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Old 06-23-2013, 10:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Best Gear for Japan

Hi, I am off to Japan in March for a week of boarding, but my current jacket and pants will not cut it as to warmth and waterproofing. Can anyone tell me of some good brands for woman that will keep me pretty warm and dry. I really struggle with warmth on the Australian snow fields let alone going somewhere genuinely cold.
Thanks
Tarynne
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hmm. Japan is generally cold and dry I would say on average the temps are -5 to -13 each day. It is nowhere near as wet as the snow in AU though so you dont get that soaked/frozen feeling.
However you are travelling in march which is considerably warmer than jan/feb. Due to this the snow will also be wetter than jan/feb.

Goretex is great for waterproofing, I also like to swap out my beanie,neckwarmer and gloves to mittens after lunch, it keeps me warm and happy so I ride for longer.

Even better change your dates to feb, the difference between feb and march is huge and you still get shoulder season prices. Feb is full winter feeling,March is full spring feeling, its crazy how fast the seasons change in japan.
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Old 06-24-2013, 02:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Best thing is layers.

Base-Layer
Pull Over (Interchangeable)
Puffer (Interchangeable)
GORE-TEX Shell

Buy GORE-TEX Shell's. Check out Oakley or The North Face. I'm not a fan of the 'Ski' brands like Spyder or Karbon, but they also sell respectable products. I just think they're living off their reputations with regards to pricing considering 99.99% of their product is made in China. Arc'teryx is much the same, but I like it more since its name is weird.

BUT, for peace of mind and flexibility, get the shells. Then buy a good base layer, then layer on with a Moncler/Canada Goose puffer - they can condense into something mean and tiny so they fit in a jacket pocket if you're too warm with it. If you're stuck in a blizzard you could always layer a fleece pull over, but I think you'll roast - for me its either fleece pull over on top of underarmour/drifit from Nike, or its the base layer + a puffer.

All up it stacks the $$, but IMO its better if you frequently move around as you're gear can be kitted up/down according to location, season and temp. Plus, the puffer you can wear normally anyway - full blown insulated snow gear is really a single purpose item only.

Other brands sell puffers like TNF, HH, etc. I prefer moncler or Canada Goose for a few reasons, mainly personal.

Good luck! (I'll be in Japan in Feb! Should be awesome)
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Old 06-24-2013, 07:38 AM   #4 (permalink)
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As ETM says the best thing you can do is change your dates to Feb, you might get lucky in March but this year was pretty awful for snow.

As for gear in my experience its usually not very wet here so you don't need gortex, any decent shell will suffice. Of course gortex is nice if you have the plenty of spare cash.

Also you won't need a down layer, a microfleece of any kind is enough on top of your base layer (merino wool is the best, IMO but again expensive and not a must). Then the shell on top. Most days I take off my fleece and leave it in the lodge until the last run unless its below -10.

I do ride pretty hard and generate a lot of heat though.

You will have a blast here if you time it right.

Also if you get a big dump of powder renting a powder specific deck could be a game changer for your enjoyment level.

Its so hot here now its hard to even remember that cold snowy feeling.
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreampow View Post
As ETM says the best thing you can do is change your dates to Feb, you might get lucky in March but this year was pretty awful for snow.

As for gear in my experience its usually not very wet here so you don't need gortex, any decent shell will suffice. Of course gortex is nice if you have the plenty of spare cash.

Also you won't need a down layer, a microfleece of any kind is enough on top of your base layer (merino wool is the best, IMO but again expensive and not a must). Then the shell on top. Most days I take off my fleece and leave it in the lodge until the last run unless its below -10.

I do ride pretty hard and generate a lot of heat though.

You will have a blast here if you time it right.

Also if you get a big dump of powder renting a powder specific deck could be a game changer for your enjoyment level.

Its so hot here now its hard to even remember that cold snowy feeling.
I absolutely agree with everything in that post.

Some added comments:
- In Hokkaido it is all about the right level of insulation and having gear that is windproof. Especially during the main season (until the end of February or so) conditions (rarely if) ever gets wet, so waterproofing is really not important. Even 10k waterproof gear will be fine.
- It can be very cold or windy - often it is cold and windy. So definitely make sure to have a very windproof outmost layer and sufficient additional layers. Niseko is one of those places were a padded/insulated jacket is actually preferable to a shell. Especially when resort riding you will need at least one (and likely more) layer of insulation, so you might as well have it in the jacket, instead of needing an extra piece.

In Niseko I only wear my Arc'teryx shell when hiking Youtei (or maybe the peak of Mt. Annupuri) - with one insulating mid-layer for the hike and a second layer (fleece) for riding.
For resort riding, I will almost always opt for my insulated basic Burton Indecent Exposure jacket with another insulating layer (fleece or other mid-layer) underneath, rather than my Gore-Tex shell.
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:37 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks guys for the advice, unfortunately I can not re book the trip, My husband went with all his brother to Niseko in January this year and they had a blast, So he is a little concerned about the conditions in March. That being said I am sure we will still have fun.
Had I of not written into this forum I may of spent a lot of money on gear when I may of not needed to. I plan on layering and lots of it. I will give my current jacket and pants ago and if they fail me, well then I guess I can always buy new clothing, either in Japan or when I get home ready for the next year.
Cheers
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Good choice, no need to lay down lots of cash on new gear for a one week trip,
bring several under layers, but make sure you check the weather each day because you might not need any more than the base layer and shell on top in March.

Also if it gets wet and slushy you can buy some waterproof spray for 1000 Yen that will help a lot and make your current gear more waterproof. Just make sure you spray it when you are outside (not in a small enclosed room) because its quite bad for your lungs.

On a colder and windy day you might want a couple of layers if you are not that athletic of a rider (the more athletic you ride the more heat you generate).

A decent quality fleece is a great light weight mid layer and I swear by mine. 300grams means it doesn't way you down or restrict your movements but under a shell they trap a lot of heat.

March is variable, you might have epic powder and low temps followed by pretty hot weather and slushy conditions.

It should be better than this year if the law of averages comes into play.
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