A Little Bit This And A Little Bit That — Winter Clothing Outdoor Retailer 2017

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 13, 2017      

Day two at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market showed us lots of new or updated lines from the clothing side of many of the brands that make ski touring apparel. Here is just a small touch of what is in store for winter 2018.


I appreciate that Patagonia is not only attempting to make the best products for outdoor ventures, but that they are constantly trying to do it with less waste and negative impact on the environment.

New for next winter, Patagonia has redesigned their killer Pow Slayer kit so that the face fabric is made from 100% recycled materials with GORE-TEX Pro still built in to keep you uber dry. They also went through and streamlined the folds, seams, and pockets to reduce the amount of material going into the product and allow general efficiency in the folds being used. Lucky for us, this means that the product is now around 30% lighter weight. Expect to see the rest of the ski kits to be 40-70% recycled face fabric.

Patagonia introduces their new "Descensionist" kit

Patagonia introduces their new “Descensionist” kit — hardshell jacket, pants, and backpack. This line includes a harness-and-pack friendly jacket with huge mesh lined pockets that double as dynamic vents (as you walk uphill, your legs push the bottom of the jacket and cause the pockets to flap open and closed, moving air in and out like fish gills) and pockets for even large items like skins. MSRP, jacket $399, pants $299.

Along with the Descensionist pants and jacket,

Along with the Descensionist pants and jacket, Patagonia offers a sweet 40L backpack with a dedicated snow safety pocket, the ability to remove/move nearly all the straps, and a side entry zipper. This pack allows you to ditch what you don’t want and move around what you do — including the laminated foam frame. The grab loop is fully integrated all the way to the bottom of the pack and can therefore be used as a haul strap.

Outdoor Research

Mrs. WildSnow rockin' her runway model pose to show off the Plaza skirt.

Mrs. WildSnow rockin’ her runway model pose to show off Plaza skirt from Outdoor Research. Stuffed with 700 fill down, with a waistband that stretchy and low-profile. We like that various companies offer insulated skirts. They are versatile enough to wear around town, walk the dog or throw on over your ski pants before sitting down on a cold car seat at the trailhead.

Outdoor Research’s active insulation line is designed so people in the backcountry can “move, not remove.”

The goal is to maximize temperature regulation so you can keep ski touring instead of adding or removing layers when temperatures change.

For example, the new Ascendant Hoody. It has insulation technology as the Deviator Hoody (Deviator came out last year). The Ascendant jacket features a combination of highly breathable insulation paired with an air-permeable outer shell.

Ascendant uses Alpha Direct for the interior: knit construction that does away with the need for a mesh liner which means one less layer through which heat and moisture have to move through in order to vent, improving dry time and reducing weight.

Ascendant will be available fall 2017.

Outdoor Research Ascendant jacket.

Outdoor Research Ascendant jacket.

Specs for our discerning readers:

  • Pertex Microlight 100% nylon 20D ripstop stretch woven shell
  • Polartech Alpha Direct insulation 100% polyester, 95 g/m2
  • Water resistant, wind-resistant, breathable
  • Adjustable helmet compatible hood
  • Internal thumb loops
  • Zip chest pocket
  • Fit: trim
  • Weight (men’s large) 13oz, 369g
  • Center back length: 36″, 76 cm
  • Available for men and women
  • MSRP, $215
  • Mountain Equipment

    Partnering with alpinists for over 50 years, Mountain Equipment continually evolves their products to keep up with the cutting edge. We are happy to see them bring more and more of their quality items to the North American market.

    New for fall 2017, the Havoc jacket will keep our Pacific Northwet mountaineers happy. Gore-tex 40D fabric with Gore C-knit backer makes this hard shell fully waterproof and windproof performance, and the fabric has a surprisingly soft feel. The hood is ski helmet compatible and a zip-out snowskirt provides extra defense for those lusty deep powder days.

    Havoc pant is a full-bib ski pant. Water proof, breathable performance below the waist and a stretch woven Soft Shell bib ensures full protection on the big powder days.

    Available in men and women’s models:
    Havoc jacket, MSRP $500
    Havoc bib pant, MSRP $475

    Louie and Julia creating some Havoc.

    Creating havoc with the Havoc.

    The Superflux jacket is made with Polarloft featherless insulation which works wet or dry but because of its blown construction, breathes as well. Admittedly, it’s not quite as warm as down but definately insulates better in wet conditions.

  • Outer fabric is windproof and highly water resistant
  • Stitched-through quilted construction in the body
  • Adjustable, helmet compatable hood
  • 2 zipped hand warmer pockets
  • Internal zipped security pocket
  • Elastane bound cuffs and dual tether hem drawcords
  • Packs into hand pocket
  • Available in men and women’s models
  • MSRP $250
  • Skyline hooded jacket.

    Skyline hooded jacket.

    We like Mountain Equipment’s women’s line. Pieces are designed for the female physique rather than just downsizing men’s models. The Fuse jacket combines Polarloft featherless insulation with a lightweight stretch outer fabric. Highly breathable and easy moving, this layer can be worn alone for masimum mobilty and comfort on bluebird days, or layered under a shell when the sky turns grey.

  • Stitched-through quilted construction
  • Adjustable hood
  • 2 zippered hand pockets
  • Internal zipped security pocket
  • Elastane bound cuffs and dual tether hem drawcords
  • Packs into hand pocket
  • MSRP, $275
  • Mountain Equipment women's Fuse jacket.

    Julia cozy in the Fuse.

    Darn Tough
    This Vermont based sock brand is serving up new exciting products and changes for winter sports enthusiasts. All of their standard ski socks are sticking around but they are adding a few more to the line up.

    Darn Tough has added a ski sock with increased ribbing in

    Darn Tough has added a ski sock with increased ribbing in the ankle, arch, and top of the calf to prevent any slipping (sock on bottom). They’ve also added a breathable mesh zone along the top of the foot to keep your feet drier while they’re working hard. The all new women’s Mountain and men’s Mountain Top socks come in a light and cushion version (sock on top). If you’re into skimo and don’t already know about the RFT sock, then you should just know that it stands for Really Freaking Thin.

    Darn Tough decided that fat tire bikers should get a sock of

    Darn Tough decided that fat tire bikers should get a sock of their own too. As far as I know, this is a first. They’ve designed an ultra light sock with full cushion in the toe and calf. This means that the heel cup and ankle are lower profile to allow biking shoes to fit snuggly. The extra cushion in the toes and calves is meant to keep your extremities toasty and legs protected.

    The designers at Mammut have revamped their Eiger line with newer materials and colors. The biggest thing that stands out is that they decided to put high visibility orange on the insides of all the the jackets in the redesigned line to allow the user to have an article of clothing that makes them more visible from far away or in low light conditions: in an emergency, you can throw your jacket on inside out and help search and rescue locate you that much faster.

    Men’s Eigerjoch Advanced IN Hooded Jacket and Women’s Nordwand HS Thermo Hooded Jacket, both with Mammut High Visibility Backer™

    Men’s Eigerjoch Advanced IN Hooded Jacket and Women’s Nordwand HS Thermo Hooded Jacket, both with Mammut High Visibility Backer™

    Kari Traa
    This quickly growing Scandinavian women’s brand believes in colors and activewear with options and function. With a extensive base layer line, they have layers for different activity levels and seasons. Their lighter layers seem like a great fit for the uphilling girl.

    The Svala is their thinnest base layer with wool. 84% polyester, 11% wool, 5% elastane.

    The Svala is their thinnest base layer with wool. 84% polyester, 11% wool, 5% elastane.

    Not only are they carefully body mapped (so they fit nice), but they also have strategic mesh venting in the places that we need most -- behind the knees, under the arms, calves, and where a backpack sits at the top of your pants.

    Not only are they carefully body mapped (so they fit nice), but they also have strategic mesh venting in the places that we need most — behind the knees, under the arms, calves, and where a backpack sits at the top of your pants.

    CoolCore baselayers.

    CoolCore baselayers.


    CoolCore just came out with a simple base layer line that uses a fiber blend and weave that allows your skin to do what it is supposed to do – thermoregulate using evaporation. The material is free from cooling chemicals (many “cooling” layers use a chemical similar to menthol to create a cooling sensation against the skin) and works by transporting sweat laterally to allow it to diffuse. They say that the base layers are great to use all year long because they don’t just cool the body, but rather allow the body to do its normal regulating job, in warm or cold temps.

    The line includes leggings, running shorts, and long and short sleeved tops for men and women. They also have a line of cooling compression wraps for wrists, knees, backs, and ankles that use the same fabric technology and are ready to use after about 20 minutes in the freezer.

    That’s just some of the brands we visited. More on clothing coming next week.


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    12 Responses to “A Little Bit This And A Little Bit That — Winter Clothing Outdoor Retailer 2017”

    1. NT January 13th, 2017 12:39 pm

      Any new outerwear using Neoshell?

    2. Lee Sharp January 14th, 2017 9:55 am

      My wife loves technical clothing but she rarely buys the “women’s” version because she detests the foul colour lines. Just because she’s a woman (and believe me she is ALL woman!) that doesn’t mean she want’s to wear bright pink, puce, purple or pastel blue. The same fabric colourways are available for men and women’s garments but the manufacturer’s are wedded to pastels for women and stronger colours for men.

      Is it just my wife or do other women feel the same?

    3. Rachel Bellamy January 14th, 2017 5:11 pm

      NT, I didn’t see anything with NeoShell at the show.

      Lee Sharp, don’t worry, I’m the same way. I think some brands are better at gender unbiased color ways than others. I actually challenge myself to wear products that are pink, purple, and easter colored sometimes because all of my wardrobe and ski kits are without those colors for the most part. However, I have to say that companies are starting to hear this point of view more from women and I’ve seen a lot of color variation in women’s lines in the last three years. So things are getting less pink out there 🙂

    4. See January 14th, 2017 10:41 pm

      While the “shrink and pink” approach to women’s gear is lame, less understated colors can often be had at a discount, can make for interesting photos, and could come in handy if you have to change a tire and don’t have a reflective vest (or in other situations where visibility is desirable). Maybe I’m just stuck in the ’80’s, but if pink was good enough for Vallencant…

    5. Scott Mellin January 15th, 2017 2:22 pm

      Rachel. Did you check out the new The North Face Summit Series Ski Mountaineering collection? Pure skimo. Designed and Concepted in the Aspen zone. And no shrink and pink for women. Coming in Fall 2017.

    6. Kristian January 15th, 2017 5:32 pm

      Hey Scott Mellin (The North Face) Summit Series was super awesome purpose built alpinist gear, with the same items available year after year. The height of this gear was when it was designed and used by Alex Lowe. And all of it was tied together by the iconic TNF Gold color. All of it functioned with the same layout, matching zipper locations, pockets, etc. Now it all seems like a mish mash of differing not matching cuts, features, and trendy colors not suitable for Search and Rescue, and seasonal workbooks.

    7. See January 15th, 2017 7:01 pm

      Did the Aspen zone Concept the asymmetrical design of recent BD jackets? Does that design serve any practical purpose?

    8. Scott Mellin January 15th, 2017 8:00 pm

      Hi See. I was not a party to BD’s winter product design execution. I’ve worked on their climbing strategy. SM

    9. Scott Mellin January 15th, 2017 8:02 pm

      HI Kristian. I’m not a historian on TNF but I can say that the Summit Series for F17 is very worthy of your consideration. SM

    10. Tom M. January 17th, 2017 9:44 pm

      Hi Lou & Louie,

      Do you have any thoughts on the Faction Vacuum skin? It is a glue-less skin. It may only be available in Europe Below is a link.



    11. Ian April 3rd, 2017 8:28 pm


      What makes the Patagonia Descensionist pants unique. I have the Pow slayer bibs and have been looking for a lighter pant for spring skiing. I like the looks of the reconnaissance pants but wondering if I should hold out for these next season.


    12. wtofd April 4th, 2017 6:54 am

      NT, Ian,
      Strafe’s Cham2 jacket and pants are NeoShell. I’ve been using the pants all season and am impressed. Lighter than the Reconnaissance pant (barely) with a much better avy pocket.

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