UL Base/Mid Layers

A place to chat about gear and the philosphy of ultralight. Ultralight bushwalking or backpacking focuses on carrying the lightest and simplest kit. There is still a good focus on safety and skill.
Forum rules
Ultralight Bushwalking/backpacking is about more than just gear lists. Ultralight walkers carefully consider gear based on the environment they are entering, the weather forecast, their own skill, other people in the group. Gear and systems are tested and tweaked.
If you are new to this area then welcome - Please remember that although the same ultralight philosophy can be used in all environments that the specific gear and skill required will vary greatly. It is very dangerous to assume that you can just copy someone else's gear list, but you are encouraged to ask questions, learn and start reducing the pack weight and enjoying the freedom that comes.

Common words
Base pack backpacking the mass of the backpack and the gear inside - not including consumables such as food, water and fuel
light backpacking base weight less than 9.1kg
ultralight backpacking base weight less than 4.5kg
super-ultralight backpacking base weight less than 2.3kg
extreme-ultralight backpacking base weight less than 1.4kg

UL Base/Mid Layers

Postby Se88o » Sat 23 Jan, 2021 10:52 am

I've searched for this - existing threads are either not quite what I'm asking or are a few years old.

I'm trying to fill some holes in my current gear, specifically UL active base and/or mid layers. Think what you'd want to have on when hiking and it's a touch cool to be wearing only a synthetic/merino tee or sun hoodie by itself. Everything I'd go to grab in that scenario from my current gear feels a bit overkill. If it can double as say a camp layer during summer or as sleepwear, all the better.

Probably the three that have been on my radar:
- Patagonia Capilene Air (cap/merino blend)
- Kuiu Peloton 97 (karuishi fleece)
- Macpac Nitro (polartec alpha)

I don't have very strong preferences about which materials I prefer for this layer. I am a bit worried about durability for a couple of these though... I'm not a big bushwacker, but, it's Australia.

What do you use?
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Re: UL Base/Mid Layers

Postby Neo » Sat 23 Jan, 2021 11:21 am

Hi. For this scenario I have a cycling gilet. It is a thin vest that is windproof on the front and mesh on the back. Can squash it to the size of a large apple.

More for a winter scenario for me where I would heat up once I'm moving but the air might be a bit fresh or breezy. Bought last spring thus haven't needed to use it much yet but worked very well. I guess it could be layered with other warmer tops as well.

From 99bikes the Endura Hummvee vest.
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Re: UL Base/Mid Layers

Postby Bam » Sat 23 Jan, 2021 11:31 am

I’ve got a Rab Nexus jacket which I’ve been pretty happy with, it’s basically a hoodie style top with a full zip made out of breathable stretch fleece, it’s not exactly UL (320gms) but quite multi-functional as it can be used whilst hiking, as a camp layer & also comfortable & flexible enough to use as sleepwear.

I also like that it has a full zip despite the additional weight that the zip adds as it makes it easier to adjust for use across a wide temperature range rather than having to keep taking it on & off to balance one’s body temp.
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Re: UL Base/Mid Layers

Postby Lamont » Sat 23 Jan, 2021 12:18 pm

I use a Nitro and UL windshirt (50gms) for the weather conditions you describe. Combo total at app 180 gms.
The Nitro kills the Peleton 97;
for one, as a combo piece that works alone -but especially well with the UL shirt as part of the formula and,
for two- you're not funding one of Trumps close mates.
I don't use a merino Tshirt but a nylon fishing shirt or UL LW Capilene, both dry quicker than wool, from the Patagonians or sometimes both together for the win. :D
I'm guessing you are referring to "bushbashing or scrubbashing" as equivalent to the US term bushwhacking as you've mentioned at least two very fragile items in your list?
Cheers.
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Re: UL Base/Mid Layers

Postby Se88o » Sat 23 Jan, 2021 12:37 pm

Evidently I've been spending too much time on reddit.

*Crosses Peloton 97 off list*, and yes - just worried about durability when sometimes in Australia we're going to have to get up close and personal with some scrub.

But thank you, this is exactly the type of information I was after.
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Re: UL Base/Mid Layers

Postby Lamont » Sat 23 Jan, 2021 12:43 pm

Sorry, the Nitro can be quite fragile (but the outer layer of the Peleton is hopelessly fragile) and don't get either near velcro.
An UL windtop/Hoody is invaluable, but ridiculously expensive if you buy it. I still say there is a market for an Oz manufacturer.
Have a look at the Timmermade Argon 90 Hoody-Argon 90 (the Argon 67 is too breathable I reckon) material is a perfect balance of breathability/wind resistance and is really very tough and really quite puncture resistant for a 50 odd gms hoody or EE shirts for the win.
Save your spondoolicks and have a squiz at Timmermade -I reckon you'll be glad you did.
Last edited by Lamont on Sun 24 Jan, 2021 8:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: UL Base/Mid Layers

Postby Lamont » Sat 23 Jan, 2021 2:55 pm

Whoops forgot Dutch (Dutchware) makes an Argon 90 hoody as well.
Cripes tho', look at those prices!
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Re: UL Base/Mid Layers

Postby Se88o » Mon 25 Jan, 2021 7:20 am

Thanks everyone.

Bam - the Nexus looks sweet. I have a Patagonia R1 that fills that role for me at the moment, guess I'm looking for something slightly lighter / less warm while active.

After Lamont's prompt and some research I definitely feel like a dedicated UL wind shirt might be the missing link.

Still interested in UL layers in the 150g region like the nitro if there are other options out there because they sound like they would add some utility to a layering system with a wind shirt anyway.
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Re: UL Base/Mid Layers

Postby Zapruda » Mon 25 Jan, 2021 7:30 am

I wrote up some thoughts on Reddit in regards to the Nitro. I hope it helps.

I've been using a few Macpac Nitro hoody's (140g/4.9oz) (Alpha Direct) since they were released in Australia in early 2019. I can confidently say I have put the fabric through its paces and I am quite happy. Its definitely and all season layer in my neck of the bush. From summer to winter I have found a use for it.

I have used it several times as a baselayer while skiing with a rain shell over the top and it was very comfy and warm, it feels quite nice against the skin. I have used it as my only layer while running in the 20s here in winter as well. I mostly use it over my button up in shoulder season, I add a wind jacket or my rain jacket over the top for an awesome combo of warmth, breathability and wind protection. Its really versatile.

Breathability is its strongest selling point imo. It is exceptional. Wayyy ahead of any 100wt fleece or grid fleece I have used. I can leave it on while climbing and feel comfortable the whole time, even when the weather is a little warmer than expected. I find I leave it on during the day far more than my other fleeces. When the wind picks up it definitely needs a layer over the top though. It bleeds warmth quickly.

It dries really quickly. I guess because so much of the fabric is exposed and lofty the fibres have more contact with the air(?).

Its biggest downside is its lack of durability. This is not the fabric to use off trail or even on overgrown trails. It rips easily and gets caught on nearly anything. I have destroyed two Nitro hoody's by taking them off track. The fabric has a tendency to "shrink" each time it is pulled by bushes or caught on scrub. The last one i used off trail ended up looking about 4 sizes too small for me.

Some examples of the "shrinking" effect - https://imgur.com/a/X5bymmH

Alpha Direct gets a huge thumbs up from me. In the right conditions it is just about the most versatile bit of clothing I have used in the bush. Ill keep using it for the foreseeable future despite its durability issues.
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Re: UL Base/Mid Layers

Postby Se88o » Mon 25 Jan, 2021 7:43 am

Very helpful - thanks.
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Re: UL Base/Mid Layers

Postby bluewombat » Tue 26 Jan, 2021 4:48 pm

+1 for the nitro but agree with Zapruda re durability, the key is to always have something over the top of it, even if it is just a wind shell
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Re: UL Base/Mid Layers

Postby Petew » Wed 27 Jan, 2021 6:24 am

the nitro is awesome and easily my favourate bit of outdoor clothing. Very versatile particularly with a EE windshirt. The macpac prothermals are not a bad option either.
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Re: UL Base/Mid Layers

Postby Iamspartacus » Wed 17 Mar, 2021 4:58 pm

I really really like the Rab Alpha Flash Jacket. But I like to have a full zip to vent.
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