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Sweaty Hiker Getting Cold Quickly


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Hi all! I'm a large man trying to increase my hikes and my fitness level. Currently, carrying a 40-pound pack, even in cold weather, gets me breathing heavily and sweating mightily. 

In a hike this past weekend, this created an issue when we arrived at camp in cold/snowy weather and I was immediately cold. I was wearing a polyester t-shirt with a polyester sweatshirt over top. I was wearing wool socks and fairly light hiking pants. 

1. What do you recommend wearing to stay warm when stopping during a cold hike? 

2. How do I get warm quickly when I get to camp and stop for the day?

Edited by TH
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Hi TH.  Sweating in cold weather is something you want to avoid like the plague.  Can you travel at a slower pace?  Can you take more brief rest stops on uphills?   Just 10 seconds or so?  Can you find some easier country?

You may be able to lighten your pack somewhat, but for winter conditions you are not going that heavy.  Are you on snowshoes or skis, or just hiking?

If you can't avoid the sweating,  then you need to travel until you get to your destination for the day and change into some dry clothes.   I really like a down jacket for being in camp.  

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  • 1 month later...
  • Premium Member
a_gunslinger

Be certain you have a really good wicking base layer (not all created equal) and a wool or similar second layer to absorb some of that wicked moisture.  That way when you hit camp quickly remove the sweat absorbed second layer, and have replacement dry layer ready to go.  A really good wicking layer combined with an absorbent 2nd layer, should leave your skin fairly dry.  Im a sweater also.  I wear less layers at start because I heat up fast, then can have that absorbent 2nd layer (usually smartwool) in open air that helps it evap and dry.  I may start cold, but after a mile Im better.

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  • 5 months later...
Michael aka Mac

a_gunslinger was closer on target...  

Your best answer is not a cheap one though sadly.  I have been where you are. I heat up extremely quick compared to the average person and as you now realize when one is hot then one sweats and then later that same sweat chills you to the bone.

A solution to this:  

You start with your B-day suit and your 1st defense will be wicking underwear and a wicking T-shirt and socks.  You're lower part of your body sweats the most in your down stairs if you catch my drift and with your feet, so that's why you start there. I bought my wicking underwear & socks at REI. 

Wool to absorb is a nice idea for a layer

But the single most important thing to think about is your Jacket. There is a major difference between your average jacket and a camping jacket. A camping jacket will have ventilation zippers. These are areas in the jacket that unzip to create ventilation to prevent you from overheating and sweating.  I have seen  ventilation  zippers under the arm pits, on each side of jacket and a few that also have front chest ventilation zippers and even one that also had a back zipper.

Remember being in the outdoors is all about layers AND taking off layers  to prevent the outcome that you have faced.  Once you find yourself at the point when all of the jacket's ventilation area are unzipped and you are still getting hot  you need to take off that Jacket before you start sweating.  The most important part of your body that you do not want cold is your core  which is your chest. 

my setup-nothing is cotton

Head; breathable wicking  balaclava (also covers face and neck) can be lowered off face 

Chest :Wicking T shirt or thermals,  Wicking 2nd layer, wool vest, venting outer jacket 

Legs: wicking underwear, wicking thermals, breathable wicking pants or breathable winterized pants

feet: wicking socks, wool socks, breathable shoe/boot

the clothing will actually have the word wicking in its description

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