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Looking for some advice on a Jacket/Pants purchase

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I've been shopping around the internet over the past week, comparing my options for a Jacket/Pant combo, and while I have come close to sealing the deal on a few different sets, I keep second guessing myself. I figured I’d brain dump my thinking process here and hope that some more experienced people could provide input on my thoughts.

 

I appologise for the essay, I just decided to write anything that came to mind.

 

My requirements:

  • I'll be skiing about 10-12 weekends during the winter in New Zealand at resorts each year, with a 2 week trip to Japan planned for Feb/March 2017. Mostly groomed runs.
  • My budget is $200-$350 USD for each the Jacket and Pants, though I won't rule out higher prices to get what I want.
  • A shell may be a wiser option than an insulated jacket, I wear a midlayer jacket anyway so I should be able to use that to keep warm (though I don’t know how that will go in Japan).
  • I'm 6'4" and 240lb, so athletic fits are probably out.
  • Due to me living in New Zealand, my options for trying on brands aren't great, and nothing is on sale due to the season coming up, so I'm shopping online. A store with a good support and return policy would be preferred in the event I run into any issues. I understand this is likely quite difficult for international shipments.
  • While I'm willing to watch for deals, I'd like to leave ample time for any returns/issues before the season starts, so I'm not all that worried about paying (near) full price as long as it has what I'm after.

 

Last season I wore a Groovstar Good Old Jacket (XL) and Marmot Motion Pants (L). They were both fairly quick purchases a month into the season which I purchased just so I didn’t spend their price in rentals, I intended to do some proper research for this season. I didn't find much wrong with the jacket except for the power skirt riding up and being rather annoying. The pants should have been a size up, but other than that they were fine.

 

Here are a few of the features that I’ve been keeping my eye on as I browse the stores. I’m not sold on any of them but they’ve all crossed my mind:

  • Jacket-to-Pant interface:
    • A few reviews skim over this feature and many skip it entirely but it was one of the first features that I started looking for. I realise that they’re primarily intended for deep powder, but with the number of times that my snow skirt would ride up causing me to get cold, I’d like it to stay down.
      There are a bunch of different approaches that brands take for this. At first I was pretty hung up about a zip interface between the jacket and pants but they seem to be few and far between, and then I had the thought that perhaps it might be uncomfortable if my jacket is pulling my pants or vica versa. Without experiencing this I can’t really decide whether that would be the case. If the pulling isn’t a problem then having a sealed system (without a one piece) would be nice. The clips/snaps/hooks that some brands do may do the trick, but on my last jacket one of the belt snaps tore off after half a day using them, so I pretty much stopped using them after that.
  • Ski Pass pocket on lower arm
    • I realise most jackets that you buy for a resort are going to have a pocket for a ski pass, but my last jacket had one on the bicep, and me being a tall guy, it was really irritating needing to crouch or bend over as I went through the scanners. If the jacket has a lift pass on the lower arm then that would be a bonus.
  • Wrist gaiters
    • These seem to be on many, but not all jackets. Having gaiters with thumb holes that aren’t just a hole cut in some fabric are preferred.
  • Helmet Compatible Hood
    • Perhaps not a strict requirement. If the jacket isn’t comfortable with a hood then maybe I will forego purchasing a helmet, but it would be nice if it was.
  • Mesh Vents
    • A few of the more high-end jackets open the vents up to the midlayer, but I found myself opening my vents up for entire days towards the end of the season, and I can’t imagine taking a fall and letting the snow just bypass my shell would be fun, so some mesh in the opening would be preferred.
  • Glove Clips
    • Pretty much no sites or brands advertise these, unless I’m misreading things. I’d like to be able to take my gloves off without shoving them somewhere and hoping they don’t drop off the lift. A couple of my instructors last year had them and they could quickly take off their gloves to handle their phones.
  • Detachable half bib on the pants
    • Detachable because I’m not totally sure if it’s a feature I want all the time, they either seem to be a feature somebody really likes or doesn’t at all, but as a larger guy, the comfort of having a slightly looser waist that still stays up is appealing. Definitely not a requirement, just a nice-to-have.

 

With the above features in mind, I’ve come across a few brands that have caught my eye for various reasons, but I have my reservations about them all as well:

  • The North Face
    • This is pretty popular among quite a lot of people. They have a few jackets which satisfy some of the features above, though they seem to lack wrist gaiters in favour of just thumb loops, and their jacket to pant interface seems like it would fall out easily if it’s just small hooks. Though I haven’t managed to find any pictures or videos of the hooks actually being used.
  • Patagonia
    • Similar to TNF, these are pretty close to being best picks, especially the Powder Bowl. But the lack of wrist gaiters throughout the range stopped me committing to anything, and the lack of mesh vents didn’t help either.
  • Salomon
    • Don’t have much of a range and the colours are a bit bright for my liking. But the Foresight is alright.
  • Helly Hansen
    • Some of their older jackets have the Fusion Modular attachment system and many of the features I’m after, though the new ones seem to be missing that.
  • Norrøna
    • I spent a good couple of days with this as my frontrunner. The Norrøna Lofoten Gore-Tex PrimaLoft Jacket can both snap onto the pants and zip on which, along with the pants with removable half bibs, means I get the best of both worlds, a bib and snap, or a full zip in system. The jacket itself though had a few downsides, no hip pockets, there are reviews about the wrist gaitors being flimsy and the thumbholes being rough, and the pit vents are open and not mesh. The price is also fairly high (though as of writing this Backcountry seems to have dropped the price on it by a bit since I last checked, so this may be in the running again).
  • Zimtstern
    • I can find pretty much no information on this brand and the only English site that I can find that sells them is blue-tomato, but they pretty much checked everything on my list. The jacket zips into the pants, the lift pass on the wrist, the vents are mesh, and they are the only jacket I can find to advertise the glove clips. Since they are snowboard gear, they may be a little too baggy and the pants might not be ideal for skiing, but the number of boxes they tick kept them in the running. I just wish I could find some testimonials or reviews.
  • Mammut
    • The Stoney jackets are a good price and seem to offer most of what I’m looking for, but they may be a little short for someone of my height. I’d definitely prefer a jacket that drops below my waist line.
  • Arc’teryx
    • Maybe offer some of what I want, but most of their gear is built for fitter people based on my reading.

 

There are a few other jackets/brands that I noted down when I came across them, but they all have similar responses as the ones above, and definitely one of the problems I ran into were finding other people’s thoughts on the gear. Some of the lesser named brands have pretty much no information about them on the internet. Though I guess that is to be expected when the preferred method of purchasing is from retail stores with the ability to try on fits.

 

As I said, I’m just hoping that somebody is able to pick through my excessive thoughts and try to point me in the right direction for a few picks to keep my eye on/decide between. I may be asking the impossible here, but wishful thinking.

 

Sorry for the long post, thanks for your time.

post #2 of 7

Wow, lots to read there.

 

I bought my new TNF jacket and pants from www.backcountry.com The jacket was like $380 US after a discount, the pants were like $160 for the insulated one's.

 

All the high end TNF shells  and jackets have powder skirts and hoods. Been wearing TNF for over 20 years, ski 50+ day's a season, last season was back to old average of 65 day's.

 

I have a Cloud Vail red jacket shell that I now wear to work, it had the longer sleeves and faded pretty well, I guess that's why you don't see them around anymore. It's was $250 at half off, it works well, just faded.

 

I bought a blue Volkl insulated parka about this time last year, I think it was about $280 or so. Works great and has great features.

 

Any of the big name brands are going to have the features you need.


Edited by Max Capacity - 3/18/16 at 9:22am
post #3 of 7

I've never seen glove clips before, but I have seen a lot of gloves with "lanyards" or straps that loop around the wrist preventing them from falling off.

 

We used to call them Dave Straps, because we worked with a guy that cut them off, and proceeded to drop his gloves off the chair.

post #4 of 7

Check out Spyder as well, they're a ski-specific brand.

 

Instead of finding ways to keep your jacket down, I would definitely get ski pants with suspenders/bibs.  Keeps the interface between the pants and jacket up and you don't ever worry about stuffing snow down your pants if you fall.

 

And definitely do not forego purchasing a helmet... it's way more important to have a helmet than to have a hood.  If you have a comfortable/warm helmet, you mostly likely won't ever be using your hood unless it gets really snowy out.

post #5 of 7

X2 for the helmet. I've had one since the early 1990's. I would not ski without one.

 

When my son was 15y/o his helmet broke, on a Saturday, he told me we had to go buy a new helmet because he can't ski without one tomorrow.

post #6 of 7

regarding the glove clips,


If your glove doesn't have wrist straps, you can add them yourself.  

 

For example:

https://hestragloves.com/sport/intl/gloves/accessories/

 

Now all your gloves are super premium like hestras.

 

Otherwise to the OP, you need to try all these on to make sure they fit your body.

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by raytseng View Post
 

regarding the glove clips,


If your glove doesn't have wrist straps, you can add them yourself.  

 

For example:

https://hestragloves.com/sport/intl/gloves/accessories/

 

Now all your gloves are super premium like hestras.

 

Otherwise to the OP, you need to try all these on to make sure they fit your body.

Oh neat, I'll definitely pick up a pair of those, thanks.

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