SKI MOUNTAINEERING, randonnée, backcountry touring—whatever you label self-powered mountain travel, your livery needs more function than fashion. This new crop stresses fabrics and designs that perform as outerwear, but serve just as effectively under a shell when the weather turns offensive.
Mountain Hardwear Ethereal FTX Bib for women ($400)
Perhaps the best-fitting women's bib on the market, its secret is its breathable, stretchy vest top, ensuring unlimited freedom of movement. Not to mention the clever rainbow-zip drop-seat.
Moonstone Evolution pant ($199) and Ibex Riglos T-shirt ($58)
Marmot Glenmore jacket ($429), Arc'teryx Theta SK pant ($395), and Smith V3 Turbo C.A.M. goggles ($190)
Fuzzy fleece inside, water-repellent stretch-woven nylon outside, and windproof throughout, this pant is ideal stand-alone protection for most conditions. Ditto for the shirt, whose all-wool knit wicks better than most synthetics.
Both jacket and pant are stitched from Gore-Tex XCR for total waterproofness and tremendous breathability. A stout wire in the Glenmore's hood helps it shield you from bad weather, while the Theta SK pant has adjustable suspenders and a high waist. As for the goggles, simply switch on the all-but-inaudible two-speed fan, and any fogging simply vanishes.
Sierra Designs Peak Bagger XV ($219)
The men's large weighs only one pound, two ounces, but it still affords full three-layer, waterproof-breathable protection. Mesh-lined front zip pockets scoop up air for ventilation, and extremity vents zip from elbow to wrist.
Marmot DriClime Windshirt ($115) and Smith Ambush sunglasses ($150)
The adaptable Windshirt wicks moisture so you can wear it aloneon warm days, as insulation under a shell on cold ones, and as a wind-thwarting shell the rest of the time. The Ambush's polarized glass lenses cut glare, while the resilient Grilamid nylon frames have a subtle wrap for maximum orb coverage.
HardCorps Drift Jacket ($335)
This is a workhorse with thoroughbred lines, three-layer waterproof breathability, motion-enhancing stretch panels, and air-gulping vertical zip vents.
The North Face Himalayan Mitts ($120)
Arc'teryx Gamma SV jacket ($240)
Got warmth? Digits have never had it so good in these down-filled mitts with grippy leather palms and idiot cords for attaching your hot investment to your wrists.
Windproof Malden Powershield is soft fleece laminated to tough, stretch-woven nylon. Result: a jacket that's all you'll need unless it's pouring rain or dumping snow.
Ortovox Aletsch pant ($203)
Kangol Hat ($35)
The latest incarnation of the European ski mountaineer's "guide pant," the Aletsch combines dense wool flannel and Schoeller Skifans (72% nylon, 20% wool, and 8% Lycra) for better warmth, greater water resistance, and lots more comfort than older versions. Adjustable nylon seals the cuffs to your boots.
The short brim and deep crown make for a fine mountain chapeau. The soft wool body and the hidden earflaps mean you can adapt to nearly any climatic event.
Ibex Randonnée pullover ($235) and Mammut Castor pant ($330)
Built with warm, wicking, and wind-resistant Schoeller Skifans, this pullover has cooling pit zips and a high zip-up collar. Thanks to Schoeller's Dynamic DRYtech Extreme, the pants mate a movement-friendly, stretch-woven blend with a waterproof-breathable membrane.
Isis Valkyrie jacket ($349)
Whimsical colors dress up three-layer, waterproof-breathable Acclimate with stretch nylon along the shoulders and elbows. With anatomically correct pocket placement, it also boasts a woman's fit that actually fits.
Patagonia Stretch Triolet Jacket ($379) and SmartWool Smart Neck Gator ($13)
This jacket's combo of three fabrics forms a water barrier on the outside, yet lets sweaty heat vapors escape from the inside. Stretch panels on the elbows and upper back let you bust any move. The Gator is made of soft wool that stays warm when wet, insulates well for its size, and is washable.
Cloudveil IceFloe jacket ($345)
Recipe for an IceFloe: Take the classic hooded sweatshirt design. Add stretchy, rugged Schoeller Dryskin on the outside, and soft, wicking Rentex mesh inside.
Jack Wolfskin Texapore Stretch Pant ($229)
A completely waterproof-breathable fabric, Texapore stretches, too. The built-in suspenders and full side zips are configured so you can drop seat, not trou, when nature calls.
Solstice Vertical Parka ($239)
Moonstone UberSauvage Bib ($359)
A sweet entry-level mountaineering jacket with waterproof and breathable Stretch Microshed panels on the shoulders, arms, and back.
A blend of German toughness and French elegance, the Uber utilizes three-layer Gore-Tex XCR for weather protection and has easy-access thigh pockets and an air-permeablemesh bib.
Patagonia Direct X jacket ($355)
Minimal styling does not detract from this waterproof, breathable, and lightweight jacket. You'll like the one-hand-adjustable hood.
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