Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Southern California
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Think two things: 1. Stay Warm 2. Stay Dry.
Staying Warm is not accomplished by wearing as much shit as possible. Think tech - not thick. To stay warm and dry wear 3 layers in this order:
FIRST Layer or Base Layer = Wicking layer. This is the layer that touches your skin - not the layer you wear over a t-shirt or wife-beater. This layer is NEVER cotton. It should be a synthetic fabric such as a wicking polyester, but remember the keyword is ":wicking". You will sweat - and this layer will lift the sweat from your body and pull it to the outside layers.
SECOND Layer or Mid Layer= Warmth Layer. Warmth layers are often made of fleece or another synthetic wools designed to trap warm air inside and block cold air from the outside. When it comes to your mid-layer think WARMTH - not "steeze". Patagonia, NorthFace, Marmot, Mountain HardWear, are some brands you probably recognize that make quality fleece gear. Not your "core" brands, I get it. But warm brands...
THIRD Layer or Outer Layer = Elements Layer. A shell layer comes in different breathability and insulation ratings. This layer should keep moisture out, and block wind. The essential layer for staying dry. Look for these characteristics in a good shell or outer layer: fully-taped seams, wrist gaiter, powder gaiter, adjustable cuffs, arm pit vents, hood visor
You mentioned Burton AK gear. You will spend a lot of dough for that gear for sure. Hate to say it, but it will also do the job - warm & dry. There are alternatives to AK gear for sure - shop around. Just remember that getting the layering right will work 10x better than throwing on layer upon layer of the wrong materials. All the well-known snowboard apparel companies make a good shell and pant. Sometimes you have to venture out for a solid mid-layer.
Hope this helps.