Shit on Sale – August 2019

Happy getting close to the end of summer. Fall-Winter assortments are starting to launch, which means retailers are starting to drop their summer prices, and everything lingering from last winter is truly getting slashed. Here’s the best shit, and note that Steep & Cheap has a 10% off code (2COOL4SCHOOL) going through the 16th for some bonus savings (all prices taken from 8/15):


  • Tons of merino pieces from Kari Traa – (66-75% off); I’m so glad that the jury’s still out as to whether wool is agreeable with my skin, because otherwise I’d be drowning in these base layers. Merino is getting really expensive, thanks to droughts in Australia decreasing demand. While most brands are going for simple and safe designs to maximize sales, Kari Traa’s doubling down on what made them stand out with fun colors and prints. There’s a mock-neck ($29.99/reg. retail $120), hoodie ($29.99/reg. retail $110), boot-length base layer pant ($24.99/reg. retail $75), full length base layer pant (29.99/reg. retail $120), and another mock neck with a lighter weight wood ($29.99/reg. retail $110)


  • Women’s Gore Tex Pro Jackets – $219 (Reg. Retail $549; 60% off): These two jackets are essentially the same as many of the higher end Arc’teryx shells, so if you’ve heard people preaching that Arc’teryx makes the most bomber shells, they’re generally right, but you can still get the same performance for less. These feature a Gore Tex Pro laminate, one of the most waterproof and breathable options on the market. (That’s right, “waterproof” isn’t a black & white feature. Water will break through anything with enough pressure – even sheet metal – and likewise, some membranes are rated to higher pressure ratings than others). It’s also a 3-layer construction, where the interior protective layer is bonded to the membrane and outer layer, which makes it more durable and more packable than 2-layer jackets.
    • Black Diamond Women’s Sharp End Shell Jacket: This jacket is super similar to the $649 Beta SV. Gore Tex requires that manufacturers using their Pro membrane have a face fabric denier of 40 (think thread density, which has a big impact on durability). The Sharp End has a 70 denier face fabric, just under the Beta SV denier of 80. This jacket can endure years of wear – even if you spend more days outside than inside. It also features pit zips and a climbing compatible design (like harness-friendly pockets and a helmet-compatible hood).
    • Marmot Women’s Alpinist Jacket: This jacket is more like the $525 Beta LT, with the 40 denier face fabric, but has an edge with a few features. The fit is more relaxed than the Beta, so there’s more room to layer. It’s got pit zips and extra pockets. And it also has a zip-in powder skirt, which is really appealing. A lot of manufacturers consider their technical shells to be an all-around garment, but if you’re a frequent skier, the powder skirt is going to go a long ways in terms of keeping you warm and dry, and the pass pocket and mesh drop pocket means it has most of the features of a dedicated ski coat. If you’re an ounce counter, it does add about 50% to the weight (when the powder skirt’s zipped in).


  • The North Face Men’s Free Thinker Gore Tex Ski Jacket – $279 (MSRP $649; 62% off): There’s Gore Pro for the boys as well. This ski jacket’s perfect whether you’re headed inbounds or out. It has all the design features you’d look for in a ski jacket – long hem, goggle wipe, powder skirt, and plenty of internal and external pockets to skip the ski pack for the day.


  • Marmot Women’s Spire Jacket – $139.97 (MSRP $400; 65% off): If you run cold or want the maximum amount of wind protection out of your hard shell, skip the Gore Pro, save some money, and go with a 3 layer Gore Tex Performance. It has all the waterproofing of the Pro membrane, but doesn’t breathe quite the same. I have the Pro membrane in my Beta LT, and hate the feeling of the wind cutting through my jacket and definitely paid a premium for features that I didn’t need. This shell otherwise has the same features as the Alpinist, which makes it a great choice for the multi-sport recreationalist.


  • Outdoor Research Men’s Ascendant Hoody – $79.99 (MSRP $249; 68% off): I’m really not sure how these are so cheap. The Ascendant has become kind of the gold standard for midlayers – warm, light, breathable, durable, weather resistant. It features some of the more advanced face fabric and insulation on the market. The Alpha Direct insulation is a fleece-y synthetic lofted fabric that’s nubby – so it traps air, but also vents well. And since it’s a fabric instead of a fill material, there doesn’t need to be a liner layer of fabric, which means more breathability and less weight. My boyfriend picked his up last fall and gets pretty heavy use out of it, but it still doesn’t show any signs of wear & tear.


  • Marmot Women’s Quasar Nova Down Jacket – $64.99-89.97 (MSRP $260; 65-75% off): Keeping with the theme of my boyfriend’s insulation layers, this is his midweight puffy. It’s an 800 fill weight jacket with a nylon plain weave face fabric, which means it isn’t the crème de la crème, but it’s pretty damn close. For reference, the lightest midweights on the market like the Cerium LT use 850 fill (and cost a hefty $349). The Rab Electron ($325) uses a Pertex face fabric that’s more resistant to wind, wear, and water. And the Patagonia Down Sweater ($229) is essentially the same construction. If you’re really looking to stunt one of the premium brands, use the difference in cost and buy a nice trucker hat. If you’re hunting for a hoody, select sizes are down to $114.97. And pro tip – it is possible to get your puffer for cheaper. Outdoor brands have set responsibly sourced down as the industry standard, but it decreases output and adds cost in the auditing process. If you aren’t putting the same level of scrutiny on the down in your comforters and pillows, why pay a large upcharge for your down jacket compared to similar options at Costco or Amazon?


  • Women’s 2 Layer Gore Tex Shell Ski Pants – $109.97 (MSRP $275; 60% off): These are perfect ski pants for the PNW, where the skiing is wet and warm. The waterproofing’s strong, and the lack of insulation means you can swap out your bottom layers for the occasional cold snap. (These would pair perfectly with the Marmot Toaster Knicker). If you’re curvy, go with the Marmot Lightray. If you’re not, go for the Patagonia Powder Bowl. The Powder Bowl also comes in an insulated version if you run cold for $169, and the Patagonia Untracked pants are a more durable version of the Powder Bowl, featuring 3 layer waterproof construction and a nylon face instead of polyester ($179).


  • Dakine Women’s Callahan Hoodie – $48 (MSRP $80, 40% off): The general rule about base layers is to keep them thin and let your insulation layers do the insulating. Lighter pieces won’t hold as much water and tend to dry faster, and asking base layer to also keep you warm is a lot to demand of a garment. The Nano Red fabric Dakine uses is the exception to the rule. This is a weird fleece you can wear against your skin that regulates temperature and moisture extremely well. I call it my skimo spandex, because it was the perfect piece for beer league races and the Patrol Race last winter, where I didn’t have time to hassle with adjusting layers.

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