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Thread: Best base layer

  1. #1
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    Default Best base layer

    I just signed on with Jake Jefferson for an interior grizzly hunt. I could have just asked Jake what he uses for his base layer but he is in far better condition than I so it would be like comparing apples and oranges. I have many different types of long underwear and assorted base layer combos but I want to know what the experts wear----the experts that will soon be 61 years old. My heart is much bigger than my gut and I will go as far as I must but I will surely sweat gallons!!! Please share your choices with me. It`s a May hunt in the Talkeeta Mts. THANKS!!!!!

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    I like synthetic material for a base layer, particularly nylon though it is difficult to find. The nylon undergarmets I have do not seem to hold odor even remotely as much as polyester, polypro, capilene etc. though they are quality materials for base/layering and I use them as such.

    Some like silk, which I never used, some use wool for a base which would suit me just fine as well. Many people cannot tolerate the wool directly against the skin and do not like the weight, even the lightweight versions when compared against the synthetics.

    Personaly I take synthetics and wool into the field, the base layer being nylon and polyester/polypro and am very happy with the results. I also prefer to have several thin layers available rather than only a couple or 3 layers total. In otherwords I generaly do not have a "heavy" layer, I will have 3 or 4 ( 3 longsleeve, 1 shortsleeve)light/base layers which fit comfortably atop one another, 1 or 2 (longsleeve fleece, vestfleece or wool) medium layers and a gortex jacket with zipoff hood for the outer layer. This affords me excellent comfort and adaptability to changing conditions.

    One of the best things I found was some boxers made by Jockey, they are nylon and stretch fit. Very comfy wet or dry.

  3. #3
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I like merino wool. The one I have by Minus 33 are particularly good.

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Something to consider when selecting a base layer is how the seams in the top are made and laid out. I bought a set for snowmachining that are miserable to wear because the weight of my backpack drives the top's shoulder seams into my skin. They're fine for any other activity that doesn't involve pressure on my shoulder. Odds are, hunting with Jake, you'll be carrying a pack of some sort.

    Since you know you're going to sweat a lot definitely go with a synthetic with antimicrobial properties (keeps the funk factor waaay down). Also, get a thin base layer. The weather in May could well be beautiful and you stand a better chance of being comfortable with a thin layer. IF things are looking more winter than spring you can always add another layer.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    i second, third, and fourth merino wool for "longjohn" tops and bottoms. smartwool, ibex, patagonia, there are several good brands. two pairs of tops/bottoms, one for in the field and one in camp. i've heard wal-mart sells something advertised as merino wool that is only like 10% or something like that. you don't want it.

    for underwear exofficio makes some great boxers and briefs, i can't think offhand what the material is but one pair of those is good for all but the longest trips.

  6. #6
    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    I second the exofficio or Under Armor boxers and briefs, I also like the different weights of under Armor bottoms and tops, and some of the Sporthill base layer gear, Sporthill has zone 1,2,3. 1 is the lightest and a great base layer. I think one of the most important is to have the right size base layer, long enough to stay tucked in and leave no cold spots with a lot of movement.The second layer should be a thicker synthetic and the top layer a high loft fleece to be covered by a water,windproof jacket, stay away from rubber coats in the winter, all the water from perspiration will condense and possibly freeze inside the coat. I always wear two pair socks, one to wick near the skin and one to provide loft insulation. I use Schnee boots with removable wool liners, I always take two sets of liners, one to wear and one to get dry by the fire. Even if the water goes over the 14" tall boots, I can change the liners and socks and have warm feet. Good wind proof gloves and hat add to the warmth. Keep the ears warm and do not get frost bite. Have fun.

  7. #7
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default +1 on layers: Poly or merino base layers best kept dry...

    My perspective is mainly from fall trout fishing, winter hiking and newbie hunter, so I am still learning, but whatever I plan to wear, I like to try it out in the weeks before a trip, using the time to tailor general advice more to my individual activity levels/metabolic rate and tolerance for wind/cold.

    Jake should be able to give you an idea what kind of conditions to expect - temp range, ground/terrain conditions and expected activity levels. May in the Talkeetnas sounds like some cold and snow. Bear hunt sounds like hiking uphill or running sometimes at the high-exertion end versus just sitting and glassing/waiting at the low-activity end. The key for me is to avoid sweating - favoring layers to keep on the cool side when moving. Sweat makes me cold when I sit.

    Your question is about base layers and I like the merino and poly ideas already offered. Like andweav, it seems to me that not all poly base layers are equal. I watch for discounts and always carry poly but favor merino when it's cold and I am moving alot. Moving (esp uphill with pack)-sitting-moving-sitting can make finding the right layers challenging. I find that gloves, neck gaitor and sometimes balaclava can make it easier for me to wear less other gear and so keep drier. Staying dry means staying cool when moving. Dog and I got out for 2-3 miles up to a nearby saddle at 10 degrees couple nights ago. I delayered down to t-shirt and base layer only on top using gloves, stocking cap, neck gaitor on the uphill leg. The best thing I do to keep warm is to keep dry - including my base layer and every outing is a test run for the right layers. Then for sitting, I like light, packable insulating layers like MontBell Thermawrap and similar.

    Best wishes on your hunt. Jake certainly comes highly recommended.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I am not old but if my old man was coming up to hunt I would set him up w/ merino. I used to be a poly fan, then I discovered merino wool. Now I have a bunch of poly stuff that never gets taken out of the drawer. From socks to shirts can't beat it. I have yet to try merino boxers but that is next on the list. For now I am still going eXofficio and have 3 pairs that I carry w/ me all over Iraq. They have been hand and machine washed hundreds of times and are holding up pretty good for over 2 years now. Some piling but no functional problems.

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    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    To start out with, excellent choice with Jake as your guide, he'll do you good.

    I second the merino wool recommendations. I used Minus 33 on my float hunt this year and it's the best stuff I've ever used. No itching and for me the right amount of insulation.

    Good luck.

  10. #10
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingfisherktn View Post
    To start out with, excellent choice with Jake as your guide, he'll do you good.

    I second the merino wool recommendations. I used Minus 33 on my float hunt this year and it's the best stuff I've ever used. No itching and for me the right amount of insulation.

    Good luck.
    Well there you have it straight from one of the REALLY OLD GUYS on the forum!!

  11. #11
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    Thank you everyone for your advice. That`s why I love this site.I`ll order the merino wool base layer(Minus 33) right now---after all,it is Christmas!!!

  12. #12
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    The patagonia wools work really well for me. Haven't tried the minus 33 but if you check out patagonia web specials and arent particular on color, you can get them for around 50 bucks...much better than the 95ish for full price. But I really prefer them for situations where I'm gonna be hot/cold/hot/cold as the wool keeps a bit more warmth on you than the capilene if you get sweated up, and it doesn't stink immediately either. No smell is as distinct as two day old capilene on a sweating body.....

  13. #13
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alottabs View Post
    Thank you everyone for your advice. That`s why I love this site.I`ll order the merino wool base layer(Minus 33) right now---after all,it is Christmas!!!
    I would check out several sites before ordering any outdoor gear.

    www.sierratradingpost.com
    www.steepandcheap.com
    www.departmentofgoods.com

    The best deals I find are from steepandcheap but it is one of those sites you have to monitor constantly and know a good deal when you see it in order to jump on it in time.

    Sierra trading post is great and with their regular deal flyer VIP email codes adding another 25-40% off they are frequently unbeatable!

    department of goods is basically a backcountry.com outlet store.

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