I have been a Hill People Gear fan since their beginning.
This is a 47 minute video on a subject that isn’t terribly exciting to most people. It is complicated, multi-faceted, and fairly mundane unless you are someone that has to operate effectively in cold country with just the gear you are wearing and in your pack. Fact is, in todays low patience instant gratification world, most people won’t watch past the 5 minute mark because Evan is not offering an instant solution that satisfies everyone all the time. Why? Because it doesn’t exist yet so people still have to use some trial and error with their clothing system set ups while actually using their brain when they are out there doing their thing.
This video is not the definitive treatise on the challenge of working hard in the cold while trying to stay dry and warm (in that order) but it has many things in it that are very useful and I concur with most of it. Evan is a good guy as well as a legit outdoorsman, obsessive gear head, out of the box thinker, and innovator so I think listening to what he has to say is worth your time.
Here are some of my comments:
– I am a firm believer in the traditional 3 layer base, insulation, shell layer philosophy as long as they are the correct ones but in some situations I add a half layer that can be described as either a thick base or thin insulation layer. This .5 layer can also be used as a good spare while the other is drying
– I am not a big wool base layer fan either. In fact, I still prefer the “old” soft, stretchy, comfy (and yes stinky after a while) polypro like TNFs NTS (Next To Skin) of REIs (Moisture Transport System) products but they have given way to other supposedly superior alternatives
– I have been a Primaloft fan and promoter since the late 90s and agree that Gold is the best iteration of it so far
– I am a strong proponent of adjusting your physical exertion level and insulation layers to minimize perspiration (wet is the enemy of warm in cold backcountry conditions) because technical clothing layers cannot solve the problem without help
– Active ventilation (I might be the person that coined that term) i.e. remove gloves, remove hat, unzip base neck/collar, unzip shell layer, loosen shell layer sleeve cuffs to allow air flow to evaporate perspiration and expel heat (chimney/bellows effect), open pit zips to dump heat, open leg zippers, and unzip main bib zippers works very well to dissipate excess heat
– A double main shell jacket zipper allows you to keep the top together while blousing the bottom of the jacket (like wearing a cape)
– I agree with using minimum insulation while working hard in cold conditions then adding insulation layers sometime after you stop moving
– If weight and space is an issue (backpacking vs ATV) managing this balancing act requires trial and error, multiple pieces of the right gear, attention, and constant adjustment to get it right
– I do not use cotton in cold weather
– I use my Hanz Nomex gloves and OR mitten shells the same way
– Interesting to hear that HPG is working on more clothing products
– Note in the scenes when Evan is skiing or hiking how his shell or outer layer clothing fits. It is classic outdoorsman loose (not baggy) to accommodate layers of varying thickness and avoid compression. It isn’t new age yoga fashion tight like you see in the Kuiu ad pics.