Which Midlayer Should You Choose?

Which Midlayer Should You Choose?

The drawbacks I suppose with fleece are that it’s still a bit bulky It doesn’t compress down teeny-tiny and it’s a bit heavier than the other two options

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About the Author: John Markowski


  1. I tend to carry both a fleece and a down puffy. Fleece is to sleep in something dry and clean at night. The fleece will keep me slightly warmer, keep my bag cleaner, and is an extra layer that is better to hike in than the down. The down is my quick stop or evening insulation piece for most warmth possible.

    Fleece and Down is what I take backpacking, but for everyday use I go for a synthetic (specifically atom LT) for the cheaper cost than down, light weight, and some warmth when wet to get me home those last few minutes.

  2. The Atom LT doesn't seem to have any real reason for being? Its not completely waterproof or windproof and not the best breathability. Wouldn't down be a better choice all around if money is not a factor?

  3. Awesome video. Answered a lot of questions for someone like me who's still learning the pros and cons of each type of mid layer. I subscribed and look forward to looking at more of your content.

  4. Could I wear a down jacket for my mid layer then a waterproof jacket over the top? Or would i get really hot in mountain climbing in Scotland

  5. Another factor to think about of the Atom LT vs fleece (synthetic):
    Atom LT – the outer DWR fabric is separate from the insulating filler underneath. Having tried the Atom LT in the shops, I don't know how durable the outer fabric would be to with stand wear when used with a back pack, with the straps and buckles that would rub and pinch against it, this outer fabric feels very thin and delicate.

  6. I've got the Atom LT hoodie and absolutely love it. I'd like a recommendation on which outer layer to go with it. What are your preferred hard/soft shells? I'd like to stick to Arc'Teryx.

  7. Good video..I still prefer fleece, mainly because of durability. Have used a fairly expensive primaloft mid-layer recently but it got a tear on the outer fabric after I tripped and fell into a bush. On the other hand, have been wearing a ten year old fleece jacket, which I’ve abused daily through winter, and its still going strong.

  8. Hi, thank you for your video. I have a comment and it's just constructive criticism from a fan. It took over 2 min to start talking about the first idea of second layer. It's too long. When one's researching on the net, one goes through lots of these videos and the ones who go straight to the point are the ones we watch.

  9. Thanks for the clear video. Out of interest, how would the icebreaker merinoloft mid layers compare? (Besides the incredible cost)

  10. wool was smelly? i think your memory is bad, or maybe you aren't a backpacker? fleece will get smelly in 3-4 days, and that smell can be hard to wash out…wool can be worn almost indefinitely without picking up body odor or other smells… unless you mean just the natural smell of some wools when it is wet, which i actually like. wool is also way more breathable and can be worn in a very wide temperature range.

    also, wool doesn't melt like petroleum-based synthetics.

  11. Hi, very nice video, very clear and informative. I used to be a north face guy and I own a lot of their stuff, but I cannot rely on them being waterproof. So I’m looking for a change. I’m no hiker or mountain climber but I enjoy walking outside and I walk to work in all types of weather. My gear at the moment is merino wool base layers (long sleeve top and long johns) north face goretex skin leggings, north face down700 jacket and a north face shell that was recently stolen. Can someone please recommend the correct type of gear I should be using to stay dry and be able to breathe in any weather for someone who is not very active outside just mostly walking the dogs or walking to and from work? Cheers

  12. Great video! For someone who sweats a lot would you suggest a breathable lightweight fleece like the patagonia r1 or a breathable synthetic like the proton lt(considering the vest version as well)? Thank you very much in advance!

  13. Great video! For someone who sweats a lot would you suggest a breathable lightweight fleece like the patagonia r1 or a breathable synthetic like the proton lt(considering the vest version as well)? Thank you very much in advance!

  14. For multi-day trips where you're going to experience a wide range of conditions, 3 layers is pushing it. A more typical approach would be:

    1) Base layer
    2) Lightweight, breathable mid-layer for active wear
    3) For static warmth in wet cold and active wear under a shell in severe weather – a thin synthetic insulated jacket, or purely for camp wear, a down puffy
    4) A hard shell for rain and snow
    5) Optionally, a very light wind shirt. Using this as an active shell when it's cold, windy but dry will be more comfortable than a hard shell. It will also reduce wear on the hard shell, which will prolong its life or give you the option of using an ultralight hard shell supplemented by the wind shirt underneath.

  15. Hello! Planing some trekking in Nepal and im now not sure about the down jacket. I was looking into a high fill power jacket to keep me warm but i think i wont be able to trekk in that jacket cause i will get too warm but what i want to ask is if this down jackets can get their down wet from my sweat and loose the insulation properties or the sweat cant get it so wet? I was planing to buy a good polar/fleece too but im not sure about it either. I will bring couple of merino wool and some synthetic t-shirts, long sleeve merino shirt too. After seeing this video im thinking of loosing the polar/fleece cause im afraid it wont wind proof me if needed and instead of fleece to bring a lite and thin primaloft jacket that could go over the merino base layer, to keep me warm and to wind proof me and if raining or too windy to add a goretex or some membrane hard shell over it. Will be this enough for keep me warm when i reach passes over 5k meters and it gets cold? Im thinking to bring a 800 fill power down when im in the quest houses to keep me warm in there or when im not active and on the move. Whats your opinion on this? And what pants should i bring beside my tracking pants for up there at 4.5-5k meters? Are soft shell pant windproof enough to be good up there? Seen some soft shell pants that are lined with fleece too but im afraid those will be overkill while trekking. Thanks in advance for the help!

  16. Useful introductory guide to mid-layers. Be interested to see where something like Rab's Alpha Direct jacket(which I'm a fan of), utilising water & wind resistant PerTex Quantum shell and PolarTec Alpha Direct wicking fleece lining, would be placed based on warmth-to-weight in comparison with the mid-layers in this review? Appreciate your efforts. Regards

  17. hi interesting video, I would agree that this is very informative. I am curious though whether the down jacket would be affected by hiking in a very damp humid environment accepting that a waterproof shell was worn over the top?

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