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Topic: excellent cool weather baselayer< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2012, 12:25 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Duofolds Mid weight Varitherm Dri-Release wool baselayers are pretty nice and decently priced.  It's a dri release blend of mostly polyester with 11% merino wool.  The "varitherm" part is the polyester fibers which are hollow, so are warmer for a lighter weight. The shirts usually have a thumb hole and an extra long cuff, which is nice.  

Wicks pretty good, dries pretty fast, fairly warm, and not near as stanky as many 100% synthetic clothing tends to be.  I do find it a bit itchy at first, but not noticeable after a little while.  

 I was at Target recently, and saw something similar by Champion, but cheaper.  Champion and Duofold are owned by the same company, Hanesbrand.  Anyways, these baselayers said they were 12% wool and the rest mostly polyester and it was labeled under "Venture Warm" (like Duofold's Varitherm, it claims warmth without weight).  No Dri-Release tag or label, but that blend percentage is the Dri-Release signature for products with some wool in them.  

   I couldn't find anything about "venture warm" to see if it was like Varitherm and were hollow synthetic fibers, but at almost half the price of the Duofolds, i might get some to test it out.  One obvious difference is that the Duofold shirts have the thumbhole and the Champion brand doesn't.

 Btw, the Target online site, screwed up on the listing for these baselayers.  It has them listed under "wool" thermals, but then says the fiber content is 100% polyester, which is inaccurate.  

 The Duofold brand stuff ranges from about 30 dollars to 40 dollar range (unless sales, clearance, etc).   The Champion brand stuff i saw at Target were 19.99 regular price.  If anyone has tried the Champion version already (the 12% wool, Venture Warm ones), please let me know what you think of them, thanks.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2012, 12:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

what colors do the target shirts come in?  I know, who cares.  But I have a specific need for black.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2012, 1:06 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm pretty sure they make them in black.  The one listed on the website is in black (but like i said they screwed up on the description and said the fiber content was 100% polyester).

Shirts: http://www.target.com/p....rge_1_6

Pants: http://www.target.com/p....rge_1_4
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2012, 1:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(bad knees @ Nov. 19 2012, 9:46 am)
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what colors do the target shirts come in?  I know, who cares.  But I have a specific need for black.

What??? You told me you wanted pink. Now I have to start my search all over again...Sheesh.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2012, 1:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Tigger @ Nov. 19 2012, 1:09 pm)
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(bad knees @ Nov. 19 2012, 9:46 am)
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what colors do the target shirts come in?  I know, who cares.  But I have a specific need for black.

What??? You told me you wanted pink. Now I have to start my search all over again...Sheesh.

I'll use pink for Breast cancer awareness month.  So send it to me pls.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2012, 3:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I think they should have breast awareness all year...

Wool baselayers that are blended do dry faster and wick better, they don't wear out quite as fast at the lighter weights. But I prefer the amount of wool to be near 50% to get the odor control and inherent warmth of the wool.

Those are good prices. But you can get better stuff for the same price if you watch STP and use a coupon code.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2012, 3:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(rayestrella @ Nov. 19 2012, 3:00 pm)
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I think they should have breast awareness all year...

Wool baselayers that are blended do dry faster and wick better, they don't wear out quite as fast at the lighter weights. But I prefer the amount of wool to be near 50% to get the odor control and inherent warmth of the wool.

Those are good prices. But you can get better stuff for the same price if you watch STP and use a coupon code.

Ray, I have never shopped there.  What is the coupon code?

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2012, 4:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Sign up for their emails and they send them to you.

I will see what is current and email it to you.

You've got mail![I]


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2012, 4:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(rayestrella @ Nov. 19 2012, 4:28 pm)
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Sign up for their emails and they send them to you.

I will see what is current and email it to you.

Thanks, again

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2012, 5:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(rayestrella @ Nov. 19 2012, 3:00 pm)
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I think they should have breast awareness all year...

Wool baselayers that are blended do dry faster and wick better, they don't wear out quite as fast at the lighter weights. But I prefer the amount of wool to be near 50% to get the odor control and inherent warmth of the wool.

Those are good prices. But you can get better stuff for the same price if you watch STP and use a coupon code.



 I don't know if it's true or not, but Duofold claims that their Varitherm Dri Release mid weight Wool baselayer shirts and pants, are per same weight warmer than 100% wool.  I lean towards believing this because the Varitherm polyester fibers are hollow and were specifically made that way to increase warmth and decrease weight (they originally designed it for the Military).  

  I don't know about the Champion Venture Warm stuff at Target, but my Dri Release Duofold Varitherm wool baselayers have pretty good odor control.  

 My other non wool, Dri Release stuff also has decent odor control considering these shirts have 85% Polyester in them.  But no doubt, 50% + wool would be better than both in the above--especially long term use.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2012, 5:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The claim is made on this site:
http://www.duofold.com/news/latestnews/

click on "Summer, 2008" to read claim.  It won't let me copy and paste it.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2012, 5:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

i have tried several base layers made from wool and wool blends.  100% wool almost always has issues with durability, something i have experienced across a number of brands - smartwool, icebreaker, patagonia.  patagonia went to an 80% wool/20% polyester blend a few years ago.  the 80/20 base layers are not quite as soft but are significantly more durable.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2012, 6:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(LiteMan @ Nov. 19 2012, 4:35 pm)
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Duofold claims that their Varitherm Dri Release mid weight Wool baselayer shirts and pants, are per same weight warmer than 100% wool.  I lean towards believing this because the Varitherm polyester fibers are hollow and were specifically made that way to increase warmth and decrease weight (they originally designed it for the Military).  

You need to realize J, that marketing hype is just that, hype. Let's see, three decades ago I was told that Hollowfill, Hollowfill2, and Quallowfill were all better than down. Heck one of them had four hollow tubes in each fiber!

But the truth was not quite so bright for them.

Wiggy's bags were designed for the military at one time too. That is not a reason to ever buy something in my opinion. The military does not give a dang what something weighs. Ask our vets. ;-)

I really like your enthusiasm. I really wish that you would not believe everything you read as "gospel". There is a reason that there are a few materials that have stood the test of time when it comes to the backcountry. Down and wool still command a majority market share for a reason.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2012, 6:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(rayestrella @ Nov. 19 2012, 6:15 pm)
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(LiteMan @ Nov. 19 2012, 4:35 pm)
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Duofold claims that their Varitherm Dri Release mid weight Wool baselayer shirts and pants, are per same weight warmer than 100% wool.  I lean towards believing this because the Varitherm polyester fibers are hollow and were specifically made that way to increase warmth and decrease weight (they originally designed it for the Military).  

You need to realize J, that marketing hype is just that, hype. Let's see, three decades ago I was told that Hollowfill, Hollowfill2, and Quallowfill were all better than down. Heck one of them had four hollow tubes in each fiber!

But the truth was not quite so bright for them.

Wiggy's bags were designed for the military at one time too. That is not a reason to ever buy something in my opinion. The military does not give a dang what something weighs. Ask our vets. ;-)

I really like your enthusiasm. I really wish that you would not believe everything you read as "gospel". There is a reason that there are a few materials that have stood the test of time when it comes to the backcountry. Down and wool still command a majority market share for a reason.

Ray, i don't believe in everything as the gospel truth, which is why i prefaced my post with " I don't know if it's true or not,"   I noticed you cut that part out when you quoted me...

 I then said very specifically "I lean towards believing it's true..."

 It doesn't take "faith" to understand the common sense that a hollow fiber is going to be warmer per same weight than a non hollow fiber.  There is also thermal resistance to consider as well, and it's true that wool fibers have a better thermal resistance than polyester, but the hollowness of the Varitherm is going to really make up for that.  

 This is why Alpaca Fiber is warmer than Merino Wool fiber per same diameter size--its more hollow, and conversely Qiviut and Angora Rabbit fibers are even warmer than Alpaca, because they are more hollow than the semi-hollow Alpaca.  Since they are all protein based fibers, they all have similar thermal resistance not considering the degree of how hollow they are.

 The animals which have lived in very cold climates for a long time, well their downy undercoat fur--the fibers all have 2 similar properties among these different animals (like Qiviut, Polar Bears, etc), they are very, very fine and they are hollow.  Sheep are not bred to extreme cold climates as a whole.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2012, 6:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Right, and kapok is a wonder fiber too.

(Edited in the spirit of the holidays;-)

Good luck lad,


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2012, 7:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(rayestrella @ Nov. 19 2012, 6:46 pm)
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Right, and kapok is a wonder fiber too.

(Edited in the spirit of the holidays;-)

Good luck lad,

I respect that you have a lot more experience than me Ray, and i think experience is an extremely useful and necessary thing, but for some things a combination of intellect and intuition can help one to figure things out too.  

 I haven't ever said that Kapok was a wonder fiber, and certainly i never said it was as good as Goose down.  But i'm not the only one who has wondered why Kapok isn't more used.  

Here is what Martti Kujansuu from Finland wrote on a BushCraft Uk site, "During the 1940s U.S. Antarctic Service used waterproofed kapok mattress. I have seen also advertisements for kapok or "tropal" lined jackets in various 1940s magazines. Kapok is nowadays, however, used mostly on stuffing, as far as I can see. I wonder why the situation is as it is. Depending of the source, the thermal conductivity of kapok ranges from 0.034 to 0.035 W/(m.K) and eiderdown's from 0.019 to 0.045 W/(m.K). The density for both are 14.1 kg/m³ and 2.2 - 110 kg/m³ respectively. The largest difference is however the price: the price of kilogram of kapok fibre is only about 1/10 of that of goose down!

According to this 2009 study made in Sweden, there was no statistical difference between coats filled with almost the same amount of kapok and duckling down."

Later he wrote on that thread about compressibility, Quote Originally Posted by mountainm
" 'Perhaps Kapok doesn't loft as well as down so loses it's insulation ability quicker when compressed.'

Martti wrote in reply, "According to one study, kapok resists compression very well, better than goose down it seems. However it does not bounce back as well as down."  

Taken from this website:  http://www.bushcraftuk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=85489

 I mostly debated earlier that it was a decent, very cheap, cruelty free, and very Eco/Green alternative to Goose down and Synthetics.  I did not ascribe wondrous qualities to it.  Warmer, longer lasting, and cheaper than most synthetics and much, much, much cheaper than Goose down and always cruelty free unlike Goose down.  

 For some people, that combo is attractive and valuable as an option.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2012, 11:02 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

alpaca and angora wool are warmer, ounce for ounce, than merino.  however, angora isn't as durable a fiber, and alpaca has no lanolin - so it doesn't wick moisture or dry as quickly as merino or other wool from sheep.  the few manufacturers that make alpaca or angora long johns usually blend them with merino to blend their better qualities - adding the wicking/drying or durability that the other fibers may lack.  i think you see more merino wool because it's a more durable fiber and a good compromise.  i also think that as alpacas age, the quality of the wool sheared from them deteriorates somewhat.  

regardless of what people think about brands and companies (eg people scoff at Wiggy's grandiose claims), the fact remains that the insulation used in the wiggy sleeping bag is identical to what Tennier Industries puts in the military modular sleep systems, and very similar to the primaloft you find in many other high quality synthetic bags.  it's not that the wiggy sleeping bag is all that bad; it's just not as wonderfully superior as wiggy claims.  and, having slept many cold nights in a -40f synthetic bag, it's really not all that bad.  i prefer down but think synthetic insulation is a viable alternative.    perhaps a superior alternative at certain temperature/humidity/precipitation ranges.  

i have never seen a kapok sleeping bag, but it used to be a common insulation.  i think the it fell out of favor because (if you research kapok's properties) the fibers are more brittle than synthetics or down, hence the observation that kapok resists compression more and doesn't "bounce back" as well as down or synthetic insulation.  styrofoam resists compression too, has very high insulating value, and certainly doesn't bounce back very well.  but would anyone buy a sleeping bag insulated with tiny pieces of styrofoam?  (i can see it now, the REI beanbag/sleeping bag).  

think about how any insulation operates in the context of having everything you need shoved into a relatively small bag that you carry on your back - would you want an insulating material that doesn't compact well and doesn't bounce back as well as others? i don't think so.  i can see applications where kapok might make sense, eg quilts or comforters in your house if you want an all-natural, no-cruelty solution, but I'm guessing there are good reasons you don't see kapok sleeping bags or backpacking-oriented kapok jackets and vests.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2012, 12:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Right,

Like I have tried to explain many times this forum is about backpacking gear, not material theory. The backpacking public does not care that angora, hemp, alpaca, linen, kapok, etc all look super on paper. It is about how they work and hold up to abuse. There is a reason that no backpacking gear is made from these materials. Because they don't work for our application. Period.

If they did they would be produced.

Yeah, polar bears live in colder climes than sheep. When was the last time you saw one having its fur shorn, non-cruelly of course... Good grief.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2012, 1:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi L.B.2550,

 To clear some things up, i was not advocating the use of either Alpaca or Angora for baselayers.  I simply brought them up in the context of explaining why Duofold's claim about their Varitherm fibers being warmer per same weight were likely true--the context of hollow fibers vs more solid ones.  I used and compared Merino to Alpaca and Angora simply to point out that fact.

Personally, i prefer Merino and Synthetic blends for baselayers.  

  Re: comparing Alpaca to Merino and you saying Merino dries faster, wicks better, etc, i haven't found this to be the case despite the lanolin difference.  I have both Alpaca shirts and sweaters and Merino shirts and sweaters, and i haven't found much of a difference in those areas.  

 Here is another context to understand why there isn't much of a difference despite Merino having lanolin.  Again, it harks back to the fact that Alpaca fibers are semi-hollow and Merino fibers aren't.  Take and compare Cotton and Linen fibers and properties.  Both are primarily made up of cellulose and so they both are very moisture absorbent.  

But, Linen wicks far better and dries MUCH faster than Cotten.  Why, mostly because Linen fibers are quite hollow and tubular in design, and Cotton fibers are more solid in nature.  Think of a absorbent straw vs a absorbent solid piece of cord, both similar diameter in size.  Since heat and expands and pushes outwards and upwards, it will help force the moisture up that hollow tubular fiber much better than the solid one.  That's the main reason why Linen wicks and dries so much better than Cotton.  

 So whatever advantage Merino has over Alpaca because of the Lanolin is nullified by the Alpaca fiber being hollow in design.  If you could somehow add some lanolin to Alpaca, it would significantly outperform Merino in wicking and drying.  To continue along that thinking, Angora rabbit which is more hollow in design than Alpaca is said to have some of the best moisture handling capabilities of all commonly used fibers.  

 I just washed and dried some Merino and Alpaca shirts together the other day.  I bought these larger than i wear, and so i wanted to shrink them and put them in warmer water and in the dryer on lowish heat.  (normally i wouldn't wash or dry either like that, but i was deliberately trying to shrink them some to fit better--also makes them warmer too from a slight felting).   Despite the Alpaca shirt was thicker in design, it dried as fast as the thinner Merino shirts.  I would check on them about every 10 mins until they were all dried.  

 Re: Kapok, well i don't think it's an ideal fiber to use for sleeping bags, but maybe it helps to clear some things up.  The reason that Kapok originally faded into non use is the same reason that Silk also faded into use around the same time.  World war 2 and Japan controlling trade from the Eastern countries from which these materials were primarily coming from.  

Silk was once used widely for parachutes, but at some point during World War 2 the West had a very short supply of it because of Japan's influence.  This is when the West developed nylon and they did so to replace silk for things like parachutes.  Then it became common and began to be used for various other applications.  

 It was similar with Kapok, it first stop getting used because of political and supply issues not because it was vastly inferior.  

 Re: the compression thing, while i don't know for sure, i'm don't think that guy Martti was saying that Kapok doesn't compress, but rather by saying it resists compression well meaning that it's not as damaged from being compressed.  I'm not sure, because i don't know what specific study he was referring to.

 Re: the "brittle" nature of Kapok, i've already addressed this numerous times, most of the studies and talk about Kapok being somewhat brittle are in the context of being tested for using it as a spinned fiber for fabric and clothing.  It does not have the ideal properties for turning it into thread, yarn, and the like for fabric and clothing.  But neither does Goose down--it also is far too delicate and not suited to trying to spin or weave it into thread, yarn, etc.  For a fiber to used in those areas, it has to be strong and resilient per each individual fiber.  Down and Kapok gain their "strength" from being used in a different manner, and many, many millions of fibers taking the force as a whole, rather than a relative few twisted fibers or so in a fabric or clothing application.

But yeah, Goose down is in many ways far better than Kapok fiber, would not argue that.  One way Kapok is better though, as are Synthetics are the moisture handling properties, though some are now coating down to improve that.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2012, 1:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(rayestrella @ Nov. 20 2012, 12:51 pm)
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Right,

Like I have tried to explain many times this forum is about backpacking gear, not material theory. The backpacking public does not care that angora, hemp, alpaca, linen, kapok, etc all look super on paper. It is about how they work and hold up to abuse. There is a reason that no backpacking gear is made from these materials. Because they don't work for our application. Period.

If they did they would be produced.

Yeah, polar bears live in colder climes than sheep. When was the last time you saw one having its fur shorn, non-cruelly of course... Good grief.

I see now that you live in a much more black and white world than i, and any further discussion about these topics with you would probably be a waste of my time and energy.  You can try to reduce it to such simplistic and extreme notions, but life, the world, people, and the market are not so simplistic and black and white.  

And what the majority does and thinks in a short time period does not mean that it's the best way.  

 For a long while, Sheeps Wool fell out of widespread popular use when Synthetics were being touted as the next best thing.  For many years the majority looked down at Sheeps wool as being inferior in so many ways to synthetics.  

 With a lot of savvy, persistent marketing and money spent, Sheeps wool started to creep back into the outdoors market and regained momentum.  In the last decade, it's become "popular" and widely used again.  

If the world, people, and the market were like you describe, it would have never gone out of popularity and widespread use to begin with.  But, we just don't live in that kind of black and white world, do we really Ray, people rarely do what is "smartest" and most practical, efficient, and effective especially in a collective, majority, popular sense.  

 But, Ray, you need to be "right" rather than to have intelligent, open, impersonal holistic discussion.  Your tactic is to use sarcasm, personal swipes, hugely exaggerated or even blatantly false labels, etc.  You say things like, "yeah, and Kapok is a wonder fiber too."  or, "Yeah, polar bears live in colder climes than sheep. When was the last time you saw one having its fur shorn" when no one, including myself ever said anything like that.

 Good grief indeed.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2012, 2:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(LiteMan @ Nov. 20 2012, 12:31 pm)
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Personally, i prefer Merino and Synthetic blends for baselayers.  

Really? What, did you not write these?

http://forums.backpacker.com/cgi-bin....liteman

http://forums.backpacker.com/cgi-bin....liteman

http://forums.backpacker.com/cgi-bin....liteman

That one includes this: “If it's really cold, then i use my already warmer hiking clothes.  I bring a lite weight silk top and bottom just for sleeping (got a very discounted rate at Sierra Trading post), a pretty lite but super warm lambs wool-angora rabbit fur-nylon vest i got at a Thrift store, and if it's really cold i put on the super lite but super warm Alpaca turtle neck sweater, some silk glove liners, an alpaca chullo hat, a combo of super lite linen socks (well 88 % linen & 12 % polyester) with alpaca socks and/or boiled/felted wool slippers with just a gummed sole (very lite, but very warm).”

And lets end with:
http://forums.backpacker.com/cgi-bin....liteman

Maybe you need to remember what you were arguing with us nonstop about before you took your epic hike to the mountains. I notice you never updated that thread to tell us all how the tent and wood burning stove and such worked out.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2012, 5:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yes "really".  You're funny Ray, kind of grasping at straws.  That list that you quoted from me was talking about sleeping clothes to increase range of a quilt or sleeping bag, it was not what i hike in. I wouldn't ever wear silk tops or bottoms for hiking--they hold moisture too much and are usually made too thin to be durable.    Perhaps you should have quoted more from that post instead of taking it out of context and perspective...ah, but you're good at that ;-)  

 Re: the other links, again i fail to see your point.  When it's warm or hot out, i just use Linen for a shirt (and Linen shorts, sometimes a Kilt or even a skirt).    

When it's cold, and then i use a baselayer and again my preference is Merino and Synthetic combos--i have used Linen in the past, but i prefer the former.   If it's really cold, or i'm lounging around, i will put Alpaca layers over same.  

Here is a quote from me from that that first link you listed, " I also have a mid weight Duofold 88% venture warm polyester (hollow fibers) and 12% merino wool top and bottom for cold weather hiking as a base layer.  Pretty good at a combo of absorbing, wicking, and drying efficiently and fairly warm for the weight, which is fairly lite."

(i made a mistake in the above and wrote venture warm, when i should have wrote varitherm).  


 Believe it or not, there are other people out there that are "hip" to the very nice properties of Linen and Alpaca.   Over at BPL for an example, a woman was selling homemade Alpaca hats like hot cakes to experienced, knowledgeable hikers.  

 You're really investing A LOT of energy and time into trying to prove me wrong and you right, why so much attachment?   Heck, you're probably almost twice my age, why not be a little more "secure" in your rightness?  

 Btw, i'm done responding to these silly arguments and debates, unless you can get and stay more impersonal and discuss the information at hand and be more constructive, i'm just not all that interested.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 4:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

hey, to each their own.  i don't think angora ever got very popular as a material to use for base layers because it isn't sufficiently durable; you have to blend it with nylon or wool, eg merino, otherwise the base layer is prone to tearing.  once you blend it, well, it's not a whole lot different than merino blended with a little nylon, so why go through the extra expense? if someone really likes it, though, there are a few places that make angora blend long johns.  

i'm not sure why alpaca has never become popular as a base layer component.  like angora,  it could be that it's harder to raise a large herd of alpaca than sheep, that alpaca wool apparently varies meaningfully in quality as the animal ages, or it could be that some people find alpaca a little more itchy.  regardless, you usually don't see alpaca base layers, and when you do, alpaca wool is generally blended with merino or something else.  i have had a few alpaca hats over the years and haven't noticed a meaningful difference in dry time between alpaca & wool...but i don't tend to reach for wool hats any more because the synthetic fleece hats do a much better job at transferring moisture and drying out than merino, alpaca, or any other kind of wool i have used.  

likewise, while i have tried linen shirts for hiking, i didn't like them as much as other options - i sweat a lot and found that they chafed & otherwise irritated my skin, and didn't wick as well or dry out as some of the synthetics or the very light wool t shirts during hot weather.  i don't think i'm biased, just results-oriented.  

or, it could be a deeply-embedded conspiracy against certain disfavored natural fibers.  i don't know.

i must disagree that any of this is silly.  i'm genuinely interested in how people use & experience this stuff.  hiking and backpacking isn't something i would generally call comfortable.  it can be a hot, sweaty, buggy, freezing, bruising experience.  we do this because there are higher benefits - solitude, a good view, unplugging from an overly technological life (we're on this forum hence using a computer or smart phone, right?), physical challenge, whatever - but anything that makes the experience less physically burdensome ain't bad.

with that, i'm unplugging for a while.  thanks for an entertaining debate.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 25 2012, 7:08 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

leadbelly2550 wrote,
QUOTE
hey, to each their own.  i don't think angora ever got very popular as a material to use for base layers because it isn't sufficiently durable; you have to blend it with nylon or wool, eg merino, otherwise the base layer is prone to tearing.  once you blend it, well, it's not a whole lot different than merino blended with a little nylon, so why go through the extra expense? if someone really likes it, though, there are a few places that make angora blend long johns.  


 Correct, angora rabbit is not very durable (however, angora goat fiber is quite durable when made well with quality stuff).  I don't have much stuff with angora rabbit fiber myself--just one light sweater which is a blend of lambswool, angora rabbit, cashmere, and a little nylon.  I have a sweater vest which is similar, but without the cashmere, and higher nylon ratio.  It's amazing how warm these are though for their weight.  

QUOTE
i'm not sure why alpaca has never become popular as a base layer component.  like angora,  it could be that it's harder to raise a large herd of alpaca than sheep, that alpaca wool apparently varies meaningfully in quality as the animal ages, or it could be that some people find alpaca a little more itchy.  


 There is a A LOT less Alpaca fiber produced each year than Sheeps wool, though Alpaca seems to be gaining in popularity as time goes on, and as the demand increases the supply is also increasing.  

 Most wools and fibers from most animals degrade (become larger diameter aka less fine) as the animal ages.  

 Actually, Alpaca fiber per same diameter fiber size is less itchy than Merino wool because Alpaca fibers have less barbed and pronounced scales--it's smoother.   If you take a fiber of Merino say 22 micrometers in size and a fiber of Alpaca of the same size, the Alpaca will feel softer and thus be less "itchy" than the Merino.  

However, ime what happens is there is much less control and discrimination in the Alpaca market, so the market has plenty of courser/larger fibers out there, and any animal fiber that is larger than a certain micrometer measurement is going to feel itchy.  Alpaca naturally tends to be a more fine fiber, just as Merino sheeps wool tends to be, but again there is less control and discrimination in the market than with Merino and yes older or lesser quality Alpaca can be itchy.  I have a couple of Alpaca sweaters that are mildy itchy because they aren't good quality.  I have one though that almost rivals Cashmere in it's softness and lightness--not surprisingly i paid more for that one.

 One reason why Merino tends to make a better baselayer than Alpaca is because Merino has more "memory" than Alpaca.  Baselayers are best when they hug the body well and Merino does this very well and keeps it shape very well.   Alpaca tends to get looser and loses it's shape a bit more.  

In that sense, pure Alpaca garments are much better for mid layers.   However, if you mix Alpaca with some polyester and some spandex or lycra, it would make an excellent baselayer.  However, i've never seen such specific mixes or blends myself (except for socks and), minus some cheap alpaca sweaters mixed with some acrylic to cut costs.  Alpaca is generally and most commonly made into hats, gloves, sweaters, shawls, scarves, etc.  

 Speaking more generally, Alpaca is not in the mainstream "Western" consciousness as much as Sheeps wool is and has been.  It's a more recent find from South America.  Sheeps wool has been used for centuries by Euros and to a lesser extent North Americans.

QUOTE
regardless, you usually don't see alpaca base layers, and when you do, alpaca wool is generally blended with merino or something else.  i have had a few alpaca hats over the years and haven't noticed a meaningful difference in dry time between alpaca & wool...but i don't tend to reach for wool hats any more because the synthetic fleece hats do a much better job at transferring moisture and drying out than merino, alpaca, or any other kind of wool i have used.  


 Their different properties have different ideal uses in different situations.  I would use a more semi-fine Alpaca in colder climates and/or less sweaty situations.  Merino in cold, but more moderately so conditions and less overt sweating.  Fleece more in cool conditions especially if a lot of sweat is involved.  

QUOTE
likewise, while i have tried linen shirts for hiking, i didn't like them as much as other options - i sweat a lot and found that they chafed & otherwise irritated my skin, and didn't wick as well or dry out as some of the synthetics or the very light wool t shirts during hot weather.  i don't think i'm biased, just results-oriented.  


  They don't dry as fast as synthetics, but typically they are thinner and stronger than Merino wool shirts and i've found they dry faster than same.   They are not as comfortable feeling wise as good quality Merino though.  I generally use Linen the most when i don't need a baselayer during warmer/hotter weather and i'm just wearing one shirt--one layer.  

 Again, i have a preference for Merino-Synthetic combos for baselayers in the more strict sense of the term--as an under shirt with layers on top of it.  If they made, or i could find alpaca synthetic combos for baselayers that were affordable, i would love to try that out.  But Alpaca being so warm, i probably would only use that for really cold weather which is not something i experience often unless i travel since i live in central VA.  I do use Alpaca for mid layer though and prefer it to fleece and Merino so far.  


QUOTE
i must disagree that any of this is silly.  i'm genuinely interested in how people use & experience this stuff.  hiking and backpacking isn't something i would generally call comfortable.  it can be a hot, sweaty, buggy, freezing, bruising experience.  we do this because there are higher benefits - solitude, a good view, unplugging from an overly technological life (we're on this forum hence using a computer or smart phone, right?), physical challenge, whatever - but anything that makes the experience less physically burdensome ain't bad.


   I was not talking about the impersonal discussion of fibers/fabrics/insulations as being silly, but the more personally directed and/or really exaggerated and/or overly generalized comments from another poster as being silly.  I don't find it adds much of worth to discussions like this and tends to bring down the quality.  Talking about ones own experience and/or the known facts of different fibers in a more matter of fact manner is potentially important and relevant for the reasons you mentioned in the above.  

QUOTE
with that, i'm unplugging for a while.  thanks for an entertaining debate.
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 Enjoy your I-net vacation, and thanks also-i've enjoyed the more impersonal/logical/relevant discussions with you though we don't agree on everything.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 26 2012, 3:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(rayestrella @ Nov. 19 2012, 6:46 pm)
QUOTE
Right, and kapok is a wonder fiber too.

(Edited in the spirit of the holidays;-)

Good luck lad,

As was asbestos.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2012, 8:52 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hey bigsilk, you may be on to something. (Or on something;-)

Maybe we can mix kapok with asbestos, two natural products, to get a super insulation that won't burn at the drop of a match...

If it were woven with silk or alpaca we wouldn't have to worry about sparks from the tent wood stove burning holes in our shirt each time it pops.

If blended with hemp baselayers we wouldn't be able to smoke them, making both the baselayers and our food supply last longer.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2012, 10:33 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(LiteMan @ Nov. 20 2012, 1:52 pm)
QUOTE
I see now that you live in a much more black and white world than i, and any further discussion about these topics with you would probably be a waste of my time and energy.  You can try to reduce it to such simplistic and extreme notions, but life, the world, people, and the market are not so simplistic and black and white.  

Precisely what the one claiming superiority in these matters would say to attempt to climb back up on the high horse and assert his author-i-tay over us inferior beings.

The black and white is this - what works in the backcountry in the conditions you're facing.

The helicopter pilots and the folks in the SAR uniforms want you to understand that the tried and true fabrics are the ones to use - playing around with kapok and other goofiness especially in the winter is dumb. DUMB. Tell the folks we've pulled out of the wilderness that the street clothes they had to build a fire to dry out repeatedly after it rained daily, delaying them a full four days, that their cotton blends and non-wool, non-synthetic, non-sensible pants and shirts and flip flops were a great idea. Also going without rain gear was likewise dumb. Had they bothered to bring wool or just some cheap polypro, it would have been different. Hopefully they got it through their heads that it isn't smart to play around - go with what works.

That said, feel free to go experiment all you like. We rescue anyone, without IQ tests or arrogance meters. Don't forget to tell someone where you are going and when to call in the search teams.

If you want to bloviate for another fifty threads about all the alternative fabrics in the world and waste a bunch of energy, go to it, man. I'll be buying something that actually works, time and time again, because I like being warm, comfortable and alive. That's not black and white - it's sensible, for my budget and my sanity, and my continued ability to exist happily without being hypothermic.

I'll experiment with and write reviews for just about anything - but taking dumb chances with insulation ain't happening.

You want people to buy into your theories. Sorry, bub. Still not happening. Make them something concrete and real and maybe there's something to talk about. What's real to me is that people go out with theories and come back with solid, real facts, in a helicopter.

Think about this a little more responsibly. You're throwing stuff at the internet and trying to make it stick. Don't mislead people into thinking some of this stuff actually works when you DO NOT KNOW FOR A FACT THAT IT DOES.

There are more cases of hypothermia in summer, by the way, because people misunderstand - hypothermia can happen well above freezing, when the clothes get wet, wind chill happens, and the person is somewhat dehydrated... and they wore the wrong fabric.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2012, 10:54 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Gees this got long.

No one mentioned Possum fur.

Dam nice stuff I think they are a blend of wool and Possum. I got a pair of gloves and socks from BPL when they used to see stuff, for my wife and I. I love the socks for sleeping. But not durable enough to use as a sock for hiking any distance IMHOP. Gloves work well in mittens or around camp.

On topic I'm a wool shirt guy year round. Down for any sort of puffy warmth need.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2012, 11:03 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I keep thinking about trying one of the Possum Fur beanies for sleeping in. Probably the funniest use is this though.

http://www.nznature.co.nz/product/possum-nipple-warmers


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2012, 11:05 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE


(eggs @ Nov. 27 2012, 10:54 am)
QUOTE
Gees this got long.

No one mentioned Possum fur. Dam nice stuff. I got a pair of gloves and socks from BPL when they used to see stuff, for my wife and I. I love the socks for sleeping. But not durable enough to use as a sock for hiking any distance IMHOP. Gloves work well in mittens or around camp.

On topic I'm a wool shirt guy year round. Down for any sort of puffy warmth need.

Hi Eggs,

 Haven't used it myself, but i have heard it is pretty warm and comfy.  I'm guessing you're talking about the New Zealand variety?  

 Yep, another rather hollow, very fine, and very warm fiber.  I've thought about getting some gloves, so thank you for the review.
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