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Old 06-28-2017, 07:00 AM
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Default Moisture Management and Thermoregulation...



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So, we don't really have a sub-forum on clothing, and outdoors clothing various so much dependent on locations, season, climate, activity, personal preference, etc., and I wanted to narrow the discussion to backpacking. Again, these definitions can vary as well, but Im interested in those who typically do 10-12+miles per day for 5+day trips. Since locations and seasons vary, Im looking at 30-90 degrees; knowing weather/climate, elevation, and terrain make a significant impact. At lower temps, youre either moving or youre briefly static when setting up your shelter, fixing a quick meal, and then changing into sleep clothes and sleeping system.

So, for my choices I vary depending on the seasonal temperature ranges. The challenges are both moisture management and thermoregulation. When temperatures, sun exposure, precipitation, humidity, and wind all fluctuate to some degree daily, your added aerobic exertion as well as periodic breaks make that moisture management and thermoregulation the real challenge.

Im curious about choices for core (upper body) mid-layers. Im a hot hiker. I can put on a damp merino wool T-shirt when its 45-50 degrees as long as Im on the trail and moving to warm up. If temps are still cool and Im static for more than 15-20 minutes, I do feel a significant cool down/chill, especially if its windy. For colder temps (30 degrees or just those extended cold mornings), Im considering a breathable wind-shirt or a microgrid pullover top. Both dry relatively quickly, but the wind-shirt would likely do better with the higher humidity we face down here. When static of course, I can pull on my rain shell or if its colder weather, Ill have a long-sleeve shirt and/or a puffy vest/jacket.

Some options I'm going to try out:

Patagonia Houdini pullover
Outdoor Research Ferrosi Windshirt
Patagonia R1 pullover (for colder months)
Lukesultralight...either his Argon or Epsilon wind shells (once he's recovered from injury and back on the stitching machine)

So, what do you use for your moisture management and thermoregulation for those high aerobic/exertion activities when temps are colder or just take longer to warm up?

ROCK6
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Old 06-28-2017, 08:19 AM
PalmettoTree PalmettoTree is offline
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What about just planning to add another layer of wool. Maybe a T-shirt one size larger.
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Old 06-28-2017, 11:12 AM
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Before I get to the thermoregulation & moisture management, there are other aspects that also need to be considered for clothings and that is solar irradiance. Without any cloud or canopy cover even at sea level the amount of infrared radiation at tropical latitude is staggering to the point that any moisture that were trapped within the clothing fabric (especially cotton) would instantly evaporate and releasing scents that every forest inhabitant could smell from stand off distance, and during hiking as elevation gained the amount of solar irradiance will also increasing albeit in shorter wavelength (shifting into UV) which potentially could inflict sunburn even to native tropic person such as myself.

I don't typically hike over 10 miles a day and most excursions were under 5 days, however I could push fast if necessary (hiking during night time or when I need to pass hazardous area within specific time window) but for thermoregulation during cold & wet weather (temperature below 60F) I use balaclava and vest, because I believe the most important and crucial to be kept warm is our head and by wearing vest it could also provide some degree of moisture management.
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Old 06-28-2017, 11:18 AM
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Warmlite.com they are big on vapour barrier clothing.
Wiggys.com touts his clothing as the best for water manadement.
Two total different opinions and both better than all this modern super products outdoor technology.
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Old 06-28-2017, 01:21 PM
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What about just planning to add another layer of wool. Maybe a T-shirt one size larger.
Weight is the issue. I do love wool as a light base-layer and even after a week of sweat and funk, they really do help keep the less appealing odors down

I'm sure your jungle environment is much like our Southeast when it comes to humidity and if you're under a heavy canopy, with overcast skies and no breeze, everything is real hard to dry out. I'm sure like your higher elevations, this is where it can get dangerous as temps drop, you better have a dry set of clothes and adequate insulation...I've seen a few cases of hypothermia in the jungle.

Vapor barriers are an option I haven't really pursued. I do know you have to be pretty strict with clothing management and understanding the conditions most would think would lead to immediate hypothermia. Regardless, it is some very interesting science with that philosophy...

ROCK6
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Old 06-28-2017, 01:25 PM
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Weight is the issue. I do love wool as a light base-layer and even after a week of sweat and funk, they really do help keep the less appealing odors down

I'm sure your jungle environment is much like our Southeast when it comes to humidity and if you're under a heavy canopy, with overcast skies and no breeze, everything is real hard to dry out. I'm sure like your higher elevations, this is where it can get dangerous as temps drop, you better have a dry set of clothes and adequate insulation...I've seen a few cases of hypothermia in the jungle.

Vapor barriers are an option I haven't really pursued. I do know you have to be pretty strict with clothing management and understanding the conditions most would think would lead to immediate hypothermia. Regardless, it is some very interesting science with that philosophy...

ROCK6
Guess I'm old school when layering was the way to go.
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Old 06-28-2017, 02:29 PM
souldier66 souldier66 is offline
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I run hot and sweat very easily. When most people in the city are wearing a jacket in 50 degrees, I'm just wearing a work button down and I'm fine.

Same with hiking, most my buds will keep their mid layer on in 40-50 degrees, but I'm just wearing my base layer and I'm still sweating thru it. For me it's about layers and venting as well as making sure I have clothes that will dry fast.

Here's the gear I use:

Base Layer

-Lightweight merino wool, usually around 200g weight, icebreaker, REI, smartwool brands, I like the icebreaker oasis best. When you sweat as much as I do, wool is a must.

- I need to bring 2 extra's to make sure I can have a dry one, yes it's extra weight, but it's just something I deal with

Mid Layer

-Mammut Eigerjoch Jacket: Very lightweight, insulated jacket it's perfect for 40-50 degrees for me. I only put it on when we stop or after making camp. If I do sweat it out a bit, it dries pretty darn fast. This is hands down my favorite mid layer or just a good everyday jacket for cooler spring/fall days.

-Arcteryx lightweight: Not sure the name, but it's a very lightweight jacket, haven't field tested it much, but seems good for 40-50 degree range. Got it at a REI garage sale and I can see why people like arcteryx even with a high price tag. I'll find out the name when I get home. I'm thinking about swapping out one of my extra base layers and just bringing this as insurance for temps going below 40. Have not soaked it yet so not sure on drying factor.

-North Face Insulated: I have an old north face puffy jacket, it was the liner for a ski shell. It's like an oven and I only ever use it below 30.

Rain Layer

-Outdoor Research Foray: Works ok, wets out more easily then I think it should, but I resolved that with applying more DWR. Haven't tested in the field too much, but loaned it to my buddy that did Camino de Santiago this past April and he said it worked great, cold mornings 40-50 and moderate rain is what he used it for and usually had it in his bag by 10am.

-Army Goretex: I'm guessing you are pretty familiar with this one. I always thought it was a really good rain jacket in the 40's, with the main problem being it's too hot when exerting yourself. This is why I ultimately bought the foray.
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Old 06-28-2017, 06:16 PM
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Guess I'm old school when layering was the way to go.


Old school doesnt mean no more schoollife-long learning, and all that Layering is the way to go and of which Im a huge advocate. Layers have changed and some are better than others when it comes to the conditions and activity.

The military has really followed the civilian sector and their Protective Combat Uniform (PCU) system was a very well-done result (surprise for most Army choices!). I had a few issues of the PCU system and Ive been very impressed and my last tour to Afghanistan, I actually ended up using every single layer of the system:

Level 1
A durable, silkweight Polartec Power Dry fabric worn next to the skin wicks away moisture and dries fast. It consists of a crew neck T-shirt and boxer shorts, or is available inlong-sleeve top with invisible zipper and pants, built for comfort and minimal weight.
Level 2
A long-sleeve shirt and pants made from Polartec Power Dry fabric are worn next to the skin for extra warmth in extreme conditions, but still wicks away moisture quickly from skin and dries fast. An inserted side panel of Polartec X-Static fabric enhances fit and flexibility. The top has a front 15-inch zip for extra venting and a soft lining around the collar. Comfort features include an articulated side seam on the pants to minimize chafe on the kneecap.
Level 3
An insulative mid-layer jacket made from Polartec Thermal Pro High Loft fabric is water-repellent yet breathable. It is worn as an outer jacket in mild temperatures or as a heavy insulative layer in extreme cold. Seamless shoulders minimize chafe, which are then lined for extra warmth and padding for heavy pack straps.
Level 4
The soft windshirt is made from an encapsulated microfiber that repels water but also breathes for a variety of conditions. It is designed to pair with a next-to-skin layer for intense activity in cooler temperatures or with the Level 5 soft shell as a mid-layer. It stuffs into its own pocket for easy packing.
Level 5
The key to the entire system, this soft shell fabric jacket and pants are made with fibers encapsulated with silicone that are highly stretchable, windproof, water repellant and breathable (EPIC by Nextec). They are paired with Level 1 or 2 next-to-skin layers, ready for any cold weather aerobic activity.
Level 6
A lightweight waterproof and coated nylon hard shell is slightly oversized to fit easily and quickly over gear. The jacket features water-resistant zippers and armpit zips for maximum ventilation, pocket openings to quickly access inside layers and a hood that incorporates a stiff brim. The pants borrow the same design from Level 5 but provide waterproof protection.
Level 7
For extreme conditions, this lightweight, loft-insulated level in a jacket, vest and pants has the feel of down but retains its warmth when wet. Silicone-encapsulated fabric sheds water and is paired with Primaloft insulation for maximum warmth while the liner pulls away moisture.

So, layering is the standard, but Ive been looking to apply that level 4 Windshirt layer and integrate it into a hirer aerobic activity, but may have to deal with potential light rain, cooling winds, higher levels of perspiration, periodic breaks, changes in temps, etc. Sure, layering is the simple answer, but the challenge is to minimize the number of layers and maximize the range of performance. Its a balance of minimizing weight but maximizing versatility. Old school system, new school of technology or material blends/designs.

ROCK6
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Old 06-29-2017, 02:21 AM
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Level 1
A durable, silkweight Polartec Power Dry fabric worn next to the skin wicks away moisture and dries fast. It consists of a crew neck T-shirt and boxer shorts, or is available inlong-sleeve top with invisible zipper and pants, built for comfort and minimal weight.
I'm not familiar with Polartec although I did read about it somewhere, but how it compares to similar function fabric like Under Armour HeatGear?
How does it perform when it's worn as outer wear (wearing it without anything else)
How does it perform when worn as a base layer with plate carrier as outer layer? (without wearing lvl2 layer)

Thanks beforehand
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Old 06-29-2017, 04:49 AM
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Typically I go with a synthetic shirt with roll up sleeves and synthetic pants with zip off legs. Ride out the cold part of the night and early morning in the bag. Do not underestimate the importance of a hat for both hot and cold weather. I work out a way to pull down the brim for makeshift ear flaps.

An ultralight windbreaker is my midrange temperature gear. I'll toss in a cheap down vest if it looks like it might be chilly. I sleep in my clothes if it is cool and the vest makes an extra blanket. I go with a minimum of clothes offering the maximum versatility. Only things I change are my underwear and socks.
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Old 06-29-2017, 04:56 AM
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Warmlite makes outstanding gear. I love their tents. Expensive tho.

Vapor barrier is pretty simple. You wrap up in a space blanket inside your sleeping bag. That way you don't lose as much heat due to evaporation, don't lose much to radiation and the moisture from your sweat doesn't condense in your bag to ruin its insulation. They even make vapor barrier shirts and pants as a bottom layer for very cold environments.
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Old 06-29-2017, 05:09 AM
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Before I get to the thermoregulation & moisture management, there are other aspects that also need to be considered for clothings and that is solar irradiance. Without any cloud or canopy cover even at sea level the amount of infrared radiation at tropical latitude is staggering to the point that any moisture that were trapped within the clothing fabric (especially cotton) would instantly evaporate and releasing scents that every forest inhabitant could smell from stand off distance, and during hiking as elevation gained the amount of solar irradiance will also increasing albeit in shorter wavelength (shifting into UV) which potentially could inflict sunburn even to native tropic person such as myself.

I don't typically hike over 10 miles a day and most excursions were under 5 days, however I could push fast if necessary (hiking during night time or when I need to pass hazardous area within specific time window) but for thermoregulation during cold & wet weather (temperature below 60F) I use balaclava and vest, because I believe the most important and crucial to be kept warm is our head and by wearing vest it could also provide some degree of moisture management.
While it is important to keep your head warm, you don't lose an inordinate amount of heat through your head. I believe it's about 14%.

When it gets cold, I like to carry extra socks. I use spray anti-perspirent on my feet, but they still sweat. I also like to have gloves in a couple different weights, and a couple options for hats.

Vents and zippers to open are nice in addition to layers. And wool rules as it still retains heat when wet.
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Old 06-29-2017, 05:29 AM
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I'm not familiar with Polartec although I did read about it somewhere, but how it compares to similar function fabric like Under Armour HeatGear?
How does it perform when it's worn as outer wear (wearing it without anything else)
How does it perform when worn as a base layer with plate carrier as outer layer? (without wearing lvl2 layer)

Thanks beforehand
The materials are relatively the same, although many are now adding antimicrobial properties. Polartec, like Under Armor are just the brand names, but they sometimes "create" their own proprietary fabrics. Polartec was just the main player when the Army did their initial testing. Once the system was adopted, mass production gets subcontracted out...that's typically where questionable quality comes in.

The original Rapid Field Initiative (RFI) I received included Polartec's Silk-Weight base layer tops and bottoms. I also purchased an Under Armor Heat shirt. There was a pretty significant different in insulation properties as the silk-weight shirts are, well, silk-weight Both are (in theory) designed as an active base-layer, I would just say the temperature range would separate the two with HeatGear likely used at a lower temperature. The key for these base layers was to fit under regular uniforms or other layers without binding.

Level 2 is what many refer to as the "fleece microgrid" layer. While it could be used in conjunction with the Level 1, many wore it over a T-shirt, but under their combat shirt or the other levels/layers. The microgrid is actually designed to layer against your skin.

The other levels/layers could be worn on the outside, but a few (heavier fleece and Windshirt) could be worn under combat gear. Once you start talking armor, it changes the dynamics. Bulky insulation just doesn't work well. Most would wear a microgrid fleece and a wind or soft shell, but for those doing active combat patrols, they pretty much had to wear the fire-resistant shirts which were deigned for wearing under armor; great for hotter weather, but with poor insulation properties.

So, on top of all the above "levels" or layers of the PCU, we still had several sets of combat uniforms (cotton/poly mix, and some with fire-resistance properties), that were mixed in.

The PCU levels are exceptional, but I will say the heavier fleece and large puffy-loft jackets and overall/pants were often too bulky to wear. My favorite three pieces were the microgrid fleece, Windshirt and the Level 5 softshell; for anything active, these were the most versatile.

What I'm finding now, is having to wade through the typical marketing hype, as some companies are still developing innovative and adaptive alternatives. Some are combining more stretch materials, trying to strategically place performance panels of one material mated to different properties of others, more anti-microbial properties, various ventilation methods, the constant search for more durable and better performing DWR finishes (and fighting some stupid regulations), etc. Windshirts are getting lighter and in some real cold-weather activities, vapor-barrier systems are quite prevalent.

Different materials, especially the faster drying varieties help with moisture management regardless of the weather conditions, but thermoregulation is an integral part when you start involving colder temperatures and conditions along with varied activities from high aerobic to fully static. A lot of physics are involved as trying to keep moisture moved away from the skin, block wind, dry fast, insulate, breath, provide UV protection, stop bullets, etc. are properties many try to integrate which will be the constant evolution of researchers...and then you add in the confusing (and often misleading) marketing aspects. Andrew Skurka is a well know distance backpacker and adventure racer...his opinions on Gore-Tex only gives credit to their massive marketing campaign which doesn't match real-world performance measures.

I'm still a big proponent for merino wool as a base layer, even in warmer/humid temperatures (for the most part). I also like the performance of the newer "treated" dry-down being used as insulation, but I'm pretty fascinated by the development of synthetic insulation. Primaloft-Gold is exceptional for wetter conditions, but most synthetics fail to match the compression and repeated loft of high quality down (prices don't match either!)...conditions (and often budget) really dictate choices.

It's fascinating to try and keep up, but separating fact from marketing fiction is as much a battle as fighting the elements. There are a few people who are giving honest reviews under actual conditions which help form less biased opinions, but at the end of the day, it's about finding what works best for yourself, your activities, and your own budget constraints.

ROCK6
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Old 06-29-2017, 12:01 PM
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While it is important to keep your head warm, you don't lose an inordinate amount of heat through your head. I believe it's about 14%.
I don't remember the exact figure on heat loss, but most likely because I'm too accustomed to hot & humid environment to the point I felt cold at temperature ≤ 21C / 71F. I even get cold when ice skating indoor and getting cold at that temperature never happen when I was 20' ish years old

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I also like to have gloves in a couple different weights, and a couple options for hats.
Why not just 1 gloves for all purpose during the whole excursion I use The North Face Etip Gloves (I need to operate my phone a lot)
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Old 06-29-2017, 06:06 PM
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I don't remember the exact figure on heat loss, but most likely because I'm too accustomed to hot & humid environment to the point I felt cold at temperature ≤ 21C / 71F. I even get cold when ice skating indoor and getting cold at that temperature never happen when I was 20' ish years old



Why not just 1 gloves for all purpose during the whole excursion I use The North Face Etip Gloves (I need to operate my phone a lot)
I like 2 pairs of gloves for a couple reasons. This is more of a cold weather thing than when I am out in more temperate conditions. I have trouble keeping my hands warm when my activity level is low so I will have to use a bulkier glove, or glove and liner, or mitt, or trigger finger mitt. But when it is a bit warmer in the day and I am doing some hiking through the snow, I'm working harder and my hands will perspire, eventually taking away from the insulating properties of my heavy gloves.

There could be a 15 C change in temperature when I am out, and I favour a lighter leather glove, or roper when I can get away with it, but I have to be ready to camp out if something happens. I might be out hunting at -25 or -30 Celcius. The coldest I've seen it get here was -52 C or about -62 F, briefly.
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Old 06-29-2017, 06:19 PM
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Vents and zippers to open are nice in addition to layers. And wool rules as it still retains heat when wet.
I would add that even when hot and humid, a wet wool shirt does well to pull moisture away from the skin and it really helps to cool the body with the radiator effect. You still need to drink plenty of water since evaporation is less of a factor and you can get lulled into a sense of hydration from that cooling effect. Still, this is another reason I like a lighter merino wool shirt even for humid/hot conditions.

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Old 06-29-2017, 07:17 PM
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Dating myself, but in the 1980s we wore long sleeved tropical worsted wool khaki uniform shirt with either pith helmet or khaki boonie hat, with aluminized Mylar hat liner with wet washcloth inside crown of hat, wet towel draped over the neck and stuck inside the loosely buttoned shirt for ventilation, and khaki cargo pants with LBE.

At China Lake test ranges the temps often hit 120 degs. F. If we didn't finish our instrument set-ups by 10am use used the fog nozzle on the fire pumper to cool everybody until we got done. Evaporating cooling is WONDERFUL!!!! Most of the real work was done at night when it was bearable. Safety officer enforced hydration 1 pint every 15 minutes if temperature was over 90 degs. F.
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Old 06-29-2017, 07:17 PM
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I like 2 pairs of gloves for a couple reasons. This is more of a cold weather thing than when I am out in more temperate conditions. I have trouble keeping my hands warm when my activity level is low so I will have to use a bulkier glove, or glove and liner, or mitt, or trigger finger mitt. But when it is a bit warmer in the day and I am doing some hiking through the snow, I'm working harder and my hands will perspire, eventually taking away from the insulating properties of my heavy gloves.

There could be a 15 C change in temperature when I am out, and I favour a lighter leather glove, or roper when I can get away with it, but I have to be ready to camp out if something happens. I might be out hunting at -25 or -30 Celcius. The coldest I've seen it get here was -52 C or about -62 F, briefly.
Yeah what he said...exactly that.

Also, I like a separate pair of leather gloves for working with sharp objects and fires.
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Old 06-29-2017, 07:31 PM
Tactical Lever Tactical Lever is offline
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Yeah what he said...exactly that.

Also, I like a separate pair of leather gloves for working with sharp objects and fires.
That's what I love about the ropers. I find myself wearing them a lot; even when it's warmer as I hate getting thorns in my hands.

I find that even if they get damp, that they still have some insulating ability.
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Old 06-30-2017, 04:51 AM
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There are two aspects of having gloves that I categorize. One is for insulation; as mentioned in colder weather, any location on your body where the blood vessels are closer to the skin and further from the heart is a point of significant heat loss and the greatest risk of all conditions surrounding frost bite.

The second is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Outside of backpacking, I often include a pair of light kangaroo skin leather gloves or cheaper Mechanix type gloves. Your hands are pretty important and when you're moving through briars, swamps, climbing around rocks or maneuvering around arthropod infested areas, protection of your hands is pretty important.

Seasonal weather conditions play a big role, but when temps are cooler, gloves do become an important part of your thermoregulation clothing system. This is one reason even a light pair of glove liners are almost always part of my core clothing system. If temps are below freezing and I plan to do more in those conditions, heavier fleece mitts and waterproof shells are added.

Even if conditions are just wet and cold, I like having a set of liners available to switch into if my work gloves are soaking wet and cold.

You could even go to the other extremes; extremely hot weather. When temps were close to 115-120 degrees in Iraq, even a light pair of gloves kept the sun or touching exposed metal surfaces from severely burning your hands.

This discussion also applies to head/neck coverings and socks/footwear. While I am really focusing on my body core for moisture management and thermoregulation, your extremities play a vital role in the overall system as well.

ROCK6
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