With spring right around the corner, it’s important to pack for the varying weather conditions. In a single trip you might experience anything from freezing temps to bluebird days and you’ll want to be as prepared as possible. Here are some tips to minimize your packing while getting the most out of your clothes.
Keep It Simple
Whether you’re headed into the backcountry or limited by travel bags, you’re going to want a system that is easy to use and easy to pack. Stick with lightweight layers rather than heavy bulky items. Using layers like Patagonia Capilene and Under Armour Base Layers are both lightweight and incredibly warm. They’re designed to be worn for multiple days without developing a smell and generally dry quickly so you can wear them every day.
You’re going to want to stay away from items like cotton hoodies and heavy parkas. If you start skiing on a cold morning and stay out until a sunny afternoon, you’ll want to be able to strip down and store a layer or two in your backpack. Sticking with Down or Primaloft jackets are highly compressible and weigh next to nothing. Items such as the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer or The North Face Thermoball Jackets are perfect layers for packing. Both provide unbelievable warmth and will usually pack down into the size of your fist. This makes them super easy to travel with and excellent for stuffing into a small backpack.
Use a Shell Jacket
Shell Jackets are perfect for spring layering systems. Let your layers provide the warmth and use your shell to protect you from the snow, wind and rain. The major benefit to this is elemental protection no matter what the temperature. If it’s 45° and sunny you can wear a couple lightweight layers and a shell to stay waterproof and slightly warm, or, if its -5° and freezing you can toss a down jacket on under your shell for bombproof warmth and waterproof wind protection. I always recommend and highly breathable waterproof shell like the Arc’teryx Beta LT Shell or the Obermeyer Capitol Shell.
Bring an Insulated Vest
Vests are WAY undervalued when it comes to warmth. A decent insulated vest like the Spyder Exit Insulator Vest are awesome for adding warmth for little cost. Vests are designed to be worn close to the body, providing tons of heat to the core. When you heat your core, your body will send warm blood to your fingers and toes, making your whole body warm. A good vest is invaluable in varying weather conditions and also prevents the bulky “marshmallow” feeling when you’re wearing too many clothes. If you get too hot, they’re easy to pack and stow, usually balling up smaller than a full jacket which is perfect for tiny packs or even your pocket.
Don’t Forget the Small Things
Hats and Neck Gaiters are essential for keeping warm on a wacky-weather day. Add a hat, or take it off depending upon your heat level. Wearing a Neck Gaiter will boost your heat quickly, keep the wind off of your neck and stop fleeing snow from creeping down your shell. These smaller items are a must have when looking to boost the performance of a quality layering jacket.