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Warm Midlayer Pants


Original Post
Nolan Huther · · Clarkson University · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 607

I'm wondering what a lot of people do for their pants system on a cold day (lets call that single digits Fahrenheit or below). Usually I just wore a pair of softshells and wool leggings and synthetic underwear underneath- works well enough for winter hiking or climbing on a 20 or 30 degree day. But when its the roadside business with little to no approach and lots of time stationary, I'm finding that this is just not warm enough, and I can feel my thighs starting to get chilly, and my feet follow shortly after.

I saw a few options online like the Patagonia R1 fleece pants- does anyone use anything along these lines and have any recommendations?

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480

It sounds like you're toproping when it's below 10 degrees. I'll wear silks, a pair of polyester pants from Ragged Mountain and Patagonia's Northwall pants. I can wear the silks and pants in the car until we where we're going then slap the Northwalls on and go. Who wants to wear all that into SubAlpine after the day has ended :)

Something I've found when shopping for that thick mid layer is be sure there's a zipper. You don't want everybody hanging out when you need to pee. Shrinkage man! You can't get two inches to stick outta five inches of clothes.

Another thing I like is double boots for that type of day. They rock.. if you got the loot of them.

Alex Mason · · Denver · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 210

best mid layer pant I have used thus far is the nano air light pant from patagonia they breath well wick moisture and have a nice full zipper! Work well in the super cold with a base layer beneath and a softshell pant on top

Nolan Huther · · Clarkson University · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 607
Bill Kirby wrote: It sounds like you're toproping when it's below 10 degrees. I'll wear silks, a pair of polyester pants from Ragged Mountain and Patagonia's Northwall pants. I can wear the silks and pants in the car until we where we're going then slap the Northwalls on and go. Who wants to wear all that into SubAlpine after the day has ended :) Something I've found when shopping for that thick mid layer is be sure there's a zipper. You don't want everybody hanging out when you need to pee. Shrinkage man! You can't get two inches to stick outta five inches of clothes. Another thing I like is double boots for that type of day. They rock.. if you got the loot of them.
Well, the only time this has happened was on cold days on the Cascade, Multi and in PG (might've been below zero then, IIRC)- always following though, not leading. TRing I can just take a lap when I feel chilly. And haha, reminds me of some quote I heard about the hardest part of climbing Everest. Thanks for the tips!
Nolan Huther · · Clarkson University · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 607
Alex Mason wrote:best mid layer pant I have used thus far is the nano air light pant from patagonia they breath well wick moisture and have a nice full zipper! Work well in the super cold with a base layer beneath and a softshell pant on top
Saw those too. Glad to hear they work pretty well, would probably be great for long approaches on a cold day with their breathability. I'd have to drop some moneys though- only reason I have a nano air jacket was a huge sale on Steep and Cheap
Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745

I've got a range of fleece pants, none of them very fancy or expensive. We're talking Old Navy and Sierra Trading Post here. Some have zippers, some don't. Ditto side pockets. My main concern is that they be rather slim cut, not some fleece version of a baggy Champion/Russell sweat pant. I've owned fancier fleece pants with all the bells and whistles (zip vents, reinforced knees and seat, crampon guards at the ankles). And I just never wore them. Too much going on for what should be a simple mid-layer.

Jeremy Cote · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0

Start with a medium/heavy weight base layer (thicker than silk weight)

A power stretch fleece tight (expedition thickness) layer goes on next.

Then layer on medium weight soft shell pant.

Anything below 0 deg F, then the heavyweight soft shell replace the medium weights.

So with five different layers you can combine for almost any condition. The only thing missing would be hardshell pants, and puffy pants.

Silk weight base
Medium/heavy weight base
Fleece/Polartec/Powerstretch tights
Medium softshell pants
Heavyweight softshell pants

Jarmland · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 0

Just put on a pair of light hardshell pants, on top of baselayer and softshell pants. With side zips so you don't have to remove your boots.

Blocks the wind and keeps you toasty.

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 483

A grid fleece is great for keeping you comfortable over a wide range of temp and exertion. I've been using the BD Coefficient (same fabric as pataguchi R4). These wick sweat fast, if left open a little too fast actually. I find that I can "flash cool" as it draws sweat away so fast after exertion stops.

I wear a very thin softshell over this (dead bird gamma rock), it provides a great outer layer if the approach is strenuous, makes a great boot seal, and slightly slows the transport of sweat off the base layer. It's just a enough to let the grid base layer be dry very quickly without the "flash cool".

Over the top I use a full zip side hard shell. I don't sweat *that* much from my legs while climbing. It seems to be much warmer than any softshell pant when inactive for a long period of time.

If you really prefer climbing with a softshell pant I would just get some puffy pants with a full side zip for belaying/standing around while the top rope party goes down.

Redyns · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 80
Jeremy Cote wrote:Start with a medium/heavy weight base layer (thicker than silk weight) A power stretch fleece tight (expedition thickness) layer goes on next. Then layer on medium weight soft shell pant. Anything below 0 deg F, then the heavyweight soft shell replace the medium weights. So with five different layers you can combine for almost any condition. The only thing missing would be hardshell pants, and puffy pants. Silk weight base Medium/heavy weight base Fleece/Polartec/Powerstretch tights Medium softshell pants Heavyweight softshell pants
that's an excessive amount of pants.

i've found that standard long johns and Prana Brion pants seem to do the trick well into the 20's.
Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 483
Redyns wrote: that's an excessive amount of pants. i've found that standard long johns and Prana Brion pants seem to do the trick well into the 20's.
Check the OP's question again:

"pants system on a cold day (lets call that single digits Fahrenheit or below)"
Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

heavy weight army surpluss poly pro longjohns, army surplus fleece bibs, ($14.99) and EMS softshell light weight hiking pants as an outer layer.

Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 498

I just got a pair of the new Montbell UL Thermawrap pants, and I wore them all day Tuesday ice climbing. Stretchy breathable insulation and fabrics, and designed to compete with the Nano Air Light Pant. They fit more trim than the Nano Air Light, and they don't have the saggy crotch of the Nano Air Light. A bit lighter weight than the Nano Air Light. Can easily blow through it as it's so breathable. They have cuff elastic that can be pulled down to make a stirrup. If you order from the Japanese site, they are about $110 shipped for one pair or about $180 for two pairs. From the US site they are $135. Nano Air Light is $150 and has a crotch zipper.

FWIW I also have the top, and it's a lighter, full zip alternative to the Nano Air Light Hoody as well.

FWIW2, my entire outfit was Patagonia Capilene Lightweight Crew, Mountain Equipment Eclipse 3/4 Pant (slightly lighter R1), Cap 4 Balaclava, socks, and the UL Thermawrap top and bottom. No additional shell. Puffy in my pack. This was good at 20F. It'd go a bit colder than that, but I might add a windshell or a heavier base layer top in the single digits.

Jeremy Cote · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0
Nick Drake wrote: Check the OP's question again: "pants system on a cold day (lets call that single digits Fahrenheit or below)"
It sounds like the OP just needs to add the fleece layer to his current two layer setup and he'll be good to go for those temps.

The only other suggestion I would make is to try and find a boot cut version of the fleece/expedition layer, or cut it yourself and have someone sew them, otherwise you'll be folding over the excess material that you don't want to have inside of your boots.

Oh, and don't forget yah gators.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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