Eastern Mountain Sports is proud to be the official gear outfitter of Austin Lehman Adventures. All of us here at our Peterborough, NH headquarters and in our 68 retail stores throughout the northeast hope you have the time of your life on your upcoming trip and that you return home with stories that never get old. As your departure date draws near, chances are the only thing that could possibly dampen your excitement is worrying about what kind of gear to bring with you. Your expert guides at ALA will have some detailed recommendations for your specific itinerary, but the easiest way to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible on your epic trip is to follow the same golden rule for any outdoor adventure – dress in layers.
With the right layering system, you’ll be comfortable no matter what the day brings.
Every layering system starts at your skin with a moisture-wicking base layer that moves sweat away from you to regulate your body temperature and dries quickly to keep you comfortable. In addition to synthetic options like our Techwick products, many adventures choose merino wool base layers from SmartWool and Icebreaker. If the thought of wearing wool in the summer time sounds crazy, you need to experience the remarkable breathability of merino wool, which has the added benefit of being naturally antimicrobial. On long trips like the one you’re planning where washing machines might not always be available, merino base layers are a nice option, for you AND your traveling companions! Whichever base layer option you choose, just remember: “cotton is rotten” because it retains perspiration and takes a long time to dry.
Once you’ve chosen your base layers, it’s time to add an insulating mid layer. Whether you go with a light or midweight fleece or a down jacket/vest or heavyweight fleece depends entirely on what conditions you expect. If I had to choose just one mid layer to bring with me on a multi day adventure, without a doubt, I would choose one of our Polartec Powerstretch products. I literally use my Powerstretch zip up year-round. I hike in it, bike in it, paddle in it and hang out by the campfire in it. Powerstrech keeps me warm by itself on 40 degree days and if I’m running, hiking or skiing on a 20 degree day, it’s still the only midlayer I need. On really cold days or nights where the temperature drops into the twenties, I’ll bring along a heavy weight fleece and I’m pretty much ready for anything.
A Powerstretch top and tights were all I needed to stay warm on a 24 mile ride to work on a 40 degree day last May.
I prefer to call the outer layer the “weather” layer because since I run hot, my shells only come out when it’s windy, rainy, or some other form of nasty to the point where I need some extra protection. Another year-round favorite for me is my Orion Jacket. I like it because it’s lightweight and comfortable enough to wear as a rain jacket in the summer and because it blocks the wind nicely in the winter. That said, if I’m cross country skiing and the forecast calls for light snow, I have no problem wearing a water repellent softshell jacket that gives me better range of motion than a hard shell jacket that’s waterproof.
EMS Orion Jacket
You’ve probably noticed that I’ve recommended a LOT of Eastern Mountain Sports brand products. Please know I’m not just a homer. EMS really is my go-to choice for all my outdoor gear and apparel. That said, you’ll find a lot of your favorite brands at all our stores and online at ems.com, including The North Face, Mountain Hardwear, and Marmot as well as all your favorite footwear and camping brands. On behalf of all of us at Eastern Mountain Sports, enjoy your trip!