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11/11/2009 10:08:07 PM · #1
I was caught in a really heavy shower last weekend in a graveyard. Neither my wax jacket or nearby headstone provided enough shelter.... :) I've heard that dressing in a base layer (e.g. thermals) a fleece and then a waterproof outer layer is most effective for adverse weather conditions.

I'm sure photography takes a lot of you off into the wilderness. So in terms of being practical, warm, comfortable and waterproof what brands of outdoor wear do you use in the winter? - What about hiking boots?

11/11/2009 10:35:24 PM · #2
As far as hiking boots are concerned I love my timberlands.... On waterproof / warm gear I wear gortex. I have a military gortex jackey that does the trick. Also so REALLY good cold weather insulation is under armour. They sell pants and tops both cold weather and warm. It wicks all moisture away from your body and is worth it's weight in gold. I lve mine.
11/11/2009 10:45:12 PM · #3
Oh man I could go on forever about this one :)
The layering approach is best because it's flexible and efficient. First off, avoid cotton if you want to stay warm. It has next to zero insulative power when wet. Since you live in a wet area, I would recommend a synthetic insulation for any garments, or a very effective shell if you go with down, since down is worthless when it gets wet (synthetic isn't, but it's heavier, doesn't keep loft as well over time, and isn't as insulative as dry down).
Instead of guiding you towards specific brands, I'll give a rundown of some good technical fabrics that manufacturers use.
For waterproof/breathable fabrics, Goretex is a very well known brand and has been proven over the years. There are various types of Gore fabric, however, each with various characteristics. Paclite is very thin, weighs less, and less durable. Because it is thinner, it generally breathes better. Goretex Performance is a heavier weight laminate, often used in conjuction with a heavier denier outer fabric to provide more durability. It is heavier than Paclite and vents a bit worse. Proshell is the best of Gore's options, but very expensive. Very durable and breathes quite well. There are also soft shells which are more supple, breathe better, but are less waterproof than a true hardshell.
Many manufacturers today are also making their own proprietary version of Goretex, with a wide variety of success. Eventually, however, most jackets will "wet out" wherein they feel wet on the inside but no water actually is getting through. At this point in time you should reapply a DWR (Durable Water Repellant) to the outside of the coat such as the products from Nikwax or ReviveX. This will "repair" the properties of the jacket that make water bead up and run off. A newer fabric that is received a great deal of attention is E-Vent, which a lot of people say has higher breathability than the Gore products, though it isn't as pervasive in the market and is used by many smaller companies.
But really, one of the questions you should ask is how much aerobic activity do you anticipate doing in your coat? That's the whole reason there is a need for such breathability, and also the reason such fabrics are so expensive. It could be overkill for you if you just want to walk around and not get wet.
I'm also hesitant to adivse a specific brand because fit varies a good deal, so most items should be tried on in person. Outdoor gear typically has a trimmer fit (although they've been expanding with waistlines lately), and some items have a "technical" fit which will mean they are rather tight to enable unhindered dexterity for climbing and other activities. What this means is that you'll have to find out which companies have a fit similar to your body type.

Boots should always always always be tried on and decisions should not be made until you find one that fits well. I love Scarpa, but that's because the lasts they use to make their boots seem to be closer to my foot shape. I'd recommend you determine what sort of arch you have, do you have a wide foot, high or low volume... important questions. Also a good pair of socks goes a long way. Wool only for me.

I also should warn you at this point, that, like photography, the sky is the limit for cost for outdoor gear, so determing a budget is a start too. That's the quickest rundown I could do. I guess I'm just all for incredibly long posts tonight...
11/11/2009 10:50:17 PM · #4
For outdoor gear in adverse weather, my first advise is to dress in layers. Three or four thin layers of wool or other water wicking fabrics is key to stay warm and dry. The layers provide pockets of air that add insulation.

I agree with ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' cowboy221977 on Gortex for the outer layer - it is a great way to go for water proofing.

One thing you never want to have on is cotton. The old adage is 'cotton is rotten'. Stay away, very far away. That includes socks, jeans, sweatshirts etc.

For boots, it comes down to comfort first, but quality and waterproofing are important. Again Gortex is the way to go for the best water protection. I personally prefer Merrel boots, not too expensive but good quality.

Message edited by author 2009-11-11 22:51:08.
11/11/2009 11:04:00 PM · #5
Cold and rainy weather hunting, NCAA football in the snow/ice, working outdoors, with photos all the way. Here is my cold weather setup:

One set standard calf height gym socks OR one set heavy wool socks
Cabela's Outfitters boots with "thinsulate" (the more grams the more warmth)
Cabela's Polartec set (bottoms & top)
Jeans
Regular t-shirt
Outer shirt if necessary
Gortex jacket or parka with hood
If pouring down rain, Gortex rain pants
If super cold, an Under Armor thermal face mask and gloves

Extra thoughts:
-More socks doesn't equal more warmth, buy better boots. Stacking socks will compress the foot and restrict blood flow, resulting in cold feet. Put socks on over top of thermal underwear (will help keep them from slipping down your leg).
-Polartec work best as the first layer, it wicks away moisture and provides a good amount of heat.
-Cabela's Outfitter boots are full leather and pretty water proof. I have walked through a stream of running water that crested the tops of my boots with only my jeans getting wet (socks and feet dry).
-If you are having troubles with socks slipping down into your boots as you walk, try loosely wrapping them at the narrowest part of your ankle with some athletic tape, not too tight to restrict blood flow, but tight enough that there isn't much play in the sock moving up or down.
-If using gloves, put them on before you put on your coat/jacket. Tighten the cuffs to help keep the gloves tucked in. This keeps air and precipitation off your wrists.
-The above listed layers minimized constrictions of movement pretty well, I am still able to climb, kneel, squat, jog, and shoot (pistol/shotgun/rifle/Canon) easily.

Hope this helps!
-drew

ETA: I'm not trying to push Cabela's over any other outfitter, but they are the one's I have primarily used in the past, and have the most experience with. I am not too familiar with other brands, as once you find some good gear that suits your needs, you tend to stick with it...and I stick with Cabela's.

Message edited by author 2009-11-11 23:34:11.
11/11/2009 11:11:14 PM · #6
Get a Canada Goose jacket... probably the warmest jacket in the world. Arctics Certified ;)
It feels very good ! You wont need to dress in layers... :) its about $500.
Get one and get out !
11/11/2009 11:17:57 PM · #7
You got it right with a base layer (no cotton!), a fleece, and then a waterproof/breathable shell. This lets you breath, and keeps you warm and dry. A big waterproof hat works well too (I love my OR Seattle Sombrero).

Take your pick on the brands, lots of good stuff. I like Outdoor Research and Mountain Hardware because you get great quality at a good price, but I love my ultra light packable Redledge shell too. Just be sure everything breaths, pit zips are great, and the shell has to be water/wind proof/resistance. REI brand is actually pretty good and affordable. North Face seems to rely too much on their name as their products seem over priced. Columbia works fine in most cases and doesn't break the bank if you are not climbing a mountain or out for a week. Arc'Teryx, Marmot and others are fantastic and the gear snobs will say everything else sucks, but they are insanely priced and not for everyone!

Shoes/boots, they all fit different so you have to try them all and see what brands you like and don't like. I Like Merrell and Salamon but you may not. Goretex shoes work well. One thing to remember, most waterproof boots are waterproof from the inside out too. Once your feet are wet they stay wet!
11/11/2009 11:21:35 PM · #8
The advice here is mostly good with the biggies being no cotton and dress in layers.

I do quite a bit of winter outdoor hiking, snowshoeing, as well as a bit of snow camping and mountian climbing. I almost always start with a thin to medium thickness base layer, always synthetic. Then a warming layer if needed (depends on how much work you are doing) of fleece pants and top. Next a lightweight sweater - jacket made of synthetics including the insulation. Down is ok as long as you can keep it dry but the synthetic insulation is now thin, light and warm and keeps its insulation qualities even when wet. Last is the waterproof layer. Gore-tex is good but the new E-Vent material is even better and is used by a number of manufacturers today. I have a jacket made by RAB out your neck of the woods. It is very light, breaths very well during exertion and is absolutely waterproof. For pants I use Gore-tex. For boots make sure they have a Gore-tex liner and meet the stiffness for your activity and wear wool-blend socks. The idea is layers, synthetics and keep each light weight so you have many options during your activity.

As for wool it is true that it keeps its warmth when wet but it is heavier and does absorb water so not the fabric of choice other than socks now-a-days.

I also always carry an extra medium to heavy base layer top. When you are working hard you will sweat and the base layer will be cold when you stop for any extended period. I just strip down and switch layers. The other will dry fairly quickly in your pack.

A good source for you would be to find a shop that caters to mountian climbers or mountaineers and see what they have. You do not need what they use for summiting Mt. Everest but anyone who goes into the high country in the snow and weather is going to know what is best. In the US one of the largest is REI and in your area maybe try RAB as mentioned above.

One final note: buy it once! Do the research and then buy the correct equipment the first time. Even though it looks expensive you will end up buying less overall. As an example I went through three other waterproof jackets before settling on the RAB.

Hope that helps and good hiking!

Message edited by author 2009-11-11 23:35:48.
11/11/2009 11:26:10 PM · #9
Originally posted by hesam:

Get a Canada Goose jacket... probably the warmest jacket in the world. Arctics Certified ;)
It feels very good ! You wont need to dress in layers... :) its about $500.
Get one and get out !


They're the best, I agree. The one I looked at the other day was about $ 800 CDN. What if I wore just the money, in bills, to keep warm?
11/11/2009 11:32:35 PM · #10
Originally posted by zeuszen:

Originally posted by hesam:

Get a Canada Goose jacket... probably the warmest jacket in the world. Arctics Certified ;)
It feels very good ! You wont need to dress in layers... :) its about $500.
Get one and get out !


They're the best, I agree. The one I looked at the other day was about $ 800 CDN. What if I wore just the money, in bills, to keep warm?


Then you should wear it in layers... maybe $500 in bills layer, and then put a $300 Northface on top of it !
11/12/2009 12:03:00 AM · #11
Originally posted by hesam:

Originally posted by zeuszen:

Originally posted by hesam:

Get a Canada Goose jacket... probably the warmest jacket in the world. Arctics Certified ;)
It feels very good ! You wont need to dress in layers... :) its about $500.
Get one and get out !


They're the best, I agree. The one I looked at the other day was about $ 800 CDN. What if I wore just the money, in bills, to keep warm?


Then you should wear it in layers... maybe $500 in bills layer, and then put a $300 Northface on top of it !


Down is great for keeping warm when it's really cold...just don't get it wet or it's worse than useless.

I like the Tru-Spec H2O proof ECWCS parka with the matching trousers. About $90 for the parka and fleece liner and $55 for the trousers. It's made to U.S. Military specs, so it's tough enough for them, which means it's more than tough enough for you and me. It also works like it should. To keep your feet warm/dry/comfortable, there's no substitute for wool socks. I like SmartWool socks, they start about $15/pair for light weight. They're washable and they don't itch. I wear the light weight socks year round and only go with something heavier if it's really cold. You can also get a pair of light wicking liner socks to wear with a heavier pair. As for boots...that's going to depend a lot on what you're doing. If you're going to be hiking, get a pair of good gore tex hiking boots. If you're going to be sitting around in subzero weather, get a pair of heavy pac boots. Keep in mind though that the best pair of gore tex boots is less breathable than just about any pair of non-waterproof footwear. so if it's going to be hot and only occasionally wet, you might want to consider that in your decision. You can also pair a good pair of waterproof hiking boots with some gaiters to get more protection than just boots with pants.

Oh yeah, I agree with the other posters who say that "Cotton is Rotten". Cotton is great for casual wear, but if you're serious about staying warm and dry, leave it at home.
11/12/2009 01:18:40 AM · #12
Looks like you got all the answers you need.

I also spend a lot of time in the snow and the mountains and swear by products from Bergans of Norway. A good jacket (shell) here in Norway is close to USD $1000 but IMO worth every penny. It's probably cheaper out of country although a Norwegian product (figures!) Bergans products are known to be the Cadillac of outdoors wear in Scandinavia.

I use a large down jacket for casual outdoors when in town and not moving much but always layers when cross country skiing, hiking or downhill skiing.

You can see Bergans clothing and outdoors gear here
Bergans of Norway

11/12/2009 03:54:17 AM · #13
One thing I'd like to bring up is about cool, wet weather. Don't be shy to go into your local golf pro shop. After I retired from the military I started working in the golf business and man, some of the new jackets and pants perform wonders in cool (not cold) wet weather. Mizuno really makes some great stuff that won't break the bank like Foot Joy will. Not only is their gear light, water proof (not resistant), and warm, but it fits well and doesn't ride up your waist if you raise your arms or slip down your butt if you bend over. Also if you are shooting in cool weather, winter golf gloves are my secret weapon. Light enough to be able to work the controls and warm enough for extended shooting.
11/12/2009 12:03:42 PM · #14
Thanks for the replies, lots of great advise here. I never expected something as simple as buying shoes could become as involved as researching which camera to buy.... :)

I have a mish-mash of stuff at the moment; a few base layers, boots (too heavy, so I never wear them), golf rain gear, hats, gloves and not-so-waterproof jackets. I think the waterproof breathable jacket and hiking boots would be a good place for me to start, as that's the weakest link.

I hear what you're saying about cotton. When I got caught in that downpour I was wearing a cotton t-shirt under the jacket, and jeans. Not pleasant when the water soaked through.
11/12/2009 12:16:03 PM · #15
Originally posted by Spazmo99:

if it's going to be hot and only occasionally wet, you might want to consider that in your decision.

I'm in Ireland. So, the opposite of what you just said.... ;-)

Given the amount of rain here, perhaps I should be researching scuba gear?
11/12/2009 12:16:28 PM · #16
Some useful tips made in this thread! The idea of checking out apparel geared towards golfers is one I wouldn't have thought of. I always lean more toward hunting gear, plus I like camo. :-)

Regarding the boots/socks...I recently purchased a sock combo (at Gander Mountain) that has worked very well for me. It's two pair, one thin synthetic blend pair goes on first, with a wool outer sock.
11/12/2009 09:22:31 PM · #17
Originally posted by Spazmo99:

...Down is great for keeping warm when it's really cold...just don't get it wet or it's worse than useless...


It would have to get drenched thoroughly and that for a quite long time before it would become useless. I wear down every day, for two to three seasons and, living on the West coast, in the wettest weather you can imagine. Down, in fact, stays warm for longer than you might think, and it dries quickly.
11/12/2009 10:34:45 PM · #18
Originally posted by zeuszen:

Originally posted by Spazmo99:

...Down is great for keeping warm when it's really cold...just don't get it wet or it's worse than useless...


It would have to get drenched thoroughly and that for a quite long time before it would become useless. I wear down every day, for two to three seasons and, living on the West coast, in the wettest weather you can imagine. Down, in fact, stays warm for longer than you might think, and it dries quickly.


It does, however, gather more and more water vapor from your body the more consistently you use it under aerobic or muggy conditions, which lowers loft. I live in Colorado so I hardly even think about rain or wet snow, but it's something to consider in wet places. The other thing is making sure you have quality down and a quality material to contain said down. Not all coats are created equal, with some using an ultralight nylon facing that is only treated with a DWR. But realistically, if he goes the way of a quality shell his insulation layer should not be getting wet in the first place... Just don't bother wasting your money on 600 or lower fill because it's not as warm and its heavier.
As I said before though, you really need to think about what sort of aerobic level you're planning to use this setup in. You don't need a giant down parka while you're moving, it's for when you aren't moving that you need that. FWIW Feathered Friends makes primo down products, for NA folks. Their Volant is unbelievably awesome.
11/12/2009 10:45:07 PM · #19
Waterproof boots (I use Timberland) and a wide brimmed hat. You can get away with less clothes if your feet and head are warm. Layers are always good and thermal underwear is the bees knees.
11/12/2009 10:52:16 PM · #20
If I go outside and I'm in the U.S. I wear pants and a shirt with shoes (old combat boots in the wilderness).
In Brasil I just wear a Speedo and flip flops (t-shirt optional).
11/12/2009 10:57:11 PM · #21
word is that ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Judi is into leather...

I guess that's really another thread entirely.
11/13/2009 01:45:35 AM · #22
Originally posted by zeuszen:

Originally posted by Spazmo99:

...Down is great for keeping warm when it's really cold...just don't get it wet or it's worse than useless...


It would have to get drenched thoroughly and that for a quite long time before it would become useless. I wear down every day, for two to three seasons and, living on the West coast, in the wettest weather you can imagine. Down, in fact, stays warm for longer than you might think, and it dries quickly.


Ever fall in water in winter when it's below zero? I have. If I had been wearing down as my insulating layer, not only would I have been soaked to the bone, I'd have been frozen long before my down layer was dry enough to insulate.

I'll stick with my synthetic insulation if I'm anywhere near water.

Don't get me wrong, down is great stuff for the right conditions.

11/13/2009 02:26:57 AM · #23
Originally posted by aplomb76:

Brasil I just wear a Speedo and flip flops (t-shirt optional).

Friendship rule nr 1: Friends don't let friends wear speedos...
11/13/2009 05:30:04 AM · #24
It was really odd reading this thread. It reminded me as to why I still live in Arizona. In the winters here, we wear a sweatshirt and usually half way through the day, we end up taking it off and just wearing a t shirt. Thanks for reminding me there is cold wet weather out there =o)
11/13/2009 06:13:28 AM · #25
Originally posted by JulietNN:

It was really odd reading this thread. It reminded me as to why I still live in Arizona. In the winters here, we wear a sweatshirt and usually half way through the day, we end up taking it off and just wearing a t shirt. Thanks for reminding me there is cold wet weather out there =o)

I'll take some cold over a heatstroke anyday. A low of 95 is just way too hot for me.
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