First (and long - toooooooo long) post :)
I've been reading these forums for many months, and I thought I'd finally ask for your advice.
I'm currently looking at renewing my ski gear collection. I like to travel light, so I'd like to avoid having to carry too many different pieces of clothing to the resorts (I usually ski in France or Switzerland, FYI).
Depending on the time of the year, and even during a single stay, temperatures can vary quite significantly. So versatility really is what matters for me. I tend to sweat easily as I'm a pretty competitive skier.
I've read countless threads and reviews of various pieces of equipment and brands. So let me first share my conclusions:
- Arc'teryx is the number 1 brand for a majority of people here. Lots of other brands are mentioned as very good too though. It looks to me that ultimately, most companies make good gear and they all have their "aficionados". I love the feel of the Arc'teryx jackets in particular but... I have to admit, I find them boring. No offense to anyone. Sure enough, the look should not be what matters, but when it comes to choosing between brand A and brand B with identical features and good reviews, the look comes into play.
- Insulated jackets probably don't offer enough flexibility. Unless you can think of some models that are super breathable. I haven't found any. Too bad because I absolutely love the Colmar stuff, in particular the MU 1100 jacket. There's also Schöffel and Karbon that both make very nice stuff. And other brands.
- Insulated pants vs non-insulated pants, this is less important IMO. I find it easier to regulate the temperature so I'd probably be fine with insulated pants when it's 50°F outside. Based on my experience (although I do admit that ultimately, this has an impact on the whole body).
- I've searched for reviews, information, on Norrona, Peak Performance, Mountain Hardware, TNF, Helly Hansen, Millet, Eider, Haglofs, SOS, Mammut, Marmot, Kjus, Salomon, Rossignol, Columbia, and many others.
- I haven't found anything (or close) on a German brand that really is fantastic, so this might be useful for you to look at: Ortovox. They make shells with a merino wool layer. Really amazing stuff according to people I've talked to here in Europe who own pieces of equipment from them. But my wife just hates the colors of their stuff. Yeah, there's that too: it has to suit my wife's tastes :)
All that to say that at this time, I'm looking at Bergans of Norway which seems to offer just what I need: excellent quality, great shells, nice design, excellent waterproofness/breathability, good material (3-layer Dermizax NX), etc. I'm still debating though, hence my thread here!
So now here's where I'd need your help, if at all possible:
I have some Patagonia Capilene 3 base layers (top & bottom). I'm pretty much convinced that I'm going to buy a shell, non-insulated. Goretex Pro or Dermizax NX are my favorite materials.
Keeping in mind that I'll be wearing that stuff to ski with temperatures ranging potentially from 0 to 60°F (ok, not very likely to happen very often so let's say 45°F), do you confirm that a good, non-insulated shell is the way to go (top ? bottom?)?
What would you add to the shell + capilene 3 in your bag to insure I'm never too warm but never cold either? I'm thinking 2 different mid-layers but if so, which ones?
My own suggestions after research:
- Patagonia R2 for 30-45°F or Micro D
- Micro Puff or Nano Puff for below 30°F (hoody? jacket? vest?) or Arc'teryx Atom LT
- Or R4 to replace the R2 for lower temparatures
- Or Rab Bastion (thanks for the tip Dane - if you happen to read this topic, love your blog! :) )
What about the bottom? Any suggestions if I don't take insulated pants?
I have to admit: after reading hundreds of threads, reviews and what not, I just feel overwhelmed. But I want to make sure I make the right choice, as I tend to keep my stuff many years.
Many thanks in advance for your precious advice (feel free to add more food for thoughts!) and kudos to all you guys who participate so actively in this forum. Amazing ressource!