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Backpacker Magazine – Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2011

Prep Your Gear: Pack to Backcountry Ski

Use this advice to hone your backcountry layers for any trip length or conditions.

by: Evelyn Spence

Craft Concept Piece (Courtesy Photo)
Craft Concept Piece (Courtesy Photo)
Mammut Eiger Extreme Nordwand (Courtesy Photo)
Mammut Eiger Extreme Nordwand (Courtesy Photo)
Mountain Hardwear Kelvinator (Courtesy Photo)
Mountain Hardwear Kelvinator (Courtesy Photo)



Moderate Temperatures (>30°F)

Baselayer
Day trip and multiday: Wear silkweight materials with sweat-wicking power like Craft’s Concept Piece.

Insulation
Day trip: It’ll spend most of the day in your pack, so go with an ultralight puffy like L.L. Bean’s Ascent Packaway Pullover.
Multiday: A vest/jacket combo offers versatility. Opt for a synthetic, like REI’s Spruce Peak in case of damp snow.

Pack
Day trip: For alpine-style days you need low weight and volume, with a slim profile. Try Black Diamond’s 18-liter Agent.
Multiday: A mid-size overnighter like Sierra Designs Sorcery 55 has essential-toting capacity and ski- safe stability.

Shell
Day trip: Blend lightweight breathability with protection. Rab’s Fusion (1 lb. 1 oz.) uses Polartec’s NeoShell where rain hits, and a no-membrane poly where you sweat.
Multiday: You may never need to wear it, so prioritize packability. Patagonia’s Super Pluma is low-bulk, lightweight, and has pack-friendly pit-zips and pockets.


Cold Temperatures (<30°F)

Baselayer
Day trip and multiday: Try a midweight layer with enhanced insulation, like Columbia’s Omni-Heat Half-Zip. It will provide sufficient warmth with just a shell, but you can layer it without bulk.

Insulation
Day trip and multiday: Opt for high- quality down and performance details like a hood and cinchable hem. Good choice: Mountain Hardwear’s Kelvinator.

Pack
Day trip: Pieps’s Plecotus has an exterior avy-gear pocket and 36-liters of interior space— perfect for cold- weather gear.
Multiday: Large capacity, adjustable fit, and lightweight, rigid support are keys to hauling big winter loads. Try GoLite’s Terrono 90.

Shell
Day trip and multiday: Pack a heavy-duty weatherproof outerlayer like Mammut’s Eiger Extreme Nordwand. Pair it with just your baselayer, or your insulating puffy for versatility at camp and on the slope.

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