The outer shirt of jacket should
be of a material that will stop wind and shed snow. Some slick synthetics
As with shirts, the outer
pair of pants should shed snow and block wind. Some types of ski-pants
do both well.
Problem with wind-resistant
synthetic outer layers (save the most expensive, such as Gore-Tex) is
that if they keep moisture out, then they'll keep it in, too.
So perspiration, wicked away from the skin by the polypro/wool inner layers,
cannot escape. At the outer layer, where it's coldest, that moisture comes
close to freezing (if it doesn't in fact), and (either way) progressively
blocks subsequent perspiration from escaping. Result: Damp clear through.
If one cannot afford the $80-400 per garment for Gore-Tex, next best is
to go with a blend of synthetics and natural fibers that'll cut the wind
and let moisture pass in both directions. I prefer %60-synthetic- to-%40-natural
blend, but %65-%35 has proponents. If one is properly layered, it's perfectly
feasable to be comfy while the outer surface is at or below freezing.
Vapor pressure will force perspiration to the outer surface of the outer
garment, where it freezes and can be brushed off. Snow from the outside
won't melt, and it too can (and _must_) be brushed away. When this is
so, it doesn't really matter what the materail is, so long as snow
doesn't adhere when brushed, and moisture passes through. I have been
perfectly happy in outer shells of %50-%50.
The problem with ski-pants
is that they are cut fashionably tight, whereas baggy is warmer. Again,
treated "wetlock" fabrics popular for insulated skiing overpants won't
let moisture escape. I go with $35 army surplus baggy wool pants, and
wear home-made %65-%35 overpants (straight cut leg, draw-string waist,
ankle ties (usually left untied and just tucked into Sorrels (or gaiters
when the snow is deep))).
GROUND CLOTHS AND PADS
Standing all day long is
uncomfortable, but sitting on snow just gets your highly vascular (big
muscle) bottom wet, making you cold in a hurry. Rock may be dry, but it
sucks heat even faster. I paid $6 for the cheapest closed-cell foam pad
that I could find, and cut it into 2 by 2 foot squares. Everybody carries
a square on the outside of the pack, so we can flop down anywhere and
sit dry and insulated during breaks on the trail. "Don't leave home without