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Clothing is Confusing...

KitShickers

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Hello all. Ive been lurking around trying to crack the Sitka layering code to no avail. Therefore I ask you extremely knowledgeable folks for a little advice. I have been bitten by the elk hunting bug and am obsessed with planning the first of several trips to Colorado hopefully starting first rifle season 2020. I have been building up my gear in anticipation of the hunt, but Im a bit hung up on clothing. I was hoping to get some help picking a clothing system. Keep in mind, this will probably be a backpack hunt, so weight is a big concern. However I tend to run a little cold so a couple extra pounds to guarantee I stay warm is ok with me.
Below is the gear I already have:

Base Layer Tops:
Sitka Core Lightweight Crew
Sitka Core Mediumweight Zip T
Sitka Core Heavyweight Hoody

Base Layer Bottoms:
Smartwool Lightweight Merino (7.6oz)
Under Armour Base 3.0 (8.2oz)
Under Armour Base 4.0 (7.9oz)

Insulation Layer:
Marmot 800 Fill Down Jacket (17oz)
Kuiu Super Down Ultra Hooded 850 fill Jacket (8.2oz)

Pants:
Sitka Timberline
Prana Stretch Zion

Outer Layers:
Sitka Jetstream Jacket
Golite Tumalo 2.5L Pertex Rain Jacket (11.2oz)
Golite Tumalo 2.5L Pertex Rain Pants (9.6oz)


What you take and what you leave behind for the high country of CO in late October? I love the Jetstream jacket and would like to incorporate it, but it is heavy and would only want to take it if it were worn all the time. Im not sure if its too warm to hike in. I appreciate any help!
 
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Gatorgrizz27

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I agree it is tough on your first hunt as the weather can easily swing 10-20 degrees and you aren’t likely to know ahead of time if you dont have cell signal.

If the temps you expect to encounter are teens-high 40’s, I’d take the Sitka Midweight and Smartwool Merino’s as your base layers, with the Sitka Timberlines and Jetstream as an outer layer, expecting to wear that setup most of the time unless you’re climbing heavily. The KUIU down jacket should serve fine as your insulation layer. If you plan to sit and glass a lot I might add the Super down pants as well.

I don’t get cold all that easily, but I’d imagine that setup plus a beanie, neck gaiter, and gloves would keep you warm enough if you have a tarp to use as a windbreak and are able to move every couple hours.

If you’ve got all that stuff already it is easy to make a game time decision as you leave the truck based on the forecast.
 

doverpack12

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I would take the lightweight and heavyweight tops with the Jetstream. Down jacket is a decision to be made leaving the trailhead based on current conditions and predicted weather same with rain jacket. I would bring the rain pants as a wind layer for the bottom. Timberline pants with either merino bottoms or base 4 depending on temps at trailhead. That should get you through but if you have doubts the heavy down jacket and core mid will for sure keep you warm.
 
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KitShickers

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Great. Thanks for the replies guys. You confirmed what I had hoped you would. That I don't need to buy anything else and risk divorce. lol

You also confirmed what I thought that its tough to decide until you know the forecast. Do either of you run wool baselayers only? I keep hearing I need wool for scent, but Im just not a fan of it for about every other reason.
 

rfurman24

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I think layering is very personal. Base and mids will most likely need experimenting. I personally would never take a soft-shell jacket into the back country again. I would also never leave a puffy jacket in the truck on a back country hunt again. I would suggest a base, mid, puffy, and a hardshell.
 
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KitShickers

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I think layering is very personal. Base and mids will most likely need experimenting. I personally would never take a soft-shell jacket into the back country again. I would also never leave a puffy jacket in the truck on a back country hunt again. I would suggest a base, mid, puffy, and a hardshell.
Why because of weight? Does it matter that much if you wear it the whole time?
 

doverpack12

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Great. Thanks for the replies guys. You confirmed what I had hoped you would. That I don't need to buy anything else and risk divorce. lol

You also confirmed what I thought that its tough to decide until you know the forecast. Do either of you run wool baselayers only? I keep hearing I need wool for scent, but Im just not a fan of it for about every other reason.
I really like wool blends and its usually my first layer top or bottom. After that I prefer synthetic for faster drying and lighter weight.
 

5MilesBack

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I agree it is tough on your first hunt as the weather can easily swing 10-20 degrees and you aren’t likely to know ahead of time if you dont have cell signal.
It will swing 10-20 degrees in an hour or two on normal days. The bigger concern is the 80 degree swings. Here in CO when a cold front is moving in you can see 70 degree days in the high country the day before that, then -10 the next.......especially if it's an arctic cold front pushing down.
 

rfurman24

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Why because of weight? Does it matter that much if you wear it the whole time?
Yes. Its warmth to weight ratio will not be great. You will NOT wear it the whole time specifically when hiking in and most likely anytime you are hiking in which case you will be carrying it. I love soft shells but will never take one into the back country again.
 
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KitShickers

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Yes. Its warmth to weight ratio will not be great. You will NOT wear it the whole time specifically when hiking in and most likely anytime you are hiking in which case you will be carrying it. I love soft shells but will never take one into the back country again.
Yeah I have heard that. I was only going to take it if I could wear it while hiking. If not, I agree its a bit heavy for the backpack.
 

rfurman24

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Yeah I have heard that. I was only going to take it if I could wear it while hiking. If not, I agree its a bit heavy for the backpack.
You will most likely want nothing on over your base layer while hiking especially with your pack on.
 

KoolBreeze

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You will most likely want nothing on over your base layer while hiking especially with your pack on.
How well do the higher end base layers hold up to that type of use? I've got a Smartwool merino base layer that I'd like to be my only top layer some mornings while hiking but I'm afraid the straps on my pack would destroy it.
 

Gatorgrizz27

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It will swing 10-20 degrees in an hour or two on normal days. The bigger concern is the 80 degree swings. Here in CO when a cold front is moving in you can see 70 degree days in the high country the day before that, then -10 the next.......especially if it's an arctic cold front pushing down.
Realized my post wasn’t clear, I meant swings in expected highs/lows, not range. If you’re counting on it being 30-70 and it ends up being 10-35 instead, you’re going to have a bad time.

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How well do the higher end base layers hold up to that type of use? I've got a Smartwool merino base layer that I'd like to be my only top layer some mornings while hiking but I'm afraid the straps on my pack would destroy it.
Mine pilled slightly after a week of use, but I wouldn’t consider it damaged by any means. I get not wanting to wear something where it will be completely destroyed, but they are hunting clothes, not tuxedos.
 

rfurman24

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How well do the higher end base layers hold up to that type of use? I've got a Smartwool merino base layer that I'd like to be my only top layer some mornings while hiking but I'm afraid the straps on my pack would destroy it.
If backpack straps wear your base layers out you need different base layers.
 

KoolBreeze

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From what I've read the merino wool base layers are pretty fragile and it's not just the backpack straps; the woods where I hunt are pretty thick with briars are such. While they are just hunting clothes, they are expensive ones that I'd like to get several seasons out of, if possible.
 
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I like to wear a SS merino shirt with a core lightweight hoody over it. The shirt keeps my body temperature comfortable and the hoody pulls moisture away from my body so I’m not constantly drenched in sweat. I like this combo for early season and overall warm temperatures. When the weather gets colder I like a long sleeve merino zip t and a Jetstream jacket. Just my personal preference. I was super surprised how breathable the lightweight hoody was this past hunting season.
 

Gatorgrizz27

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From what I've read the merino wool base layers are pretty fragile and it's not just the backpack straps; the woods where I hunt are pretty thick with briars are such. While they are just hunting clothes, they are expensive ones that I'd like to get several seasons out of, if possible.
You’re not going to be able to push through briars in just a merino top. Not because of damaging it so much as it offering zero protection from them stabbing the crap out of you. I’ve been surprised at how little my KUIU Attack pants do to stop briars as well, but that’s not really what they were made for obviously.
 

KoolBreeze

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You’re not going to be able to push through briars in just a merino top. Not because of damaging it so much as it offering zero protection from them stabbing the crap out of you. I’ve been surprised at how little my KUIU Attack pants do to stop briars as well, but that’s not really what they were made for obviously.
Well there are areas where the woods are thicker than others but it's not like I'm busting through a briar thicket or anything, it's more like passing by briar bushes and having them snag my clothing. The places I hunt are not open woods but you don't have to hack your through with a machete either, if you get what I mean. I'm not worried about a pull or 3 here and there or a little piling, as long as the garment remains functional, but I asked the question in hopes of getting a little input on the durability of higher end base layers that I have no experience with. Anyway, didn't mean to hijack the OP's thread.
 
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KitShickers

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Well there are areas where the woods are thicker than others but it's not like I'm busting through a briar thicket or anything, it's more like passing by briar bushes and having them snag my clothing. The places I hunt are not open woods but you don't have to hack your through with a machete either, if you get what I mean. I'm not worried about a pull or 3 here and there or a little piling, as long as the garment remains functional, but I asked the question in hopes of getting a little input on the durability of higher end base layers that I have no experience with. Anyway, didn't mean to hijack the OP's thread.
Im glad you brought it up. If you notice I am running a merino base on the bottom but not on the top for that very reason. Ive never owned merino base layers from the high end hunting companies, so I cant comment on those. But I have owned some from other major companies like Icebreaker and Smartwool, and I just dont think merino is strong enough to justify the price. Every garment Ive owned had a few holes after just a couple of trips, and those wholes grew with every subsequent trip. Maybe im doing something wrong, but I dont like spending that much on something I cant get a few years use out of. Id rather carry an extra set and wash them once or twice throughout the hunt to deal with scent.
 

Beendare

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I 've worn a long sleeve merino T going through some thick stuff. Its true the straight merino fabric versions won't hold up as well as the blended versions like KUIU or equal.

I prefer the 100% merino stuff for a base layer though.

As to "Cracking the code"...I don't think its all that difficult. Good socks...good base layer....lots of options for mid weight outer layer stuff depending on how hot you run....of course good rain gear [ie Kuiu!]

From what I've seen.........The tendency for most new guys is to pack around too much clothing.......
 
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