Extreme/Extended Cold Weather Clothing System - your choices?

adriatikfan

Full Member
May 23, 2010
248
7
North Yorkshire
The US Military issued kit functions around a 7-Level clothing system:

  1. lightweight underwear/baselayers
  2. midweight underwear/baselayers
  3. fleece cold weather jacket
  4. wind cold weather jacket
  5. soft shell jacket and trousers
  6. extreme cold/wet weather jacket and trousers
  7. extreme cold weather parka and trousers
What would your mix and match choice of clothing/brand/manufacturer be for the various levels and which combination(s) of kit keep you the most comfortable:

Mine are:

Level 1: Alsdi Merino baselayers
Level 2: Aldi Merino/Norgie/Keela Fleece Tops/Regatta Fleece Tops/Uniqlo Merino Jumper
Level 3: Decathlon Fleece Jacket/Dutch Army Fleece Jacket/Paramo Bentu Fleece/Uniqlo Down Jacket
Level 4: Paramo Bentu Wind Jacket/Montane Windshirt
Level 5: Regatta Softshell/Condor SoftShell/Montane Prism
Level 6: German Flecjktarn Goretex/Keela Munro Rain Jacket/Marmot Precip/Austrian Army Goretex
Level 7: Don't have - don't get out to the very coldest conditions.

I have a variety of summer and winter trousers from Rohan/Craghopper and some single colour military issue but no goretex trousers. I use Decathlon Solognac hunting trousers for short bimbles with the dog in the ran

I try to mix and match the above according to the conditions - my most effective combination which took me the longest time to get right is:

Aldi Baselayer
Uniqlo Merino Jumper
Montane Windshirt
Marmot Precip (Rain Jacket)

I came close to throwing the Marmot Precip away on many occasions - I just couldn't get the balance right and would often end up sweating and uncomfortable but the combination above works really well. (From light rain to reasonably heavy downpours)

So what do you use for each of the layers? What combinations work best for you?

David
 
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Van-Wild

Full Member
Feb 17, 2018
688
492
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UK
My layering system is very similar to the above. Going up the layers......

1. A thermal base layer (army surplus or Brynje thermo)
2. A lightweight shirt (flannel)
3. A medium weight fleece (swanndri or army surplus PCU)
4. A jacket (fjallraven keb)
5. A heavier thermal layer (primaloft gilet or primaloft puffa jacket)
6. A wet weather layer (marmot outer)
7. An army surplus softie jacket.

In use, I will always be wearing layers 2 and 4. Layers 1, 3, 5, 6 and 7 are carried as required on activity or weather conditions.


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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
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Lancashire
I also factor in what I'm doing along with the weather. I don't think it's as simple as weather/conditions.
 
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Mowmow

Forager
Jul 6, 2016
211
100
Nottinghamshire
1.British army pcs antimicrobial boxer shorts
British army pcs coolmax t-shirt and/or pcs long sleeved coolmax vest

2. British army pcs norgie fleece
Merino wool longjohns

3.british army pcs thermal buffalo style shirt or woolly pully

4. SSO Gorka C windproof anorak and trousers.

5. I suppose the pcs buffalo style shirt fits this category. Not a fan of the majority of softshells if im honest though.

6. Don't like waterproofs, will put on a us style poncho if absolutely hammering down.

7. Swedish shearling lined Livpals jacket.
Not that it will ever get that cold for whatever im likely to do in my lifetime.

Of course its easily tweaked if youre facing different extremes or for comfort preferences but that pretty much covers it year round here in the UK.
It's a very mild country.

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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,706
1,643
McBride, BC
To me, Britain has a bad reputation for wind and rain. Maybe unfounded rep. but I'd
look to try to be both dry and warm under those sorts of circumstances.
Wet snow has to be the worst.

What are you doing outdoors? Do you want to be there or do you have to be there?
The only brand name worth mentioning is Carhartt. Second places for Wind River and Dakota.
That covers everything from boots to toque and all the layers in between.
Carhartt has branded clothing for all seasons, mostly work wear.

Having never gotten involved, I can't comment on the clothing worn by the snowmobile crowd.
They are up top, messing around outside for a whole day at -10C or whatever.
I wear Tolko snowmobile boots (barefoot!) and Tolko sled gloves. The comfort is remarkable.
The boots are very big and very clumsy, would not want to need to walk very far in those.

I see the heliski clients working hard in 6-10' of fresh powder. What they wear is unknown to me.
I could find out easily, Crescent Spur Heliski is 45 minutes west of my place.

Most outdoor construction here quits below -20C. Too hard on people and equipment.

The snow is like sugar, there's no instance of it melting, just brush it off.
The Relative Humidity is so low that what ever gets tracked into the house melts and evaporates in minutes.
NatGear snow camo is soft and fuzzy in the cold.
 

Billy-o

Native
Apr 19, 2018
1,485
625
Canada
I get quite a lot of varied weather of the cold and wet type. Sometimes very cold. Sometimes very wet. Sometimes only a bit cold, only a bit wet. And, I spend a lot of time out in it, for various reasons. Consequence is that I have had to find out a lot about different clothes, how to wear them, when etc. The other consequence is that I have a ton of wintery type clothes which range in oomph from 150gsm merino t-shirts and microfleece to 600gsm woolies, 3ply Goretex and 'boil you in a bag' down jackets. It all works. Just got to figure out what the weather is doing, what it is likely to do later, and estimate a range of options for when a predicted -15C blizzard turns out to be warm and sunny with occasional heavy showers.

They say about the lakey mid-west (Toronto/Chicago), if you don't like the weather don't worry, there'll be something else along in half an hour. And, a considerable step west of Robson Valley, in Vancouver, it is snowy, yes, but frequently warmer than 0C in winter ... and therefore very rainy too, when it wants to be. You tend to carry spare stuff in the car or in your rucksack. Or, just grin and bear it. You can usually get through a Vancouver winter in shorts, if you have the right attitude to things. But you will likely wear a downie, boots and a toque at the same time. Shorts is like a totem of hope.
 
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Van-Wild

Full Member
Feb 17, 2018
688
492
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UK
I also factor in what I'm doing along with the weather. I don't think it's as simple as weather/conditions.
Thats why a layering system works so well. You can add or remove layers dependent on weather conditions and/or activity. Whenever im out I always have 4 layering options.

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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,744
733
Lancashire
  1. lightweight underwear/baselayers Rab t-shirt, Montane primino t-shirt, odlo longsleeve layer, Helly Hansen prowool long sleeve in cooler conditions Merino in winter skiing holidays. Odlo or Patagonia long Johns (can't remember the exact make but they're thin and heavily holed due to accidents which ripped them but nothing worn on top). In cold I've got HH expedition weight long Johns with the thick, heavily ridged effect to them
  2. midweight underwear/baselayers I've got a marmot fleece/base layer with thumb loops and chest length zip. It's got a smooth outer face and textured inner. It's great as a next to skin base or a mid layer. Very snug fit like a cycling top which it's also used as in winter over a long sleeved Merino top
  3. fleece cold weather jacket Rab VR, Montane dynamo softshell in pertex equilibrium or just a Paramo adventure light Velez smock
  4. wind cold weather jacket buffalo, Rab VR with windshirt in real strong winds, Paramo as above, haglofs synthetic insulation jacket and possibly haglofs synthetic insulation vest as outer or inner layer as a warmer piece
  5. soft shell jacket and trousers buffalo s6, Paramo as above or Rab VR. I wear Montane terra trousers with our without looking Johns. I don't usually feel cold on the legs so rarely need more. I've been known to wear shorts on frosty November or December b days out in the lakes.
  6. extreme cold/wet weather jacket and trousers cold/wet I assume English winters is this, anything below zero by much is usually drier. This I just wear whatever above meets my needs. If I'm moving fast it'll be cooler clothes with the haglofs synthetic jacket for stops. If I'm slower then more warmth is needed so buffalo, Rab VR with layers. What you're doing often changes choices.
  7. extreme cold weather parka and trousers i don't generally go out in extreme cold. By this I mean ten degrees below or colder. The few English winters that's been like that I've just layered up with possibly haglofs outer layer. I've got an old, baggy pair of Rab softshell trousers which are warmer and work very well. They're brown and look like old men's trousers but they're the best specced outdoor trousers I could find that came close to fitting and I could afford. I'm tall but slim so it's very hard to find trousers that fit. Usually when they do fit it's because of a quality issues meant that they're longer than that should be.
As well as the above I wear ski jackets and skim trousers when skiing. Also various hats, buffs, scarves, gloves and mitts as appropriate.

special mention should be made of extremities inferno, possibly super inferno mitts I can't remember. Cost £30 10 years ago and bought after a very painfully cold day with a £90 pair of black diamond winter gloves that didn't do much good. The 2010 cold spell straight after Xmas. I wore the gloves again but 5 minutes into the walk my hands went from cold after trying boot laces to extremely cold and getting harmful. I switched to the cheaper mitts and 15 minutes later they were recovered. I wear them in anything much before zero. It's been good to -20C once and I reckon with thicker inner, base gloves even colder. they since switched from primaloft inside them to own brand insulation and went to £40 a year after I bought mine. Not sure how much more but bang for bucks they're one of my best ever buys of outdoor kit.

sorry for lengthy write up. I can't do brevity at times.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,744
733
Lancashire
Thats why a layering system works so well. You can add or remove layers dependent on weather conditions and/or activity. Whenever im out I always have 4 layering options.

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It's not like that, or not what I meant. No activity for me factors in whether I'm wearing performance or more relaxed items. For example I've got a long sleeved craghoppers t-shirt or fleecey sweater. It's not fully synthetic I think so gets wet and doesn't dry quickly. I still find it's good for family walks with a 7 year old in less strenuous locations like lowland stuff. Conditions don't dictate this as it's not temperature / weather dependent. It's dependent on activity and severity of the location or activity. I might also wear them into town. It's that town to easy country activities? I still layer up when doing those activities too but the clothing choices is related to activities and levels of difficulty in what I'm doing I guess.
 

Mowmow

Forager
Jul 6, 2016
211
100
Nottinghamshire
Out in town good old everyday cotton wear, nice warm lined coat or a thick jumper under a windproof shell, for quick on and off when in and out of cars, shops, house, whatever.

In winter
Maybe stick wicking baselayers next to skin as cotton is as a rule, not very warm, even the thick jumpers n what not, even if it seems dry, the slightest perspiration and its not nice, the base layer is just to keep the initial chill off the back when moving from warm to cold areas or if out in the cold for a while.

If im gonna be out for a long time or physically active like working out in the cold, or camping out or whatever i always get suited and booted top to bottom in appropriate layers and materials.
I'll even put on some waterproofs if i am working as when youre at work you dont really have the chance to be putting on or removing layers all the time or drying out, and a poncho can get in the way. When im camping i can go at things at my own pace and so i do as i feel most comfortable.

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adriatikfan

Full Member
May 23, 2010
248
7
North Yorkshire
1.British army pcs antimicrobial boxer shorts
British army pcs coolmax t-shirt and/or pcs long sleeved coolmax vest

2. British army pcs norgie fleece
Merino wool longjohns

3.british army pcs thermal buffalo style shirt or woolly pully

4. SSO Gorka C windproof anorak and trousers.

5. I suppose the pcs buffalo style shirt fits this category. Not a fan of the majority of softshells if im honest though.

6. Don't like waterproofs, will put on a us style poncho if absolutely hammering down.

7. Swedish shearling lined Livpals jacket.
Not that it will ever get that cold for whatever im likely to do in my lifetime.

Of course its easily tweaked if youre facing different extremes or for comfort preferences but that pretty much covers it year round here in the UK.
It's a very mild country.

Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk

Those Swedish jackets look interesting ... and very expensive at the moment. Is it as warm as it looks?

David
 

adriatikfan

Full Member
May 23, 2010
248
7
North Yorkshire
  1. lightweight underwear/baselayers Rab t-shirt, Montane primino t-shirt, odlo longsleeve layer, Helly Hansen prowool long sleeve in cooler conditions Merino in winter skiing holidays. Odlo or Patagonia long Johns (can't remember the exact make but they're thin and heavily holed due to accidents which ripped them but nothing worn on top). In cold I've got HH expedition weight long Johns with the thick, heavily ridged effect to them
  2. midweight underwear/baselayers I've got a marmot fleece/base layer with thumb loops and chest length zip. It's got a smooth outer face and textured inner. It's great as a next to skin base or a mid layer. Very snug fit like a cycling top which it's also used as in winter over a long sleeved Merino top
  3. fleece cold weather jacket Rab VR, Montane dynamo softshell in pertex equilibrium or just a Paramo adventure light Velez smock
  4. wind cold weather jacket buffalo, Rab VR with windshirt in real strong winds, Paramo as above, haglofs synthetic insulation jacket and possibly haglofs synthetic insulation vest as outer or inner layer as a warmer piece
  5. soft shell jacket and trousers buffalo s6, Paramo as above or Rab VR. I wear Montane terra trousers with our without looking Johns. I don't usually feel cold on the legs so rarely need more. I've been known to wear shorts on frosty November or December b days out in the lakes.
  6. extreme cold/wet weather jacket and trousers cold/wet I assume English winters is this, anything below zero by much is usually drier. This I just wear whatever above meets my needs. If I'm moving fast it'll be cooler clothes with the haglofs synthetic jacket for stops. If I'm slower then more warmth is needed so buffalo, Rab VR with layers. What you're doing often changes choices.
  7. extreme cold weather parka and trousers i don't generally go out in extreme cold. By this I mean ten degrees below or colder. The few English winters that's been like that I've just layered up with possibly haglofs outer layer. I've got an old, baggy pair of Rab softshell trousers which are warmer and work very well. They're brown and look like old men's trousers but they're the best specced outdoor trousers I could find that came close to fitting and I could afford. I'm tall but slim so it's very hard to find trousers that fit. Usually when they do fit it's because of a quality issues meant that they're longer than that should be.
As well as the above I wear ski jackets and skim trousers when skiing. Also various hats, buffs, scarves, gloves and mitts as appropriate.

special mention should be made of extremities inferno, possibly super inferno mitts I can't remember. Cost £30 10 years ago and bought after a very painfully cold day with a £90 pair of black diamond winter gloves that didn't do much good. The 2010 cold spell straight after Xmas. I wore the gloves again but 5 minutes into the walk my hands went from cold after trying boot laces to extremely cold and getting harmful. I switched to the cheaper mitts and 15 minutes later they were recovered. I wear them in anything much before zero. It's been good to -20C once and I reckon with thicker inner, base gloves even colder. they since switched from primaloft inside them to own brand insulation and went to £40 a year after I bought mine. Not sure how much more but bang for bucks they're one of my best ever buys of outdoor kit.

sorry for lengthy write up. I can't do brevity at times.

Thank you for such a detailed response. For some reason I've never really looked at Haglofs as a brand/manufacturer, even though I've read a number of things where people are using them and obviously relying on them - as you are - as kit that will do the job.

Maybe in the sales.

Best Wishes,
David
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,744
733
Lancashire
I think they became popular when I started to spend on going lightweight. Their LIM range was supposedly good at the time. Then last haglofs synthetic jacket I got on holiday in the Scottish summer. I'd packed for the Lakes summer which can be wintry. I got a bit cold so bought it on offer in a little outdoor shop in oban where we were. It was a case of buying something or living in my sleeping bag for 2 weeks.

The haglofs before that was bought after a cold spell (2010 cold spell in the winter) when work lost its heating. After second day in cold office I went out at lunch and bought the gilet and gloves. I think the gilet made the office with its pathetic temporary heaters be bearable. No longer work there.

Personally I think haglofs came out with some good stuff and became popular back then. Made a name for the brand over here then went off the boil a bit. I think that's the nature of brands. They boom then tail off. One moment a few good items get them recommendations and a good name which boosts sale / presence in shops. Then they go out of favour then retailers and magazines reviewers move on to the next flavour of the month.
 
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John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
21,923
1,411
63
Pembrokeshire
My choice is
1 - Aldi Merino baselayer
2 - home made merino wool blanket pullover shirt, Ventile trousers
3 - home made blanket wool and Ventile "fleece" jacket
4 - home made blanket wool and Ventile gilet
5 - home made Ventile jacket and double Ventile overtrousers
6 - home made heavy blanket wool "Bush Shirt" or Dutch army surplus Goretex jacket/ el cheapo waterproof poncho (depending on cold/wet/wind balance)

Head wear - important!
1 - Merino Buff
2 - copy of WW2 German peaked and fold down sided field cap (M 43?)
3 - home made sheepskin beanie with silk or Buff balaclava
4 - home made "Medieval" caped hood.

Hands
1 - fold down sleeve cuffs
2 - wool gloves - various weights
3 - wool over mittens (I need to make some new ones!)

Footwear
1- Merino socks and good leather boots
2 - same with liner socks
3 - same socks but with felt inner boots and boots to fit the extra layers

For sitting around the campfire
1 - home made wool cloak or rabbit skin blanket

All proven in British winters (cold/wet/ windy) though I am looking for an alternative to the Goretex that I can afford/make
 

Mowmow

Forager
Jul 6, 2016
211
100
Nottinghamshire
Those Swedish jackets look interesting ... and very expensive at the moment. Is it as warm as it looks?

David
Oh yes, they also weigh about 5kg dry.
The whole thing is shearling lined except the arms which are a ridiculously thick quilted material. Although im not sure what wadding they use inside it, probably wool or cotton. The arms then end in thick shearling cuffs.
The outer is very thick "tent canvas". Its probably the thickest canvas ive ever seen used for a coat.
It's windproof and extremely hot.
It was probably once relatively water resistant but not so much nowadays.
It does breathe relatively ok but you wouldnt walk any further than to the local shop in it really. You could probably sleep outside in the winter in the UK wearing that as long as you could keep your feet and bottom warm.

Mine is a orebro sport one and from what i've seen online it's likely to be a world war 2 era production. These coats were made from the 30's to the 60's.
It's got all the original buttons, i believe. The cuffs are quite frayed on the sleeve, and the buttons were all sewed in the wrong place when I bought it. You can tell the wool is very aged but i've kind of brought the jacket back to life a bit with a couple of wool washes in wool detergent and generous amounts of lanolin. A good brush for the shearling and moved all the buttons back to their original holes (you could see where they had been).
They come in 3 sizes, mine is a size 2 which i think is a medium. I thought it was too big when i bought it but now ive moved the buttons its actually just the right size for me. It is designed to go over all your other clothes.

It's got lapels so it can be worn draped over the shoulders like a cape, the collar is a HUGE stand up or down one.

I think i paid 40-50 quid for mine, i got a phone call off my friend telling me his girlfriends dad asked him if he knew anyone who'd buy it, he said I know just the man.

It has these weird button tabs near the hem, i'm not sure what they are for, they dont correspond with anything else on the jacket.

Here's a few pics of my example. I'd show it being worn, it's actually not toooooooo bad looking, but my front camera on my phone is damaged n wouldnt do it justice.
Which is why these photos are in reverse because i used the selfie camera.

The jacket is about knee length.
The collar comes right up to the top of the head. And the cuffs can be tightened at the wrist.

The last photo is one of the two button tabs near the hem.


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Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,970
724
Berlin
I never have seen that in reality but "sheep hide lined Polish officers coat, unused" sounds pretty interesting.

I think the both remaining sizes are L and XL.

The question is only, if we will get such cold weather in the next years.

 

Rorschach

Full Member
May 22, 2018
44
13
51
Finland
Here winter temps get down to -35C and -20C to -25C is common during winter months. I usually wear two layers of merino and either gabardine cotton or ventile cotton on top. For -35C type of weather I use a North Face Summit Series down jacket...usually just a t-shirt underneath :cool:
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,706
1,643
McBride, BC
Mowmow: Your coat has many characteristics of Carhartt coats.
The cuffs frayed, like yours, to make the coat kind of shabby looking.
I found a paraplegic guy who did custom leather work. I had him add
pigskin coverings on all the frayed parts. Looks quite dapper.
 
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