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Thread: Packing light and freezing weather tips appreciated

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    Packing light and freezing weather tips appreciated

    Just like it says on the title, please share every single tip you have every one of them will be thoroughly appreciated!

    Freezing weather coming from and freezing weather destination it seems.

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    1) Layer
    2) Thermal underwear
    3) Hat--I take a simple wool hat to keep my head warm. .
    4) Gloves
    5) Warm socks.
    6) Sweaters (2)
    7) Coat/Jacket--allowed even with one bag travel.

    Packing light for cold weather is possible and easily done. Layering is the best choice because it allows you to pack lighter materials and take things off when you go inside.

    Remember, the more skin exposed, the more body heat you will lose.
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    Registered User jannilee's Avatar
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    Wool and silk are warm, as are some synthetics, cotton is cold,cold,cold! Two lighter layers are warmer than one thicker layer. A windproof waterproof outer layer helps to keep all that warmth in. Fleece is good under that because the fluffiness traps warm air near the body. I seem to remeber you saying that you were allergic to some fibers...?

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    Registered User TavaPeak's Avatar
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    The outdoor outfitter folks are your friend for lightweight cold gear. Silk long underwear is a great option - not too hot indoors, keeps you cozy outdoors. Tights are a less expensive option. I can't tolerate wool in any form, so for thicker layers, I like the MTS line from REI. (Not sure if the new lines are called the same thing.) These layers pack light and small, and go well under jeans or dress slacks. I've taken a black MTS half-zip with me on every trip in the last 7 years, summer or winter. It keeps me warm on the plane (not too hot), layers over pj's on a cold night, serves as mid-layer on frigid days. Rinses and dries overnight. I bought a men's MTS for length, because I'm tall. For winter I pack a long underwear cami or tank - find it more comfortable for layering than long sleeves.

    The high-tech microfleeces are light and very warm (many on clearance right now). A buff is an ultralight layer for keeping the neck warm, but I usually pack a pashmina and several scarves. A few years ago I invested in a nice channel-down jacket that rolls up into a small bundle. Some folks pack down sweaters now. Layer layer layer!

    REI has info on layers: Layering Basics

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    Registered User Rocks's Avatar
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    I love merino wool shirts. I wear one every day. I'm allergic to everything and am very tactile (shirt tags and toe seams drive me around the bend) but merino wool doesn't bother me.
    Wear layers. I don't like fleece because it gets too warm and when you start to sweat you'll get cold. A windproof jacket is great. Also down is great. It's light and compressible. A jacket can double as a pillow.
    I've bike commuted three winters in Minnesota (couldn't face this winter though!) and basically it's better to be a little cold than get too warm and sweat.

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    - down jacket/sweater for sure! patagonia makes decent ones, but i find that the uniqlo equivalent is less expensive and honestly, feels like better quality (or at very least, comparable). i have the ultra light down jacket and it compresses flat or rolls into a pouch about the size of a soda can: Women's Ultra Light Down - Women's Down Coats and Jackets | UNIQLO
    - windproof shell that can be easily layered (depending on how cold you're talking, i really like the patagonia guide jacket and arc'teryx atom lt hoody for this purpose)
    - depending on your activity, a cashmere sweater is incredibly warm and can be layered with a merino wool or silk baselayer
    - scarves/buff/pashmina - i personally prefer the pashmina because i can pull it over my head if the hat/coat hood aren't cutting it. i prefer this approach to earmuffs, more versatile.
    - merino/silk layers everywhere! or, uniqlo again provides a decent alternative with its synthetic heattech (i prefer its texture to, say, the patagonia capilene baselayers): http://www.uniqlo.com/us/womens-clot...ech-collection
    Last edited by capncat; 03-05-2013 at 08:48 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jannilee View Post
    Wool and silk are warm, as are some synthetics, cotton is cold,cold,cold! Two lighter layers are warmer than one thicker layer. A windproof waterproof outer layer helps to keep all that warmth in. Fleece is good under that because the fluffiness traps warm air near the body. I seem to remeber you saying that you were allergic to some fibers...?
    I am indeed allergic to, of all things, wool, silk and down.

    The only thing we can both tolerate are cotton as base layers, microfiber, fleece and waterproof stuff as top layers.

    As you might imagine it is a challenge.


    Tentative packing list with stuff I already have:

    Pants
    Warm cotton/poly blend snowmagedon proof heavy, worn.
    Yoga pants (thanks for the suggestion Lani)
    Microfiber dress up pants I can layer the yoga pants under if it is too cold.
    Moleskine dress up winter pants (maybe)

    2 or 3 very lightweight long sleeve tees which can be dressed up or worn as layers
    2 button down warm cotton shirts
    1 or 2 cardigans long sleeve
    a fleece vest

    Waterproof, rain long jacket (I decided against buying a long stylish trench because I remember how cumbersome it is when taking stairs)

    One set of pj.

    I am wondering how much pair of socks and foundation garments I should take. (It is cold, stuff won't dry fast)

    In Aeronaut



    For better half (who plans to eat his way to our destinations and won't gain a pound doing it)

    Mostly tees, one heavy sweater, worn.
    2 pair of jeans (one worn)

    One nice pair of pants, one or 2 nice shirts

    Said person is a stain magnet and I am thinking about a stain eraser pen for that purpose, a new casual wardrobe can be found easily for him as he is medium size.

    In Tristar Dyneema


    We are allowed a computer bag and a carry on.

    The plan is Synapse and Aeronaute for me both Dyneema.
    Last edited by backpack; 03-05-2013 at 10:06 AM.

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    Registered User TavaPeak's Avatar
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    backpack, the MTS stuff from REI is similar to Capilene, I think. I do well with the Capilene-type fabric. Even better with items that have no sewn-in tags at the neck. I don't do well with some other all-polyester tech fabrics. I'm ok with silk, but allergic to down. (Yes I sneeze when I wear my fancy coat. ;-)

    I now travel with a Fluxus Nomad scarf, which was recommended by LauraA, I think? They are soft cotton tissue-weight jersey knit. Very long and doubles as a blanket. The fabric is not irritating, and it goes through the washer & dryer with ease. (which addresses the "Bus Pants" issue) The Fluxus is probably not as effective for -20 weather, but was terrific when we left Colorado in December in -3 degrees. It's wide enough to layer under a jacket as a shawl or scarf. I wear it onto the plane.

    And hurrah for yoga pants! Lani is so right about that.

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    I recently got a Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover--yay for colors that are being phased out and on sale!!--that is incredibly light and packable and quite warm. While walking the dog lately in 30-40 degree temps before dawn, I have actually gotten sweaty in just 15-20 minutes while wearing it over a silkweight capilene l/s shirt along with gloves, fleece hat, and medium-weight cargo pants. The pullover or jacket would make a great outer layer or mid layer under a shell if it's particularly wet or cold.

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    I try to make do with what we already have because we already had so much expenses.

    I will be taking two scarves of the same fabric as the Fluxus but slighly smaller, it is better that way since I tend to do a Mr Bean or Inspecteur Clouseau danse with a long scarf, a big no no in Europe when one is supposed to master the art of scarf wearing right out of toddlerhood.

    I might take a lighter weight dressier looking scarf as well.

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    Thank you so much for all the great suggestions! Please keep them coming!

    I can't wait to meet all of my fellow forum members the day Tom Bihn Inc has a giant Grand Opening Block Party!

    Or there is a really big Bash to celebrate the production of the one million Citizen Canine! It would be awesome if it was produced in a FOJ kind of way and auctioned off to support Canines Causes everywhere!
    darbs likes this.

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    Is it the synthetic base layers that bother you or your reaction to them? I know alot of the times the older polyester garments can give people "prickly heat" rashes that look a lot like a breakout of hives, I have a vintage (old) football (soccer) jersey that I can't wear without a cotton shirt underneath because it barely breathes but capeline base layers don't bother me. If you haven't tried some of the more recent ultra breathable/ ultra wicking polyester undergarments I would maybe give them a shot. Places like REI or MEC in Canada are great because if you have any problems they will take them back no questions asked.

    As far as a down alternative there is Primaloft, originally developed for the U.S. army for use in challenging wet locations where down insulation is about as useful as a wet paper towel. It is used in the Arcteryx atom jacket mentioned by capncat and the Patagonia nano puff jacket mentioned by Autolycus. For a versatile mid-layer it is great, if you can find one with a light fabric and minimal pockets it will often pack up to the size of a softball while providing the warmth of a bulky heavyweight fleece sweater.

    Also if you are worried about cold feet around the house- hut booties! oh hut booties, how I love thee! My favorites are from Integral Designs

    For anything going as low as -22*F/-30*C I will wear Patagonia Capeline 3 base layers, a Patagonia R1 fleece sweater, possibly a Primaloft sweater and a soft shell outer, and some thinner gloves like the OR vert and medium weight wool socks, if I plan on having some periods of inactivity or if the temperature will dip towards -40 I will throw a puffy down or Primaloft jacket into a backpack with some big mittens, I also bring spare gloves in case ones get wet. I had severe frostbite on my fingers once and they are the first part of me to feel the cold so I always make sure I have good mitts. I find doing the math on a price per finger basis softens the blow of buying 40-100+ dollar gloves. In the ice climbing community we have something called the "screaming barfies" that describes what happens when the blood returns to your frozen fingers after climbing a pitch and you aren't sure wether to scream or barf because it hurts so bad.

    For anything towards freezing I normally go for capeline2 and the soft-shell outfit and a light mid-layer shirt or maybe goretex if it will be very wet.

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    I meant freezing like cold in Europe and the U.S not the high Arctic or Antarctic.

    I will visit both frozen areas one day so the Primaloft garments idea is much much appreciated!

    I didn't know that it was used for clothes.

    Microfiber is a new kind of polyester blends which I am ok with for outer layers.

  14. #14
    Registered User jannilee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by backpack View Post
    I meant freezing like cold in Europe and the U.S not the high Arctic or Antarctic.
    Or like the Canadian prairies in winter where -20 c is not uncommon and we need to be prepared for -30 or -40. Of course if you live in Calgary like Miking and I do you might also have + 15c in the middle of winter.
    123veo and Miking like this.

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    Registered User Lani's Avatar
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    Others have already mentioned it, but merino wool is the way to go. You can get very thin versions that you can easily layer, they don't smell, and are easily washable. Icebreakers sells them, but I also run into some nice items at REI and LL Bean as well. I'd make sure you get yourself a hat, scarf, gloves, and wool socks (go with Smartwool; I LOVE them) and they'll help a lot!
    Lani Teshima: A Dyneema diva with a closetful of Tom Bihn products!
    Publisher, The Travelite FAQ: Don't get saddled with baggage—free yourself & your mind by packing lightly!
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