Clothing Guide

Your Guide to Winter Sports Clothing

Waterproofing

There are varying levels of "waterproof" fabrics available throughout our Snowsports clothing range. The industry standard for measuring a fabric’s water permeability is called ‘Hydrostatic Head’. A column of water is placed on the fabric and the water level increased to build up the pressure and find the point at which the water starts to permeate the fabric. The column of water is then measured to give the fabric’s waterproof rating in mm from 0 to in excess of 45,000mm. The higher the figure, the better the fabrics waterproofing level. Further to this test, Snow+Rock believe that a garment can only be deemed "waterproof" if all the seams are taped. Some garments are Critically Taped with only strategic seams taped i.e. shoulder, hood or chest, while Fully Taped means that all seams are covered with a high quality waterproof band.

Breathability

For a garment to keep you dry on the inside, the outer fabric and lining must be breathable. Even in cold conditions you will perspire and if a garment doesn’t have sufficient breathability, moisture (from perspiration) will build up as condensation on the inside. This moisture will cool you down when you stop, so it is important to select a garment that offers the right level of waterproofing and breathability for the conditions and level of activity you propose to use it for. For specific snowsports clothing, we believe you should seek a product that offers the highest possible breathability for a given waterproof rating.

You will only benefit from the full breathability of your garment if it is used in conjunction with a moisture wicking thermal base layer and mid layer. Moisture (perspiration) must be transported away from your skin by your base and mid layers in order to keep you dry and warm. Snow+Rock offer an extensive range of base layer thermals, mid layer fleeces and insulation layers to help you build a versatile layering system that will allow you to enjoy your time in the mountains.

Windproofing

The windproofing or air permeability of a garment differs depending on the fabric technology being used. For example, a product that features Polartec fleece will allow a bit of cool air through, which is ideal in warmer end of season conditions. By comparison, fabrics such as Polartec Powershield* or WINDSTOPPER allow you to conserve as much heat as possible by blocking the wind altogether, and are ideal for harsher mid-winter conditions.

Insulation

Many garments now utilise the warming properties of thermal insulation either built-in to the garment or in the form of an additional liner that can be attached to an outer jacket. There are two main varieties of insulation - down and synthetic.

DOWN

  • Has an extremely high warmth-to-weight ratio
  • Is highly compressible and lightweight
  • Traps warm air in its loft to keep you warm.

Down is rated according to fill power - meaning the number of cubic inches one ounce of down will occupy. For example, if one ounce of down takes up a volume of 650 cubic inches, it is given a 650 fill power rating. The quality of the down is directly related to its fill power rating with high quality down having a high fill power and requiring fewer ounces of down to create insulating warmth. The higher the fill power, the better the down will insulate because there is less of a chance of "cold spots"-areas in the garment where there is no down.

SYNTHETIC

  • Is water resistant and provides insulation when wet
  • Dries quickly, usually in a matter of minutes in direct sunlight
  • Affordable and good value for money
  • Easy to care for. Most synthetic fill garments are machine washable and dryable
  • Completely hypoallergenic. Because synthetics are man-made, they are, for the most part, hypoallergenic
  • Very high warmth-to-weight and volume ratio
  • Great as part of a layering system.

Synthetic insulation is polyester threading that is moulded into long single threads or short staples to mimic lofty down clusters. Thinner and lighter threads fill voids and trap warm air more effectively, while thicker strands sustain the loft and durability.

Creating the Perfect Layering System:

The Base Layer

This is the most important layer in the system as it sits closest to the skin. Without a good quality base layer, the performance of each subsequent layer will be compromised. This layer must be close fitting to maximise the fabric’s moisture wicking capabilities. It allows the moisture (perspiration) to be transported away from the skin and out through each layer. Cotton, by comparison, absorbs moisture and holds it next to your skin making you feel damp and cold when resting.

The Mid Layer

The mid layer provides you with versatile insulation, both on and off the slopes. It must be highly breathable to allow moisture transportation from your base layer out. In cold conditions, it is important to have these layers to trap air as they provide extra warmth, and by adding or removing mid layers, you can maintain a comfortable body temperature. Wearing multiple thin layers is less bulky and more versatile than wearing a single thick layer. A gilet (body warmer) is a useful addition to any layering system, keeping the back and chest warm without restricting arm movement.

The Outer Layer

The jacket and pants form the outer layer of your clothing system are designed to protect you by resisting the snow and wind. As well as the outer fabric being breathable, both the jackets and pants will feature zippered venting to allow you to dump excess body heat. This outer layer should also offer durable protection against the abrasive effects of snow, ice and equipment, yet be light enough to allow for sustained activity.

Most jackets and pants will have some form of lining or insulation to add comfort and warmth. Choose a level of insulation that suits your personal preference, and when and where you ski.

Shell jackets are lightweight, packable and offer protection from the elements outside, but they will not have any insulating property, instead relying on an insulation layer worn underneath. A versatile and great value for money form of outerwear is the 3-in-1 jacket, which consists of an outer jacket and a zip-in/zip-out insulation layer, and allows you to adapt your clothing as the weather changes.

Soft Shell garments are ideal if your activity requires a high level of aerobic output, as they not only offer exceptional water resistance and windproofing, but also deliver maximum breathability and allow perspiration and vapour to evaporate. Hugely versatile, they are lightweight and use supple fabrics for enhanced freedom of movement.

Greater mobility is another area where outer layers have been changing. The construction of fabrics with 2-way or 4-way stretch properties has led to enhanced levels of performance and greater comfort, as well as garments that have a more fitted style but don’t restrict freedom of movement. In addition, advances in technology now allow manufacturers to create stretch fabrics that maintain their waterproof properties as they stretch, so you can now have it all.

Caring For Your Garments

To retain the waterproof and breathable performance of your garment, it must be kept clean of dirt and grease. If the pores of the fabric get blocked water is able to seep through and the breathability compromised. We sell a complete range of garment care products that are specially developed to clean and rejuvenate the waterproofing and breathability of your garments. Please seek advice from our staff on the correct product for treating your jacket or pants.

Size Information

At Snow+Rock we aim to stock the largest size range available from our suppliers. As a general rule French and Italian brands such as Degré 7 and Eider lean towards a more petite fit. Whereas German and American brands such as Schoffel and Columbia tend to have a larger cut.

Our size guide is available on each product detail page and has been organised so that you can view sizing information for particular products e.g helmets, packs etc, but also by brand to find out the exact fit of each brand's clothing range.