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  1. #1

    Default Capaline or 100% polyester thermal layer?

    I need to replace some cotton base layers in my gear closet. Iíve been reading a lot about Merino Vs Capaline. Seems like Cap is slightly better. Itís honestly 50/50...

    Anyhow I think Iíve decided to try Capaline. But if itís a synthetic fiber, what is the difference from 100% polyester thermals from target or something? Other than about $100 dollars. Lol.

    If it helps my temp range I need to cover is 30* +. Mostly 40+.

    Thanks gang.

  2. #2

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    I have a whole collection of polyester and fleece Walmart branded "real tree" thermal layers I get at end of season for like 5 bucks. They work for me. I'm about to head out into 10 degree temps for a hike wearing one - and a few more layers over it
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  3. #3

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    FWIW, the major difference I have found is Capaline, like polyester, tends to hold odors where Marino does not. I do like the feel of Capaline fabrics over most other base layer fabrics. It functions similarly to Marino in its wicking properties.

  4. #4
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    For me, Capilene starts to smell -bad - within an hour, and after a while it won't wash out. Merino hardly smells at all even after a few days, and the smell will wash out. It's also a natural, biodegradable product if that matters to you. The downside: Merino is expensive, and not as durable.

    I use synthetics for short winter trips, otherwise it's Merino all the way.

  5. #5
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    Synthetics are great durable stuff and I have plenty of it but hard to bear Merino for overall performance. One major exception is merino is more delicate. If you bushwhack and might have merino as an exposed layer its going to snag and tear and that will be the beginning of the end of it.

    Once synthetic gets a smell its there for ever. Sunlight can help with the smell but it also deteriorates the synthetic fiber.

  6. #6

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    Echoing things mentioned above - I've all but given up on paying the associated cost for good merino gear. It just doesn't hold up nearly as well as synthetic alternatives that are cheaper and relatively close in performance.

  7. #7
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    So, I'll try and actually answer the question you asked. In general, Capaline, which I believe is still polyester, but a proprietary fiber design and weave with maybe some added chemical enhancements. Either way, Capaline, in my experience, can go a whole day without getting stinky and the stink washes out of it pretty well. The standard polyester stinks within a couple hours (or less) of putting it on and often doesn't go away completely even with washing. Capaline also has a different feel than regular polyester. Capaline is less silky, less sticky, and less glossy. I also find Capaline to be a bit warmer than regular polyester.

    That all being said, I use both, but always go for the Capaline if I'm out all day. I use the cheap polyester when I'm not going to be around other people (the stink issue) and for shorter duration activities.

    As for wool vs. any of the synthetics, I'd argue it's nowhere close to 50/50, they are two very different materials with different qualities for different people in different situations. Wool is much warmer when wet and takes much longer to dry. Wool is also cooler in hot sticky conditions, and as suggested above, manages body odor much, much better. When traveling in Europe recently, my most prized shirt was my merino wool t-shirt which looked nicer than a standard t-shirt, and I could wear for a week between washings without odor being an issue. BUT, I prefer my Capaline to anything else for challenging back-country weather because it dries faster than wool if I get sweaty or rained on and it doesn't stink as quickly or as badly as regular polyester.

    Good luck. Have fun.
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  8. #8

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    Be aware that your two options aren't really two options

    The Capeline Air is 51% wool 49% poly
    Smartwool sells some 56% merino, 44% poly shirt

    A blend could be a good decision over either option

  9. #9

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    I cant see wearing ANY at the temps you mentioned.... I wear some kinda fruit of loom ventilated mid thigh drawers and decent socks that come up mid shiin in winter Just wear better pants.
    No way I would spend high dollar for above freezing. Get some breathable thin cheapo at the most

  10. #10
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    Ditto!
    My exception: I bought some lightweight (male pantyhose weight synthetic) long John bottoms to sleep in and make nighttime excursions outside of the tent more comfortable.
    I have LL BEAN mid weight wool long underwear for below freezing cold weather. And too much fleece. If itís possible to have too much fleece.
    Be warm. Be dry. Be safe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dropdeadfred View Post
    I cant see wearing ANY at the temps you mentioned.... I wear some kinda fruit of loom ventilated mid thigh drawers and decent socks that come up mid shiin in winter Just wear better pants.
    No way I would spend high dollar for above freezing. Get some breathable thin cheapo at the most

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyingember View Post
    Be aware that your two options aren't really two options

    The Capeline Air is 51% wool 49% poly
    Smartwool sells some 56% merino, 44% poly shirt

    A blend could be a good decision over either option
    I completely agree. The wool/poly blend improves durability, increases drying speed, and maintains most of wool's stink resistance.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  12. #12
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    I like Capaline because it is durable and cheap, has some odor but tolerable. Merino is comfortable but not as durable as Capaline.

  13. #13

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    Not clear to me if OP expects to use baselayer for active hiking or mostly for camp/sleep clothes.
    Some people use the same baselayer for both. I have a grid fleece I use for hiking (great wicking and I can wear it alone from ~40-65deg F while hiking), and a separate base-layer for sleeping (but also for extra/emergency warmth).
    Durability issues (e.g. poly vs wool), etc can be important or not depending on what the primary use of the piece is.

  14. #14
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    I don't wear them while I'm hiking so for me these layers are mostly for camp/emergency. You really don't need expensive long-underwear for camp. I have merino, good ole polypro, some expensive Capaline and some Amazon sourced synthetic thermals and if I had to do it all over again, I'd just stick with inexpensive layers sourced where I could buy them and return them if I don't like the product. Amazon is great for that.

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