Need your advice.
This morning, I decided to carve out some time to finally finish putting all my gear into LighterPack.com and figuring out both my base weight and skin on weight. Okay, I didn't really "carve out time" - I was in an incredibly boring Zoom meeting for work and could either let everyone see me fall asleep OR I could play on Lighterpack.com and make it look like I was intently focused on the shared screen and taking notes (I was prepared with my stock answer of "that's a great question but I think I'd like to look into it more" if someone asked me anything).
Anyway, I am mostly happy with the results - my base weight is just a notch over 25 pounds but 5 of those come from the pack itself (and I am not giving up my Baltaro pack), 5 from my sleep system (bag, pad, pillow), and my tent is 3½. I can't, at this point in time, afford a lighter bag so it is what it is.
This leaves me to see where else I can drop some weight and that's where you good folks (hopefully) can chime in - I love my Columbia fleece but it's 18 ounces. I'll have my puffer jacket with me anyway (13 oz) so I feel I can ditch the fleece but would like an additional warm layer, just in case. Any suggestions? I like Columbia's omni-heat base layers but am open to other brands (I have broad shoulders and Columbia fits me well, that's why I go there first).
Otherwise, it's about 10½ pounds and I am good with it.
ETA: Snow and cold is best observed from the indoors, so this for late Spring through early Fall. Outside of that window, I'll happily carry the Fleece and or additional warm layers.
If you are good with that combo, great! I really like fleece, myself (warm, tough, and versatile) so i would leave the puffer jacket behind, most likely.
I still use from time to time the fleece jacket I purchased 40years ago, although it is getting a bit worn in the elbows, but it has been through a lot. Glad it can't tell stories.....
Yeah, I really do like my fleece. The only reason I choose the puffer over it is the wind protection the puffer provides. Wind goes right through the fleece.
Wait a minute, you may have answered my question - a lightweight wind jacket or shirt would let me leave the puffer...
@Dad_Aint_Hip alternate option - what about adding a silk base layer under your puffer? Silk is surprisingly warm for its minimal weight. Or yes, a lightweight wind top - like the Craft SubZ Insulated Hoodie or the Arc'teryx Aptin Zip Hoodie (~8oz) - or an omni-heat option from Columbia could work too! However, in contrast to @hikermor, I'd be pretty hesitant to leave my insulated jacket behind, knowing that I run really cold and find puffers to be much more effective at keeping me warm than a non-wind fleece. Keep us posted on what you decide!
Thanks @REI-JenK - of course, 5 minutes after posting this I get the email about the upcoming member's coupon.
I'll check out the links right now.
It might depend where and how long you are planning to go for and how far you are planning to hike but unless you are long distance hiking I wouldn't worry about the weight honestly. If that pack fits you and you have it dialed in it will carry the weight just fine.
That said I think a fleece is only called for if where you hike is typically cold and wet so you need to hike most of the time in something warmer that wicks. Fleece is the best to layer under rain wear.
I haven't carried a fleece on my recent 3 season Sierra outings where generally it can be very cold at night but typically only rains for short intense periods in the afternoon and the air is otherwise dry. For my trips I found a rain jacket and pants over my fast drying nylon long sleeve shirt and long pants and capilene tee was plenty enough protection from sun, rain and wind...even a bit of hail.
I did carry a fairly light (16oz) hooded long sleeve down jacket (an OR Transcendent which packs into a sort of down pillow) for the evenings which was nice to have. I got it on sale and it is nice enough since it can turn into a small down pillow but I don't necessarily recommend it for backpacking since it is not that warm for its weight. Evening warmth is the reason to carry a puffy jacket. I also carried mid weight REI merino long underwear which I typically wore at night to sleep in and I could wear during the day if things got really cold. I never needed to. In the past on summer outings to the Sierra I used a fleece jacket and down/feather vest instead of the down jacket which also worked. I never needed either during the day.
I vote for the take the puffy, and leave the fleece, but carry a lightweight waterproof jacket to protect it if necessary and for use as a wind shell. I’ve used this combo for a few years now and so far so good
I really don't have much wisdom to share regarding your question, other than to say that I like the idea of your favorite fleece coupled with a lightweight shell. That lends overall versatility.
More to the point, I LOVE your intro paragraph! Sounds like something I'd do (or maybe have done).