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#183278 - 09/26/09 09:15 PM Re: Microfleece [Re: 2005RedTJ]
Art_in_FL Offline

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Basic fleece is good stuff and, good news, over the last twenty years it has gotten better and dropped in price. Cheap fleece use to be not all that cheap and it fuzzed, and frayed and stretched unevenly and generally fell apart in a short time. And that was cheap in a relative term of about $50 per piece. Presently cheap fleece is pretty good, it washes and wears well and it can be found for around $10 to $15 for a top. I have seen a decent discount fleece pull-on top for $8 at a drug store. At that rice if it lasts a season your good. If it lasts two your golden.

One thing to remember here is that if your stocking up insulating clothing for a group, extended family, to stock a remote shelter, or as a reserve your going to want solid and effective but inexpensive designs. Careful selection of inexpensive designs can mean you can equip an entire family for less than the price of what it would take to fit one person with top-of-the-line name brand gear.

In a lot of ways you can get much of the benefits of very expensive gear much more cheaply. A simple rain jacket over cheap fleece is as effective, and a fraction of the cost, of water repellent wind blocker fleece. Yes, you have to unzip and loosen sleeves to get ventilation but it isn't a very difficult procedure. Learn to drive your gear. To the good a simple non-breathable rain jacket doesn't suddenly give up its water resistance like many high-tech water repellent designs can.

High-tech and very expensive gear can be justified in very extreme environments. Like for that climb up Mt.Everest. Fortunately the vast majority of survival situations normal people will be involved in will be at low altitudes and in situations where solid reliability, and the availability of basic equipment, is far more important than extreme high performance.

Inexpensive fleece can fill that role and it is so cheap you can buy it on sale by the half-dozen and scatter it around in twos and threes so your never too far away from some warm clothing. For yourself and your family and friends.

Sounds off but a cheap fleece jacket, about $10, is handy around the office. Many buildings are kept too cold and anyone can benefit if they come from a torrential rain. At that price you can afford to let them keep it if they forget to give it back.

I have found them to be handy to keep a few pieces in the car for doctors visits and the mall and movies. All places that are commonly kept too cold for my taste.

#183281 - 09/26/09 09:39 PM Re: Microfleece [Re: Art_in_FL]
Art_in_FL Offline

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
On a slightly different tack...

I have pretty much stopped using, pensioned off, most of the cotton fleece I used to favor as casual and lounge wear. Even discount poly fleece is warmer and more comfortable. It breaths and never feels clammy or damp like cotton fleece can. It also washes up well and doesn't hold coffee stains.

#183282 - 09/26/09 09:40 PM Re: Microfleece [Re: Art_in_FL]
Dagny Offline

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1916
Loc: Washington, DC
My Himalayan trekking friend is from Cleveland.

She takes her trekking clothes when she visits her parents in Cleveland during winter and we hike in this stuff in the mid-Atlantic in winter. Temps in the teens and twenties.

My camping trailer is permanently packed with the following and I keep the same in my car in winter:

long underwear (top and bottom - medium weight)
Smartwool ski socks
Fleece 1/2 zip top
Marmot DriClime Windshirt
Marmot Precip Parka (waterproof)
Fleece pants
Ski gloves, mittens and chemical hand-warmers
Fleece neck gaiter (the "Turtle Fur" fleece neck gaiter is priceless on a cold winter day)
Fleece ear muffs
waterproof fleece-lined hat

Fleece or wool for insulation head-to-toe-to-fingertips, a waterproof parka and you are in pretty good shape.

As has been stated: layers.

#183285 - 09/26/09 10:00 PM Re: Microfleece [Re: 2005RedTJ]
scafool Offline

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
Micro-fleece is good for underwear. I gave up on wool long johns quite a while ago. Long underwear made out of cotton was a nonstarter even when I was a kid.
Fleece washes clean, dries fast and is warm.
Some of the polartech fleeces are almost as warm when damp as wool is.
I like Stanfield's brand, but they are a bit expensive.

In cold weather you still want a windproof outer layer with any kind of fleece under clothing.
May set off to explore without any sense of direction or how to return.

#183295 - 09/27/09 01:10 AM Re: Microfleece [Re: scafool]
2005RedTJ Offline

Registered: 01/07/09
Posts: 475
Loc: Birmingham, Alabama
That's what I was thinking also. Layer with long underwear, then a not-too-heavy fleece shirt and pants, then rainwear like the Precip or REI ultralight jacket and pants. Then for extreme rain/storm conditions, a USGI poncho.

In my opinion, that should cover any weather I'll ever encounter in Alabama or most of America as long as I carry a pair of shorts and a t-shirt in my bag too.

#183343 - 09/27/09 04:20 PM Re: Microfleece [Re: Art_in_FL]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
Originally Posted By: Art_in_FL

One thing to remember here is that if your stocking up insulating clothing for a group, extended family, to stock a remote shelter, or as a reserve your going to want solid and effective but inexpensive designs. Careful selection of inexpensive designs can mean you can equip an entire family for less than the price of what it would take to fit one person with top-of-the-line name brand gear.
Inexpensive fleece can fill that role and it is so cheap you can buy it on sale by the half-dozen and scatter it around in twos and threes so your never too far away from some warm clothing. For yourself and your family and friends.

Truer words can't be spoken. Seasonal shopping is a must if you're equipping a small tribe or family, which means buying closeouts offseason just as outlets are bringing in new stuff for rain or cold. Earlier this year I stocked up on 200 weight fleece, all good quality Marmot jackets, for about $30 per for emergency supplies for 4. While buying the Marmots, REI told me one was out of stock, and they offered me a 20% coupon - much to my surprise I found that Marmot makes a Precip rain jacket with a longer waist than their backpacking weight rain jacket, and it too was on outlet sale - $39.93 before discount. That filled my need for a rain jacket to wear while standing around, marginally better coverage than another Precip that I own. I like to keep a rain jacket and fleece in my car in case I'm out without one.

I also pulled the trigger on a bunch of Patagonia Capilene 2 and 3 long underwear which was too cheap to pass up, and wears really nice on the trail. As my kids have grown we've passed off some of his clothing to younger cousins, it gets light wear unless one of the kids actually takes a liking to it, that or making a clothing donation to Salvation Army when we run out of people who fit into it is what I expect.

#183353 - 09/27/09 07:51 PM Re: Microfleece [Re: 2005RedTJ]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078

An alternative to microfleece 100 weight Fleece mid layer would be the Nomex Merino wool mix Arktis 1514 shirt and Arktis 1515 Trouser. These items are specified for the Eurofighter pilot midlayer under their Ventile flight suits.


Swedish Woolpower - Ullfrotte Originals are popular merino wool/nylon mix midlayers also.


I would also shop around for some woolen knitwear especially Merino or Lambswool as these items can sometimes be bought on sale at excellent prices on the internet. They not only hold up better than cheap fleece over the long term but I find they are more comfortable to wear especially after wearing the same old smelly el cheapo fleece for more than a few days out in the wilds. whistle

You could still look smart, warm and fresh after a few days in the wilderness (fleece pants/trousers are a really bad idea BTW) by wearing something like this Aran Merino Wool Sweater, although this might be a little too warm for what you are looking for.

#183384 - 09/28/09 02:02 AM Re: Microfleece [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]
Todd W Offline
Product Tester

Registered: 11/14/04
Posts: 1928
Loc: Mountains of CA
I like the full-zip columbia fleece "sweatshirts" normally 19.99 on sale or 29.99 normally. Zip up pockets = awesome, and large internal pocket for a beanie or misc items = nice too!

I never get the high-end fleece, only these columbia's and they last me about 2 years and for probably 7 months out of the year they are washed at leas once a week. After approx 2 years the fleece has been worn down to about nothing.. drying them really takes the life away too.

Fleece does not like heat keep that in mind.
Self Sufficient Home - Our journey to self sufficiency.

#183403 - 09/28/09 06:11 AM Re: Microfleece [Re: Todd W]
MostlyHarmless Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 982
Loc: Norway
When it comes to thermal underwear, it's all wool for me. Modern wool underwear is really comfortable while still having good insulating properties when wet or damp. And trust me, your clothes will get damp if you wear them long enough, particular if you have to put on a water/windproof outer layer. One (thin) layer of wool undergarments and one outer layer (windproof and breathing, or wind+waterproof as situation dictates) is appropriate for most activities for a huge range of temperatures, basically anything from +10C / 50F and downwards... Middle layer is only used when I'm standing still.

Fleece has lots of merits, though. Lightweight, comfortable and dries quickly. I use it for middle layer if and when that is appropriate. Like so many else here I also enjoy having a fleece jacket lying around to put on whenever I feel like it.

I second the opinion that you can get a lot of functionality for reasonable sums if you have the wits to shop around at a discount. There is one area where I won't compromise and that is my outer jacket. I live in a climate that makes spending the money for a high tech jacket with functional hood, ventilation zippers and so on is well worth it.

#183460 - 09/29/09 12:50 AM Re: Microfleece [Re: MostlyHarmless]
Steve Offline

Registered: 05/29/04
Posts: 84
Loc: North Carolina
I have to put in a word for silk long-johns and long-sleeve undershirts. On the recommendation of a friend who said it was her favorite item clothing on a year spent in England, my wife and I bought some for our honeymoon to Scotland. That stuff feels like it radiates heat the moment you put it on. Down has that effect, too; I have never experienced it with anything other than these two materials. I love microfleece and SmartWool but my silks are my favorite. They are are packed on any trip other than the hottest part of summer. Even after they are worn-out and starting to develop holes (silk wears out faster than synthetics) they go into the car as emergency gear. They have kept my cold-blooded self from being uncomfortable on many occasions.
"After I had solaced my mind with the comfortable part of my condition, I
began to look round me, to see what kind of place I was in, and what was
next to be done"

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