Some of these garments work across all categories - hybrid shells like the Arc'teryx Lithic Comp Jacket and Patagonia Reconnaissance Jacket are great in pretty much any splitboarding situation. Lightweight fleece hoodies like The Patagonia R1 and the NuYarn Merino Trew Chill Top also excel much of the time, as do breathable soft shells like the Arc'teryx Procline Hybrid Hoody and wind shirts like the Black Diamond Alpine Start.
Layering preferences often boil down to the individual but some systems do work better than others in certain environments. Conditions vary from the 'norm' often in the mountains. However, different mountain environments are often characterised by certain conditions. Here are a few of our favourite layering combos for some classic backcountry locations and the typical conditions that are found there.
Typical Splitboarding destination | WEST COAST OF NORWAY
Western Norway is a place where the Atlantic Ocean is never far away. Moist winds and huge dumps of snow are the standard. Thin, weatherproof layers that repel moisture and wind but don't cause overheating are the key. A synthetic insulation layer for summit and rest stops is mandatory to avoid rapid chilling.
Start off with a long sleeve zip neck mid weight baselayer like the Arc'teryx Phase AR. Potentially warm enough to wear on its own but offers more than a T Shirt when needed.
The Patagonia R1 Pullover is a great lightweight intermediary layer. Crucially, the grid fleece fabric (like most fleeces) works really well under the waterproof shell which you''ll probably be wearing some or most of the time.
A hooded wind shirt like the Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody is never too heavy to leave behind. Works great as a lightweight shell on blustery days and still breathes well under a waterproof shell.
TREW use a super breathable fabric called Dermizax NX on the Wander Jacket. It's light and packable too and looks like a great splitboarding shell.
Part of their new touring specific range, the TREW Roam Pants have good venting and are lightweight and breathable which make them a good choice for all day use.
A really important part of the system in wet climates - a synthetic puffy to stick on over the top of your shell when the weather gets wild is pretty essential. The taped Windstopper shell of the Arc'teryx Nuclei AR Jacket and 100g Coreloft fill makes it the perfect choice in nasty, damp conditions.
Typical Splitboarding destination | COLORADO IN MIDWINTER
Touring continental mountains in midwinter is usually a cold affair dominated by low temps and cold winds. Breathable active insulation is the way to go and full on waterproof protection is less of a concern than in milder coastal climates.
The Burton AK Power Dry Tech Hoodie is a light enough to wear as an active baselayer yet offers proper lock down coverage from cold winds with its hood, long length and thumb looops. A great baselayer for splitboarding whatever the conditions, but especially when it's cold.
Progressive, new school insulation that's just made for frigid days in the skin track, the Patagonia Nano Air Hoody is super air permeable and almost as breathable as a fleece. It has has an awesome 'broken in' feel from the word go.
A completely waterproof shell isn't needed when it's dry so go for a hybrid shell. The Patagonia Reconnaissance Jacket has zoned waterproof and soft shell fabrics for an ideal combination of weather protection mixed with mobility and breathability.
Just like the Reconnassiance Jacket, the Patagonia Reconnassiance Pants have areas of waterproof and soft shell fabrics to maximise protection and breathability depending on where you need it most.
You can't beat a down jacket when it's cold. The Black Diamond Cold Forge Hoody features Primaloft Gold Down Blend Insulation. It's made up of 70% down cluster for packable warmth and 30% Primaloft Gold Synthetic fibres for increased weather resistance.
Typical Splitboarding destination | NORTHERN BC AND ALASKA
Maybe the most difficult and gear intensive environment, cold, wet places like Northern BC or AK can range from fairly benign conditions at low altitudes to ferocious conditions in the alpine. Active layers that add some warmth and provide some moisture protection are a good call. Fully weatherproof and insulated outer layers work well in this environment too. Splitboarding in cold and wet places also requires fabrics that dry quickly within a layering system as it's often impossible to stay completely dry.
A high end hooded baselayer from Patagonia. The Patagonia Capilene Thermal Weight Hoody is made from Polartec Power Dry which has a grid construction for superior warmth and breathability.
Perfect for splitboarding in mixed conditions, the Arc'teryx Procilne Hybrid Hoody offers good wind and moisture protection whilst still remaining very light and breathable. The materials used will dry out very quickly should they get wet and the adjustable hood helps regulate temperature in the skin track.
Obviously the key piece in a cold / wet layering system, a good waterproof shell is essential. There are many to choose from from but go for something light but also like the Burton AK 3L Freebird made from Gore-Tex Pro fabric.
Bibs can sometimes be overkill, especially in dry and mild conditions. When it's snowing and blowing though the extra coverage and protection a bib can give is awesome. The Patagonia PowSlayer Bibs are light, durable and fully storm proof.
In cold and wet environments the Arc'teryx Stikine Jacket can work either as bombproof over the top insulation for summit and rest stops or as your shell and warm layer rolled into one, saving weight and bulk overall. The Thermatek insulation is as hydrophobic as it gets and the Gore-Tex shell is totally weather proof. Big venting pockets add breathability for the skin track. An awesome garment for splitboarding in nasty weather.