Buying kit in advance of your next jaunt into the mountains can seem a bit daunting. This stuff isn’t cheap, and with so many variants on the market the choice is overwhelming. Chloe Hardy rounds up a few of our favourites.
Airblaster Freedom Suit
A sure-fire way to keep snow out your pants is to wear a onesie, and the Airblaster Freedom Suit will keep you dry, warm and looking good, whatever the snow conditions. As Airblaster’s all-round one-piece, the Freedom Suit is both affordable and functional – plus, if you get cold easily, an insulated version is available, the Hot Freedom Suit. Made from mid-weight oxford fabric, it’s nice and durable, with a waterproof and breathability rating of 15k / 10k, as well as fully taped seams; a combination that means you won’t need to worry about water finding its way into your thermals or overheating halfway through an epic line. A 350º waist zip and a two-way front zip keep all your bathroom needs covered, while a combination of underarm and inner-leg vents, and lots of pockets ensure that you’ll have the best day on the mountain, whatever the weather.
Burton Gore-Tex Vagabond Jacket
Snowboarding giants, Burton, keep things classy with the Vagabond Jacket by combining the everyday style of the 90s trench coat with the technical trappings of Gore-Tex. Not only does Gore-Tex set the standard for highly waterproof and breathable fabrics, the variation used in this jacket is Bluesign approved, meaning it’s been made in accordance to strict guidelines to ensure that its production doesn’t harm the environment, a bonus for your body temperature and for the planet. Not only is it completely waterproof, the Vagabond jacket is breathable and windproof to keep you comfortable in a range of conditions. Other handy features include a moisture-wicking Living Lining, fully Gore-Taped seams and everything else you’d expect from a good jacket, like plenty of pockets, a snow skirt that attaches to your snow pants and, wait for it… a lifetime warranty!
Faction Edison Pants
The Faction Edison Pants combine the protection you need for big powder days with the versatility for all weather conditions, thanks to a removable softshell bib. The ultimate workhouse pants, they’ll take you everywhere from hiking powder lines and ski touring to spring laps through the park. As Faction’s top-spec everyday snow pants, they’re made from technical three-layer fabric, Toray Dermizax, which provides you with a top-notch waterproof and breathability rating of 20k / 20k. As well as being lightweight, durable and easy to move in, the Edison Pants are also fully seam-sealed to prevent extra water making its way in where it’s not welcome. The removable softshell bib provides extra water-resistance, plus plenty of stretch so it doesn’t inhibit your movements when you’re hiking or riding. Added bonuses include Recco reflectors, which provide extra tracking security in case of an avalanche, as well as water-resistant zips, ankle reinforcements to protect against damage from boots and edges, and plenty of pockets for all your snow essentials.
Faction Earhart Jacket
If you tend to get cold on the hill, the Faction Earhart Jacket has the properties of an insulating jacket and hardshell jacket rolled into one, so you don’t need to wear a million layers to stay warm. And it’s super-stylish, too. Packed with responsibly-sourced goose down and coated in two-layer 10k / 10k waterproof and breathable Toray Dermizax fabric, it’ll keep snow out and you warm and cosy all day. Goose down is ultra-compressible, so if you find yourself at the bottom of an intense hike, you can easily pack it down and stash it in your pack, while generous underarm zips will stop you from overheating while you’re riding. An adjustable hem and cuffs mean you can seal up against bad weather, while the nice long length provides extra warmth and coverage. Whether you’re walking into town or slaying lines on the hill, the Earhart Jacket will keep you warmer for longer and make sure you have fun when the weather’s riling against you.
Armada Highline Gore-Tex 3L Bib
So much more than a plain pair of black salopettes, the Armada Highline Bib Pants are super-versatile to keep you protected in harshest conditions and cool in the slushy depths of spring. Made from waterproof and breathable three-layer Gore-Tex with Gore-taped seams, they’ll keep you completely protected from wind, rain and snow, and breathe freely when you turn up the heat. Recco reflectors provide a little extra security on deep snow days, while the technical cut is stylish and easy to move in. The Highline Bib Pants also feature a Gore C-Knit backer, a lining which feels soft, comfortable and warm next to your skin when it’s cold, but wicks away sweat when you’re working hard. The suspenders are made from four-way stretch fabric, which keeps snow outside your pants, where it belongs, without inhibiting your movement. And when it gets to spring you can just remove them, open up the vents and throw on a hoody like you don’t have a care in the world.
This article appeared in the winter 2016 / 17 issue of Morzine Source Magazine.