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Thread: Favorite Merino Base Layers and Soft Shell Pants

  1. #1

    Default Favorite Merino Base Layers and Soft Shell Pants

    So what is the general consensus of the best Merino Base layer and soft shell type pants if there are no constraints on the pocket book or the wife allows you to have access to the check book?

    I've heard some good things about Core 4 Element merino base layers. First Lite seems to be fairly well respected. Sitka seems to be over-priced for what you get. But having said this, I don't have first hand experience with any of them. What do you guys wear and recommend? I want to update my Under Armor base layers (they become pretty punget after a few days).

    I've been looking at soft shell pants. Looking for something that has DWR finish, breathable and wind resistent. I've heard good things about the Arc'Teryx Gamma AR pants. The Marmot Entrada M3 pants seem to be pretty good. The Kuiu attack pants seems to be excellent if you can find some, but I hear they are not as wind resistent as some of the other manufactures. I've been using Sitka 90% pants and they seem to work well, but kind of wish they had a DWR finish. Just wonder if there is something better out there and how the mountaineering stuff compares. What general system to you guys use.

    In terms of use, mainly for back pack sheep hunting - Mid to late August.

    Thanks for the input

  2. #2
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    I have Core4 element. Seem to work just fine. Comfortable. Wore them 9 days on Kodiak without the polypro funk. I also have the Core4 softshell pants and jacket. Seem to work just fine.

  3. #3
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I like merino wool tops, but prefer polartec fleece pants for base layers. I have used many different soft shells, sporthill, Arc'Teryx Gamma AR pants and Kuiu Attack pants. My personal favorite is the Kuiu Attack pants.







    My favorite is the Attack pants, even bought a pair to wear around town.





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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I really, really like my Icebreaker merino stuff. I've got others that are good as well - minus 33, for example. Icebreaker is by far the most comfortable stuff I've purchased thus far, though.

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    Premium Member AZinAK's Avatar
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    I know it's not Merino wool, but I've been really impressed with Capilene base layers. There are different weights just like the rest of them. They do a good job of pulling moisture away from your skin and have a good insulating factors. I'd listen to Stid ^ as he knows what he's talking about. Definitely tests his gear...

    AZinAK

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I buy whatever I can get cheapest which usually whatever is in stock in my size from sierratradingpost.com or off of steepandcheap. I have never really had a problem with any of the pieces I have. I currently wear stuff from Scent Shield, IO Bio, terramar, minus 33, smartwool, and browning and possibly others that I am forgetting. It all works great!

    I'm no help on soft shell pants, I can't stand heavy pants! In fact I finally found a use for my sporthills this last weekend snow machining . I bought them in 2008 for a sheep hunt and they were way to hot. I tried them one more trip with the same results and then they slowly worked their way to the back of the gear drawer. Nice to finally have a use for those crazy expensive pants!!

    I really like lite pants then wear a baselayer when needed. I am also a huge fan of finding stuff as cheap as possible. I ended up buying 3 pairs of MH ridgetop pants for $19 each. Nice enough to wear in town and super comfortable hiking around. Stretch like crazy and dry fast.

  7. #7
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Sam'a Club sells Omni Wool, I wear the tops almost everyday. Hard to beat for 20 bucks.

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    Stid have you ever used any of the Swazi products
    Dave

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear View Post
    Stid have you ever used any of the Swazi products
    Dave

    No Sir,, but I have looked at them.
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  10. #10
    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    been using cabela's outfitter series merino wool...love it.
    but i too go for fleece base layers.
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    Member pacific-23's Avatar
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    No experience with merino yet, its on the purchase list. Been using capilene since it came out (or appeared up here mid 80's), works well gets funky. Just bought a pair of Stoic DWR softshell pants off steepandcheap for 49.99. Absolutely crazy good! I have been wearing them hiking the last few weeks and love them. I can push as fast as possible up the mountain, stand around at 2500 ft in the snow, hike back down to mud and rain at sea level - and still be dry and comfy. Not only that but they shed so well they don't really get muddy either. It is funny hiking feeling like a guy has nothing on, but i kind of like it... Backcountry.com has them regularly priced at 99, which is still a good value in my mind.

  12. #12

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    Thank for the input Stid...

    I was wondering why you like the Attack pants the best. I haven't been able to put my hands on any yet. Do you find them fairly wind resistent?

  13. #13

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    Cabelas are good but a bit itchy to me. Smart Wool is the best that I have used. I've worn Korean era military green wool dress pants for about 15 years now and they still have 30+ years left on'em. They look like my grandpas pants but wear like iron. They are light weight for wool, dry fast, stay warm when wet and cost me about $7 a pair in the plastic from Sportsman's Guide.

  14. #14
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jab7275 View Post
    Thank for the input Stid...

    I was wondering why you like the Attack pants the best. I haven't been able to put my hands on any yet. Do you find them fairly wind resistent?
    I find that they repel water very well and are decent at blocking wind. I like the belt loops and pocket layout and they stretch so they don't rob you of energy when climbing.
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    Member AK Wonderer's Avatar
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    I have long sleeve merino tops in Icebreakers and Ibex and a short sleeve and bottoms in Minus 33. Honestly I really don't favor one over the other. They're all comfortable and perform well. I say buy which ever you find on sale or clearance. Something in a 18.5 micron or less should be itch free next to the skin no matter who the maker. Now is the perfect time to buy merino as stores are wanting to clear out their stock.

  16. #16
    Member ninefoot's Avatar
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    i never wear bottom base layers...cant stand em. but i love merino and its currently the only thing i'll wear next to skin on top...patagonia and smart wool for me these days. the lightweight in patagonia, the midweight smart wool. id advise anyone to try merino base stuff if they havent yet. synthetics hurt my skin after prolonged use, especially when washing often isnt an option (pretty much all hunting season for me) and i've never looked back after going merino for base layers. they dont hold scent anywhere near as much as synthetics, and while i tend to beleive in hunting downwind as apposed to trying to control my scent, it sure is alot more appealing to MY olfactory senses to not stink to high heavens!

    as for pants and any shell, i've been using alot of mountain hardware for about three years now. i love the stuff, its a bummer they dont cater to hunters. my boss has actually talked to them about making some hunter friendly camo stuff, but theyre customer base is far too green for that...so for that reason i cant really promote em much. they make **** good gear for the mountains though, and theyre lightweight stuff is durable. the conduit line is a great shell. i like ascent pants from sitka under the shell.

  17. #17

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    I haven't tried many but I am definitely a fan of SmartWool gear. Stops the funk! Anybody tried the Kryptek merino wool (elephant skin) products? Reasonably priced and good looking stuff.

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