By Michael Lanza
There’s one certainty about the clothing layers we use in winter: We get our money’s worth out of them. While a rain shell or puffy jacket may rarely come out of our pack on a summer hike or climb, we almost invariably wear every article of clothing we carry when backcountry, Nordic, or downhill skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, climbing, or trail running in winter. That’s money spent wisely to make us more comfortable and safer.
Every winter, I test out new clothing layers doing many of those activities frequently—something I’ve been doing for more than 25 years, previously as the lead gear reviewer for Backpacker magazine for 10 years and even longer running this blog. This review spotlights the best shell and insulated jackets, base layers, and pants I’ve found for high-exertion and moderate-exertion activities in winter.
In my story “How to Dress in Layers for Winter in the Backcountry,” I offer advice—based on four decades of backcountry experience—on how to choose a specific, personalized layering system for different exertion levels and body types in temperatures near or below freezing. Use the tips in that story, along with this review, to make the best choices in winter outdoor apparel for your activities, your climate, and your body.
Please share your experiences with any of these products in the comments section at the bottom of this review. I try to respond to all comments. And if you make a purchase through any of the affiliate links to online retailers in this story or other reviews at The Big Outside, you support my work on this blog at no cost to you. Thanks for doing that.
Don’t go out in the cold without my “12 Pro Tips For Staying Warm Outdoors in Winter.”
The Best Base Layers for Winter
Whatever your exertion level, you want next-to-skin tops and bottoms that perform two functions that become especially important in winter:
1. Wick moisture off your skin quickly.
2. Provide at least the minimum amount of warmth you need for the conditions and your body.
Here are the best base-layer tops I’ve found for various activities in winter as well as cooler three-season conditions.
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Patagonia Capilene Midweight Zip-Neck
$89, 7.5 oz./213g
I routinely wear the Patagonia Capilene Midweight Zip-Neck while backcountry, resort, and Nordic skiing and on cool- to cold-weather trail runs. The 100 percent recycled polyester fabric delivers a lot of warmth for its low weight, breathes very well, and wicks moisture efficiently. A deep front zipper opens down to the pecs for good venting, while the collar reaches high enough to keep my neck covered when zipped up.
Comfort is excellent thanks to flatlock seams and shoulder construction that allows full mobility without causing the top to hike up. The fabric’s smooth face slips easily into fleece jacket sleeves. Thumb loops hold the sleeves over your hands. The Polygiene odor control has prevented it from getting stinky through many sweaty outings and launderings. All in all, you get a four-season, midweight top with Patagonia quality.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog, at no cost to you, when you click either of these affiliate links to purchase the men’s, women’s, or kid’s Patagonia Capilene Midweight Zip-Neck at backcountry.com or patagonia.com.
Check out “The Best Gloves for Winter” and “The Best Mittens for Winter.”
Outdoor Research Vigor Quarter Zip
$89, 11 oz./312g
On many days skiing the backcountry, resorts, and hilly Nordic trails from Idaho’s Boise Mountains to Utah’s Wasatch Range and elsewhere, in temperatures from single digits through the 20s Fahrenheit, sometimes in dumping snow with a below-zero wind chill, OR’s Vigor Quarter Zip (usually with a wool-poly T-shirt underneath) had my back, striking a critical balance between providing enough warmth for the chilly moments without causing me to get too wet on long ascents. When I sweated hard, the Vigor moved moisture so well that it never became more than damp and would dry within minutes of my exertion level dropping.
Similar to other warm tops, the Vigor is made with a light, grid-back polyester fleece that feels soft against skin and moves moisture exceptionally well, its mechanical performance enhanced by ActiveTemp thermo-regulating treatment. You can wear it as a base layer—the flat-seam construction aids comfort—or (as I frequently do) over a lighter, short-sleeve or long-sleeve base layer, with or without a jacket.
The 10-inch front zipper reaches to your sternum for good venting and zips up to your chin. The stretch fabric and thumbholes in the cuffs allow you to slip the sleeves up inside gloves or push sleeves up to the elbows. The zippered chest pocket fits a phone and breathes well enough to quickly dry something damp stuffed in there (like a light hat for skinning uphill when ski touring). The UPF 30 sun-protection rating protects skin year-round—just as useful in March as August in the mountains. Plus, the length extends to cover your entire butt, providing more warmth when tucked into ski pants.
The Vigor Quarter Zip doesn’t have the hood or mapped warmer and lighter fabrics of the Patagonia R1—possibly appealing to users who prefer not having a hood on a pullover or already have an insulation layer with a hood in addition to a hooded winter shell. It offers four-season versatility for any snow sport, hiking, climbing, and running—at a good price.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog, at no cost to you, clicking any of these affiliate links to purchase a men’s or women’s Outdoor Research Vigor Quarter Zip at moosejaw.com, backcountry.com, or outdoorresearch.com, or other models in OR’s Vigor series, including the full-zip hoodie, at moosejaw.com, backcountry.com, or outdoorresearch.com.
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Patagonia R1 Pullover Hoody
$169, 10 oz./284g
For a huge range of activities and exertion levels in temps from just above to well below freezing, few base or insulation layers offer the versatility of the men’s Patagonia R1 Pullover Hoody (in a range of sizes that will fit many women) and women’s R1 Fleece Pullover ($139). Patagonia touts these pullovers for climbing and skiing—for which they certainly excel—but I have worn the R1 Pullover Hoody year-round while backcountry skiing, climbing, hiking, backpacking, and in my sleeping bag on cool to very cold nights; and as my only insulation piece for six days of backpacking in the Grand Canyon in May.
The versatility lies in the stretchy, recycled polyester and spandex Polartec Power Grid fabric, exclusive to Patagonia, which has outstanding breathability and warmth for its weight, making this top versatile as a layering or stand-alone piece in temps ranging from the 50s Fahrenheit to as far below freezing as you can bear. A midweight fabric is used on the front, back, and sleeves, while a slightly lighter, more breathable grid fabric comprises the hood, sides, armpits, and girding the waist. The close fit has space for layering a lightweight T-shirt or long-sleeve underneath—which gives the best performance—and the extended length stays tucked inside a pack belt or climbing harness.
The low-bulk, close-fitting balaclava-style hood gives a noticeable boost in warmth, fits under any helmet, doesn’t interfere with other hoods in a layering system—and it’s easy to tuck the hood under the collar, out of the way. The front zipper plunges nearly to the belly button for superior venting and zips up to let the collar front cover your nose. The elasticized cuffs with thumbholes have good stretch to both seal out cold air and slide the sleeves up to the elbows. The zippered chest pocket fits a wool hat or light gloves and is mesh-lined, so you can put something damp in there to quickly dry from body heat. Polygiene treatment controls odors.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog, at no cost to you, by clicking any of these affiliate links to purchase a Patagonia men’s R1 Pullover Hoody at backcountry.com or patagonia.com, or a women’s or men’s R1 Long-Sleeved Crew, R1 Fleece Pullover, or other R1 apparel at backcountry.com or patagonia.com.
See more of the best base layers for being active outdoors.
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The Best Insulated Jackets for Being Active
As I write in my story “How to Dress in Layers for Winter in the Backcountry,” for backcountry skiing or ski touring, snowshoeing, or hiking, you need a layering system with great versatility—and the critical piece is the middle, or insulating layer. It provides most of your layering system’s warmth, and it must breathe well, because your outer/shell layer provides the full weather protection. In moderate-exertion activities, the more breathable your insulating layer, the less frequently you have to make layering changes—a challenge that modern synthetic insulation has risen to meet effectively.
If your winter sport of choice involves sweating and breathing hard, like running and Nordic skiing or even power hiking, you may need only a lightweight jacket with some warmth, superior breathability to dump the copious moisture your body is producing, and enough water resistance to not soak through in light rain or snow—or in dry weather, perhaps just a very breathable insulated layer to function as your outerwear.
Here are the best middle/insulation layers I’ve found for moderate- and high-exertion activities in winter.
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Ibex Wool Aire Vest
$235, 7.5 oz./213g
The widely varying conditions I’ve worn the Ibex Wool Aire Vest in speak to its versatility. It was my only outer layer over the same two base layers on days of vigorous Nordic skiing ranging from sunny, calm, and mid-30s Fahrenheit to cloudy and below freezing with strong winds. And I’ve worn it as my sole middle layer under a winter shell in temps from around freezing to the mid-teens with a frigid wind on days of snowshoeing and backcountry skiing downhill and as my outer layer when skinning uphill.
The formula is warm Merino wool insulation, a shell with good wind resistance, and a comfortably athletic fit that helps trap heat in your core while enabling you to vent heat from your arms.
Read my full review of the Ibex Wool Aire Vest.
Avoid getting too cold—or too hot—on your winter adventures.
Learn “How to Dress in Layers for Winter in the Backcountry.”
Himali Limitless Grid Fleece Hoodie
$160, 9.2 oz./261g
The evolution of fleece has traced an arc toward versatility that’s reaching its apex in lightweight fleece hoodies like Himali’s Limitless Grid Fleece Hoodie. The breadth of activities, conditions, and environments where I’ve worn it (so far) speak to my point, from a 13-hour, four-summit dayhike in Utah’s Wasatch Range to a short hike in southern New Hampshire, backpacking in southern Utah’s Escalante region, camping and climbing in Idaho, and a local trail run in the chilly, fading daylight of a November afternoon.
Warm for its low weight and fast-drying thanks to the 100 percent recycled Polartec PowerGrid fabric, with an athletic fit that has space for a base layer underneath, ample stretch in the fabric, a close-fitting, elasticized hood, one zippered chest pocket, and thumbholes in the cuffs, the Limitless Grid Fleece Hoodie is basically a warm, midweight jersey with a full front zipper and a hood. It falls into a small category of the lightest, most breathable and packable hooded jackets you will find.
Consider this: It can serve as a warmer but not heavier replacement for a long-sleeve, midweight crew neck or zip-neck base layer, allowing you to bring a lighter down or synthetic insulated jacket—thus reducing your pack weight. A great outer or middle layer for dayhiking and backpacking, climbing, running, Nordic and backcountry skiing, walking—you name it.
Read my full review of the Himali Limitless Grid Fleece Hoodie.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog, at no cost to you, by clicking either of these affiliate links to purchase a men’s Himali Limitless Grid Fleece Hoodie at himali.com or a women’s Mindset ¼ Zip Fleece Pullover at himali.com.
Readers of The Big Outside get an exclusive 10 percent off their Himali purchase by using the discount code THEBIGOUTSIDE.
Patagonia Nano-Air Light Vest
$199, 8 oz./227g
The Patagonia Nano-Air Light Vest’s breathable synthetic insulation makes this lightweight garment functional on outings year-round. I’ve regularly grabbed it instead of other vests in my closet for Nordic skate-skiing in “milder” temps above freezing and warm sunshine.
On an early-October backpacking trip in Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains, it stayed on me not only through cool evenings and mornings in camp, but also while hiking with a full backpack uphill, off-trail, in temps in the 40s and 50s Fahrenheit, with intermittent wind.
Both the nylon ripstop shell and the insulation have four-way stretch.
Read my full review of the Patagonia Nano-Air Vest.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog, at no cost to you, by clicking any of these affiliate links to purchase a men’s or women’s Nano-Air Vest at backcountry.com or patagonia.com, or patagonia.ca in Canada.
Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Jacket
$249, 10 oz./284g
I’ve worn the Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Jacket for activities ranging from four straight days of backcountry skiing in the Sierra in winds gusting to 40 to 50 mph and heavily falling snow (with a shell over it when needed) to Nordic skate-skiing and snowshoeing in Idaho’s Boise Mountains on days both overcast and windy and in warm sunshine.
Its highly versatile hybrid design puts FullRange synthetic insulation, which stretches and breathes, in the front of the jacket, upper shoulders, and top sides of the sleeves, and a much more breathable, wicking, stretch, R1 Air waffle knit on the back of the sleeves, in the sides, and covering the entire back. The result is a jacket that offloads body heat about as fast as you produce it—while keeping you warm at varying levels of exertion.
There’s also a hooded version, the Nano-Air Light Hybrid Hoody ($299, 11.8 oz./338g).
Read my full review of the Patagonia Nano-Air Jacket.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog, at no cost to you, by clicking any of these affiliate links to purchase a men’s or a women’s Patagonia Nano-Air Jacket or Nano-Air Hoody at backcountry.com, moosejaw.com, or patagonia.com.
Arc’teryx Atom Hoody
$300, 12 oz./340g
From days of backcountry skiing to cold winter hikes in my local foothills and walking or riding my cruiser bike around town on frosty days, the Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody has spent almost as much time on me as it does in my closet. On a morning when the trailhead temp sat at 20 ° F as a friend and I set out for a half-day of backcountry skiing, I pulled the hood up and this puffy kept me warm over two light base layers while skinning uphill in cold shade—but even more impressively, once my body was churning out heat, the wide, stretch side and underarm panels dumped that heat and moisture so well that I didn’t have to take it off until we entered direct sunshine near the top of our ascent.
The Coreloft Compact synthetic insulation delivered all the warmth I needed while digging a snow pit and standing around evaluating avalanche hazard and lost none of its insulative properties when I did build up moisture inside (skiing downhill in warm sun). Plus, the insulated StormHood, adjustable with a single drawcord in the back, boosts warmth significantly. The tough, water-resistant Tyono 20 fabric is breathable and durable and easily shed lightly falling snow when I ski toured without a shell over it.
Unquestionably one of the most versatile insulation pieces covered in this review—warmer than others, yet impressively breathable—the Atom LT readily rises to as many uses as you can conceive, from hiking, backcountry skiing, bike commuting, and climbing to a campsite puffy in temps down to the 40s in summer in the mountains.
Read my full review of the Arc’teryx Atom Hoody.
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Which puffy should you buy? See “The 12 Best Down Jackets” and
“How You Can Tell How Warm a Down Jacket Is.”
Beyond Clothing Alpha Aura Jacket
$180, 12 oz./340g
On days of resort and backcountry skiing ranging from just below freezing to 10° F, Beyond Clothing’s hooded Alpha Aura Jacket demonstrated its versatility as a middle and outer layer for cool- to cold-weather activities year-round, with unique design features that improve its weather protection and durability.
The Alpha Aura distinguishes itself from similar jackets by using soft Polartec Alpha Direct loft-knit fleece, a very open, high-loft fabricthat lends the jacket good warmth for its weight while breathing supremely well—making it a good piece for hiking, walking, climbing, skiing, and similar activities year-round. It also features somewhat unique 20-denier micro ripstop nylon panels on the entire hood exterior (it’s lined with soft fleece) and the shoulders, front and back.
Without reducing the jacket’s breathability, those panels provide a significant warmth boost—especially in the hood—and durability in the shoulders for wearing a heavy pack. The full-length front zipper enables venting and zips up over your chin, while the close-fitting, non-adjustable hood stays put, turning with your head even with the jacket open. The two zippered hand pockets have a mesh lining to maintain breathability there, and they create two large, internal drop pockets—each of them spacious enough for a pair of three-season gloves or one warm, winter glove.
Read my full review of the Beyond Clothing Alpha Aura Jacket.
Patagonia R1 Air Full-Zip Hoody
$179, 12.5 oz./354g
Virtually no piece of outdoor apparel offers more versatility than a highly breathable, midweight insulation layer. Besides filling that bucket, Patagonia’s R1 Air Full-Zip Hoody feels soft and fits like it was custom made for your torso, as I found wearing it on summer backpacking trips of a week in Glacier National Park and two three-day hikes in the Canadian Rockies. On all three trips, it kept me warm without overheating, rarely even breaking a sweat, while hiking with a full pack, uphill and downhill, on cool mornings and in chilly, very strong wind—which speaks to how well it translates to winter activities.
The 100 percent recycled polyester jacquard fleece with hollow-core yarns and a unique zigzag pattern wicks moisture, dries lightning-fast, and is about as breathable as any middle or outer layer you’ll find. The two zippered hand pockets provide a little extra warmth and each has space for a pair of three-season gloves or one warm winter glove. The zippered chest pocket holds small items.
At 12.5 ounces/354 grams, this midweight fleece is designed for wearing as an outer or middle layer in a huge range of cool to cold temperatures, including all forms of skiing as well as snowshoeing, hiking, running, climbing, walking, and other activities.
Read my full review of the Patagonia R1 Air Full-Zip Hoody.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog, at no cost to you, by clicking any of these affiliate links to purchase a men’s, women’s, or kids’ Patagonia R1 Air Full-Zip Hoody at backcountry.com, moosejaw.com, or patagonia.com, or any other piece in the Patagonia R1 Air line at backcountry.com, moosejaw.com, or patagonia.com.
Beyond Clothing Dasche L3 Jacket
$190, 14 oz./397g
Over several cold days of ski touring from Utah’s Wasatch Range to Idaho’s Boise Mountains, with temps in the single digits and teens Fahrenheit, snow falling, and a cold wind chill at times, the Beyond Clothing Dasche L3 Jacket rarely left my body, whether serving as a middle layer skiing downhill or an outer layer skiing uphill—a testament to its breathability and versatility.
The Dasche’s hybrid vest-jacket design combines water-resistant, 80g PrimaLoft Gold Luxe synthetic insulation in the core (front and back) and shoulders and very breathable, stretchy soft-shell fabric in the sides, underarms, and lower arms—creating a jacket that traps heat effectively where your body needs that but also releases heat and moisture, where many jackets with a similar hybrid design do either one thing or the other better. My base layer always dried within minutes after my exertion level dropped. The uninsulated, stretchy, close-fitting, adjustable and stowable hood moves with your head, fits under any helmet, provides excellent coverage, and cuts some wind while breathing quite well—an ideal middle-layer hood.
For backcountry skiing or riding, climbing, snowshoeing, or hiking, I find it best for temps well below freezing—for me, it only became too warm in sunshine, calm air, and temps around freezing. Maybe best of all, it comes in under a pound and under 200 bucks.
Read my full review of the Beyond Clothing Dasche L3 Jacket.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog, at no cost to you, by clicking this affiliate link to purchase a Beyond Clothing Dasche L3 Jacket at beyondclothing.com.
The Best Insulated Jackets for Extra Warmth
For really cold days of backcountry skiing, ski touring, snowshoeing, hiking and backpacking, and resort skiing, many of us need an insulation layer with extra warmth—to wear constantly in severe cold at low exertion levels; to pull on during brief rest breaks, at a belay, or while in camp or outside a yurt; or to have as an emergency piece in your pack. Here are my top picks for insulated jackets that cross over from various winter pursuits to chilly, shoulder-season backpacking and camping in temps below freezing.
Feathered Friends Helios Hooded Down Jacket
$469, 1 lb. 1 oz./482g
While it’s not made for breathability while being active, for incomparable warmth in a lightweight, packable puffy, I haven’t found anything that beats the Feathered Friends Helios Hooded Down Jacket. On winter nights in the single digits outside a yurt in Idaho’s Boise Mountains, and raw, wet spring mornings camped in Idaho’s City of Rocks, this fat down jacket felt crazy warm—especially for its weight and packability, spotlighting its versatility as an outstanding down jacket for winter and a puffy that’s light and packable enough for chilly, three-season trips.
The Helios is generously stuffed with 900+-fill down, the highest-quality down produced, including in the comfortable, adjustable hood. The water-resistant, 20-denier Pertex Endurance LT shell fabric repels light precipitation, and the jacket has two hand pockets with overlapping stretch flaps in lieu of a zipper, plus one small, zippered inside pocket.
Read my full review of the Feathered Friends Helios Hooded Down Jacket.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog, at no cost to you, by clicking this affiliate link to purchase a men’s Feathered Friends Helios Hooded Down Jacket at featheredfriends.com.
Black Diamond Vision Down Parka
$465, 1 lb. 4.5 oz./581g
With a rare degree of warmth and features designed for extreme conditions, BD’s Vision Down Parka has few competitors among the warmest down jackets for climbing, backpacking, and camping in temperatures well below freezing—as I learned on a 17° F March morning camped on the edge of The Maze District of Canyonlands National Park and other occasions when this parka warmed me up after ambient temps had cooled me down quickly.
Stuffed with 800-fill power, Allied HyperDRY-treated goose down insulation, the Vision Parka resists moisture buildup and delivers high warmth for its weight; it’s like wearing a sleeping bag over your torso. Its water-resistant down carries added importance in sub-freezing temps because moisture released through sweating and breathing can accumulate in insulation and compromise the warmth of standard down. The parka also sports a fat, helmet-compatible, adjustable hood, three zippered hand and chest pockets and two internal drop pockets, and stuffs into an inside pocket, packing down to the size of a football.
Read my full review of the Black Diamond Vision Down Parka.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog, at no cost to you, by clicking any of these affiliate links to purchase a men’s or women’s Black Diamond Vision Down Parka at blackdiamondequipment.com, backcountry.com, or moosejaw.com.
The Best Winter Backcountry Shell Jackets and Pants
For activities like backcountry ski touring and riding, snowshoeing, climbing, and hiking, when I’m working hard for hours in wide-ranging winter temps and weather, I want a shell jacket and pants with superior breathability—so that I don’t get soaked with sweat while exerting—that also repel hours of falling snow and block most wind. The jacket must have an adjustable, brimmed hood that keeps wind and precipitation off my face and must fit comfortably over base and middle layers, allowing full range of motion. The pants should have adequate pockets and ventilate well for moving uphill. Neither should be too heavy.
Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Jacket and Bibs
Jacket: $399, 1 lb. 5.5 oz./610g
Bibs: $399, 1 lb. 9 oz./709g
The waves of December snowstorms rolled through for days, dumping cold, dry, light powder in the mountains. In the backcountry, the skiing was epic—as were the weather conditions. That’s when high-quality shells demonstrate their value. On numerous days of ski touring through hours of heavily falling snow, temps ranging from the single digits to the teens and 20s Fahrenheit, and frequent wind, OR’s Skytour AscentShell Jacket and Bibs passed every qualifying exam to rank among the very best outerwear for winter.
The newest iteration of OR’s proprietary, three-layer, stretch AscentShell waterproof-breathable membrane performs like a hard shell but feels and moves like a soft shell. AscentShell’s impressive breathability enabled base layers to dry out completely after getting sweaty on long climbs—keeping testers comfortable in all conditions. I rarely even feel the need to open the deep pit zips, although those are a nice feature on warmer days of touring.
The jacket has four waterproof, zippered external pockets and two inside pockets, a helmet-compatible hood, and a fit that accommodates warm layers. The bibs have deep, ventilating front and side zippers, plus five zippered pockets, including two cargo and hand pockets and a smartly designed beacon pocket on the chest, as well as reinforced cuffs with a stretch-mesh internal gaiter.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog, at no cost to you, by clicking any of these affiliate links to purchase the men’s or women’s Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Jacket and/or Skytour AscentShell Bibs at backcountry.com, moosejaw.com, or outdoorresearch.com.
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Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Hybrid Shell and Pants
BD’s Dawn Patrol Hybrid Shell and Pants have kept me dry and comfortable on countless days of backcountry skiing, in temperatures ranging from single digits with a below-zero wind chill through the high 30s, in falling snow, light rain mixed with wet snow, wind, and just plain calm, sub-freezing air. The hybrid design of both blends the brand’s proprietary BD.dry waterproof-breathable fabric with a PFC- and water-free DWR (durable, water-resistant treatment) in areas most exposed to weather—chest, hood, and shoulders in the jacket and the lower legs and seat in the pants—with highly breathable soft-shell fabric in places where our bodies dump heat and moisture, like the underarms and sides of the jacket and thighs and front of the pants.
Abundant stretch in both pieces let you move unencumbered both uphill and downhill. The jacket’s center front dual zipper features a built-in mesh panel for venting on the climb and a perforated panel on the collar for breathing through while still protecting your face. Features include two harness-compatible chest pockets that fit skins, an internal media pocket, pit zips, an adjustable, helmet-compatible hood, and hook-and-loop cuffs with a lightweight wrist gaiter.
The pants feature side zips for venting; two zippered thigh pockets, one with an internal sleeve for a beacon, and a smaller, zippered hip pocket; instep patches to guard against ski edges and crampon points; a stretch gaiter and cuffs with dual snap closures for different types of ski boots; an integrated belt for waist adjustment with internal loops for suspender compatibility; and an integrated RECCO reflector.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog, at no cost to you, by clicking any of these affiliate links to purchase the men’s or women’s Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Hybrid Shell at blackdiamondequipment.com, backcountry.com, or moosejaw.com, and the Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Hybrid Pants at blackdiamondequipment.com, backcountry.com, or moosejaw.com.
Be sure to read my stories “How to Dress in Layers for Winter in the Backcountry” and “12 Pro Tips For Staying Warm Outdoors in Winter,” and see all reviews of outdoor apparel at The Big Outside.
NOTE: I tested gear for Backpacker magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See The Big Outside’s Gear Reviews page for categorized menus of all gear reviews and expert buying tips.