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Opinions/recommendations about new layering set-up

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone, I just bought the Patagonia snowshot jacket (my first hard shell rather than 3-in-1), so it's time to upgrade my layering system. I usually wear underarmor cold gear as my base layer. I was thinking about getting some Patagonia capilene 3 weight midlayer and then maybe an R2 or R3 fleece for the cold days. Does this sound sufficient? Also, is there much of a difference between the R2 and R3? I mainly ski in Utah and will now be skiing in CA as well. Any other recommendations are much appreciated. Thanks!
post #2 of 3

Two weekends ago temps in upstate NY were 8-10 above zero (f), but with wind chill effective temps were at or just below zero most of the day.   I skied comfortably in silk T neck + wool IBEX Ribbies top (possibly equivalent to 100 wt fleece in terms of warmth) + 250 wt Polartec Wind Pro fleece jacket (claims to be 200 weight, but it's heavier than my other 200 wt fleeces) + Uninsulated but burly Goretex Pro Shell jacket. Bottoms were old cheap polypro under a pair of 686 smarty snowboard pants with the (100wt) liners zipped in.  My gloves were the Grandoe Primo Elite from a few years ago with the lavawool liners.  Silk socks b/c anything thicker cuts off circulation and makes my feet colder (boots fit tight).  With a balaclava I was able to ski for 2-2.5 hrs until cold toes drove me into the lodge.  Face, hands, legs and core were all fine.  Went out in the afternoon and skied for another 1.5-2 hrs before I had to leave (had an appointment--not due to cold).  Note that I was skiing alone and was intent on getting in as much vert as I could.  If you're skiing  with friends who tend to stand around socializing a bit, go with a warmer setup--say a 300 wt fleece.


Last week with temps at around 20-25 degrees f and no wind I used the same setup, but with a lighter 200 wt microfleece pullover in place of the Wind Pro fleece jacket, no liners in the gloves, no liners in the ski pants, and no balaclava.  Skied all day, until it was time to leave.  Cold never factored into the equation.  Started to sweat a bit at one point when I got the opportunity to ski a few consecutive bump runs.


I think you will be fine in your proposed setup, however I recommend bringing a lighter 100 wt fleece (any cheap, lightweight fleece will work) in addition to the R2 or R3 you are proposing to get.  In milder winter temps you might get too warm in the setup you are proposing and want to use the lighter fleece instead.  If you get cold you can throw it on as an additional layer (assuming you have room under your shell to fit an additional layer).


Some folks on this site prefer using a down or primaloft "sweater" instead of a heavy weight fleece.  I don't b/c I tend to sweat and I find fleeces to be more breatheable.  On many occasions I have returned to the lodge and found the inside of my shell to be wet and clammy while I felt perfectly dry.  I attribute this to the fact that my base layers and fleece are far more breatheable than (any) gore tex shell.


Good site to learn about the "theory" of layering:  http://www.verber.com/mark/outdoors/gear/clothing.html



post #3 of 3

Ski the East's outfit sounds almost exactly what I would wear in those situations.  BUT I will say something: there's something about the difference b/w Eastern cold and Western cold.  The first time I skied Utah, I dressed for the temperature like I would in the East -- and I was hot!.  I think dry cold is less intrusive than the damp chill of the east.  I always drop one level or layer when I go west -- leave off the neckwarmer or move from 200 weight to 100 weight etc.

Can't answer your specific questions, except to say that it seems like your first plan would be sufficient for almost any situation for ME. 

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