Mid-layer jacket advice

99106

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I've been through most threads on the hide and looked at several hiking / backpacking sites and seem to be coming to same conclusions but wanted some real world advice / expectations. Looking for a a mid layer jacket, water resistant, waterproof will work too but doesn't seem to be in this category and I'm onboard with using a shell instead.. Not afraid of looking tacticool, and it isn't a requirement either. Wind resistance is a plus, but mainly warmth. Currently have a Marmot soft-shell, 511 hoodie and anorak. I'm looking for something to get me by from say 32-60 without freezing at 32 and burning up at 60. This may be too wide of a range and if so, I'd rather go on the 32 side than the 60. This is for everyday running around / work and I'd like something I could use for shooting on weekends if necessary on range. I know there isn't a perfect fit for active vs stationary, but would focus on the stationary. I'd like something that isn't 3-4 pounds either. I'm on the fence about down, but willing to evaluate so long as it's durable to some degree.

Current gripes - Marmot soft-shell seems to make me sweat under any activity. 511, hoodie is somewhat warm but color is fading after a year of use, and it's not the best at handling wind. The Anorak is a joke. It's nice but should come with a label stating you need under layers to stay warm. It's worse than my M65 at holding heat in.

Please no Carhart, Cabelas, Duluth or REI, Sitka. I'd rather stay away form these

- Arcteryx seems to be the Gucci solution and if so, Proton or Atom, Lt or SV, which would be recommended? Pro / cons against Arcteryx excluding cost.

- TAD I've read both positive and negative and consistently seems to be an issue with their sizing. Still good or just avoid?

- Verusteleka has anyone tried their Sarma jacket. Frank in his podcast likes the hoodie I think it was. Jut curious if anyone else had tried the hoodie or jacket and have any positives or negatives.

- RAB, OR, Mammut, Marmot or other usual suspects any possibilities or recommendations here?

Thanks
 

goatboy

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Lawnboi

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I almost always run some kind of fleece as a mid layer. Mix a light base layer, fleece mid, and a water or wind proof shell and you will easily have a system to keep you comfortable from 60-32 degrees.

I owned an atom LT at one point. Decent jacket that could take the place of a fleece mix layer if a little more warmth was needed.
Lots of guys run puffy jackets. Probably overkill for what you need as well. I’d keep down out of the equation in 32 is as low as your going to see.

Peraonally, I break out a puffy mid layer when I’m looking at lows well below freezing. Until then I run a fleece mid layer from one of your nonoo brands. The fleeceis quieter, tougher, more breathable and isn’t overly warm.
 
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bunsen27

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Look at the Arcteryx LEAF line, specifically the Atom LT jacket or Hoody. They are cut roomier than the main line which is tailored more for skinny fit folks.


I snagged a 2019 discontinued version for about $150 in Dec from US-Elite Gear.

I've worn it down into the 20's with just a heavy baselayer and stayed toasty with light activity. However, that same combo had me a little oveheated in 32F with moderate to heavy activity while hiking a tough trail. It's now my daily jacket for 32F-55F and I'm quite comfy with just a Duluth flannel under it. For a higher activity level than just walking, I'll go down to a mid to light baselayer to stay warm and dry.

Pro's: super lightweight, wind and water resistant, long tail and draw strings let you cinch it down well.
Con's: paying full price, face fabric is only Denier-20 or 30 so it's not super abrasion resistant, it will require non-standard laundry detergent and DWS spray (very minor inconvenience & cost).
 
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Rerun7

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I won’t call out a specific brand but over the last couple of years I’ve had great success with a mid-weight puffy/down jacket layered with an exterior shell. They are windproof, water resistant, warm, packable and easy to shed and stuff somewhere if it gets too hot.

I tried all kinds of stuff and always resisted these because I didn’t like the look of them but when it’s a mid-layer they are great.
 
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A&8's

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I won’t call out a specific brand but over the last couple of years I’ve had great success with a mid-weight puffy/down jacket layered with an exterior shell. They are windproof, water resistant, warm, packable and easy to shed and stuff somewhere if it gets too hot.

I tried all kinds of stuff and always resisted these because I didn’t like the look of them but when it’s a mid-layer they are great.
Well, I guess I'm confused why you won't name the brand, if you "have had great success..." ???? Are you in fear of us buying them all up and you not being able to get another one?
 

99106

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May I ask why?
Lol Sure, I know I'm crazy, so you won't offend me for laughing at this. I have a Carhart, inevitably rides up on me and it's awkwardly stiff at times. Cabelas / Duluth, I'm just boycotting. Cabelas first screwed me on the Vet discount, then brought it back but it's selective items. Prices were already going up, then jumped by an order of magnitude when Bass Pro took over. Then selection started to evaporate. What really got me in a tizzy was my local store refuses to post sales prices and will graciously "allow" you to pay full price at the register unless you point it out. This wasn't a one time deal either. As with most, the majority of their gun counter guys are idiots. I can tolerate that to a degree but when I hear them badmouthing local shops saying buy here buy now our prices can't be beat an the local guys have it for hundreds less, it just ticks me off. Duluth, is overpriced for what they have. REI, locally is a pain to deal with and I've just swore them off because they make things difficult. I know others have high opinions, but my fun meter has been pegged and I'd rather go somewhere my business is appreciated. Sitka, just never been a fan and my size extra fat doesn't mesh with their skinny jean lifestyle. Not to mention it's like that movie you refuse to see because everyone swears its the best movie ever, but the plot has absolutely not appeal to you. That's Sitka to me after running into too many "it's the best camp EVERRRRR!" guys.
 

Rerun7

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Haha, no I just mean I’ve used a couple different brands with great success and I haven’t used one that’s been tremendously better than another. I just ran to see what brand I’m using now and it’s Eastern Mountain Sports 800 fill.

Marmot, north face, mountain hardware, etc all make similar models. Find a good clearance deal on one and give it a try.
 
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99106

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That's why I'm posing the question several clearance sales going on and figured it was a good time to buy.
 

Eric B.

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Climashield synthetic insulation is the best in its class. I much prefer it to Primaloft Silver.

DWR (Durable Water Repellant) treated down is best for the weight if you get 700 fill weight or higher.
DWR down treatment comes in several brands like DriDown, DownTech, etc. I like it B/C if the down does get wet it holds 35% less water and dries 65% faster than untreated down.
Believe me, it works. I've tested it with raw DWR treated down in a glass half filled with water. It sat on top of the water for FIVE DAYS!
Now my -20 F. down bag, -30 F. parka and my down vest all have DWR teated down.

Eric B.
 

Downtown

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I bought a mid layer fleece, part of the ECWCS military clothing system from LAR Dragoon in the PX. It's the Level 3 component, so designed to provide insulation under another layer, perhaps something waterproof. Brand name Polartech fleece and thanks to the Berry Amendment, made in the USA. Not fancy, not expensive, Foliage Green. Kind of jacket I could leave in the vehicle without a care. I'm satisfied.
 

PDXGS

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A few comments from me.... A career functional apparel person.
1. Your best approach is to vary your base layers- merino wool like Icebreaker is worth every penny. If you can't wear wool, there are plenty of synthetic options that are almost as good. Icebreaker has an outlet store in Woodburn OR.
2. Have a look at the lighter weight down sweaters or shirts- These are thin baffled, hoodless jackets that are filled with 700(or higher) goose down. As someone already mentioned, waterproof down is the way to go.
For price, fit, make and quality is impossible to beat the Eddie Bauer First Ascent line. They have size ranges that are impressive. Their Microtherm Jacket is one example
https://www.eddiebauer.com/p/38832402/men's-microtherm(r)-2.0-down-jacket?sp=1&size=&color=Black
Bonus- they're 40% off currently.... Really really hard to beat. I've tortured one of these for about two Western Oregon winters from everything from mucking horse stalls in the rain to layering under an Arcteryx LEAF shell for the Karstetter match in Central Washington in winter. They also pack into a ball smaller than your fist.

Also have a look at Mountain Hardware. Slightly better /different fit and finish.

The folks at Beyond have a great line of kit too if you want to spend more.

3. Smart layering is your key to happiness


Just my $.02
 
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bk ghandi

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I used to run TAD Stealth Hoodie (softshell - mine was the lined version) as my exterior layer and under that either a TAD Praetorian for colder weather (below your 32 threshold) or their Equilibrium. I ended up shutting the zipper of my Stealth in my truck after I tossed it in the back quick and broke it so I started wearing a North Face shell I got from my company and it works just as well for your parameters. It is noticeably lighter weight than the lined Stealth was so I get colder quicker as the temps drop below freezing.

Love the Equilibrium as a mid layer and they make one with or without a hood. It regulates temps well.

TAD sizing is a bit on the small side and fits more an active build. I'm 5'6" 170 and the medium fits me snug.
 

Moose

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Keep the brand names coming.Im always looking for a better jacket that will keep me warm.
 

308pirate

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Keep the brand names coming.Im always looking for a better jacket that will keep me warm.
Yeah unfortunately some think brand names of their favorite clothing is some sort of confidential information
 

SuckitTrebek

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A mid layer suggests that there is a base layer and an outer layer.

A mid layer is not a shell or jacket. A mid layer is for warmth, typically a fleece of some sort.

$35 bucks. your welcome

always some douche out there recommending 300 dollar waste of money options. A mid layer is not fancy.

And quite frankly the OP needs to read a few articles on how to properly layer clothing first.

Oh and my carhartt duck jacket kicks ass at work. Hard to find a cheaper work jacket that tough and warm.
 
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Runnineh

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Check out outdoor research. They have great stuff at reasonable prices.
 

equilibrium

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Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer. Made with down and very light and warm. Can be had for $150 and maybe less.
 

slothlacrosse

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I use an Outdoor Research Deviator as my active layer when the temperature is hovering above freezing. I'll grab their Ascendant jacket when the temperature drops below freezing.

And FYSA- You can save 40% off OR, Adidas Outdoors, and Black Diamond on ExpertVoice
 

WIVigilance

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I live in Wisconsin and my go to from fall through spring is the arcteyx atom lt. it’s not super water proof or extremely durable but if used with a hard shell it is extremely versatile. It is definitely worth the money in my opinion.
 

pblank

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People should be looking at mountaineering apparel for most of their solutions instead of tactical options. Patagonia, OR, Arcteryx, Mountain Hardware, Marmot, etc. Boots La Sportiva or Scarpa. This is stuff that active people with intense desires use to keep themselves alive use in real world situations. Often you can find high end apparel on sale in various places on the interwebs, especially if you're not picky on color. Much of the stuff fits well for slim folks.
 

sam4886

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I've got a klim lightweight jacket that is an awesome "screwing around" jacket. Ive had it for years so i dont recall the model name. I wear it from mid 30s up to mid 50s depending on what I'll be doing. It gets thrown on under the duck hunting jacket when its really cold too. Usually wear the klim to walk out and set up, then throw the big coat on over for the sitting.

They make stuff for snowmobiling, so they kind of design for high calorie burn in low temp stuff. Mostly likely made in China. Sorry not sorry.
 

GNNut

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can't go wrong with Arcteryx, Patagonia, Beyond Clothing as those are my go to.. Love the Atom Hoody from the dead bird
 

pucker

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My Arc’Teryx LEAF Atom LT is my most worn layer.

Articulated cut, breathable sides (more so than Atom AR or SV), the right amount of warmth for a wide range of temps... but it’s my favorite specifically because the material is designed correctly to be a layer...i.e., it’s slick. Because of that, it doesn’t drag on the inside of whatever you may want to wear over it (unlike fleece). I’m am not a fan of my layers binding up on themselves. (I have a bunch of issued fleece that stay in closet.)

As mentioned, it can also be a stand alone, but not through the thorn vines.

Also appreciate that it comes in no-hood version.
 

rommel500

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I've been very happy with any of the Arcteryx LEAF stuff. The Atom LT hood or non hoody model would probably be right in your wheelhouse. I have several of the jackets and they fit me well (6'1" - 230lbs). I have a couple TAD jackets and they are a bit of a leaner fit design. Still really good and I really like the TAD pants / shorts.
 
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smcfarland

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Big fan of Kuiu super down. I have the older version and love it, has saved my butt on a few occasions. Watch the outlet and can find it on sale occasionally.
 

Tylerm713

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In that range I go with a North Face or Patagonia sweater-type fleece. If there's a chance of rain, I throw my Arc'teryx rain jacket on.
 

99106

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Thank you for the suggestions.

PDXGS, yes I'm a fan of merino, started wearing the underwear a few years ago especially on long trips in planes or vehicles. Usually have merino on when playing outside in colder temps, but have been flirting with getting some short sleeves as well. I've got synthetics too, but I like the Merino better. Thanks to Experticity, Icebreakers, Merino33 and Smartwool have come on my radar, but the best merino find was Darn Tough socks. I had a few pairs of Smartwool, but I like the DTs a lot more due to their comfort.

Along the lines of what has been suggested, the mil surp stuff was a on my list as a secondary buy to have as a throw jacket (back of truck don't care if it gets filthy or lost etc). Finally figured out the the Arc labeling and based on their site been considering the Proton LT instead of Atom Lt. Funny though, it just occurred to me I didn't look to see if the Leaf gear was the same material vs the Proton, so I'll have to check that out later. Proton is described as having a "tougher" shell according to the website. From the down category, the RAB ultralite alpine and a few others caught my eye as well. At some point, I tried on a "hybrid" north face down that I kind fo liked but wasn't sure how the poly sleeves would hold up for everyday use.

Somehow, I got Wiggy's Alaska in my head at one point and have been meaning to post and see if anyone has any experience with any of his stuff. Eric B recommended the climashield over primaloft silver, but there's also a gold as well I think. Wiggys calls his something different, but the reference says it 's climashield just curious if anyone had any feedback on it..