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Need some help with Outerwear

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Hi All - I've been a lurker here since earlier this year, but don't post very frequently. I'm looking to update my jacket and pants (currently using an insulated set from Eastern Mountain Sports, but haven't found it to be durable enough (pants), and the jacket isn't versatile enough for what I need).

I've done some research on a number of different brands (Marmot, Cloudveil, Arc'teryx, Mountain Hardware, Patagonia, and Flylow), but each has so many different models at different prices that I'm really overwhelmed trying to figure out what'll be appropriate. Plus, although I know that I'll need a shell, I have never learned about the differences in use between soft and hardshells, and don't know what would be a better bet.

About my skiing habits--level 7/8 (male), I ski mostly on piste, but am looking to improve my technique off. Ski ~15 days a year, half on the east coast and half in the rockies. 6 ft., 185 pounds.

I'm not looking to spend more than about $600--ideally I'd get a jacket, pants, and a midlayer, although if I find the right set, I can go up a little bit. I'm not at all averse to buying things one or two seasons old if they're much cheaper (sierra trading post sounds like a good deal), but I'm a little bit wary of online shopping because I prefer to try things on. As for my sizing, I put on a patagonia powder bowl in medium yesterday with one of their midlayers and it seemed about right, if a little snug.

So what should I go for? Where should I get it? Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 2
You should be informed about the search function and maybe we can help you use it to define your choices.
A soft shell is a  different fabric than a hard shell. It can stretch and doesn't have the waterproofing available because of the movement of the fibers create much larger spaces than can stop a water molecule. They are usually defined as water resistant and not waterproof. A big deal if you are in  wet snow or falling snow when it isn't so cold. they are the most  comfortable and  usually are bonded to  a light liner in them to add a bit of warmth. I  am amazed how mine keeps the cold wind from penetrating. I use it when it is very cold and/or when it is dry.

A hard shell can make full use of great waterproofing materials and the best coats do their best to use materials and techniques available to keep every drop they can from your under layers. They come as just shells, zip in liners or fully insulated. I buy shells and layer accordingly.

I use both and bought Arc'teryx coats after buying pants recommended to me by Cirquerider. I haven't regretted following his advice to use their great products. Regardless of this brand you can find good waterproof coats and pants without spending a fortune. I bought a Columbia hard shell forless than  half the price of my Arc'teryx and while it may not have the steeze value it sure works to  keep the wet out  where it belongs.

Oh yeah. Welcome to epic and try the search function including the wikis and the gear reviews to add to what you glean here to make your decisions

Watch here for opportune deals
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