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AddyB
2005-02-04, 12:42
Does anyone know which is superiour as an insulating layer; wool such as a waterproofed army sweater, or say a fleece/pile jacket? Which do you prefer? What are advantages and disadvantages of both?

Major Slacker
2005-02-04, 15:46
Does anyone know which is superiour as an insulating layer; wool such as a waterproofed army sweater, or say a fleece/pile jacket? Which do you prefer? What are advantages and disadvantages of both?
My experience with both is that wool is heavier than fleece, the insulation to weight ratio favors fleece, but if you get soaking wet wool will keep you warmer. If you favor natural fabrics you have few, if any, options other than wool.

Sgathak
2005-02-04, 17:39
Oh this isnt an eternally debated question (especially with hunters):biggrin:

Basically, my feeling is that wool is more effective at moisture transportation. However, it is heavier. In some cases, MUCH heavier. It will also absorb upto 50% of its weight in water. Good merino wool also costs alot more than good outdoor quality synthetics. Synthetics are lighter and absorb water less, but leave it on your skin for a few seconds longer... Synthetics will also start to smell faster.

I prefer to wear synthetics. Though, smartwool socks and a t-shirt are definate "haves" on winter snowshoe trips.

CanoeBlue
2005-02-04, 22:58
There is wool and there is wool, and there are a wide range of synthetics. The uses may also dictate your choice.

I would lean toward a fleece vest or jacket in favour of a wool sweater, but for layering, MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-Op) has very finely woven marino wool long underwear that is light, very warm and I would choose it over any synthetic that I have ever seen.

Mutinousdoug
2005-02-04, 23:44
I have to agree with the general consensis: natural against the skin is the most comfortable.
I use wool or silk longjohns or even cotton fishnet (no comments from the peanut gallery) but layering outside of that, fleece or synthetic down is the most rugged insulation and it drys by shaking it out, practically. Try that with wool. And high count Nylon can't be beat for windproofing
Once goose down gets wet it is useless and won't ever get dry like it was in the store. Wool weighs a ton when wet and smells like an old gundog, but keeps keeping you warm. fleece doesn't seem to retain any moisture, so from day to day, you can count on it keeping you as warm as it did the day before.
Wool socks are like wearing sock liners under your synthetic hiking socks for XC hiking or skiing = no blisters. Nothing compares to them except well fitting boots.
In my experience when you have to deal with cold, it's beause you are wet. Even here in Colorado, where most places it's essentially a desert.