MT Layering System

Joined
Jul 4, 2018
Messages
336
Hey guys,

I moved to MT in August for school in Missoula. Prior to moving my layering system worked pretty well in NM, but I killed my first MT whitetail doe on the last day of the season and when I got out of the truck it was 7 degrees and my layering system didn't cut it. Since that day I have started to acquire warmer clothes and have a potential layering system laid out. Could you all give me some input on the proposed system? Additionally my Rab Microlight has gotten too small for me as I have been in the gym for the last year so I will be looking to upgrade my puffy if anyone is looking for a M. My current system is as follows

NM System
Tops:
First Lite Wick
First Lite Klamath
Old Kryptek Vest
Rab Microlight Alpine
Rab rain jacket

Bottom:
Cheap walmart thermals (if needed)
Kuiu Tiburon (warm/hot)
Prana Zion (cool/cold)

Now for next year this is a rough sketch out of what I think a good system would be. I had a lot of trouble in the cold particularly my feet but that is more likely due to me sweating so I am not sure if I am going to try pac boots or not. I am also in between getting a light insulating layer (Kuiu Kenai/Stone Glacier Cirque Lite) or getting a soft shell like the jetstream. I archery hunt a lot and plan to hunt later in the seasons as well so quiet material may get the nod.

Tops:
First lite wick
Sitka Ambient
Kuiu Kenai/Stone Glacier Cirque lite
Sitka Jetstream/Kuiu Axis
Stone Glacier Cirque/Kifaru LPP (Wet cold)
Montbell Alpine Down (Dry cold)
Kuiu Chugach

Bottoms:
First lite kiln/furnace
Kuiu Tiburon (Warm)
Kuiu Attack (Middle)
Kuiu Axis (Cold)
Kuiu Kenai (Wet cold)
Stone Glacier Grumman (Dry cold)
Kuiu Chugach

Do y'all have any thoughts on this system or if I am going too much in one area and not enough in another? I am more invested in being warm than cutting weight as I don't backpack hunt very far in at this point. Thanks for any help!
 
Joined
Apr 3, 2023
Messages
50
I haven't spent much time out west during the winter other than snowboarding, but I'm from Michigan and it still gets pretty cold here. Personally I don't think you need the cirque/LPP and the Alpine. I'd just start with the LPP and see if you think that is enough, along with the mid and base layers. I'm not a huge fan of softshells, and I think it would be a little redundant with your other mid/base layers. However the Kenai isn't a great outer layer if you'll be doing any brush busting so you'd want to throw a rain layer/wind breaker over it if you plan on doing that.

Bottoms seem okay to me. Furnace is really warm if you're moving around a bit, so you might be able to get by with those+attacks in colder weather if you wanted to try that. Not entirely sure if you'd need Axis and Kenai pants
 

mike464

FNG
Joined
Nov 8, 2019
Messages
48
Location
Montana
I've spent 40+ years outdoors in Mt and live up in the mountains 30 miles west of Missoula. I still hike/snowshoe at east 4 miles everyday, no matter the weather. I would not carry a softshell anytime you think it will get bad. Wool or down with a shell is going to be better, especially a down vest tucked in your pack. I would at least try a set of Schnees pac boots, with 2 sets of wool liners, swap them out each day and let the wet set dry out if your feet sweat. If wool is too heavy to pack, swap it out with fleece, but I've owned the King of the Mountain or Sleeping Indian Designs stuff for decades and it's never worn out. You can hunt almost everyday out here with a merino base, wool sweater, down vest and a windproof shell. The further you go towards eastern Mt, the more important a shell is for the wind!
 

ForlohFamily

WKR
Rokslide Sponsor
Joined
Mar 16, 2022
Messages
389
Hey guys,

I moved to MT in August for school in Missoula. Prior to moving my layering system worked pretty well in NM, but I killed my first MT whitetail doe on the last day of the season and when I got out of the truck it was 7 degrees and my layering system didn't cut it. Since that day I have started to acquire warmer clothes and have a potential layering system laid out. Could you all give me some input on the proposed system? Additionally my Rab Microlight has gotten too small for me as I have been in the gym for the last year so I will be looking to upgrade my puffy if anyone is looking for a M. My current system is as follows

NM System
Tops:
First Lite Wick
First Lite Klamath
Old Kryptek Vest
Rab Microlight Alpine
Rab rain jacket

Bottom:
Cheap walmart thermals (if needed)
Kuiu Tiburon (warm/hot)
Prana Zion (cool/cold)

Now for next year this is a rough sketch out of what I think a good system would be. I had a lot of trouble in the cold particularly my feet but that is more likely due to me sweating so I am not sure if I am going to try pac boots or not. I am also in between getting a light insulating layer (Kuiu Kenai/Stone Glacier Cirque Lite) or getting a soft shell like the jetstream. I archery hunt a lot and plan to hunt later in the seasons as well so quiet material may get the nod.

Tops:
First lite wick
Sitka Ambient
Kuiu Kenai/Stone Glacier Cirque lite
Sitka Jetstream/Kuiu Axis
Stone Glacier Cirque/Kifaru LPP (Wet cold)
Montbell Alpine Down (Dry cold)
Kuiu Chugach

Bottoms:
First lite kiln/furnace
Kuiu Tiburon (Warm)
Kuiu Attack (Middle)
Kuiu Axis (Cold)
Kuiu Kenai (Wet cold)
Stone Glacier Grumman (Dry cold)
Kuiu Chugach

Do y'all have any thoughts on this system or if I am going too much in one area and not enough in another? I am more invested in being warm than cutting weight as I don't backpack hunt very far in at this point. Thanks for any help!
Based out of Whitefish, Montana - 100% sourced and made in America

 
Joined
Mar 6, 2013
Messages
3,076
I’m in the Missoula area.

Looking at your layers I would expect you were cold in single digits with the bottom you listed. Prana pants are not cold weather pants.

Personally I’ve moved away from merino base layers in all conditions because I’m drier and warmer/cooler in all conditions than with merino. Wet merino against your skin and any breeze or something pushing that wet cold against you will make you feel cold.

Your top isn’t far off as is, your proposed looks better but I don’t think you need 3 insulating/puffy layers. Pick 2 that equate to about 10 oz of down/equivalent combined with a base and mid and you should be good for most.
I do prefer a soft shell for late season and the axis doesn’t have an equal that I have found yet. It handily beat out my jetstream head to head.

Proposed bottom look at peloton 97 for a base and then you could use your current pants and add either axis or guide from KUIU and be pretty set.

If you are moving slow or glassing a bunch in single digits pacs are probably needed, if you are moving or still hunting you should be fine with uninsulated. Try loftier socks that aren’t super dense if you think your feet are cold from sweat and maybe add a liner.
People love DT but they are dense and my feet are much happier, drier, and warmer or cooler since I sold all my DT 3-4 years ago.
 

Marshfly

WKR
Joined
Sep 18, 2022
Messages
749
Location
Missoula, Montana
The Sitka Jetstream is heavy and packs huge. Just FYI. I like mine but that's the reality.
I have both the Montbell Alpine and Alpine Light. The regular Alpine is pretty much too warm in almost all conditions. I have been warm in the regular alpine in -15. I virtually always bring the Alpine light. They are both amazing though.
I use the Stone Glacier puffy pants for bottom warmth. You 100% want something you can zip off without removing top pants and boots.

I am in Missoula if you would like to compare them.
 
OP
E
Joined
Jul 4, 2018
Messages
336
Awesome, I appreciate all the input. My only reason for including 3 insulation layers was to have a synthetic option for those upper 30s low 40s days where the drizzle may be an issue. I walked a lot in my microlight this year and I immediately noticed that if I wanted to be mobile in insulation I would want to go synthetic. That was my reason for including the Kenai or the cirque lite in the system. I was looking into a layer that I could move with while still being insulated when it is really cold, while also having a heavier jacket whether that be synthetic or down for glassing. My primary hunting style has been glassing but I’m thinking I may need to learn to still hunt if I am going to hunt the western part of the state a lot.
 

Marshfly

WKR
Joined
Sep 18, 2022
Messages
749
Location
Missoula, Montana
You do not need insulation at all for walking in the high 30s low 40s here. Even in a drizzle. Put a shell on over your base layer and that’s all you need. I wear a wool base layer and a thin vest only the VAST majority of the time when I am moving around hunting down to those temps. The only time I am slightly cold is when I crest a ridge and the wind hits my sweat.

I have been hunting here for two years now after living in the east like you. My admittedly somewhat inexperienced conclusion is that you need way less than you think while moving and when you sit you need to add down insulation and a way to block the wind, whether that is topography or a shell.


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Marshfly

WKR
Joined
Sep 18, 2022
Messages
749
Location
Missoula, Montana
The most important thing is to control sweat. You need to allow it to evaporate when hiking at all costs. I find any bit of real insulation does not allow that. A simple shell can block the wind and keep you warm enough while moving almost every time. It needs pit zips.


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Joined
Mar 6, 2013
Messages
3,076
The most important thing is to control sweat. You need to allow it to evaporate when hiking at all costs. I find any bit of real insulation does not allow that. A simple shell can block the wind and keep you warm enough while moving almost every time. It needs pit zips.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Sweat management is key and why I have moved back to synthetic base layers.
I went all wool base in 2011 and use that through 2016 or 2017 and just found too often I was cold when I shouldn’t be.
Much happier and warmer when it’s cold or cooler when it’s hot with synthetics.
My switch was about the time odor management in synthetics really improved.

I don’t like vests but a short sleeve synthetic base with peloton 97 or peloton 240 covers most of Montana rifle season when you are hiking, and if hiking hard I might be in my short sleeve
 

mtwarden

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 18, 2016
Messages
9,609
Location
Montana
I’ll just talk cold weather. I’ll start with boots as you mentioned your feet getting cold. If it’s single digits (or lower) I want pacs OR if there is more than 5-6” of snow. I like the very tall Schnee’s as they preclude the use of gaiters, no need with tall pacs. Get two pairs of liners and invest in boot dryer if you don’t have one.

For cold weather I use Sitka’s Timberline pants- warm and weather proof. I use different base layers under them depending on expected temperatures.

Base layer top is a Sitka Core LWT hoody- same base layer I use year round. Mid- layer in cold weather the Sitka 100 hoody (or the MDWi equivalent).

I use a light softshell (Sitka Evo) that can go over just the base layer or both the base and mid-layer. You need a layer to cut wind/snow.

Puffy I use a jacket similar to the LLP- Apex insulation. Puffy is only used statically- lunch/breaks/glassing. Puffy pants completes the static stuff.

In cold weather (teens & below) no need for rain gear, the softshell jacket/pants will shed snow without any problems.
 

prm

WKR
Joined
Mar 31, 2017
Messages
2,177
Location
No. VA
My layering for nearly all hunting. Primarily for mid-Oct timberline CO hunts. This has stood the test of time for me.

Patagonia silk weight base (dry = warm. Get moisture off skin)
Kuiu 240 Peleton (blocks wind very well too)
Arcteryx Atom
Kifaru LPP
Basic rain top (some older Kuiu design)

My caution to you is that you can have great stuff, but if it doesn’t work together it won’t be a good system, Took me a number of years to figure that out.

If your feet are getting cold glassing, a Kifaru Woobie is magical. You’ll stay toasty.
 
Last edited:
OP
E
Joined
Jul 4, 2018
Messages
336
I’ll just talk cold weather. I’ll start with boots as you mentioned your feet getting cold. If it’s single digits (or lower) I want pacs OR if there is more than 5-6” of snow. I like the very tall Schnee’s as they preclude the use of gaiters, no need with tall pacs. Get two pairs of liners and invest in boot dryer if you don’t have one.

For cold weather I use Sitka’s Timberline pants- warm and weather proof. I use different base layers under them depending on expected temperatures.

Base layer top is a Sitka Core LWT hoody- same base layer I use year round. Mid- layer in cold weather the Sitka 100 hoody (or the MDWi equivalent).

I use a light softshell (Sitka Evo) that can go over just the base layer or both the base and mid-layer. You need a layer to cut wind/snow.

Puffy I use a jacket similar to the LLP- Apex insulation. Puffy is only used statically- lunch/breaks/glassing. Puffy pants completes the static stuff.

In cold weather (teens & below) no need for rain gear, the softshell jacket/pants will shed snow without any problems.
Sweet thanks for the input. On a random whim I found a decent deal on a kelvin active hoody through Facebook , the one with the short sleeves. I’m debating whether to hold off and get the ambient rather than the active hoody. I do bowhunt a lot so I wouldn’t mind the short sleeves but I’m just curious how much better the ambient is. Anyone able to chime in on that?
 

mtwarden

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Staff member
Joined
Oct 18, 2016
Messages
9,609
Location
Montana
If you do a lot of archery hunting (or early season/warmer weather) stuff it’s a really nice piece.

The Ambient is about the same piece except long sleeves and full zip.
 
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