Cold weather layering for guys that sweat

DanimalW

Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2020
Messages
58
Just wondering if any guys that sweat a lot like myself have found any game changer base or mid layer combos for colder weather (below freezing)? I typically roll with a merino base layer and fleece mid layer, and carry an extra base layer for when I stop moving (because the one on my back is soaked). I’ve only tried cheaper synthetic base layers like UA, but they get drenched too. Fleece mid layer will be damp, but not soaked like the base layer.

Looking for responses from other people that sweat a lot no matter what. Less layers isn’t a solution for me because I’d still sweat hiking up a snowy mountain with no shirt on. Less layers just means really really cold and wet, instead of being wet and kind of cold. Exertion makes me sweat, even when I’m in great shape (I’m not at the moment). I guess I’m just wondering if any of the premium synthetic base layers actually perform at a superior level? As in they wick so well that they won’t get soaked? Thanks
 

swampthing

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2019
Messages
506
Location
prince george british columbia
I think a synthetic will wick moisture away and stay drier than a merino. I run something like a wool sweater over my base layer that will soak up the sweat to keep it away from my skin. I do use merino more than synthetic though. I just bought first lites lightest 150 merino base layers to try but havent worked up a lather in them yet!
 

Farmingdale's Finest

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2017
Messages
803
Location
NEW JERSEY
Reduced sweating is a function of moving slow enough to not break a sweat, less layers so as you heat up it wicks off but that causes you to be cold and then finding something that wicks into insulated layers that continue to wick to outer layers. You are causing a bigger issue of being cold by stripping down and replacing the base layer and now have to exert yourself to warm back up.

I would recommend going in Instagram and watching John Barklow's from Sitka gear's video's about proper layers in the cold.

Watch this video and check out his Instagram he is a wealth of information. Prior to being in the outdoor industry he taught the military how to survive in cold climates.

 
Last edited:

AZ_Hunter_2000

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2019
Messages
1,175
If you are a profuse sweater then everything will eventually get soaked. You should run synthetic at least for the initial base layer.

Farmingdale has a good point about slowing day. This can be helpful but may not be feasible 100% of the time.

One option is to just wear a lightweight shirt (long or short sleeve) while you are active. Once you are stationary then throw on additional layers. This will help keep you warm as well as "bake" your base layer shirt dry.

Another option is to wear a shirt of your choosing while active. Once you are stationary, take the wet shirt off and put a dry one on. Then layer up. You can hang your wet shirt on a branch or over your pack to dry out. This may not be feasible in high moisture environments.
 

Cowbell

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2016
Messages
188
I disagree with this. I suffer from the same issue and getting dry clothes on is key to comfort for the remainder of the day.
OP in with you man/ I'm struggling to find the answer to this. My back always sweats with a backpack on.
You are causing a bigger issue of being cold by stripping down and replacing the base layer and now have to exert yourself to warm back up.
 

P Carter

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2016
Messages
361
Location
Idaho
I may not sweat as much as you, but I do absolutely everything to avoid sweating in cold weather because then I freeze. If I wear a merino baselayer when hiking I will sweat and then freeze later.

I wear only my Sitka core lightweight when hiking in; no baselayer bottoms either. Its cold for the first 20 minutes or so, but then I warm up. When I stop to glass, off goes the core lightweight, on goes a merino short sleeve shirt. Then on goes the core lightweight (unless it’s sweaty, then I keep it off), grid fleece, insulated jacket and insulated vest if it’s really cold or windy. Zip up base layer goes on bottom. Dry socks if feet were sweating. (I typically wear just my trail runners, again to prevent sweating.) I usually have a sitting pad and blanket—yes, I’ll call it a blanket and not a “woobie”.

If I’m going to move after that, I take off the insulation and move VERY slowly. If I’m going to hike to another area, I’ll strip down again.
It seems silly, but this way I keep toasty into the low teens/upper single digits. Haven’t been out in temps lower than that.
 
OP
DanimalW

DanimalW

Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2020
Messages
58
Thanks for the responses so far. Perhaps I’ll try a good synthetic like the Sitka Core Lightweight just for hiking in. I don’t sweat as much after the initial hike in, and can manage it better by moving slower at that point. I guess I’ve just been concerned with a synthetic stinking after a day or two of profuse sweat.
Maybe you lose more heat by changing out of wet clothes, but I’d rather feel the sting for 30 seconds than wait 30 minutes or more for a sopping wet base layer to dry out on its own.
 

Marble

Senior Member
Joined
May 29, 2019
Messages
1,663
I sweat quite a bit too. When i know I'm doing a significant ascent I wear one layer of synthetic and then I carry another dry one in my pack. Ill change the base layer when I get to a spot where I know I won't be really exerting myself. I then either range my wet base layer on a tree for my return trip, but usually on the back of my pack.

If it's too cool for just one single long sleeve layer I will put a very light merino layer over it. Then do the same thing when I know I've reached wherever I'm going and I won't be hiking quite so hard.

Wearing a bandana around the neck helps catch sweat running off your head.

Not wearing a hat, no gloves, wearing a button up shirt and unbuttoned most of it, staying hydrated, wearing a pack that has an air gap between your back and the pack for air flow, rolling up pants. These are all things I've done to try and minimize getting soaked.

I feel your pain.



Sent from my SM-G986U using Tapatalk
 

Marble

Senior Member
Joined
May 29, 2019
Messages
1,663
Thanks for the responses so far. Perhaps I’ll try a good synthetic like the Sitka Core Lightweight just for hiking in. I don’t sweat as much after the initial hike in, and can manage it better by moving slower at that point. I guess I’ve just been concerned with a synthetic stinking after a day or two of profuse sweat.
Maybe you lose more heat by changing out of wet clothes, but I’d rather feel the sting for 30 seconds than wait 30 minutes or more for a sopping wet base layer to dry out on its own.
So I had this same concern. If I bring two into the backcountry I can take one and dip it a creek at the end of the day and let it dry until the end of the next day. It's not "washer clean" but it let's me use two shirts for a week.

Sent from my SM-G986U using Tapatalk
 

woods89

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2014
Messages
654
Location
Southern MO Ozarks
I get it, because I sweat a lot, too.

I am moving away from merino as I haven't done long duration backpacking hunts for the last few years. Most of mine are day hunts or one night away, so the funk can be dealt with. A quality synthetic dries much faster than merino.

My last elk hunt was 2019 and was 4th season. I was still using 200 wt merino at that point and had to just carry extra baselayers with me to change into. I plan to go again in 2021 and based on what I saw last time here is my layering structure.

Hiking will be Kuiu Attack pants with OR Croc gaiters ( no bottom baselayer unless it's really brutal) and either a Black Ovis 150 wt 50/50 blend hoodie or a Kuiu Peloton 97 hoodie. Obviously mittens and a beanie also. I plan to get a Black Diamond Alpine Start windshirt also, as I am hoping it will let me block some of the ever present wind while still allowing good breathability.

On reaching my glassing spot, I'll put on a pair of Kuiu Peloton 97 zip up bottoms, a midweight fleece top, and my down hooded jacket and down pants.

Make sure to stop and remove layers as much as possible if you start sweating. It's tempting to just push on but that time is well spent. One day my buddy commented that "most of what you do in this late season elk hunting is put clothes on and then take them off."

Don't run the heater hard in the vehicle in the morning if you're day hunting!

Best of luck! I don't know if anyone ever achieves layering nirvana............
 

540-Virginian

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2020
Messages
404
Location
Shenandoah Valley
I sweat a lot, especially my feet and back. Where you hiking? I'm doing 1 mile hikes in Appalachian mountains on east side, so only climbing a max of 1k or maybe 2k elevation in a day. You lose the majority of your body heat through your head. When it's cold, I avoid a beanie until I feel chilly. That seems to help the most. During warmer weather, nothing is better than a single thin layer - I personally like the Altitude shirts by Badlands for heavy hiking days in warmer weather. For cold weather, I keep the hat and jacket off and usually just have a merino top. For feet its wool socks all the way and trail running shoes - unless its super cold or snowy then I'll wear boots.
 

Muleys32

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2016
Messages
112
Location
North Dakota
Are you wearing puffy jacket/pants? Game changer for me. Let’s me hike in wearing baselayers and stay warm when stationary. I’ll pack an extra base layer if my first one gets too sweaty. Key is to get the puffy on right away to hold in that body heat when you reach your glassing spot.
 

All American Boy

Senior Member
Joined
May 31, 2019
Messages
173
Location
Colorado
My strategy is synthetic, no merino, then fleece or light insulation fiber layer. I don't wear down while hiking as it doesn't breath well. Also, I don't wear any type of shell layer unless it's raining/snowing or real windy. And the shell must have pit zips and velcro at wrists (no elastic that closes it shut).

Wash whatever clothes you think will work, then put them in the dryer at the same time for 15-20 minutes, then pull them out and see which dries the fastest. You might be surprised.

If things get wet, put on the shell and slow hike can help bake it dry.
 

Jn78

Senior Member
Joined
May 9, 2018
Messages
193
Go with synthetics without lycra or spandex.

I am far from a kuiu fanboy, but I haven't found anything that moves moisture as well as a peleton 118 under a Kenai. There is a huge difference between good stuff and UA.

Also, listen to podcasts with Barklow. Newberg, Snyder, and others have had him on. On one podcast, I think he talked about using a gore windstopper layer next to your base layer for moisture management - basically baking the moisture out. I don't understand why that would work well, but that dude knows way more about it than I do. 20+ years ago I had a Mountain Hardwear gore windstopper base layer and it did manage moisture really well, but the material was uncomfortable as hell (it damn near rubbed my nipples off so I got rid of it.) So I can say from personal experience long ago, it seems to work.

Finally, if you are sweating, why are you even adding a fleece layer while you hike? I frequently hike in only my baselayer when temps are around freezing.
 

Rokbar

Senior Member
Joined
May 8, 2020
Messages
311
If I have to walk a lot to where I'm hunting I only wear a log sleeve T shirt to hunting spot. I then change to put on a dry T, normally a long sleeve shirt, change socks, then put on a 650 down jacket and down pants. I have a large wool over coat to top iot off. If I get cold I get up and move some.Dry clothes are way better than expensive damp clothes. Goose down is about as good as it gets to stay warm.
 

Ridgeback08

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2020
Messages
15
I'm a sweater as well and at the end of the day you can minimize it as much as possible, but you'll always deal with it. No magic as far as I'm aware. Apologize if I missed whether you are day hunting or going in for multiple days. If one day at a time, synthetic does wick better than merino but will have to be changed daily as it does get quite funky. My preference, honestly for either style, is going with a light to midweight merino layer and build on that. It dries out well from my experience, won't smell, and keeps you warm.
 

ChromeKype

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2017
Messages
106
I run counter to what most guys are saying here. Which is fine, I might try some of the advice shared.

I pack a merino base and small hand towel for when I stop moving. Towel off the sweat and put on the merino base (lightweight). I layer lots of wool, best thing in my opinion for heavy sweaters, cuz I’ll sweat for an additional 10 minutes or so once I stop moving if I was really humping to get in the spot. I usually have 3 wool layers if it’s really cold and a wind stopper vest. If it’s going to be really really cold I bust out the puffy and shell.

The hat is key here, nice warm hat.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

H80Huntet

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2020
Messages
266
I have a Rab Alpha Flash jacket... It's polartec alpha insulation with no backer/liner. It's awesome for winter hikes and dries incredibly fast. I suspect it would be a game changer for someone who sweats a ton.

 

5MilesBack

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
12,283
Location
Colorado Springs
I'm cold unless I'm moving. But once I'm moving, the furnace is "on". So even in single digits I have to start with just my base layer, otherwise I'll soak through whatever else I'm wearing. I also still have to regulate my sweat output by controlling how fast I'm hiking/climbing. If I start to sweat too much, I slow down. If I start getting colder, I speed up. I also remove my hat for hiking in as it will be soaked as well if I don't. That's about all you can do......unless you also sweat like crazy just sitting on the couch. Then I'd probably see a doctor.
 

T28w

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2018
Messages
446
ill echo what others have said as i sweat a lot.

even with temps around freezing, ill start with just a base layer and pack. when i get to where im going, base layer is usually wet and comes off and a fleece goes on. then by the time im moving again, the base layer is mostly dry if not dry.

i like merino but it does dry as fast as synthetics
 
Top