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Thread: Alternative to Fleece Jacket?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Hiking with Kat's Avatar
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    Alternative to Fleece Jacket?

    I'm planning on doing a couple of AT section hikes this spring in New York. Normally I carry my fleece jacket to wear under my soft shell in the evening.

    My problem is that the fleece jacket takes up a lot of room in my pack and I'd like something that is lighter, so I'm wondering if anyone has a good alternative?

    I was considering something like this http://www.rei.com/product/786945, but was concerned it would be way to warm to hike in. I'd also like to find something cheaper.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiking with Kat View Post
    I'm planning on doing a couple of AT section hikes this spring in New York. Normally I carry my fleece jacket to wear under my soft shell in the evening.

    My problem is that the fleece jacket takes up a lot of room in my pack and I'd like something that is lighter, so I'm wondering if anyone has a good alternative?

    I was considering something like this http://www.rei.com/product/786945, but was concerned it would be way to warm to hike in. I'd also like to find something cheaper.
    I have a medium weight fleece 'shirt' from EMS. It might fit the bill.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Jay H's Avatar
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    How about a very light down shirt, not a down jacket that's made for winter, but a very very light down filled vest or shirt.

    Or for the real ultralight user, just stuff leaves inside your soft shell for some free insulation.

    Jay
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  4. #4
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    A puffy jacket is going to give you a lot more warmth then fleece. But I don't think you need to go up to the 19oz MH. I would want to stay closer to the 10-12 oz range for spring/summer/fall, and for compressibiility and warmth, down in the way to go. If you have an eddie bauer around, the first ascent down sweater may be on sale, looks to be light and warm, and has gotten good reviews. So that may be the best overall value right now. There are lots of other choices, Marmot and Montbell in particular, also on sale online.

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    I like the Marmot DriClime line (http://marmot.com/catalog/driclime/193). The jacket is about half the price of the Mountain Hardware Hooded Compressor Jacket.

    I find the DriClime warm enough and very lightweight, and it packs down small. I should warn you I run a little hot, so lighter is better for me, and I like Marmot products in general.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Little Rickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiking with Kat View Post
    I'm planning on doing a couple of AT section hikes this spring in New York. Normally I carry my fleece jacket to wear under my soft shell in the evening.

    My problem is that the fleece jacket takes up a lot of room in my pack and I'd like something that is lighter, so I'm wondering if anyone has a good alternative?

    I was considering something like this http://www.rei.com/product/786945, but was concerned it would be way to warm to hike in. I'd also like to find something cheaper.
    Try am alpaca sweater or vest. It's lighter than wool & fleeece, warm and doesn't hold body odor.
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    Senior Member audrey's Avatar
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    Not all fleeces are created of equal weight. Years ago I acquired an EMS warm fleece sweatshirt that weighs only 8 oz, which is hard to beat. It packs down well too. I like it so much that I now save it for backpacks and hut trips, so that I don't wear it out.

    If money were no object, I'd get a down sweater for evening wear. I don't hike in my camp clothes because I always get sweaty.

  8. #8
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audrey View Post
    Not all fleeces are created of equal weight. Years ago I acquired an EMS warm fleece sweatshirt that weighs only 8 oz, which is hard to beat. It packs down well too. I like it so much that I now save it for backpacks and hut trips, so that I don't wear it out.
    100 weight fleece is pretty light. It is often sold as heavy-weight long underwear. A top is essentially a fleece sweatshirt.

    Doug

  9. #9
    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    My softshell would be too warm for spring hiking. You might consider leaving that at home and use your base layer, fleece and hardshell/rain jacket in various combos. That time after hiking and before sleeping bag can be a challenge. I just wear what I have, prep, cook and clean-up and hit the hay early if what I'm wearing isn't quite warm enough. If you're compelled to stay up, wrap your sleeping bag around you.
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  10. #10
    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
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    I bought what Marmot calls it's ""Original" DriClime Windshirt" a couple of years ago, and like it very much. It's weighs very little and packs small, yet it's supprisingly warm/wind-resistant. Esssentially, it's a nylon wind shell with a liner of microfleece. I'd say it would be equivalent to a 200w fleece jacket, or maybe even a tad warmer. The MSRP is $90, but often available for less, like Altrec. I think EMS carries a house brand which is very similar and might cost a bit less.

  11. #11
    Senior Member cbcbd's Avatar
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    I think you're looking in the right category - synthetic insulation jackets.

    I switched from a fleece as a mid insulation layer a long time ago for some of the same reasons and haven't turned back.
    Since we're not in the winter season anymore the selection of insulated jackets is pretty sparse. If you wanted to get one now I'd get the MH compressor without a hood - standard Primaloft-filled water-resistant jacket. Many other manufacturers have their own version of this, but they just don't show that right now in the off-season.

    And are you looking for something for the evening or for something to hike in?
    Last edited by cbcbd; 03-18-2010 at 02:10 PM.
    Doug

  12. #12
    Senior Member Hiking with Kat's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the reply's so far. I'm looking for something for the evening.

    I usually take a REI shirt like this one http://www.rei.com/product/793952 and a Marmot DriClime vest http://www.rei.com/product/794791 that I can wear under my soft shell, and that provides enough warmth for hiking down to about 20 degrees and enough layers for when it warms up.

    One of the additional bad things about getting older is you get cold easier, so I'm looking for something for warmth in the evening that doesn't take up a lot of space in my pack. If it could double as a winter layer that would be a plus.

    Its possible that just bringing another long sleeved poly pro top as an extra layer will work best.

    What I was thinking I really wanted was a jacket version of the Marmot DriClime vest. Of course a quick search shows that they do make one http://www.rei.com/product/794790, does anyone have any experience with this jacket?

  13. #13
    Senior Member Hikes4fun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Eagan View Post
    I like the Marmot DriClime line (http://marmot.com/catalog/driclime/193). The jacket is about half the price of the Mountain Hardware Hooded Compressor Jacket.

    I find the DriClime warm enough and very lightweight, and it packs down small. I should warn you I run a little hot, so lighter is better for me, and I like Marmot products in general.
    Seconded.....A great product..I have one w/ me in all seasons..Also consider the vest..Works great over a base layer in cool weather
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  14. #14
    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiking with Kat View Post
    ...What I was thinking I really wanted was a jacket version of the Marmot DriClime vest. Of course a quick search shows that they do make one http://www.rei.com/product/794790, does anyone have any experience with this jacket?
    Looks like the Driclime Windshirt, but with zippers.

  15. #15
    Senior Member cbcbd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiking with Kat View Post
    I usually take a REI shirt like this one http://www.rei.com/product/793952 and a Marmot DriClime vest http://www.rei.com/product/794791 that I can wear under my soft shell, and that provides enough warmth for hiking down to about 20 degrees and enough layers for when it warms up.

    One of the additional bad things about getting older is you get cold easier, so I'm looking for something for warmth in the evening that doesn't take up a lot of space in my pack. If it could double as a winter layer that would be a plus.
    It's all personal preference but I think getting another wind-breaker (basically a light-fleece-lined water-resistant jacket) jacket like the Driclime isn't going to give much added warmth compared to your current system and you'll just end up stacking multiple thin layers to get warm - base synthetic, wind-breaker vest, wind-breaker jacket, softshell.

    A pile water-resistant jacket insulated with Down or a synthetic like Primaloft (like the MH Compressor) would still provide a great wind-barrier but actual loft for better insulation when hanging out in the evenings. In the winter it would be plenty warm if worn with your base layer on the move. Really warm if worn with your softshell.

    Its possible that just bringing another long sleeved poly pro top as an extra layer will work best.
    This would certainly be the cheapest option but again, not the warmest for the weight/space.
    Last edited by cbcbd; 03-18-2010 at 06:46 PM.
    Doug

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