All My Layers Are Soaked - Now What?

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I find merino wool takes a bit longer to dry than synthetics. I wear merino next to skin and keep it a very light weight layer and then synthetics on top. If I have a warm fleece over my wool layers, I find I don't mind the dampness of the wool baselayer. It may even help keep my skin hydrated somewhat.
 
See my comments in post #44.

Wool both wets and dries more slowly than other fabrics. Slow drying results in less evaporative cooling.

Because it also maintains its porosity when wet, it also retains about 40% of its insulation value when wet--more than other fabrics.

Remember the use of raingear over wool for whitewater boating--after a swim the raingear blocks wind and slows evaporation and the wet wool still provides a significant amount of insulation.

Wool can also absorb more water than other fabrics before feeling wet. (The water is absorbed into the hydrophilic core but is kept away from your skin by the hydrophobic sheath.)


Tightly woven oiled wool is the original softshell fabric: it blocks mist and light rain, blocks light wind, insulates and still breathes.

Doug
 
No, the midweight fleece is what was blocking the moisture. Here's something you can try: Wet the merino layer in some water, then put it on with the wind shirt over it and wear it inside your house until it dries. You were obviously wearing the fleece over the wind shirt because there wasn't enough insulation under the wind shirt to keep you warm in the temps you were hiking in. If there's room, you could add another layer of wool under the wind shirt instead of wearing the fleece over it. Unfortunately, you may have to buy a larger wind shell to fit enough wool underneath.

When I wear the same set up with poly I don't have that problem. I think you're missing the point. I am specifically NOT wearing insulation under the wind shirt. Just the poly layers. This set up provides me with warmth when wet from sweat, the moisture does not cool me and when my exertion level drops the poly layers and inside of windshirt dry out and I'm warm and chill free. I wear any insulation and shell over this base layer combo and it seems to perform much better and stay drier and I'm wearing less layers for the same level of wamrth. And even when moisture does build up it doesn't freeze and it doesn't cool me down because it gets trapped beyond the windshirt and inside one of the outer layers. Said another way, this system allows me to stay warm even when I'm wet as opposed to getting chilled the previous way I layered (which no doubt works fine for many people just not me).

I'll just stick with the poly. Don't really care why merion wool doesn't work in this set up. It doesn't work for me.
 
For some reason I keep reading the name of this thread as "All my Lawyers are soaked ..."

I have a layering system that works for me but it can change somewhat depending on the worse conditions I anticipate encountering, strenuousness of the trek, and distance and time in the field.

1. A wicking long john layer or a heavier long john contributing to warmth. I don't use wool of any sort for this layer as it can be irritating if ambient temps go up and the finer wools that are always comfortable don't hold up very well.
2. A warm layer, usually a wool shirt. I must have over a half dozen Pendletons ... a couple hand me downs from prior generations!
3. An optional layer of a fleece vest or sweatshirt or a warm wool sweater.
4. For stops, precipitation, exposure or any other need for protection I pack a goretex or similar jacket (and sometimes pants). Depending on conditions, I may add a heavier fleece liner in the jacket. Combining layers 3 and 4 is rare as it builds up too much heat and perspiration while hiking, especially uphill.

I carry up to three different gloves, lightweight liner, fleece and mittens plus a spare or two. These are layered up similar to the body layers.
For hats I carry a fleece headband and a heavy wool Coast Guard watch cap. Combined with the hood on the jacket this has been adequate.
I also carry a fleece neck warmer and a balackava rarely used but greatly appreciated when needed.

This has worked well for many years ... but I've had no aspiration to do the Bonds in winter.
 
For some reason I keep reading the name of this thread as "All my Lawyers are soaked ..."
Many lawyers might be all wet, not soaked... :)

The Bonds are one of those hikes (at least from Lincoln Woods side): miles of nothing followed by miles of awesomeness. I've only done once in Winter and it was spectacular and the weather was good. Very memorable. On the right day it is certainly doable for most people.
 
Great discussion. Something I've noticed: a thicker base layer makes me colder, which would seem to be non-intuitive. So when I've used relatively thick wool or polypro base layers ('expedition weight'), I get cold. It seems to have less to do with the material than its thickness. A thicker base layer just seems to trap too much moisture, regardless of the material. On the other hand, the nearly threadbare polypro base layers I've owned for more than 15 years perform well. They're nothing special and weren't expensive. I think it must have to do with the fact that they dry almost instantly just from body heat, so there is always a dry layer right next to my skin - even if it's a very thin layer, it eliminates all conductive heat loss. [Don't do it, DP. Don't tell me why thin polypro modulates heat loss based on its normalized specific heat capacity and the total free energy of the material in a closed vs open system, combined with their modelled fluid dynamics written as a function of hydrogen bond acceptor/donor strength. Just don't. ;-) ;-) ]*

*Complete nonsense
 
Something I've noticed: a thicker base layer makes me colder, which would seem to be non-intuitive. So when I've used relatively thick wool or polypro base layers ('expedition weight'), I get cold.

*Complete nonsense

Totally agree with that. When I first started Winter hiking I wore much heavier base layers (mostly merino wool), expedition weight fleece, blah, blah, blah and was pretty much always chilled. I think (and don't need scientific confirmation of this theory either - quite frankly a lot of those discussions are well over my head and just give me a popsicle head ache) the thin poly layers being as tight as they are eliminate any air pockets between the garment and the skin to chill and they distribute moisture so well that they don't stay wet long. There is just no thermal weak points from air pockets, creases, open sleeves or necklines, etc. From what I've seen adding a 2nd one over the first significantly increases my warmth with virtually no thickness at all in the fabric. Just put two of those layers on in the house and you're temperature instantly climbs dramatically. When I wore all the merino wool stuff early on they never dried. I do like the merino stuff for hanging around the campsite, sleeping, etc. where exertion and wetness are not issues.

The introduction of the wind shirt seems to only increase this warming effect with little consequence to chilling from getting sweaty. That in turn has let me wear less layering. It may well just work for me because I'm overweight and go pretty slow, with frequent breaks, climbing the steeps so I don't maintain sufficient heat to stay warm in those circumstances. I'm instantly cold unless I over dress. Maybe someday if I ever cure my NFL addiction and manage to stay in shape from Thanksgiving to New Years and can set a better pace I'll find this set up too warm. But in the meantime it's working for me. :)
 
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... Slow drying results in less evaporative cooling. ...

It's a feature, not a bug.
;)


BTW, I wanted to share a link to a mesh baselayer I wanted to get. I couldn't recall the brand so I just googled "Fishnet Underwear". Wow! That was a mistake! :eek:

Anyhoo, the brand is "Brynje": http://www.brynje-shop.com/ Available in "SuperThermo" (polypropylene) or "Wool Thermo". I had a wool mesh T-shirt many decades ago but then they stopped selling them locally. Importing one gets ridiculously spendy for something that makes you look like Right Said Fred.
 
... Slow drying results in less evaporative cooling. ...

It's a feature, not a bug.
;)
Yep!


BTW, I wanted to share a link to a mesh baselayer I wanted to get. I couldn't recall the brand so I just googled "Fishnet Underwear". Wow! That was a mistake! :eek:
Works a bit better if you include "long" and "hiking" in the search... :)

Anyhoo, the brand is "Brynje": http://www.brynje-shop.com/ Available in "SuperThermo" (polypropylene) or "Wool Thermo". I had a wool mesh T-shirt many decades ago but then they stopped selling them locally. Importing one gets ridiculously spendy for something that makes you look like Right Said Fred.
Wiggys sells some too: http://www.wiggys.com/clothing-outerwear/fishnet-long-underwear/ (nylon).

Also known as string underwear (British). There are similar difficulties when searching on that too... :)

I still have wool and cotton fishnet from back in the days when they were one of the favored baselayers. I still occasionally use the wool bottoms on rainy days to keep the wet pants legs off my skin on days when rain paints would be too hot.

Doug
 
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Said another way, this system allows me to stay warm even when I'm wet as opposed to getting chilled the previous way I layered (which no doubt works fine for many people just not me).

Staying warm is what's most important.
 
Combining layers 3 and 4 is rare as it builds up too much heat and perspiration while hiking, especially uphill.

I find the same thing. Wearing a windshell has helped keep me warmer than no shell and drier than a hardshell.
 
Just one more thing, there are water proof socks, but I have never actually worn them in the Winter...

My next experiment! I've actually been using somewhat of a vapor barrier sock for two years that I like but it is kind of baggy and awkward to use with other socks like a liner sock (I tend to get creases in the toe area descending which is uncomfortable on the toes). Was thinking a waterproof sock would have a similar effect to what I'm getting with the windshirt but in a thinner thickness than ones I currently use, which are more like a baggy neoprene type material that I believe has a vapor barrier embedded inside it (makes a crinkly noise). Basically works now but I can't resist the urge to tweak it and see if I can't get it better. :)
 
1) I try not to soak my clothing with sweat. This entails finding the right balance between my pace and my clothing and making adjustments. 2) avoid risky river crossings 3) for God's sake, do put on your Gortex when bushwhacking thru the snow/rain ladened fir trees. But if you do get wet, and you are closer to the beginning of your hike, TURN AROUND. If closer to the end, keep going. Bring an extra couple of layers. Remember, most deaths from hypothermia occur in the spring.
 
...Remember, most deaths from hypothermia occur in the spring.
Source(s)?

I'm more familiar with SAR incidents in the High Peaks than in the Whites. The most recent hiker fatality, caused by hypothermia, was last winter (March 2016). http://www.dec.ny.gov/press/105312.html

Other than that, there have been very few fatalities. Recent deaths (in the High Peaks) have been due to medical conditions and other causes (drowning) but not hypothermia (in any season).
http://www.lakeplacidnews.com/page/...scade-identified-as-Geneseo-man.html?nav=5005
 
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