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It’s summer soon. In my house, that means one thing. It’s time to go backpacking. Gear is a big factor in comfort, so I set out to find the best performing clothing possible.

For help, contact Alaska, a former Navy diver, a former Special Operations Forces Wilderness Survival Trainer, a former SOF gear designer, and John Barklow, the current product developer of the recently mainstream tech hunting apparel brand Sitka. did. Equipment. Barklow used, designed, or commissioned clothing technology worth talking about and his new monthly newsletter. Knowledge from the stormIs a master class to get the most out of your gear.

Barklow has eight magic numbers for layered systems. “You don’t need many layers to stay warm and dry in the wilderness,” he says. “Eight pieces are the basis of outdoor activities.”

Alpine summer backpacking Exposing us to extreme and rapidly changing weather. Mountain elevation means that nighttime temperatures can be below freezing even in July and August, but the hottest parts of the day can exceed 80 degrees Celsius. Storms can occur out of nowhere, producing heavy rains, strong winds, and even snow and hail. The key to dealing with these conflicting extreme situations is a layering system designed to handle them all. But because you have to carry it, weight and space compete for performance in search of priority.

Following Barklow’s guidance, here’s what you’re looking for in each of these eight parts and recommendations for products that meet those criteria.

The right backpacking base layer top should be able to be worn alone during hot days, removing moisture from the skin. (Photo: Sitka)

Layers 1 and 2: Top and bottom of base layer

“The job of the base layer is to manage the moisture in the skin,” says Barklow. “When our skin is dry, we are comfortable and our bodies are efficient in keeping us warm or cool, as environmental conditions dictate.”

The base layer is Contact even the entire area of ​​your body that they are designed to cover. However, if it is too tight, blood flow will be restricted and the ability to regulate body temperature will be impaired. Therefore, choose a size that fits snugly without shrinking.

Merino wool or synthetic fibers are the most common materials used in base layers. “Wool is good at controlling body odor, but it doesn’t dry quickly,” says Barcrow. “The compound dries quickly, but the odor cannot be controlled efficiently.” In either case, choose the lightest and thinnest possible dough.

My favorite base layer is the Sitka Core Lightweight item developed by Barklow under all conditions. They dry so quickly that you can walk in the river and drain all the water in just a few minutes. They are thin enough to regulate the temperature in both cold and hot conditions.I’m wearing 5 oz long-sleeved T-shirt ($ 79) All year round, blocking the sun when it’s my only top and I pair it with matching 4 oz tights ($ 79).

When it was very hot, I wore a long-sleeved T from a new company called Life Labs. Leverage innovative fabric design To increase heat insulation or cooling effect without bulk. CoolLife T ($ 59) claims to lower body temperature by 3 degrees and feels pretty cool while wearing. I haven’t had the opportunity to test its performance at low temperatures yet.

Pants suitable for backpacking should provide complete freedom of movement, do not absorb water, and remain durable enough to protect your feet from drops and brushes. (: Sitka)

Layer 3: Soft shell pants

Softshell pants need to protect you from the sun and elements, but they also need to protect you from wear and tear. Find the lightest and quick-drying item available. Most soft shells are made of nylon or polyester. Barklow says nylon is a little more durable.

I wear Sitka Ascent Pants ($ 199), it’s made from a blend of 60 percent cordura, 30 percent nylon, and 10 percent spandex.Weighs only 12 ounces Due to its large size, it feels almost like it’s not there. In other words, it doesn’t absorb much water. Moreover, they are surprisingly robust. The pair I bought 5 years ago is still strong with no holes or heavy wear.

Active insulation needs to provide a fair amount of insulation while it is stationary, but it is made of a fabric that is open enough to dissipate heat as it moves. (Photo: Love)

Layer 4: Active insulation jacket

“Active insulation provides both warmth and breathability during exercise,” says Barcrow. “Fleece is the basic form of active insulation, but active hybrid insulation outperforms fleece because of its high breathability and durability.”

Bar Crow Participated in the creation of Polartec Alpha During his time as a military clothing designer.He recommends 10 ounces Marmot Alpha 60 Jacket ($ 165) Lightweight soft shell face that blocks wind and moisture.I like 10 ounces Love Alpha Flash Jacket ($ 125) No face fabric for maximum breathability, especially when layered. But if you want to prevent wind and rain, you obviously need to combine it with a shell layer.

A good soft shell prevents both wind and light precipitation.

Layer 5: Wind stopper jacket

Softshell jackets are usually windless and, as a result, windproof, but not windproof. Barklow recommends using fully windproof items to prevent heat loss due to convection.

“Equipped jacket Gore Wind Stopper Membranes are more breathable than any rain jacket and are generally cheaper and quieter, “he says. “The wind stopper jacket emits light rainfall and can be worn until rain or snow overwhelms the layer.”

Equipped with a wind stopper Sitka Jet Stream Jacket ($ 350) is legendary in the hunting world for its soft hands, quiet fabric, and solid breathability. However, its large size of 25 ounces is probably too heavy for layers that are often carried in packs.As a lightweight alternative, Barklow Black diamond deploy windshell ($ 180) This weighs only 1.7 ounces. It’s not as durable, quiet and cozy as Jetstream, but it doesn’t get heavy and blocks the wind.

A puffy jacket is more complicated than it looks. You want to provide a lot of confined space while packing small, and maintain their quality even when wet.

Layer 6: Puffy jacket

“A puffy jacket is an important layer of clothing that captures the heat of our body when it’s stationary,” says Barcrow. Puffy is usually available in either synthetic or treated down insulation. Barklow calls synthetic materials “the flagship product of loft insulation.” This is because you can trust to keep your body warm in all situations. Down with a water repellent coating is lightweight and compressible, but when wet it is less likely to aggregate, but when saturated it loses warmth. As a result, Barklow states that the treated material “requires more management experience than synthetic insulation.”

Taking into account that moisture and compression can affect Puffy’s insulation capacity, Barklow has designed two of the most advanced loft insulation jackets currently available. 16 ounces Sitka Kelvin Aero Light Jacket Made from ($ 309) Fibers incorporating airgelIt can keep warm air trapped even when it is compressed or saturated.Much warmer, 17 ounces Sitka Kelvin Light Down Jacket ($ 359) uses an innovative combination of treated down and synthetic fibers, the latter acting as a kind of scaffolding. Force the loft down Even if it is damp.

Aerolite is most often worn under the shell in cold and wet conditions. Grab the Kelvin Lightdown when dry and cold weather is expected.

If you mainly plan to carry without wearing rain gear, you can escape with fairly cheap items. But the moment you wear it, you wish you had something good. (Photo: Sitka)

Layers 7 and 8: Rain jacket and pants

Nothing else completely blocks precipitation like a waterproof hard shell. However, nothing is as bad as a waterproof hard shell. Therefore, on a summer backpacking trip, plan to carry more than you wear these layers. That is, it must be lightweight and compressible.

“You get more money to pay with rain gear than any other layer,” says Barklow. “Higher priced rain gear provides a better fit, is more durable and often has more features.” Those features are high quality zippers, adjustable hoods. , Convenient pockets, velcro cuffs, and similar quality of life.

Barklow designed 12.5 ounces Sitka Dew Point Jacket ($ 339) and 10.5 oz Dew point pants ($ 309) Just for that role. Made using a traditional three-layer construction (Gore-Tex membrane sandwiched between nylon ripstop outer and woven liner), Dew Point items remain fairly sturdy.

If you’re looking for a lighter, more affordable option, Barklow recommends 11 ounces. Marmot Precipe Eco Jacket ($ 100) and 8 ounces Precip eco pants ($ 80). They are made of two layers of less durable fabric, with a lighter, wrinkled outside and a laminated inside.