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Old 02-12-2013, 10:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Importance of Mid-layer in overall breathability?

Does is matter how good your outer shell is breath ability wise if your mid-layer doesn't wick moisture that well?

My upper body tends to sweat alot and I'm wondering if I should upgrade my shell or my mid-layer.

I've been wearing UA cold gear compression shirt as my base layer, The North Face jacket for the outer shell (HyVent 2L shell) which has a 17K rating and a old TNF fleece jacket as my mid layer.

Should I upgrade my outer shell to a Gore-Tex jacket or upgrade to a higher performance mid-layer?

I'm wondering what would help more as far as keeping me dry from sweating.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Before I ran out and bought something new, I'd try washing your gear in Nikwax Tech Wash to see if it isn't some old detergent residue reducing the breathability. Beyond that, base and mid layers are generally cheaper than shells, so I'd start there. My favorite stuff for either base or mid layers is Polartec Power Stretch. They also have a product called Power Dry that may be an improvement for you, which is what Patagonia uses in Capilene 3 and 4. You could also consider switching to a softshell instead of a hardshell when you don't need absolute waterproofness (and you generally don't, unless you're out in the rain or slush or wallowing around in wet snow).

Or maybe you're just dressing too warm in the first place. What kind of temperatures are you wearing all that stuff in? If I was wearing what you're wearing in anything over about 20F I'd be sweating my butt off, personally. Even the best technical clothing can only do so much. Overdressing to the point of serious sweating is going to feel clammy (and eventually cold) no matter what fancy clothes you're wearing.

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Old 02-12-2013, 10:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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old TNF fleece jacket as my mid layer.
My guess is that thing doesn't pass moisture for beans. We talking about you just bumming around the resort here? I'd definitely try and find a better mid-layer before shelling out hundreds of dollars on a gore-tex jacket, or just not wear so many layers. This is one of those times where backcountry or REI would be super useful since you could return the item if you still sweat up a storm.
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Before I ran out and bought something new, I'd try washing your gear in Nikwax Tech Wash to see if it isn't some old detergent residue reducing the breathability. Beyond that, base and mid layers are generally cheaper than shells, so I'd start there. My favorite stuff for either base or mid layers is Polartec Power Stretch. They also have a product called Power Dry that may be an improvement for you, which is what Patagonia uses in Capilene 3 and 4. You could also consider switching to a softshell instead of a hardshell when you don't need absolute waterproofness (and you generally don't, unless you're out in the rain or slush or wallowing around in wet snow).

Or maybe you're just dressing too warm in the first place. What kind of temperatures are you wearing all that stuff in? If I was wearing what you're wearing in anything over about 20F I'd be sweating my butt off, personally. Even the best technical clothing can only do so much. Overdressing to the point of serious sweating is going to feel clammy (and eventually cold) no matter what fancy clothes you're wearing.
I do wash my outer shell and pants in Nikwax Tech Wash. I use Penguin detergent for all other layers. Penguin wash is equivalent to Nikwax base wash.

I even sweat when it's cold out. I was riding few days this year when it was around 17F with wind chill of 3F and I was still wet.

thanks
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:01 AM   #5 (permalink)
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My guess is that thing doesn't pass moisture for beans. We talking about you just bumming around the resort here? I'd definitely try and find a better mid-layer before shelling out hundreds of dollars on a gore-tex jacket, or just not wear so many layers. This is one of those times where backcountry or REI would be super useful since you could return the item if you still sweat up a storm.

I rode few times this year when it was really cold(17F with windchill of 3F) and I was still wet afterwards. Problem is if I don't wear a mid layer, it's too cold because my outer shell is just a shell without any insulation.

Any suggestions on a good mid-layer that breaths well?

Thanks.
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:13 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I rode few times this year when it was really cold(17F with windchill of 3F) and I was still wet afterwards. Problem is if I don't wear a mid layer, it's too cold because my outer shell is just a shell without any insulation.
So, if you were just wearing a base layer and a shell, you'd be cold. But would you also be sweaty? Point being, do you actually sweat when you're cold, or are you sweating in temperatures that are generally considered cold, because you're overdressed? Somewhere in between sweaty and cold is the goal. Maybe a lighter base layer or lighter mid layer (or both) is what you need.

I run fairly hot and sweaty, too, and I have to be more flexible with my layers than it sounds like you are. In temperatures like you're talking about, I often wear a short sleeved synthetic t-shirt or tank top as a base layer, and/or a long-sleeved synthetic shirt or a light 100-weight fleece shirt as a mid layer (as opposed to a 200 or 300-weight jacket). That kind of stuff is pretty cheap for the most part, so maybe try experimenting with different layers to find a happy medium.

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Old 02-13-2013, 05:11 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I rode few times this year when it was really cold(17F with windchill of 3F) and I was still wet afterwards. Problem is if I don't wear a mid layer, it's too cold because my outer shell is just a shell without any insulation.

Any suggestions on a good mid-layer that breaths well?

Thanks.
How about a couple light mid layers in either merino to tech fibre.

On warm days I wear ice breaker:

150 weight tshirt that is snug
150 weight long sleeve also snug or a long sleeve tech fibre such as burton mid layer.

When cold days I add a 320 weight icebreaker pullover
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I sweat like no other, even in single digit temps when I'm snowboarding. I wear a polyester long sleeve cold gear shirt for my base, then a heavy non-cotton hoodie for my outer layer. Doesn't sound like much, but I've found that it keeps me dry and I stay warm enough and comfortable. It it's not warm enough, my mid layer is a really thin, high quality fleece quarter zip underneath that. Need good fleece and keep it thin, otherwise if you're a heavy sweater like you say you'll overheat quickly.

On days where there's exceptional precipitation or high winds, I just have a cheap non-insulated 10k, 10k jacket that I put over top of either my base layer alone or base layer + THIN fleece.

These give me enough different combinations to adjust to depending on conditions. Although, I will say that when I do break out the actual jacket (I try not to) that the inside of it still can get wet. But as long as I have that fleece on it usually keeps me from getting soaked myself.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
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There are various things you can try.

I use this Men's La Montana Heavyweight Panel Zip-T | Hot Chillys

Patagonia R-series pullovers/zips are also great, and come in various warmth ratings.

I would go surf base layers on backcountry or your favorite website and look for mid-weight stuff.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I think I'll look into upgrading the mid-layer instead of the outer layer. Thanks for everyone's suggestions.
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