How can I dress warmly without all the extra bulk?
Long time read, first time question. I'm a skinny guy. I love to ski, mostly at resorts but a little OB. My question, then: Is there a jacket-shell combo, or maybe just a jacket, that would keep me warm when it's zero degrees and windy, breathe when it's not that cold, and not make me feel like the Marshmallow Man? Timothy Rockaway, New Jersey
You’re a lucky man, Tim. Some people have written the Gear Guy dozens of times, yet still haven’t been touched by the digital digit of the Supreme Guru. You, however, have become a Chosen One.
So, let me re-phrase your question: Skinny guy skis, seeks something superior for schussing without shivering. Right? The answer, of course, is the ‘L’ wordlayering. You’re not going to find a single piece that does all you need. But you can if you layer. Start with a good, warm base layer. Wool might be the ticket here, as in Icebreaker’s Tech T-shirt ($110; www.icebreaker.co.nz), a very warm base layer that wicks well. I’ve been wearing a short-sleeve Icebreaker T-shirt as a base layer for winter cycling and hiking, and it’s fantastic. Over that, a mid-weight fleece layer will add a lot of warmth. I really like Polartec’s Thermal Pro, a light but very warm material that dries extremely fast if you get sweaty. Try it in Mountain Hardwear’s ReCoil Jacket ($115; www.mountainhardwear.com) or Marmot’s Core Half-Zip Pullover ($99; www.marmot.com).
That and a shell will keep you warm in most conditions, without adding too much bulk. But, if it gets really cold, add one more layer made with a synthetic fill. The North Face’s Redpoint Jacket ($149; www.thenorthface.com) is such a garmentlight, compressible, very warm. And not real bulky. It’ll slide nicely over the other two layers, and you can add a shell over this. You’ll be warm, I guarantee it.