Buying Guide For Ski Jackets

Types of Jackets

When shopping for a ski jacket you are going to find two different types that are available. One is an insulated jacket and the other is a soft shell jacket. The most common question that people have is, “which one should I buy?” The simple answer to this question is that there is no right answer. The reason for this is that each person has a different body temperature regulation. Some people will get hot very quickly and thus having an insulated jacket would cause them great discomfort. Others, however, are routinely cold and having an insulated jacket only makes sense because a soft shell jacket would leave them even colder. With this being said, the first step to selecting the jacket that is best for you is by determining if you are warmer or colder person by nature. Once this is determined, you can then move forward in the process of selecting your jacket.

Insulated Jackets

The construction characteristics of an insulated jacket include an outer layer that is waterproof and windproof, along with an insulated layer that is built directly into the jacket. The insulating inner layer is likely to be made of fleece, down, or a synthetic fabric such as Primaloft. Also, many insulated jackets will contain an additional insulator piece that can be removed. These types of insulated jackets are some times referred to as system jackets or 3-in-1 jackets.

The insulation that is found in insulated jackets is most commonly measured in grams. The greater the number weight in grams, the warmer the jacket will be. Insulation types can range as low as 30 grams and go as high as 800 grams, which is most commonly found with Down material. For people who are colder by nature, an insulated jacket is the most suitable option.

Soft Shell Jackets

Soft shell jackets are windproof, waterproof jackets that have no internal insulation and are highly breathable. Now, you might wonder why anyone would choose a jacket that contains no internal insulation. The reasons for this are several, one of which has already been identified; being a warmer person by nature. Another reason that one may choose this type of jacket is because they prefer to have added mobility that is not available with an insulated jacket. As soft shell jackets are usually worn over a base layer and a mid layer, soft shell jackets do not have the added bulkiness of an insulated jacket. This means that you can contain the warmth of your body via your base layer and mid layer, but have added range of motion.

A soft shell jacket can be worn on its own on warmer days or layered with base and mid layers for colder days. However, for extremely cold temperatures and extended periods of time outdoors, a soft shell jacket is probably not the best option, but the final decision is ultimately up to you. For more information on base and mid layers, please review our article on the importance of layering.

Waterproof Rating

Probably the most important characteristic of any ski jacket is the waterproof rating. This rating tells you how quickly your jacket will become saturated and begin allowing water to penetrate to the layers below. Waterproof ratings are measured and indicated in millimeters(mm). The level is determined by placing a tube filled on the fabric and filling it with water. The level at which the water begins to penetrate through the fabric is the waterproof rating. The higher the number, the more waterproof the jacket is and the longer it will withstand snow and rain. For a jacket to be deemed legally waterproof, it must achieve a minimum 1,500mm rating. Jackets can be rated as high as 20,000mm, but the average rating is typically between 5,000 and 10,000mm. Keep in mind that as the rating goes higher, so too will the price.

There are many different types of waterproof fabrics that are used on the market today. Among the more well-known materials that are used are Gore-Tex, Hyvent, and Event. What makes materials such as these so effective is that they contain pores which are larger than a molecule of sweat, but smaller than a molecule of water. This means that not only is the material waterproof, but also very breathable.

Breathability Rating

Just like the waterproof rating measures how effective a jacket is at keeping water outside, the breathablity rating of a jacket measures how effective a jacket is at transferring moisture from inside to the outside. The same fabric pores that help prevent water from penetrating inside a jacket, allow sweat molecules to escape and ultimately keep your warmer.

Breathability rating is measured and indicated in grams (g). The measurement is determined by finding the Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate (MVTR). The MVTR determines how many grams of sweat per 1 square meter can escape a jacket in a 24 hour period. The higher the number, the more moisture escapes and the more breathable it is. Entry-level breathable fabrics will have MVTR ratings in the range of 2,000-3000g. Fabrics at the high end of the breathability scale will have an MVTR around 25,000g.

Fabric Durability

Contrary to what many people believe, ski jackets are different than your everyday winter jacket. Yes, you can wear your ski jacket as your everyday jacket, but if you haven’t purchased a jacket specifically for skiing, you’re best not to wear the everyday winter jacket that you bought at the department store to the slopes. The reasons for this are several, but one of the most important ones is that your ski jacket is going to be far more durable.

Ski jackets are made of tightly woven nylon or polyester. Materials which are designed for high performance use in the elements of winter. Extended exposure to high winds and the wet elements of the winter is what makes the construction of a ski jacket different from your everyday winter jacket. This is also why you’ll find that ski jackets will cost more than a jacket you’d buy from the department store.

Seams

Fully Taped

Fully taped seams is exactly what it sounds like. All of the stitched seams have been taped for waterproofing. This is done with a waterproof tape that is glued on the interior and exterior of the seam. Fully taped seams are the best option if you want to be waterproof in these important areas that are prone for moisture. They will, however, cost more than jackets with critically taped seams. As an additional note, higher-end garments will offer Welded Seams, which are even more effective at protecting against moisture penetration at the seams.

Critically Taped

A less expensive option than Welded or Fully taped seams is Critically taped seams. Critically taped seams means that only some of the seams are taped and protected against moisture penetration. On a jacket this is not necessarily a bad thing, so don’t be scared off by the fact that not all seams are covered. As long as you don’t spend long periods of time in wet weather, or spend a lot of time falling in the snow, Critically taped seams will offer the protection you need.

Features

When shopping for ski jackets it is important to know that beyond how waterproof and breathable a jacket is, there are a number of features that you can expect to find available to you. In the following sections, we’ll cover many of these features so you will know what to expect when shopping from one model to the next.

Front Zipper Cover: This feature is sometimes referred to as a storm flap. The purpose of this feature is to cover the front zipper of your jacket to prevent the wind and moisture from penetrating inside. As the zipper can be a highly prone area for moisture, this is considered by many as a must have feature.

Powder Skirt: A powder skirt is an elastic band that is located inside of a jacket at the waist. It provides a snap closure in the front and is intended to keep snow from going up the front or back of your jacket. Additionally, it help retain heat and keep you warmer when you’re out on the slopes. This also means that if you’re starting to feel a bit warm, you can unsnap the skirt for a moment to allow heat to escape and cool you down, then snap it back up to protect against the snow. This features is considered by many as a must-have, and it is highly recommended for maximum comfort when out on the snow.

Hood: While not all jackets offer a hood, those that do will offer a hood in one of several options: attached (non-removable), detachable, or stowaway. Attached hoods are fixed to the jacket and cannot be removed. Detachable hoods offer the luxury of protection on windy or snowy days, while also offering the versatility to be removed on warmer or fair weather ski days. Stowaway hoods offer the same luxuries as a detachable hood with the difference being that stowaway hoods do not need to be removed from the jacket. Instead they will tuck into a designated area of the jacket.

As your hood is intended to protect your head and neck from the elements, you want to make sure that your hood can fit over your helmet. Your hood should have enough room so you can look from side to side, and it should also adjust for your helmet size so it isn’t too large or too small. The bill of your hood should be generous enough in size to shed rain from your goggles and eyes. Hoods, regardless of their style, are highly recommended for protection against the elements.

Wrist Closure: Wrist closures are one of the common adjustability features you can expect to find on jackets. Wrist closures will be present as an elastic, Velcro, snap, or thumbhole adjustment. This purpose of such an adjustment is to help keep cold air and snow from going up your arms. You will want to make sure that the wrist adjustment will work in tandem with your gloves.

Cinch Cord: Another adjustment feature that you can expect to find is a Cinch Cord adjustment. This is located at the bottom of the jacket and can be tightened so your jacket and pants are positioned closely together. This will help keep snow and wind from creeping up inside your jacket.

Pit Zips: Under arm zippers, or Pit Zips, are temperature regulating features that are present on many ski jackets. Pit Zips are zippers located under the arm that can be adjusted on the fly to help retain or release heat that builds up inside a jacket. If you’re cold, or the temperate starts to drop, you can close them up to help keep heat close to the body. On warmer days these can be opened up fully to allow heat to escape while you remain fully protected from the elements everywhere else. While not considered a must-have, they are certainly suggested if you want the luxury of regulating your core temperature easily.

Pockets

Electronics Pocket: Thanks to the influx in portable electronic devices (e.g., cell phones, personal audio players, digital cameras), having a pocket designated specifically for electronics is a must have for many. For others, it’s not a make or break feature. The important thing to understand is that pockets do exist for such items and they are certainly a convenience if you own such items. For those who enjoy listening to music while on the slopes, this pocket is extremely useful because electronics pockets have openings for wires to be run for headphones. This keeps the electronic device protected and the wiring internal so it is not ruined.

Goggle Pocket: Like an electronics pocket, the goggle pocket is designated specifically to house your goggles when you’re not wearing them. This pocket will also typically house a goggle cloth that can be used to wipe your goggles if they get foggy.

Additional Fabric Lining: On many higher-end jackets you are likely to find additional fabric lining the inside of the jacket. This added fabric liner starts at the wrist and extends down over the palms with holes provided to insert your thumbs. This added lining adds extra warmth to the palms and wrists.

Avalanche Rescue System: Built into a select number of jackets an avalanche rescue system can be an invaluable feature if you’re the type of skier who ventures into areas that prone to avalanches. Unlike a separate beacon system, jackets with this feature have a small, weightless transponder that is easily detected by a search rescue team. This feature is not necessarily a must have, but for safety is recommended. If you opt against a jacket with a built-in rescue system, you can always purchase a separate rescue system at a later time.

Hopefully all these guidelines will help you determine the best jacket is right for you.

Summer Shoes Styles For the Summer

What should we be looking for in shoes for the Summer of 2011? Well it would seem that this summer is one for small details in shoe and sandal design. We can feast our eyes on a real shoe carnival. There is a great variety of styles for summer available, so looking fashionable and stylish does not mean wearing the same styles as everyone else.

The big designers are using a lot of strappy shoes, but strappy shoes with a difference. There is a tendency towards small details; straps are more creative than usual, while shoe laces and ropes are being used for a more creative and interesting effect.

If shoes laces and rope are a step too far for you, then there is what I think is an even more attractive alternative – fabric straps. These can create a really feminine look, especially when they are in fun and colorful prints, matching the shoe.

Printed shoes add a splash of color to our outfit, but are not as limiting as one color shoes.

Many designers are using bows this summer; this is another of the easiest ways to add a feminine touch.

Something else new is the combination of wedgies and flatties – the ‘flatforms’. They give you some overall height, but are not as uncomfortable as some wedgies and high heels can be.

For formal shoes, the little black sandal has a lot of added feminine details, for example the bows, in flirty lace or sumptuous silk. The ever popular sequins can give an elegant but feminine touch to an evening outfit.

When we are looking into the fascinating realms of this summer’s shoes, we should always remember of course the basics for our feet and legs. Pampering your feet is essential for that smooth summer look and so should be done quite frequently.

Many women only get a pedicure in the summer months, because that is when the feet are most on show. However pedicures can be expensive and there have been a lot of hygiene warnings about shared facilities lately.

However you do not have to spend a fortune, if you learn how to take some simple steps to care for your feet.

If you have thick, dead skin build-up, on the heel, ball and sides of the feet, use a pumice stone or a foot file. The best way is to soak the feet in warm water for at least five minutes, then rub gently to smooth calluses and eliminate dead skin.

Never use a foot razor, or allow anyone else to use one to remove dead skin. This can result in permanent damage and can cause infection if too much skin is removed.

Trim your nails carefully, using a toenail clipper with a straight edge and cut your toe nail straight across. Using manicure scissors or fingernail clippers increases the risk of ingrown toenails, because they are curved. You can keep your toe nails clean by running a manicure stick under them.

Never forget to keep the moisture balance in skin, by always applying a moisturizer to your feet after thorough drying when you have taken a bath.

No matter how expensive and fashionable the shoes are, they will not look good on unkempt feet.

Now you know how to keep your feet looking and feeling good, check out some of the ideas for great summer shoes and sandals.

Important Points to Consider When Buying Baby Clothes As Gifts

Now I have a child, one of the things I find really challenging is receiving gifts (in particular clothes) for my little girl, which turn out to be useless. This isn’t about Wholesale Baby Clothing, as I want to share my biggest frustrations, especially when others take the time to shop for baby clothing. Even more important is the thought that people spent their hard earned money on things that will never see the light of the day.

Over the past twelve weeks, I have received numerous little dresses, jackets, jumpsuits, bibs and other beautiful clothes that are now all sitting in a bag ready to go onto eBay never being worn by my little girl. Why may you ask?

When it comes to baby clothes, there are four simple criteria’s that I stick to:

1. Is it easy to put on? There’s nothing worse than trying to get a very complicated outfit onto a little squirming infant. Particularly after bathing, it is quite common for the little ones to get a bit restless especially if you take your time trying to dry out well all of the little folds around the neck, underarms and so on. Avoid buying outfits that contain many buttons on the back or long sleeve shirts and jumpsuits that need to be put over the head. Ideally, little jumpsuits that button up all the way down the front are an ideal solution for newborns.

2. What is it made of? This is a big one for me. Many of us don’t like to wear clothes made out of synthetic fibres as they simply don’t breathe inturn causing sweating and general discomfort. If an adult is either hot or uncomfortable, they can simply change. A baby however cannot. Instead, babies either cry, or if still unchanged, put up with the situation in discomfort. Secondly, many studies show that all babies should only ever sleep in clothing made from natural fibres such as cotton, as there is a lower risk of SIDS. Babies sleeping in items made from synthetic fibres such as polyester can over heat during the night without your knowledge, thus increasing the risks.

3. Is it appropriate for the weather? It’s lovely jumping online or going to the shops to find funky baby clothing that dazzles you with the gorgeous range of baby girl dresses, or little shorts and T-shirt sets for boys. You need to however take into consideration whether they these outfits are appropriate for the season. Avoid little sleeveless dresses and short sleeve outfits in wintertime; likewise thick jumpsuits may not be the best solution for summer either. If you are set on buying that little dress, and it is winter time, make sure that you buy it in a larger size.

4. What about the size – Most mothers (especially first time mums) tend to get over excited and buy a whole heap of baby clothes before the little one arrives into our world. Usually, they will be well stocked up for the first 6 – 8 weeks. When buying baby clothes, try to purchase items that the child can wear 3-6 months down the track. Also around that time, the families would have spent a great deal of money on the multitude of items that a baby needs so cash may become a little scarce – especially if the mother is intending on taking long maternity leave. Always remember though, if the baby is born in the middle of the winter, don’t buy winter clothes; rather look at items suitable for spring.

When buying baby clothes as a gift it’s quite easy to get it right. Simply consider the following: Is this outfit going to be useful, is it going to be comfortable, will it be easy to put on, and by the time the bub grows into it, will it be appropriate for the current season.