In the mountains, you must be prepared for changeable weather and emergencies. You have to carry everything with you that you will need – but obviously, the weight of clothing (and equipment) plays a significant role when you’re ski touring. Less weight in your pack means more fun on the tour. Put another way: Carry everything you need, but carry as little as possible.
The best clothing concept is to rely on a versatile system of garments that are layered or worn one on top of another - hence the term ‘layering’. The various layers help to transport moisture away from your skin, while trapping insulating air between the garments, which helps to keep you warm. How many layers are needed and which materials they are made from is an individual choice and depends on how easily you feel the cold, how strenuous the activity will be, and on many other factors. That said, there are a few general rules and a few basic garments that you will need almost every day in the mountains:
Baselayer: A wicking layer that is worn next to your skin. This layer provides a moderate amount of insulation, and transports sweat away from your skin quickly and effectively.
Midlayer: One or two layers that keep you warm – these can be made of fleece, synthetic insulation or down.
Outer layer: A protective external layer that is either waterproof (hardshell) or water- and wind-resistant (softshell).
Ideally, each clothing layer should fulfill multiple functions, to provide maximum possible versatility and efficiency. This will save you valuable weight so you will make it to the summit more quickly!