I'd like to get some advice on layering and hear comments on some of the new products that have recently been made available to complement the layering system. My clothing is looking to take me to Mt Shasta, Mt Rainier, Mt Elbert, Mt Kilimanjaro, and then perhaps Mt McKinley.
Outer shell: Seems that the best materials in this category are the new 3 layer XCR Gore-Tex fabrics. Items I've looked at include the Northface Kachatna Parka, the Northface Ama Dublam jacket and the Arcteryx Alpha SV jacket.
Insulation: This category is becoming really confusing with some recent additions. It used to be a simple insulating fleece in 100, 200, or 300 weight but now there are a number of "wind blocking" type fabrics. I've looked at a number of windstopper garments and most seem fairly thin and with only a minor layer of 100 fleece on the inside. Some of these are calling themselve "softshells" to combine the outer layer with a supposed water-resistant fleece layer..... So, I guess my question is, for climbing the above mountains, is a regular 300 weight fleece better for an insulation layer or is there something to this windstopper stuff that makes this an improvement to the insulation layer? Gear I've looked at in this area is the Northface Denali fleece, the Arcteryx Gamma SV (polartec Power Shield), and a Marmot Tongass jacket. Would really like your advice for which way to go here?!
Base layer: I've used both the REI MTS stuff and the Patagonia capilene and prefer the capilene. The only question is which weight? Do most prefer an all around mid-weight or do they start with expedition weight (which is basically a fleece next to your skin)?
Now putting this all together, any additional layers to consider or will an outer shell, heavy or windstopper fleece, and good base layer do it?
Thanks in advance for your input? I've learned so much from this board, it's been truly a god-sent!