Originally Posted by Xela
Huh? As if I can't unzip both my shell and my middle layer?
Good luck venting your underarms and getting air circulating under your insulating layer. I'm a big fan of insulated shells for this very reason.
1) Having the insulation tied to the loose cut of the insulated hardshell can create significantly larger ventilation and air circulation when compared to a closer-fitting midlayer, even when both outer and mid layers are unzipped.
2) Pitzips on your shell won't do jack to ventilate your underarms if the heat is being trapped by the midlayer.
3) Significantly more freedom of movement in the arms and shoulders, since you almost never need a traditional midlayer.
4) No more cold elbows due to compressed insulation
I highly recommend you try it.
The article was written by a skier at Loveland, CO. This is significant for several reasons:
1) Loveland can be extremely cold and windy (often sub-10 degrees), so you generally need a lot of warmth in your layers
2) Loveland's best terrain is hike-to above treeline terrain, so you'll sweat like crazy if you dress for warmth - ventilation is KEY
3) Loveland's liftlines are generally in very well-protected locations, so you'll be too warm waiting in line if you dress for warmth - ventilation in zero wind is KEY
Outside of wet, stormy ~30+ degree days, I've found a shell jacket to be pretty obsolete. We don't really get that kind of weather out here in CO. If it's stormy, it's usually in the 20s or lower.
long sleeve light base
half-zip powerstretch pullover
MHW Desna powerstretch hoody (integrated balaclava)
synthetic puffy vest (Patagonia Micropuff with the collar removed by a seamstress)
highly breathable stretch-woven softshell (Marmot Tempo Hoody, 10-15 CFM)
insulated hardshell (Flylow BA Puffy, equiv to ~80g Primaloft One)
light boxers base (non-cotton)
light long johns base
3/4 heavy long johns base
3/4 powerstretch tights
loose, thick mesh shorts (think basketball/athletic)
highly breathable stretch-woven softshell (Outdoor Research Ferrosi, 9 CFM)
hardshell with both inner AND outer thigh venting (Oakley Flare)
For frostbite-cold days, I have a cut-down Masque (only covers nose, upper lip and cheeks) in a pocket. This, coupled with the Desna hoody gives me a full-coverage balaclava, except for the mouth. Having the mouth completely open makes it impossible for the goggles to fog up. Excessive lip balm coverage helps protect against frostbite in the mouth area. A high jacket collar can also easily block wind in this region, when on the lift. I've found this system to be INFINITELY more comfortable and versatile than a balaclava. The only piece to loose is the cut-down Masque, and it's extremely small and non-bulky and WAY easier to quickly slip in and out of a pocket. The Desna hoody can easily be slipped on and off without messing with a pack, or a bulky balaclava in a pocket. A patagonia R1 hoody can work too, but I prefer the powerstretch material for resort skiing, based on direct experience.
My layering system (based on the day's ~high, taking the strength of wind into account):
LS under softshell
pullover under softshell
LS under Desna under softshell
Desna under insulated hardshell
LS under Desna under insulated hardshell
LS under Desna under vest under insulated hardshell
pullover under Desna under vest under insulated hardshell
boxers under softshell
light base under softshell
light base under hardshell
heavy base under hardshell
heavy base under mesh shorts under hardshell
boxers under powerstretch under hardshell
boxers under powerstretch under mesh shorts under hardshell
A few notes:
1) I used to have an eVent shell. It was not as flexible system as a softshell and insulated hardshell. Most of the time it was ok, but about 25% of the time it was either too warm, or too cold (most often too warm). Goretex Proshell was even less versatile, probably about 35% of the time.
2) I generally switch over to the insulated hardshell at around 20 degrees.
3) I've found powerstretch to have a VERY wide range of comfort. It's better next to the skin than any other midlayer I've tried (including Patagonia R1 powerdry), and it layers well.
4) I usually dress on the colder side and carry the synthetic vest in my backpack for mornings or if it dramatically cools off.
5) A looser-fitting R1 or R2 fleece would work better on top of the Desna instead of the pullover underneath, but it's not a big enough difference to want to buy one especially for that situation (it's only that cold 2-3 times a year). The pullover is really a perfect baselayer under the softshell for 80% of the warmer days since it wicks so well and is SUPER comfortable.
I do still own an eVent hardshell, but it's not needed in Colorado. I bring it with me when going to Tahoe or the PNW, but avoid using it whenever possible because it's incredibly uncomfortable compared to my other options - and not because of fit, but because it's a hardshell, and they never breath enough when you're working hard. I guess if I was a lazy skier, it might different.
Edited by Brian Lindahl - 11/6/12 at 1:54pm