THE OUTER LAYER
"There's a reason some parkas are $160 and others are $600," Hamlet says. Take note whether the seams are sealed with tape, if the drape of the garment restricts movement, if the design allows clothing layers to dissipate moisture, if ventilation zips are well-placed. "All these things add up."
THE INSULATING LAYER
There's no mistake: Fleece has taken the outdoor market by storm. Thanks to a multitude of densities and thicknesses, it provides endless layering options for varying conditions and levels of activity. Just be sure to take off the "fluff layer" in the lodge to help drying. And change it when saturated.
THE BASE LAYER
This should wick moisture away from the skin, allowing the body to ventilate while also trapping heat. If your level of exertion or the weather leaves you soaked by lunch, don't expect heroic feats from your base layer. Always pack a second set for the afternoon.
Try a little-known product used by the military called Hand Sense as an antiperspirant for your hands. Hamlet then layers up with a thin pair of Neoprene gloves, a wool, seamless mitten or a lightly insulated leather glove, topped by a shell. Be sure there is room for ample finger movement.
"It doesn't matter whether a boot wicks, whether it's made of polypro or cast iron. A tight boot is like wrapping an ace bandage around your foot and throwing it into the freezer," says Hamlet, who loosens boot buckles in liftlines, takes his boots off during lunch and puts on new socks midday.