Gear Guide 2020: Midlayers for Men and Women

Layering options to get you from first chair to the bar.
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When it comes to your thermostat, what’s in the middle matters. These ten midlayers should be at the top of your list from October through May. They look great on their own, but most importantly, the keep you warm when positioned between your baselayers and shell when you're out skiing.

GEAR OF THE YEAR: Houdini Power Air Houdi

Houdini Power Air Houdi

The Houdini Power Air Houdi features Polartec's new Power Air.

The biggest apparel technology breakthroughs are not taking over the midlayer space. Which is one of the reasons why Polartec’s new Power Air is such a big deal. Fleece, a component used widely in the layering scene, is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to microfiber shedding. Power Air aims to reduce that by five times what a traditional fleece will shed over the course of its lifetime, contaminating our waters, landfills, and air. Power Air traps lofted fibers inside a continuous and multilayered yarn fabric construction, keeping shedding to a minimum while serving up maximum warmth and insulation. Think bubble wrap layered between a recycled polyester. Better performance, less environmental impact? We’re on board. Power Air rolls out this season in Swedish outdoor brand Houdini Sportswear’s sleek new Houdi.

  • Fit: Athletic
  • Men's Houdini Power Air Houdi MSRP: $250 [BUY NOW]
  • Women's Houdini Power Air Houdi MSRP: $250 [BUY NOW

Houdini Power Hoody - The Inside Story

Men's Specific Midlayers

Flylow D$ (Pronounced D-Money)

Flylow midlayer 2020

Flylow dreamed up the perfect spring layer with the D$. Well, actually, the credit goes to downhill speedster Daron Rhalves (thus the D$), who requested a lightweight softshell layering piece designed to wick and breathe for touring and bootpacking missions later in the season. This may be just a simple polyester/Spandex blend treated with a DWR coating, but sometimes, that’s all you really need. 

  • Fit: Athletic
  • MSRP: $150

Strafe Aero Insulator Jacket

Strafe midlayer 2020

Another piece of apparel utilizing PrimaLoft’s new Gold Cross Core insulation—the stuff developed by NASA for spacesuits—the Aero is winning on every level. It’s super light, incredibly warm, and imminently packable at just 11.3 ounces. What’s more, the outer fabric is a water-resistant nylon ripstop, so you can even expose it to the elements without worry. 

  • Fit: Freeride
  • MSRP: $289

Eddie Bauer EverTherm Stretch Hoody

Eddie Bauer Midlayer 2020

Eddie Bauer debuted its innovative EverTherm technology last season in a midlayer jacket packed with sheets of down, called Thindown Flex, rather than feathers, thus eliminating cold spots and heat loss at the seams. This season, the brand upped its game by moving to a four-way stretch outer fabric for great movability and adding a hood. A game-changer. 

  • Fit: Athletic
  • MSRP: $399

Montane Prism Jacket

Montane Midlayer 2020

Montane’s well-loved insulator gets an update with a silky-smooth Pertex Quantum face fabric with DWR surrounding a recycled PrimaLoft Silver-stuffed interior, making it incredibly packable at 14 ounces and also warm and protective. Add in a roll-away helmet-compatible hood, articulated arms, and generous pockets for all the things you cannot go without, and this one’s great to grab and go. 

  • Fit: Athletic 
  • MSRP: $165

Fjällräven Greenland Re-Wool Cardigan 

Fjallraven midlayer 2020

Fjällräven’s Re-Wool technology is a green-minded concept so simple it’s a wonder more companies aren’t using it … yet. The Swedish heritage brand recovers discarded wool scraps from Italian textile companies and blends it with other fibers into a sustainable wool product that’s easier on the environment than making virgin wool. The Greenland Cardigan is an updated rib-knit ski sweater with a two-way zipper. You can’t go wrong here. 

Women's Specific Midlayers

Women's Midlayers 2020

Women's Midlayers, from top: Voormi High_E Hoody (Purple/Pink); Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer S (Dark Green); Big Agnes Willow Anorak (Red); Arc'Teryx Proton LT Hoody

Voormi High_E Hoody

We consider the High_E Hoody from small Colorado wool knitwear company Voormi to be a new classic in the midlayer category. Made from a Surface Hardened wool that’s water resistant and moisture wicking—so you can wear it on its own during light precip—the High_E is that versatile layer you’ll not only reach for on ski days, but for pretty much any outdoor endeavor throughout the year. Throw in thumbholes, balaclava-style hood, and internal chest and kangaroo pockets for the win. 

  • Fit: Athletic
  • MSRP: $229

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer S

The Ghost Whisperer is no stranger to the insulation scene. It’s been one of Mountain Hardwear’s most popular pieces for years. So why the attention? The redesigned Ghost Whisperer S was built to better accommodate the needs of skiers (S = Ski) with a shorter length for layering, an asymmetrical zipper for access, and a more durable 100 percent nylon face fabric for longer wear but with the same great packability and style. 

Big Agnes Willow Anorak

The PrimaLoft Gold Active-stuffed Willow Anorak is an imminently packable little piece that delivers surprising punch in the warmth department. A generously long zipper makes the on/off not as awkward as most anoraks, and nylon stretch panels at the sides increase range of movement. A roomy chest pocket keeps essentials close by.

  • Fit: Freeride
  • MSRP: $240

Arc'Teryx Proton LT Hoody

The redesigned Proton LT employs Coreloft inside to ensure warmth when you need it and a new face fabric, called Fortius Air 20, to provide breathability when you don’t. A helmet-compatible hood, also insulated with Coreloft, completes the package, serving up perhaps the ideal ski midlayer you’ll reach for in the most variable of conditions. 

Originally published in the print edition of the 2020 SKI Magazine Gear Guide. Don't miss an issue and SUBSCRIBE NOW.

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