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Summer Layers: Wool or Fleece?

For a summer trek at Philmont, which is better, a wool sweater or a fleece garment?

Question:

For a summer trek at Philmont, which is better, a wool sweater or a fleece garment?

Submitted by - Donald - Garland, TX

Answer:

I’ve heard it can get pretty cold at Philmont at night, even in mid summer, so here’s what I suggest. Instead of a thick fleece or wool sweater, opt for a lightweight midlayer paired with a lightweight puffy (down or synthetic filled) jacket. The combo will give you more warmth when you need it and more versatility, too.

For the midlayer, whether you choose wool or fleece comes down to personal preference. Fleece is generally lighter, while a tight knit wool will give you a little more wind blockage and it won’t get as stinky over the long haul. For a fleece midlayer, I really like Patagonia’s R1, which comes in a full and half-zip version. For wool, I love this bargain from L.L. Bean, which also comes in a zip-T version for a few more bucks.

As for the puffy layer, one of our staff favorites is the Montbell Alpine Light Down Parka, which recently earned our Editors’ Choice Award. Check out this video review.

If you want an insulator that’s a bit cheaper, skip the down and go with synthetic fill like this Montbell jacket.

Have fun at Philmont!

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