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Base Layers and Socks


Original Post
Aaron D. · · Anchorage, AK · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 0

Your favorite base layers for winter pursuits? (Ice climbing, touring, etc.)

jdejace · · New England · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 5

I prefer 1-piece base layers in winter. I probably wear the Patagonia Capilene most. 

For climbing I like thin socks personally, though that's really personal preference. Depends how your boots fit, they don't really conform to your feet like a hiking boot so wearing a thick sock that cuts off your circulation is counter productive. I use Smartwool PhD, they make different thicknesses. 

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20

I use a variety of wool base layers for ice and alpine and have always been very happy with any of them, Patagonia, Smartwool, Ibex. I also like smartwool socks a lot. 

Keatan · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 20

I go all wool for base layers. Thickness and layering depends on the activity and weather. For example, I run a lot hotter ski touring than I do ice climbing and will wear my normal underwear under a softshell almost any time it's above 15 degrees or so. For socks, I've found Darn Tough to be a lot more durable than Smartwool. Medium thickness hiking socks over liners for ice climbing, ultra-thin ski socks for ski touring. Sock thickness can vary with your ice boot sizing, but I can't imagine wearing anything thicker than the ultra thins for skiing. Like most clothing choices, in the end it all comes down to personal preference.

Kyle Taylor · · Atlanta Ga · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

Look into other sports options for base layers. I have an old Specialized(cycling brand) base layer I really dig. Also a Craft wool base layer. And if you haven't ever tried cycling style leg/knee or arm warmers, I'd give those a shot too. 

Yes I live in Georgia now where winters are mild but this is from several years of experience riding in -10 degree Colorado winters in snow.

Lee Green · · Edmonton, Alberta · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 50

Over years of outdoor activities of all kinds (hiking/backpacking, climbing, scrambling, whitewater kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking, road biking, cross country skiing, backcountry skiing, pretty much any excuse to go outside and play), and trying all manner of options, I've gravitated to all wool base as well. Icebreaker and Smartwool mostly. For socks, Smartwool and Wigwam, thickness depending on what fits in the boot du jour without compressing and thereby reducing insulation and circulation. I used to use a thin silk liner sock under the primary sock for backpacking and backcountry ski touring, but have found that with properly chosen sock weight for the boot I don't really need it.

AlpineIce · · Upstate, NY · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 255

Capilene for base layers & thin Darn Tough for socks.

Max Forbes · · Vermont & Colorado · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 114

I tend to sweat, so I almost always wear a poly top. Thickness depends on how cold it is. For bottoms, I have thin poly for warm day and thinker wool for cold days. I like Patagonia for poly, and I’ve recently been using Minus33 for wool. For socks, I’m a huge fan of Darn Tough, although smartwools new mountaineering boot specific sock is also pretty awesome, particularly if you have a high instep like I do. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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