Author Topic: Need help finding Thermal Underwear  (Read 5764 times)

Offline arikinthecity

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Need help finding Thermal Underwear
« on: November 24, 2012, 06:11:30 AM »
Looking at the list of preps that would make the difference between life and death in extreme winter situations when you are forced to leave home, can't get to Bug out location,need to be outdoors, yaddi yadda,    one of the simplest items that I can see as critical is Thermal Underwear.   I'm looking to buy a few sets for each person in my family, 2 for dad, 2 for mom and 2 for babies for each year so I have something for them as they grow up for the next 5 years.  If I don't use them, I'll sell them online as they outgrow that size.   I'm looking for the right brand, material and price of course.   

Any suggestions?  Thank you in advance.

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Need help finding Thermal Underwear
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2012, 07:05:45 AM »
for adults, I cannot give a higher recommendation than silk.  it is thin, soft, natural - so it breathes.  I had a set from Eddie Bauer while I was living in Montreal for 2 winters, including the ice storm of '98.
My husband gets cold easier than me, so about 8 Christmases or so ago, I bought him 3 pair - 2 white, one black - to wear.  because it is thin, he doesn't have to wear bigger clothes; in fact, it is like it isn't even there.
http://www.eddiebauer.com/catalog/search.jsp?N=0&Ntk=IALL&Ntt=silk&Nr=REG%3aY&Nty=1&Ntx=mode+matchpartialmax&D=silk&Dx=mode+matchpartialmax&cm_se=silk_All&init=1&noResultsCatId=28356
it says handwash, but honestly, I just throw them in with a load I am washing in cold water and line dry.

for kids, well, I have not looked for silk for them.  they grow too fast, and, let's face it, have to many "accidents", even at age 10 (which is usually a matter of "I am having too much fun to stop what I am doing and go to the bathroom.")  And, silk is a delicate fabric; 10-yo boys are not known for their concern for their clothes.....
I just buy whatever thermals happen to be on sale at the end of the season for next year.

Offline otowner98

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Re: Need help finding Thermal Underwear
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2012, 07:45:33 AM »
Silk is definitely the way to go for the grown-ups.  I got a set (including socks, very important) about 15 years ago when I skiied a lot, and they are the best base layer I've ever used.  I keep them in my BOB all winter long, and when you put them in a ziplock bag and push out all of the air, they take up no room, and weight nothing.

My 4.5 year old son (oldest, gets the new stuff), has completely outgrown his thermal undies from last year (yes, he is the main reason we're moving up to a 1/2 cow from a 1/4 next year), so I am planning for these to be under the tree for him:

http://www.amazon.com/Terramar-Piece-Thermal-Underwear-Waffle/dp/B007CONK5O/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=214OWMCDMHNUH&coliid=I1K3QCQ9KIN6E1

I'd prefer they have no cotton, but as the previous post mentioned, little boys are rough on clothes.

nelson96

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Re: Need help finding Thermal Underwear
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2012, 11:10:14 AM »
Keep in mind that many choices in thermal underwear offer support for specific conditions and activities.  You can purchase a set for an intended weather condition but could still have issues depending on your activity.  Also keep in mind the wind chill (if you're going to have cover, or be out in the open).

The worst thing to have happen is be too warm and start sweating when subject to cold weather.  There are products made to help wick away sweat and dry quickly (IMO the best and most important features), but sweat doesn't always wick away fast enough to resolve the issue.  And if your outer layers won't let the moisture continue to wick and eventually evaporate, what's the point.

For me . . . .  Knowing the activities I will be performing, I try and predict the point in which I will be the warmest (based on my activities).  Then I try to predict the weather, and again try predict the point I will be the warmest (based on predicted weather conditions).  Based on those factors, I choose a "base layer" of underwear (based on the warmest conditions, not the coldest) . . . .  Then I carefully choose the outer layers to pack, knowing that I can always take layers off throughout the day to keep from sweating and put them back on if I get cold.

Typically, common wicking materials are polyester blends, but as mentioned above, silk is very good too.

Offline Garandman

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Re: Need help finding Thermal Underwear
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2012, 05:56:43 PM »
Looking at the list of preps that would make the difference between life and death in extreme winter situations when you are forced to leave home, can't get to Bug out location,need to be outdoors, yaddi yadda,    one of the simplest items that I can see as critical is Thermal Underwear.   I'm looking to buy a few sets for each person in my family, 2 for dad, 2 for mom and 2 for babies for each year so I have something for them as they grow up for the next 5 years.  If I don't use them, I'll sell them online as they outgrow that size.   I'm looking for the right brand, material and price of course.   /
How cold?
Cold only, or cold/wet? 
Active or sedentary?
More people die from hypothermia due to cold wet than extreme cold.
For something active like snow shoeing, I prefer one of the wicking synthetics to silk or wool.
If you are going to be wearing it a lot I prefer wool as more durable, but some find it itchy against their skin.
REI and LLBean both have many choices and are good price/performance.
For young children insulated snow suits are widely available and can be purchased used for almost nothing as kids grow out of them.



endurance

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Re: Need help finding Thermal Underwear
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2012, 06:28:45 PM »
I've had silk in the past and while it is comfortable, I really don't think it adds as much warmth as either poly or wool, mainly because it's so thin.  In general, I prefer a light to medium polyester top and bottom for day hikes or overnighters.  However, if I'm going to be out for multiple nights, I opt for merino wool.  Merino wool is not itchy, sweat tends to migrate into the fiber itself, rather than the space between the fibers, so it feels less clammy against the skin, and it doesn't hold odor as badly as poly.  Poly stinks to high heaven with even the slightest sweat and after three or four days it's just nasty.  While I'm not going to say that my wool smells like roses, it takes a lot longer to start to stink, it doesn't get as bad, and it washes out easier.

I think most people avoid wool because they've never owned merino wool.  Once you use it, you'll wish every set of long underwear you had was merino wool.  But that's the downside, it's not cheap.  I wouldn't pay more than about $20 for a poly top or bottom, but it's not uncommon for me to spend $45-50 on a wool top or bottoms.  As a result, I'd only invest in it for the adults, not growing kids. 

For brands, in wool I like Ibex, Icebreaker, Smartwool, and Patagonia.  In wool I prefer stuff that's 140-195 grams/meter and find anything over 260 to be too warm for a base layer (you'll sweat no matter how little you have over it in a hard effort).  For poly, most of my stuff is from Costco, who carry Paradox.  I'm more ambivalent on poly brands and my only bad luck has been with Patagonia in poly because it tends to 'pill' which is purely aesthetic, but nevertheless, I don't like it.

Another thing to think about is flammability.  Poly is highly flammable and melts onto skin when it burns, wool and cotton are far less flammable.  Personally, I wouldn't buy cotton for warmth as it holds sweat, feels clammy against the skin, and if it gets soaked it will cool you off faster than you can possibly produce body heat that it carries away. 

Think about a layering system, not just thermal underwear.  Thermals are your base, they're your foundation, but to stay warm you will probably need a layer of fleece or wool over it, possibly two layers on top, followed by a windproof layer over that.  As others have mentioned, you need to avoid sweating at all costs, which sometimes means when hiking up hill, you might be wearing nothing but your base layer and a wind jacket on the way up, but at the summit, putting all your layers on for the descent.  When I go hunting I'll start the day in nothing but a thermal top and bottoms with my goretex layer over them for the uphill hike in.  When I get to my stand I'll add a layer of fleece, top and bottom, a down jacket on top, then put the goretex back on over it all.  I also carry a small foam pad because anywhere your insulation is crushed by your weight, you will lose heat at an alarming rate. 

Stripping off layers and putting them back on is not something that comes naturally for most folks, but it needs to become ingrained over time in safe environments, where you can get inside and warm, not in a life or death, nowhere to warm up situation and where the consequences of getting sweaty might be life or death.  I've been fortunate enough to survive some very near misses with hypothermia a couple of times in my life and they're valuable learning experiences, but if I didn't have the first event to teach me the warning signs, I probably wouldn't have survived the second event when I was all alone and had no one to look after me and get me moving.

Offline snickers

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Re: Need help finding Thermal Underwear
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2012, 11:28:12 AM »
I agree that silk is awesome, especially if you're going to be active. Polypropylene is even better if you're going to be active in VERY cold weather. When I was a rower in high school and college (in the temperate by rainy Northwest), most of us wore polypro shorts and long sleeve shirts. Keeps you warm even when it is raining or you're getting splashed by other rowers.

If you have the budget for it, I would check out REI. Their outlet often has last year's gear at half the price, same fabric, same guarantee, just a slightly different color. http://www.rei.com/outlet/

These are the polypro shirts I used for rowing and still wear as underwear in cold conditions (they also do tights, which I also wear under waterproof snow pants): http://shop.jlathletics.com/index.php?c=190

Offline RPZ

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Re: Need help finding Thermal Underwear
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2012, 02:51:41 PM »
Anoher silk.

For the younger go polypropylene etc. It is still light, easy to wash and quick to dry.

Offline decay

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Re: Need help finding Thermal Underwear
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2012, 08:36:27 PM »
Patagonia make really nice silk weight and medium weight . I have been using for 20 years. You can find the at REI of most ski/ outdoors stores.

decay from cold Oregon.

Bonnieblue2A

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Re: Need help finding Thermal Underwear
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2012, 09:15:47 PM »
A really good variety of silk long underwear here, including silk thermoknits:  http://www.wintersilks.com

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Need help finding Thermal Underwear
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2012, 10:56:16 AM »
A really good variety of silk long underwear here, including silk thermoknits:  http://www.wintersilks.com

Bonnie - have you ordered from them before?  there are no reviews of any product on their site, and I am going ooh aah on many of their products (what can I say - a girl loves silk!)

hmm. - interesting - did a little google-fu and found this http://www.sitejabber.com/reviews/www.wintersilks.com
I think I will not be ordering any time soon :(
« Last Edit: November 27, 2012, 11:05:17 AM by Morning Sunshine »

Offline Cedar

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Re: Need help finding Thermal Underwear
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2012, 12:15:16 PM »
Even at -40F I ended up only wearing layers and gave up on thermal undies. Don't rely on thermals alone and don't underestimate layers.

That said, I like silk. Patagonia from REI.

Cedar

Offline Cedar

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Re: Need help finding Thermal Underwear
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2012, 12:24:14 PM »
2 for babies for each year so I have something for them as they grow up for the next 5 years.

I swear by the snowsuits for kids up in Canada. I have never seen the likes of them here in Oregon, but maybe they are in the upper mid-west? They are heavy duty baby and child snow suits, but they have a thermometer on the shoulder which changes colours depending on the outdoor temp. I have seen them go to -10/-15/-20/-30C.

Cedar


Bonnieblue2A

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Re: Need help finding Thermal Underwear
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2012, 10:47:18 AM »
Bonnie - have you ordered from them before?  there are no reviews of any product on their site, and I am going ooh aah on many of their products (what can I say - a girl loves silk!)

hmm. - interesting - did a little google-fu and found this http://www.sitejabber.com/reviews/www.wintersilks.com
I think I will not be ordering any time soon :(

I did order from them just before posting the link taking advantage of the 30% off. No review as of yet though I did order a pair for myself along with the Christmas presents. Hmmmmmm.....I'll just have to wait and see.


Offline Kartavious

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Re: Need help finding Thermal Underwear
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2012, 11:42:18 AM »
Not so much on types but where to buy.  ROSS and TJMAX in my area always have multiple types (silks, cottons, wool) through the summer (not much help now I know) For 5 bucks a set. maybe a seem is loose or something, but my amazing wife can fix those.  I  always hit up those places for beanies, gloves, layers.  You have to put up with the other clientele, but the savings can be amazing.

Offline Fyrediver

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Re: Need help finding Thermal Underwear
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2012, 05:51:32 PM »
Consider Sierra Trading Post ( http://www.sierratradingpost.com ) for long underwear etc.  I've gotten some very good deals there.

I personally like Smartwool, but have a wide selection of poly as well.  From heavy to light weight, again dependent upon the activity that I'm doing.  I'm a big fan of layering.  I've got tank top layers up through heavy & thick.  Pick and choose and layer as appropriate.

Offline joeinwv

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Re: Need help finding Thermal Underwear
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2012, 06:59:24 PM »
Walmart sells Starter brand poly thermals - $10 a piece. I wear them under dress pants for cold work days and as a light layer below hunting gear. These are very thin and light, but looser than "under armor" style gear. I like multiple light layers.

Offline caverdude

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Re: Need help finding Thermal Underwear
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2012, 05:54:09 PM »
Cabellas is selling some 3 layer underwear set..$80 for top and $80 for bottom, not cheap. I think I've seen something like that advertised in Backwoods magazine or one of the others too.

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: Need help finding Thermal Underwear
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2012, 07:25:28 PM »
I have picked up Cuddle Duds brand thermals cheap at end of season sales.   I would love to score a deal on silk ones.   I will have to check TJMax and their competitors.  I keep checking LLBean outlets near me but I haven't had any luck yet.