An efficient clothing system is the holy grail for comfort and safety in the outdoors, and a prerequisite for packing light. A good layer system will handle hot, cold, and wet; and weigh no more than 2 to 3 pounds.
Our clothing systems are simple, light, and proven to perform. Essentially, the same clothing we have been outfitting outdoors people with for 19 years. While the styles and brands have changed, the fabrics not so much. No snake oil magic fabrics here, only fabrics that perform! Base layers than wick moisture, windproof layers that breath, and insulation that keeps you warm.
For insulating layers we have gravitated to down over synthetic, recognizing that synthetic is the more conservative choice and often the best choice for those new to northwest conditions. However for many of us, it's hard to beat the down!
Base layers from Icebreaker and Rab.
Soft and hard shells from Mont Bell.
Down and synthetic garments from Mont Bell.
Down garments from Western Mountaineering and Montbell.
Nature vs modern fabrics
While nylon fabrics have replaced natural materials for much, we defer to nature for base layers. If you are familiar with the story of Ernest Shackleton you will know that their survival (no man was lost) was in part luck, leadership, and toughness, but also the right clothing. 100% merino wool head to toe, 24/7 through 21 months of Antarctic weather extremes, often times wet in an open rowboat in sub freezing temps.
Dress Shackleton’s crew in today's synthetic base layers ... do they survive?