Keeping warm when stopped

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
User avatar
pjclinch
Posts: 4057
Joined: 29 Oct 2007, 2:32pm
Location: Dundee, Scotland
Contact:

Re: Keeping warm when stopped

Postby pjclinch » 20 Nov 2020, 11:53am

mjr wrote:
pjclinch wrote:Use it as a general purpose coat and it'll lose loft relatively quickly,

Oooh does it lose loft just from wearing, then? I thought it mainly lost loft if left packed or squashed.


It loses loft through getting dirty, which probably correlates quite closely to wearing it!

Anecdotal, but I have an ME Lightline I bought around 2000 and I only use in proper cold in the middle of nowhere. A pal bought one soon after and used it as a general purpose winter coat, and it was lofting noticeably less than mine within a few months, where mine is still Michelin-Man stylee. It's also been the case that when I've washed dirty down bags myself they get a lot of loft back, and when I send them away to be done professionally the results appear to be better.

Leaving it packed doesn't actually bother it (according to Chris Townsend having talked to people in the industry who've vacuum packed sleeping bags long term and not had them troubled, I would say a reliable source), but it's a reasonable call to not go out of your way to pack/unpack if you don't need to. I generally store down stuff loose after use to make sure it is very thoroughly dried and aired, but when I take my down jacket out as a "just in case", having packed it up from loose, if I don't use it I won't take it out of its stuffsack again when it goes back in the cupboard. It's spent a few years in the cupbaord stuffed as a result, and as above I still look like a blue Bibendum wearing it.

One problem with washing down is you can just chuck it in the machine on a gentle cycle and it'll come out without obviously having died, so it's easy to think there's no problem. Yet the likes of Rab, PHD etc., who are down specialists and have nothing to gain and much to lose by telling you their products are awkward to care for, tell you their products are awkward to care for and recommend professional washing or very careful home washing where that isn't possible.

Another point is that currently fashionable micro-baffle downies are a way to get lower amounts of down in to a garment and not get "lost" in too big a baffle space. This does work and makes lighter jackets with less fill practical, but it reduces the overall insulating efficiency (I guess in large part because of the amount of dead spots caused by far more stitching), so you get closer to the law of diminishing returns the less down there is and closer to a decent synthetic being just as good. Perhaps not unrelated are the number of folk I see wandering around in these on nice days, including right through summer, where I'm in a plain windproof.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

User avatar
pjclinch
Posts: 4057
Joined: 29 Oct 2007, 2:32pm
Location: Dundee, Scotland
Contact:

Re: Keeping warm when stopped

Postby pjclinch » 20 Nov 2020, 12:02pm

nsew wrote:A quality merino base layer is a given for cold rides. Not inexpensive though. Polartec Alpha punches way above its weight, highly insulating, highly breathable and super fast drying using your body heat. Designed for US Special Forces to keep moving in the cold and wet. Rapha lightweight Transfer Jackets were one of the first to commercially use it - they can be found lightly used for £50 -£75. Other than that, snoods, socks, undies, beanies. Merino, merino, merino. Money money money.


Lidl/Aldi sometimes have merino base layers, and they're not that dear and I gather punch well above their weight in bangs/buck.

I like and use merino but I wouldn't say it's a "given", especially if you find wool itchy. It is softer than typical wool but note that non-itch guarantees mean the likes of Icebreaker go beyond standard refund law in getting you your money back if they do itch, not that they won't possibly itch (case in point, my wife just doesn't get on with merino and doesn't use it, she's fine with various synthetics).

I've recently taken delivery of a Himalayan yak-wool base which claims to be much more thermally efficient than merino at the same weight as the hollow fibres make it a better air trap, and that means they can use a looser weave which is more breathable. There are graphs and, errr, everything! It's certainly comfy (wife still finds it itchy though!) but if it's really better in practice I don't know. It was, looking at my Visa bill, more than I really should have paid when my existing stack of base layers is actually entirely adequate for my needs...

(plus see up-thread about Buffalos typically needing no base layer at all)

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

thirdcrank
Posts: 30108
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Keeping warm when stopped

Postby thirdcrank » 20 Nov 2020, 12:16pm

One thing about so-called discounters is that there's regular quality variation - generally downwards - presumably to keep prices in check. Also, several years ago now I bought a couple of Aldi "merino" cycling-specific tops (silicone strip to stop the back riding up) and having worn them and checking the washing instructions I discovered they were what Marks and Sparks might describe as "merino rich." Having said that, they feel ok to wear so a lot of this must be in the mind.

tatanab
Posts: 4285
Joined: 8 Feb 2007, 12:37pm

Re: Keeping warm when stopped

Postby tatanab » 20 Nov 2020, 12:27pm

pjclinch wrote:I've recently taken delivery of a Himalayan yak-wool base which claims to be much more thermally efficient than merino at the same weight as the hollow fibres make it a better air trap
Sounds much like merino/possum mix from New Zealand. Very soft to the touch, and similarly expensive. Possum fur also has hollow fibres.

thirdcrank
Posts: 30108
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Keeping warm when stopped

Postby thirdcrank » 20 Nov 2020, 12:52pm

... New Zealand possum fur is characterised by its short and fine fibre which has a uniquely hollow structure. This unique hollow structure is what makes possum fur so special. In fact, the hollow fibre structure is only found in one other animal, the polar bear ...


https://www.kiwisheepskins.com/possum-m ... m%20Merino

Perhaps that's one for the "What does your head in?" thread.

User avatar
pjclinch
Posts: 4057
Joined: 29 Oct 2007, 2:32pm
Location: Dundee, Scotland
Contact:

Re: Keeping warm when stopped

Postby pjclinch » 20 Nov 2020, 1:06pm

thirdcrank wrote:
... New Zealand possum fur is characterised by its short and fine fibre which has a uniquely hollow structure. This unique hollow structure is what makes possum fur so special. In fact, the hollow fibre structure is only found in one other animal, the polar bear ...


https://www.kiwisheepskins.com/possum-m ... m%20Merino

Perhaps that's one for the "What does your head in?" thread.


I would say that my recently discovered base-layer crack dealer is rather more focused on the serious outdoor market, and as we wear garments rather than simply fabrics that will probably count for something in performance...

thirdcrank wrote:One thing about so-called discounters is that there's regular quality variation - generally downwards - presumably to keep prices in check. Also, several years ago now I bought a couple of Aldi "merino" cycling-specific tops (silicone strip to stop the back riding up) and having worn them and checking the washing instructions I discovered they were what Marks and Sparks might describe as "merino rich." Having said that, they feel ok to wear so a lot of this must be in the mind.


All good points.
While it's easy to get in to "but this is even better!" frame of mind (and I'm a terrible gear junkie and find myself doing this far too much) for the most part we are looking at stuff where it isn't hard to do reasonably well for not much. 40 years ago your choice in this line of business was Helly Lifa or... errr, that was about it, and even just using cotton Ts we got about okay and didn't die.
I'd managed to hang fire on my yak wool base by telling myself I was actually more than adequately catered for with a range of high-cost merino and synthetics... but then they unsportingly had an offer weekend where they threw in a "free" hat or neck tube targeted with laser-precision at suckers such as myself.

(I await the marketing spiel for the polar-bear-fur base layer with a four figure price tag!)

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

User avatar
pjclinch
Posts: 4057
Joined: 29 Oct 2007, 2:32pm
Location: Dundee, Scotland
Contact:

Re: Keeping warm when stopped

Postby pjclinch » 20 Nov 2020, 1:18pm

And if you're in to the whole "I use this for function, not the form" slightly outré market segment now you don't have to worry what the other folk in the cafe might think, check out the "hi-tech string vest" Brynje stuff (merino wool options in there too, sheep fans).

Not tried it myself, but it has a good reputation amongst folk doing serious stuff.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

nsew
Posts: 545
Joined: 14 Dec 2017, 12:38pm

Re: Keeping warm when stopped

Postby nsew » 20 Nov 2020, 3:33pm

By quality I mean a “super fine” or “ultra fine” merino, which is by definition more comfortable to the skin and more costly than cheaper variants.

pjclinch wrote:
nsew wrote:A quality merino base layer is a given for cold rides. Not inexpensive though. Polartec Alpha punches way above its weight, highly insulating, highly breathable and super fast drying using your body heat. Designed for US Special Forces to keep moving in the cold and wet. Rapha lightweight Transfer Jackets were one of the first to commercially use it - they can be found lightly used for £50 -£75. Other than that, snoods, socks, undies, beanies. Merino, merino, merino. Money money money.


Lidl/Aldi sometimes have merino base layers, and they're not that dear and I gather punch well above their weight in bangs/buck.

I like and use merino but I wouldn't say it's a "given", especially if you find wool itchy. It is softer than typical wool but note that non-itch guarantees mean the likes of Icebreaker go beyond standard refund law in getting you your money back if they do itch, not that they won't possibly itch (case in point, my wife just doesn't get on with merino and doesn't use it, she's fine with various synthetics).

I've recently taken delivery of a Himalayan yak-wool base which claims to be much more thermally efficient than merino at the same weight as the hollow fibres make it a better air trap, and that means they can use a looser weave which is more breathable. There are graphs and, errr, everything! It's certainly comfy (wife still finds it itchy though!) but if it's really better in practice I don't know. It was, looking at my Visa bill, more than I really should have paid when my existing stack of base layers is actually entirely adequate for my needs...

(plus see up-thread about Buffalos typically needing no base layer at all)

Pete.
Last edited by nsew on 20 Nov 2020, 3:58pm, edited 2 times in total.

nsew
Posts: 545
Joined: 14 Dec 2017, 12:38pm

Re: Keeping warm when stopped

Postby nsew » 20 Nov 2020, 3:53pm

I think the OP mentioned recently pulling up on a ride and being sweaty. This is where ‘super fine’ merino base layers and outer ‘breathable’ fabrics come into their own, they naturally wick (and eliminate) sweat away from the body leaving you and your clothes dry after exertion. That sweat on the skin, coupled with wind and cold, makes for an unpleasant stop after the body cools - which doesn’t take too long. For comfort the money has to be spent.

nsew
Posts: 545
Joined: 14 Dec 2017, 12:38pm

Re: Keeping warm when stopped

Postby nsew » 20 Nov 2020, 4:10pm

So being the curious type I headed off to search ‘Himalayan yak wool’. This guy with a mountaineering clothing background has started fashioning cycling jerseys out of it for the adventure cyclist. He recommends a wool base layer worn underneath which clearly suggests Yak wool doesn’t wick moisture (or insulate when wet) like merino. So merino remains top of the pile as a base layer.

Kleinwort says, ‘The Azog Jersey is designed for multi-day adventures and long base training rides in the cooler months when conditions and temperatures vary. Depending on how you layer, the jersey is suitable for temperatures up to 18C and down to near freezing. I’d recommend a wool base layer underneath – this will wick moisture but keep you warm even when it’s wet. A synthetic layer will not do that. The jersey will handle the odd bit of rain without a problem, but it’s worth keeping a thin waterproof layer in a pocket or pannier in case of a proper downpour.’

https://www.cyclist.co.uk/in-depth/2737 ... sey-review

User avatar
andrew_s
Posts: 5276
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 9:29pm
Location: Gloucestershire

Re: Keeping warm when stopped

Postby andrew_s » 20 Nov 2020, 6:20pm

pjclinch wrote:And if you're in to the whole "I use this for function, not the form" slightly outré market segment now you don't have to worry what the other folk in the cafe might think, check out the "hi-tech string vest" Brynje stuff (merino wool options in there too, sheep fans).
Pete.

That's what I've been using (Super Thermo) for the last few years, in place of the previous lifa or merino.
Gives a good air layer for insulation, holds damp stuff away from the skin where it can't cool you, and holds very little dampness itself (feels wearable straight out of the washing machine, not that I've tried doing so). Opening up the outer layer also allows effective cooling, should you wear it in summer.

I would comment that wool (including merino) remains warm when damp because the dampness gets absorbed inside the fibres, so you've still got a good amount of air trapped between them.
If you get too damp, the fibres reach capacity, further moisture just soaks into the fabric, and it's no different to any other wet fabric in terms of keeping you warm.

User avatar
pjclinch
Posts: 4057
Joined: 29 Oct 2007, 2:32pm
Location: Dundee, Scotland
Contact:

Re: Keeping warm when stopped

Postby pjclinch » 22 Nov 2020, 9:15am

nsew wrote:By quality I mean a “super fine” or “ultra fine” merino, which is by definition more comfortable to the skin and more costly than cheaper variants.


Doesn't alter some people finding it itchy and not liking it. My wife has reacted badly to Smartwool and Rohan superfine with top-drawer prices and, to me, a lovely feel.

nsew wrote:So being the curious type I headed off to search ‘Himalayan yak wool’. This guy with a mountaineering clothing background has started fashioning cycling jerseys out of it for the adventure cyclist. He recommends a wool base layer worn underneath which clearly suggests Yak wool doesn’t wick moisture (or insulate when wet) like merino. So merino remains top of the pile as a base layer.


I would say, looking at the pic, it suggests more that the top is baggy enough to benefit from a base layer because of the cut on the model, i.e., it's more of a mid-layer (it's a relatively heavty fabric at 350 gsm to be a base in itself, there's no rules against that but it's unusual, heavier base layers usually come in at rather less). One of my merino tops, for example, is relatively oversized and in a ~200 gsm fabric, and I typically wear a snugger ~100 gsm top under it. Nothing to do with what it's made of (a variation on the same raw material from the same brand).

Kora are claiming that "in tests" that it wicks better than Merino ("17%") and on their comparison table they have them at a similar level. Of course, this is marketing so may be taken with a degree of salt because, as you allude to elsewhere, there's merino and there's merino and we don't know which they're looking at, but there is talk about independent labs at Sheffield Hallam and such so I imagine if you get in touch them they'll be happy to tell you all about it. In any case, I think one review suggesting a base under a slightly baggy 350 gsm fabric top is not quite enough to write off one sort of wool against another, especially in light of fabrics (beyond the yarns made from) having an effect on various performance aspects, and garment cut/design beyond the fabrics they're made from.

nsew wrote:Kleinwort says, ‘The Azog Jersey is designed for multi-day adventures and long base training rides in the cooler months when conditions and temperatures vary. Depending on how you layer, the jersey is suitable for temperatures up to 18C and down to near freezing. I’d recommend a wool base layer underneath – this will wick moisture but keep you warm even when it’s wet. A synthetic layer will not do that.


There's synthetics and there's synthetics, just like there's wool and wool, and you can have synthetic layers that are (relatively) warm when wet. Buffalo have a decades long reputation for warm-when-wet with entirely synthetic products, synthetic downies are often preferred in the UK because they retain some degree of heat when wet, and so on. If it's cold, wonder-fabric or not, then getting damp means getting colder because water is a remarkably good conductor of heat, so better to keep dry (related is the "game changing" hydro-down, which doesn't really change the game that much because it still works much better as insulation if it's dry, so it's worth making the effort to keep it dry just like untreated down).

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

PH
Posts: 9627
Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 12:31am
Location: Derby
Contact:

Re: Keeping warm when stopped

Postby PH » 22 Nov 2020, 11:40am

nsew wrote:A quality merino base layer is a given for cold rides.

I have three long sleeve base layers and that for the next three months will probably spend 80% of my waking hours in one of them.
Howies merino, with different weights of wool in different panels, around 15 years old, a couple of darns, it's always been a little short in the arms but is otherwise perfect.
Showers Pass merino/bamboo (rayon) mix, nicest fitting, slightly warmest of the three.
Paramo Parameta T synthetic, lightest and fastest drying, whether that's from the weather or washing.
The one I'll be wearing will be whichever is top of the draw, unless there's something in particular that makes me favour one. I'm out on the bike delivering for around twenty hours a week, so I don't get to choose the weather I ride in, along with leisure cycling where I do. I don't have much clothing so I'm a bit fussy about what I do have and although merino is fantastic stuff, it certainly isn't the only game in town.

nsew
Posts: 545
Joined: 14 Dec 2017, 12:38pm

Re: Keeping warm when stopped

Postby nsew » 22 Nov 2020, 12:46pm

Pete, before I compose a reply to your comments can i point out that what your wife does or doesn’t like is not a metric that features prominently in my decision making process.

User avatar
andrew_s
Posts: 5276
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 9:29pm
Location: Gloucestershire

Re: Keeping warm when stopped

Postby andrew_s » 22 Nov 2020, 12:59pm

The best method is to pick a bench seat that's in the sun and out of the breeze.Even better if it's got free wifi like this one does.
A pity it doesn't always work :(