. You want it nice and tight for max outward movement of moisture.

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    Senior Member sapblatt's Avatar
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    Even when it is very cold, I try not to overdress - as soon as you start getting your hike going you will sweat - try to start the hike with the layers you think you will need when you warm up - the real trick is to know that when you stop you need to get a layer or two on quickly for a break - I will often put a parka and a warmer, dry hat on immediately at a stop when it is cold.

    I usually where a snynthetic undershirt (under armour is nice) and then one or two coolmax shirts on top - this way I have wicking shirts wicking other wicking shirts...keeps the moisture moving away.
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    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Your problem may be technique rather than fabric or specific shirt.

    The basic goal is not to sweat because your clothing will get wet and you will have to replace the lost electrolytes and water. Ideally, you should always be slightly cool below timberline and slightly warm above timberline.

    Your first layer should be the thinnest available. As you warm up, remove insulation and shells so that you do not sweat. Finally, you may be left with only the first layer (for me this occurs if the temp is 20-25F or warmer and no wind). (You may also choose to take the first layer off too.)* If you continue to overheat, you either have to slow down (ie reduce the heat production) or just sweat it out. If you are wearing something like a thin polyester shirt it will not hold much water--this allows you to simply dry it with body heat without losing too much heat if you start to cool down. (Or you can change it.)

    * While it is easiest to adjust one's above-the-waist insulation and hats, one can also reduce the insulation below one's waist. For instance, some wear shorts (or zip-off leg pants) over a thin first layer. Side-zip insulating pants and wind pants allow easy adjustment of leg insulation.

    Of course, the converse is also true--you should increase insulation/shells as you cool down or anticipate cooling down.

    Note: different people produce different amounts of heat--you have to learn how your own body responds and how to dress accordingly.

    Note2: Some people have the idea that because it is cold out, you have to wear lots of insulation. This is only true if you are not active and not producing much heat. As you become more active and produce more heat, you have to reduce your insulation to dissipate the additional heat. The goal is to keep the body temp at neutral--neither hot (and sweating) nor cold. I have seen people sweating buckets while hiking with an expedition down parka on at temps ~20F. And I have also helped to rescue some of them...

    Doug
    Last edited by DougPaul; 01-25-2008 at 08:33 PM.

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    Senior Member Paradox's Avatar
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    Something I have noticed. As I get in better shape I sweat less to achieve a certain amount of work.. ie. getting in shape has helped me become more comfortable on the trail. Certainly technology of clothing is important, but shedding some pounds will make your body more efficient and you will need to burn less calories to travel a given distance, which leads to less heat produced, less body mass to be cooled, and less need to sweat to keep cool.

    Perhaps you know all this, you are in great shape already, but sometimes I need to hear myself say it to help myself. And that is my too scents.
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    TW72:60/72, WADK46: 18/46, 52WAV:16/52, Cat35:9/35(39)

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    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paradox
    .. but shedding some pounds will make your body more efficient ... And that is my too scents.
    Well that stinks.

    This season I've been wearing an O.R. Sequence tee under a schoeller fabric Mammut Laser soft shell jacket.
    Dumps moisture like hose and has been warm all day in 5 degree temps.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Paradox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chip
    Well that stinks. ...
    Hardee har har
    WNH4K:48/48, SLAT50:50/50, NEHH:100/100, NE115:115/115,
    TW72:60/72, WADK46: 18/46, 52WAV:16/52, Cat35:9/35(39)

  9. #9
    Senior Member DrewKnight's Avatar
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    Maybe it's not the base layer?

    Wear less till you stop, and make sure the top layers truly breath. Years back I often made the mistake of overdressing and under-breathing. On a 10-degree ski day, I could turn a polypro shirt, a cotton turtleneck (yeah, I know), a thick Peruvian wool sweater, and a Columbia Whirlibird shell (Burgundtal cloth, at least in the early 90s, was about as permeable as a Ziploc bag) into the functional equivalent of a hot, muggy, rainy afternoon on the Equator. It was disgusting. Really.

    On the same 10-degree day nowadays, I might wear a short-sleeve wicking tee shirt, a thin fleece, and a high performance Descente ski parka. My principal thermostatic control is hood-up, hood-down. I seldom make it to "cold" unless the wind is vicious, and a fair percentage of the time, I resort to opening the pit zips.

  10. #10
    Senior Member skidoc22's Avatar
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    Unfortunately the issue is not overdressing or leaving layers on too long. I basically am down to baselayer only in the first half mile of even a relatively level hike. I wear virtually nothing as a wind layer on top or bottom until I am either above treeline or stopped at a summit. I don't wear a hat and occassionally wear a headband for ear protection. If going uphill I have found winter, spring, summer or fall that I will basically soak thru any layer I own (and I own a number of very lightweight - all synthetic baselayers). I generally like to hike at a high level of exertion and no matter what the temperature I will produce a significant amount of moisture.

    So again I'm wondering what thin baselayers people who are in my situation are using. I appreciate Neil's suggestion and will look into the MH transition featherweight. I read a review in which someone complained about the seams being uncomfortable due to a change from a flat seam to a 'non flat seam' whatever that is. Do you have any discomfort using this fabric as a baselayer? I have also toyed with the possiblility of using the Under armor heat gear but I don't know if I'd be comfortable all day in a compression type garment.

    Chip- Do they make the OR tee in a long sleeve verson for the winter? Or do you use the tee with the softshell? I have a very thin Cloudveil jacket (Prospector I think) which is very light and breathable which I guess I could try over a tee.
    Do what you love, love what you do

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    Senior Member DrewKnight's Avatar
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    OK, now I get it, at least...

    Sounds like you've tried all the sensible treatments. Here's one more thought: why not try out base layers specifically designed for high-output sports? Among my first, and probably still my favorite, modern base layers are a small collection of Nike DriFit running tops. I never really thought about it before, but I wonder if they are, in fact, more efficient at transferring moisture? I have one on this AM, under a second midlayer... even on warm days, I don't recollect it being slimy when I take it off (unlike my older polypro stuff, which got really nasty).

    Stop by Marshall's or TJ Maxx and sift through the "long-sleeve tees" rack, you can usually find great deals on Nike, Reebok, and Russell Athletic running gear -- might be worth the experiment, anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paradox
    but shedding some pounds will make your body more efficient... and less need to sweat to keep cool.

    And that is my too scents.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chip
    Well that stinks.
    No. It can smell much better.

    I was always quite pleased with a micro-fleece zip neck top either by itself or with a fleece vest, depending on temps. But I sweat much less these days.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Neil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidoc22
    I appreciate Neil's suggestion and will look into the MH transition featherweight. I read a review in which someone complained about the seams being uncomfortable due to a change from a flat seam to a 'non flat seam' whatever that is. Do you have any discomfort using this fabric as a baselayer?
    Sounds like your just as bad a sweater as me.
    This is your best strategy:

    get used to it.

    Now, as for the Featherweight, yes, it too requires some getting used to. The seams were itchy at first. After lots of sweat and some washings it has gotten a lot more comfortable.

    The first time I wore it was on a bushwhack up the Beckhorn slide over Dix and Hough and a whack back down to the Boquet. It was a cool, blustery sunny day. Below freezing on Dix. The only garment I wore all day was the Featherweight. I couldn't believe it. Sure, I still sweat just as much but the fabric doesn't hold the sweat, it moves it out quickly. It's also a windstopper so I didn't need a shell on that particular day.

    There is one thing I dislike. It is very form fitting and I have this gut....

  14. #14
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    I have pretty much the same problem. No matter how cold it is out, once I start moving I sweat like crazy.

    Take for instance last weekend when I was hiking out of Baxter in single digit numbers with some wind. Both my husband and a friend reminded me of starting out light, but unfortunately to no avail I still sweated profusely. I only had on my usual, a bra(lightweight, summer), a hot chilly long sleeve wicking shirt with another poly shirt over that(long sleeve), a wind stopper fleece, and my gore tex jacket(no liner) and that was just from the waist up. Unfortunately that where I have most of my problem of sweating. On the bottom I only had, of course, underwear, my polyliner pants(medium weight), and my Northface, gore tex ski pants. Wasn't so much as a problem waist down. I also had on a wind stopper hat, was afraid of the temps and wind, I might have needed it.

    I don't think we got a half a mile when I started sweating. Because of the wind and low temps, I was too afraid of taking anything off, I just kept trugging along hoping that the wicking shirt would do it's job. There were times that I felt a little cold, but then I could also feel the shirt actually pulling the sweat off my body, which sort of worked. I was almost going to change shirts, but was also afraid that might have been a mistake because I'd have to expose my sweaty body to the arctic temps and not be able to recover from it. In retrospect, I believe the shirt worked, I just need to still figure out how many layers and which ones that'll work for me.
    "What's the edge for some, is the middle for others."

  15. #15
    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidoc22
    I generally like to hike at a high level of exertion and no matter what the temperature I will produce a significant amount of moisture. .
    I'm with you brother.

    Quote Originally Posted by skidoc22
    Chip- Do they make the OR tee in a long sleeve verson for the winter? Or do you use the tee with the softshell? I have a very thin Cloudveil jacket (Prospector I think) which is very light and breathable which I guess I could try over a tee.
    They make a long sleeve version. These are 12% merino wool. It definately wicks better than my capilene, which I'll wear over it if it's, like, zero, and then the softshell. You might be fine with just the long sleeve, or that under your Cloudveil. These aren't cheap, $35 to $45 but you can get them on sale if you look. I'll do a quick search.

    Well, $35 is the standard price for the tee and $42 for the long sleeve zip.
    Last edited by Chip; 01-26-2008 at 08:59 AM.
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    * ALL STANDARD DISCLAIMERS APPLY: IIRC. YRMV. IMHO. FWIW. HYOH. NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, ARE MADE
    THAT INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS POST IS ACCURATE, RELIABLE OR APPROPRIATE FOR ANY PARTICULAR SITUATION.

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