Originally Posted by markesmg
1) For pockets: How much stuff does the average skier generally want to carry on any given trip?
Things I need easy access to: sunscreen, lip balm, inhaler, water (20 oz platypus). Other stuff: keys (hey, how about a key leash?), readers, snacks (nuts, cheese sticks, pro bar) second hat or balaclava, glove liners, and sunglasses (if it might warm up enough to wear them) or goggles (in case it does). I need room for the cell, too, though I don't usually carry it.
Note that the slanted front hand pockets aren't good for any of this because I shove my gloved hands in there when riding the lift, and the slanted opening lets things fall out.
What might be missing is a chest pocket. There's a pocket hidden under the left zipper flap which is pretty big, though it's right over the mp3 pocket, where my keys, lip stuff, and other small things go. It wouldn't be sleek, but that's where most of the small stuff (lip balm, sunscreen, inhaler) could go. An upper sleeve pocket might do the same thing. Make it pleated like a cargo pants pocket so I could stuff my snack in there and I'd be happy.
2) For insulation: Would having a detachable outer hard shell be beneficial? Or would you all find it a bit more cumbersome?
A separate inner layer is warmer because it conforms to the shape of my body instead of the heavy outer layer of the jacket. That was true of my old REI down parka, which felt twice as warm if I zipped the down inner jacket closed instead of zipping it to the front of the shell. I confirmed this last winter by getting the insulated version of my ski jacket, which turned out to be not nearly as warm as my puffy and shell combination, even though the insulation is identical. I haven't tried the system version of my ski jacket, but I'm pretty sure it'll be the same story.
As for systems, I just don't see an advantage to them, except you might save money by buying both jackets together. Either they lose warmth by zipping the inner layer to the outer shell, or the inner jacket leaves no room for more layers, or they operate as separate jackets with a few connections, which makes me think about all the layering options I have at home that I already like better than their version.
To be fair, because of the SLC Patagonia outlet, my ski jacket, puffies, and base layers are all one brand, and my fleeces are pretty standard stuff, so they all work together.
I'm surprised manufacturers don't make mix-and-match systems: just like they make jackets with snowskirts that are easy to connect to the same brand ski pants, make a shell along with a variety of weights of insulating layers in complimentary colors and patterns that are designed to snap together at a few points like the cuffs and maybe the tops or bottoms of the zippers (so long as the connection doesn't pull the insulating layer away from the body). Finish one or two of the insulating layers enough to be attractive for apres-ski, and you might have a hit.
Hmm, one of these days maybe I'll sew some loops and snaps on the cuffs of my shell and the variety of jackets it gets worn with, just to make it easier to strip down when I go inside.
3) This ones a bit more general but do you guys have a jacket that you solely dedicate to skiing, or does your ski jacket double as an everyday jacket?
I rarely use my shell for anything but skiing. However, it's the only waterproof garment I own, so I've worn it in gloppy winter storms in town a handful of times. That's probably why it's in such good shape.