Good outerwear IS expensive. If u want cheap you'll have to go used...or just plain cheap (think, wet ass). Beware of used outerwear, as it may look good, but perhaps it is because the idiot washed it 20 times and now its not going to dispel water for shit. Proper care of high end outerwear that both breathes and repels water is critical to its functional longevity.
Anything Goretex is a good choice.
Brand doesn't really matter unless you are going for backcountry survival gear. Arcteryx and Patagonia make fine products, but I don't personally need an $800 shell. However you ARE looking at about $200msrp starting price for a decent pair with acceptable tech. Try to score something off last years models at your local shop labor day sale this weekend, whiskeymilitia, etc...
So get whatever suits your price and function needs, look for goretex and numbers like 10,000/10,000 or higher and you'll be fine.
I personally go with Volcom, lots of cool stash pockets, ventilation, zip-tech pant/jacket integration for powder, goretex.
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Last edited by snowklinger; 08-28-2012 at 11:44 PM.