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Lighter weight winter clothing

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I am getting to the point where I sometimes cannot remember if I brought something up on the forum....... or not.  I searched and didn't find a post about it so I am going to bring it up.

A few years ago they found George Mallory's body on Mt. Everest.  He died on the mountain in 1924 as a member of the British Everest Expedition.  When they found him he was still wearing much of the clothing that the expedition records said that they used and it got someone at the BBC to thinking and they decided to duplicate the clothing and go to Everest with it and see how it worked. 

Here is a link to the clothing:  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5076634.stm

I snowshoe a bit, cross country ski once in a while too and what I do nearly every day, when the temperature is below freezing, is check the cattle and stock water tanks.  In the past I used stuff like Carhartt coveralls, a canvas coat, and similar.  I have used a lot of different gear including Gore-tex, waxed cotton, and wool.  It all works well but it is all kind of heavy.  After they found Mallory?s body on Everest I got interested in how the duplicated clothing performed.  One of the BBC guys wore a set to Everest and they reported on its performance.  It was surprising to them how well it worked at Everest conditions and altitude.  It was silk, wool, and gabardine outerwear.  It was Lighter weight clothing than current technology dictates.  It won't replace Everest wear but it did open some eyes.  I thought about this and wanted to see what I could put together that would be light and warm and work well for temperatures down to about zero or a bit less.  I cannot duplicate what they did, of course, but I did come up with a few workable solutions for a lightweight cold weather outfit that lets me move about easily.
Normally, as noted, I am out and about every morning to check stock water tanks and feed bunks and make sure the cows are still where they are supposed to be (on my side of the fences).  My usual cold weather gear is a pair of muck boots, long underwear, jeans, a hooded sweatshirt over a flannel shirt, a pair of overalls, gloves, a Stormy Kromer wool hat, and a silk cowboy scarf.  Sometimes I will wear a Empire Canvas and Wool wool hooded coat in place of the hooded sweatshirt.

Here is what I put together:

boots:  Neos overshoes over insulating wool inserts and two pair of medium weight wool socks.
Long underwear:  polypropylene two piece
shirt:  wool button front medium weight
upper layer: 300 weight polar fleece jacket (zip front and no hood)
outer layer: microfiber zip front wind jacket with hood
second layer on lower body:  polar fleece pants
outer layer on lower body: microfiber wind pants
gloves:  Wool mittens with leather or canvas over mittens
hat:  alpaca wool Peruvian style hat. 
other: Acrylic neck warmer or silk cowboy scarf

Here is what it looks like on:  Ignore the tennis shoes and gloves.  My mittens are in the truck and my boots are in the house.

I wanted to share this simply because I have found it to work very well in temperatures from 30F down to 10 below and it blocks wind as well as anything I have worn.

Holy Moly.  I wore flipflops all day today.

Many moons ago I was prepping for an Everest attempt.  I mercilessly picked my contacts brains for info.  I climbed high.  I climbed in North America.  South America.  Central America.  But never made it to the big leagues.  I sucked at altitude.  Like 18,000 ft up.  I was .  So I had beaucoup gear when I finally threw in the towel.  I gave my stuff to other climbers.  Hoping they would get them to the Sherpas waaaaay out there.  I got one letter.  A guy that had not only summited Everest multiple times.  He set the rope and ladders.  He thanked me and said that he had summited with 18 cotton sweatshirts on. 

Don't ever think you're the badass rolling in on the locals.  That's what I learned.

Layering is definitely the way to go! :thumbsup:  Since the peaks I climb around here are not over 1,500 feet above sea level my winter wardrobe is less specialized.  My winter wardrobe also varies greatly because of the tremendous day to day variations in temperatures & wind strength here in Nebraska.  For the coldest -20 degree conditions, I usually select a 2-piece set of military spec Extreme Cold Weather polar fleece underwear.  They are of course, olive drab in color and, at a casual glance, look more like a common, long sleeve, crew neck sweatshirt.  Sometimes, that's all I wear on top.....looks presentable enough among the farmers around the coffee table at the local co-op.  Over the top of that, I wear a hooded sweatshirt on the outside of the bibs, so I can shed it easily when I go inside.  Over that goes a light, non-insulated, hooded Carhartt jacket that cuts the wind.  When it's REALLY COLD I wear a similar hooded Carhartt jacket with polar fleece insulation.  I wear the matching, military longjohn bottoms under my bibs.....which are either my everyday Key Imperial bibs or, if it's REALLY cold, my insulated Carhartt bibs.  Socks are one or two pairs of those 'guaranteed for life' wool socks that I can't recall the name of. :shrug:   Boots are felt lined Sorel's....heavy and clunky, but warm.   My cap is usually a standard, wool, Stormy Kromer because I like the bill that keeps the sun out of my eyes, but for extreme cold I wear a mad trapper-style, rabbit fur hat that's perfect, IF you are not involved in any type of strenuous physical activity....it's too warm for those conditions and your head sweats.  I also sometimes wear an old Shetland wool balaclava that was made in Scotland.  It is very good protection from extreme cold and breathes better than the fur cap when physically exerting oneself.....not something I normally need to do these days and avoid at all possible cost! :lol:

I knew one guy in our ski club who went to Everest Tony, he didn't make the summit but he had a good time.  I hope so because it cost him about $60,000 and that was in 1980 or so.  In high school, 1963, one of our teachers was a member of the 1963 American Everest Expedition.  He was with Jake Breitenbach when the ice tower fell and killed him.  He continued in the expedition but his team did not summit.  Whitaker and Bishop made it and Jerstad and Unsoeld.  My teacher died a year or so ago, in his early 90's I think.  He was inspiring to a lot of us who had him in class.  We did a lot of climbing in Colorado, winter expeditions and rock climbing but it never went further than that. 

Nice of you to give your gear to a sherpa.

wolfy, I use some Cabela's expedition weight long unders when it is really cold.  I have always layered but a lot of the farmers and ranchers gear is both heavy and hard to move in with any agility. This microfiber windproof fabric is the best stuff I have found as a outer layer in extreme cold.  There are lots of clothing that is just as warm but all of it is heavier.  This stuff is light and you can move in it without thinking about it.  I weighed my outfit without boots or the leather mittens and it comes in at just over 3 1/2 pounds.  My insulated canvas bibs and Carhartt hooded jacket together weigh 9 pounds. 

With the fleece under layer and good boots and socks I am good for well below zero if it is calm or windy.   Just moved snow for two hours on an open tractor and then with the skid loader with its cab and was none the worse for wear.  Never got cold on the open tractor and it was below 5 F.  I can turn around and backup while pushing snow with the rear blade and actually swivel my head around to see where I am going.  I cannot do that in my normal cold weather bibs and canvas clothing as the hood gets in my line of sight.  The reason this stuff appeals to me is that it is light and comfortable to wear compared to most of my other gear.   :fire2: 


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