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Most versatile ski gear combo from 0 to 60°F?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone-


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!

post #2 of 11

I've posted this in a lot of the clothing threads, but the first step is you have to try the clothes on and see what fits.


You may quickly find that the gear does not fit your body shape, and quickly eliminate a lot of your options.  Removing a lot of choices will make things a lot easier.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your input.


Forgot to mention it but I did try on many of the items listed in my thread. As a benchmark, the Arc'teryx stuff in L fits me well, although I may not be able to layer too much underneath. For Patagonia, depending on the item, I wear a L or XL.

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

My current short list is:

- Bergans of Norway Isogaisa jacket and Sirdal pants (Dermizax NX)

or Peak Performance Heli Alpine jacket and pants (I love the blue shadow and poppy red combo)

- Patagonia R1 fleece pullover

- Arc'teryx Atom LT hooded insulated jacket


These with my Patagonia capilene midweight baselayers should work fine IMO (I'm thinking about buying some Smartwool midweight stuff too).


Feel free to comment based on your own experience for a very versatile combo.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Quick update to let the community know (for what it's worth given the low number of replies :hissyfit:) that I've finally decided to go for the following combo:

- Bergans of Norway jacket and pants (see above for the exact models)

- Patagonia R1 hoody as the mid-layer (and Arc'teryx Atom LT jacket in case it's really cold)

- Icebreaker base layers top + bottom (merino 200)


Everything in L (I'm 5ft11 - chest 43).


First out-of-the-box impressions of the Bergans stuff: great! Quality seems very good, I love the feel of the fabric (Dermizax NX, 4 way stretch), sizing is perfect... Very impressed for the price.


Field tests incoming later this month and in Feb.

post #6 of 11

All very nice, if pricey, choices.


The lack of responses probably stemmed from the breadth and personal quality of the question. What I like in ski clothes prolly won't be what you like. And there are a lot of good products out there; not like a particular choice is catastrophically wrong or right. 


And in any case, the proper answer is one word: Layer. Which you did. All good. Look forward to your review over in Gear Review Forum. 

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks beyond.


I was just gently complaining about the lack of responses. I realize my lengthy OP can be a little overwhelming for the readers. I guess I was trying to be exhaustive. And indeed, definitely personal preferences involved, but I was more looking for general advice rather than a "plug'n play" solution :o


Anyway, since Bergans don't seem to be discussed too much here, I'll let you know how this stuff is.

post #8 of 11

Find stuff that fits, and go from there.  


I would say you are better off shooting from 0-40F or so, and getting a spring weight soft shell or even a fleece layer for warm spring skiing days.  Plus, you can wear it year round.  


Stuff I like for warm days: Outdoor Research Radiant Hoody for fleece, OR enchainment jacket. Patagonia also makes a nice $150 softshell for spring/fall/cold summer evenings. I wear it about 11 months a year here in Bend, as most nights (except for the hottest ones in July/early August) get down into the low 40's or colder. May/June is always in the 40's-50's and windy, so it gets a lot of use. 


You can layer with this stuff down to 0F, but it will be bulky. Better to get a heavier insulated jacket and layer with that, and leave it at home on warm spring days.  

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice. I'll see how what I currently have performs and then act accordingly for warmer days in particular. Here in the Alps we can get cold temperatures (e.g. in Val Thorens in January for those of you who may know this resort), but in most cases I ski when it's in the 20-40F range.


In any cases, I'll post a feedback in the coming weeks so that this may serve other people looking for information on the stuff I bought.

post #10 of 11

OP, as an addendum to a specific of yours, I would strongly recommend something like the CWX insulated stretch pant for your underlayer instead of merino wool. They are thinner, they are waterproof, they actually do have a small but noticeable effect on muscle fatigue, and what surprised me, they are super warm. As in warmer than typical capilene or wool. Think it's the close fit. So on a warm day, you can skip the insulated pants, wear CWX's and a runner's windpant over, color scheme of your wife's choice. ;) Or you can put them on under running shorts and hike in the alps next April.


If the horse is out of the barn, get a pair of the CWX's anyway, and for really cold days, put them under the Icebreakers. But frankly, you won't go back to the wool. 

post #11 of 11
IMO one set of clothing, doesn't do it all.

For colder day's I wear my insulated jacket with mid weight base layers, under the 200wt fleece.

For day's in the mid teens to upper 20's I wear lightweight base layers a mid weight turtle neck, 200wt fleece then a 3 layer shell.

For warmer day's, depending on wether its feb or late March, lightweight base layers, may be no bottom base layer, zip turttle neck,100 or 200wt fleece, under a single layer shell.

Gloves are a whole nother story, I have a box of them to choose from as well as neck gators.
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