Hey all in the next few months/year or so I may have the opportunity to work with a snowsports clothing company that is looking to jump in to the the backcountry snowboarding clothing market. They have asked me to help a bit with opinions etc.....my first opinion was I didn't know if there was anything "specific" we needed, however I said i would do some snooping around and some asking and see if there are some ideas of folks or needs that aren't being met.
so....if you were to design the ideal backcountry bib/pants, jacket etc. to handle the needs of a splitboarder what are some of the features that would be needed to make the kit a hit? Have you ever been out riding and frustrated because your bibs do not have this feature, or that feature..or wishing someone would make a jacket that yadda yadda yaddda...
just thought I would open up a dialogue and see what happens. Thanks all.
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:02 pm Posts: 753 Location: St. Croix Falls, WI
A good bib should not be baggy, but not alpine fit either....A cargo pocket on each side that's high enough on the thigh vs. against the knee. A belt loop. Outer and inner upper leg zips for air circulation.
A proper bib pocket with enough room to stash some goods in there...If you're TEX...It will need to be at least an ounce.
Heavy duty fabric on pant hems and inner lower leg for abrasion. Fleece lined knees and seat for kneeling/sitting in the snow. Those lucky bastards whom go shredding with their significant other may want to do some "slaying" after slaying....braaaaap!
And some color options besides black.
_________________ "Out of the Indian approach to life there came a great freedom, an intense and absorbing respect for life, enriching faith in a supreme power, honesty, generosity, and brotherhood"
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:32 am Posts: 584 Location: Dethbridge, AB
Not splitboard specific, but more general gear specific that applies across the board to the companies we purchase from:
Less steeze, more function. Less gimmicks, more simplicity. Cut the bullshit marketing hype, more straight up factual information (lots of numbers and shit) about the product being sold. Really, really cut the bullshit marketing hype and cute inforgraphics if using proprietary materials/techniques. Back it up with science yo. A price reflective of the amount of material used, the type of material used, the complexity of construction and where the fuck it's made (I'm not gonna pay for your shipping costs from China.), not the marketing label. Solid warranty that isn't next to impossible to utalize if located outside of 'merica.
You can see where this is going... A good product will sell itself... Or at least get the customers to do the selling for it. So fire the marketing team, hire more enginerds, product testers (hey, I'm unemployed!) and build quality goods that we gear users and abusers want to be in. And when that piece of gear wears out, one that we can go back and purchase again and the only changes to it have made it stronger, lighter, better and not fucked with the underlying awesome nature that made it such a hot product to begin with. And colours other than black are pretty sweet.
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:17 pm Posts: 311 Location: South Lake Tahoe, CA
I am going to mimic what has been stated previously--especially by christoph. I want my gear to have an "athletic fit"---not too tight and not too baggy. I also want fabrics that are lightweight, breathable (softshell and or breathable waterproof fabrics like Neoshell Gore Arctive , etc), durable, and have enough vents and pockets to get the job done. I typically have been buying "mountaineering" brand gear (Arcteryx, Black Diamond, Outdoor Research, Mountain Gear, Stio, Cloudveil, Patagonia, etc) since they have had the combo of features that I have found the most attractive. I haven't purchased any of their outerwear yet but I like the offerings that Westcomb, FlyLow and Strafe Outerwear are coming out with, specifically their Neoshell stuff. In general, I want lightweight, high performance gear that works in the backcountry. Style is much less important to me. I can easily pick up decent, relatively heavy, resort/freeride oriented gear with decent style at a cheap price--and it works well for me at the resort. It is well designed, lightweight, breathable, backcountry gear that I covet--and am willing to pay a bit of a premium for.
I am a pretty big fan of bibs, and there are some really nice bibs that have come out on the market. However, some bib designs baffle me---they cover the chest but have poor coverage in the back. I am not sure what design objective those were supposed to meet---but they don't keep deep powder out of my underwear----and I don't like them at all!
As for price point, I am often OK with smacking the credit card down with a $350 to $450 outerwear purchase---but I usually wait for an end of the season sale to minimize the pain. The astronomical price point for some Arcteryx gear ($650 for a jacket????), which I love, has forced me to seek out alternatives. So far, Black Diamond outerwear, when it is on sale, has been working out well for me. I am open to almost any brand....as long as they have the right combo of features that work for me.
Everyone is different. I'll give my input so you don't think we all want f-ing tight ass skier bibs.
The thing that sucks about bibs, is you now have two layers of straps going over your shoulders, your pack and your pants, which also means more weight on your shoulders unless you have a belt, which in that case what's the point? My jackets have power skirts, and I don't fall much, so I've never gotten the snow down your pants thing. I have a pair of Marmot pants that have a zip off bib and that is really nice, I do use it every once in a while.
For fit, I don't need super baggy, but at least give some room in the crotch for articulation. I have worn out the crotch on a few pairs of pants because they ride up too high. Some durable breathable stretch fabric in that area could be revolutionary.
Full zip is nice, but if you can't get the zipper to cooperate, then just zipping to below the knee is fine.
BELT LOOPS- so many pants don't have these these days. I don't need or want your bs elastic velcro on the hips that gets bunched up under my pack's hip strap!
Reinforced knees- not too much but enough that I don't rip them easily.
I still like at least one cargo pocket, on the thigh, for throwing gloves or a hat really quick.
NO Velcro!!! Zippers only! except maybe on the cargo flap.
And some good size hand warmer pocket that I can fit a beacon into, with maybe a reinforced hooking point for my lanyard.
The obvious ones have been covered, waterproof/breathable fabrics, low weight, only the needed features, etc.
I'm basing my opinions on many pieces of Burton AK gear starting from the beginning of that line to more recent pieces from Patagonia (a couple of M10 jackets and my GF's kit) and my current touring kit is an Arcteryx jacket (Rush?) and Theta SV bibs. I have a love/hate relationship with the bibs and the jacket is sufficient but not worth full price at retail.
There are a couple of things that have been missed though.
Large chest pockets on the jacket make for a nice place to stuff large gloves for things like transitions or fiddling with stoves. In a pinch they could fit skins that have failed due to temps. They should be mesh backed to keep whatever is in the pocket warm and to allow the pocket to double as a vent. No need for pit vents if the pocket zipper is big enough. There should be a hood that fits well over a helmet but still fits well on a bare head. I don't wear a helmet on a rainy approach trail but I wear one often on windy ridges.
The bibs don't need to be very high, the real purpose for me is to increase the overlap between layers to keep the weather out and to eliminate the bunching at the waist. In this regard my Arcteryx bibs are good but they are severely lacking in pockets. I want pockets in the chest for snacks that I want to keep warm against my body and also a pocket for my transciever. There are available guidelines out from AIARE and other avalanche professionals about how a pocket should be made to be a good alternative to a harness. I also want cargo pockets that are big enough for snacks or car keys that I can get into with the jacket on (not on the upper part of the bib) but these pockets should fold flat when they're empty so a harness sits well over the top of them. I want to be able to vent my bibs with a jacket on but still have full length zippers. My current bibs are tough to vent from the top because you have to dig way up under the jacket to get to the zipper pulls.
Snowboarders need to get over the idea that a reinforced cuff is for skiers only if we're skiing uphill and kicking ourselves in the ankles with crampons (I'm looking at Burton on this one ). It would be nice if cuff size were more adjustable to easily fit over all boots but pull snug to keep crampons from doing damage.
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:59 am Posts: 275 Location: Amsterdam
Jacket: Gore 3L or similar on the shoulders and upper back. Gore active or similar on the hood, and sleeves. Softshell for the rest.
Pants: Same idea, tough materials on knees and ass. Lightweight and breathable for the rest.
A full 3L is overkill for most aplications, unless you're climbing Everest. It's also bulky and heavy. Active shell is nice, but it probably won't last for 3 seasons as far as I can tell now. Softshells would work in pretty severe weather for a while, but some spots need better waterproofing. There is nothing that beats a softshell for breathability, but they are not always waterproof enough in some places.
Not a million pockets, I only need three. More just make me lose stuff.
hmmm i go back and forth on the full leg zip myself....i've had both..a full leg zip and a combination of a quarter zip for ease of boot access and large slash vents on the thighs...either works for me I have preference, but thank you for the input.