Eastern Mountain Sports is proud to be the official outfitter of the Mount Washington Observatory.

To protect the observatory crew from the elements, we engineer base layers and technical outerwear using proven fabrics, treatments and insulations like PolarTec, Techwick and DownTek. If it works for them up there, it will work for you anywhere.

Hardshell Layer Down Layer Fleece Layer Base Layer

hard shell layer:


This versatile outer layer is designed to shield you from the elements while trapping warmth.

insulating down layer:

Feather pack jacket

Designed with the best insulation on earth, our treated down layer absorbs 30% less water and dries 60% quicker than untreated down.

insulating fleece layer:

Micro fleece

This lightweight fleece layer provides optimal warmth without unnecessary bulk

base layer:


Designed to keep you warm and dry, our base layer matches your performance with an active fit, moisture management, and breathable mobility.


Hard Shell Layer

When conditions get extreme, it’s time to put on your hard shell layer. On the inside, hard shell jackets use waterproof/breathable laminates or coatings designed to keep your insulating layers dry while allowing pent-up moisture to evaporate. On the outside, hardshells resist abrasion and wind with a tough, tightly-woven synthetic fabric. Finally, hard shell construction includes a layer to protect the waterproofing, in the form or either a bonded screen for optimal breathability, or a free-hanging liner for a softer drape and maximum comfort. Your hard shell is your last line of defense–make sure you trust it.


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insulating down layer

A well-made down layer can provide comfort for decades. Down is a light, natural material used as insulation in a wide-range of products, including jackets. The fluffy structure of down does a superior job trapping air, which equates to excellent heat retention and insulating properties. Modern down filling oftentimes has a hydrophobic treatment applied which makes it resistant to becoming water logged, helping it to maintain its insulating properties in the must unforgiving conditions.


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Insulating Fleece Layer

Fleece is a warm, quick-drying and lightweight material that provides exceptional warmth with low bulk. Fleece, a synthetic fabric, is soft-to-touch and provides outstanding insulating qualities. Fleece is also hydrophobic, meaning that it fights off water and wicks moisture, keeping you comfortably dry. Fleece has become the insulating fabric of choice for active winter outdoor activities.


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Base layer

Base layers are the first step in staying comfortable in cold weather. Base layers are designed to have a relatively snug, comfortable fit beneath other layers. Base layers are made to wick moisture away from your body, keeping you comfortably dry. The moisture-wicking properties of base layers also provide the benefit of encouraging air flow, preventing you from overheating under multiple layers while staying active.


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How & When to Layer

High Activity/ Low Temperature:

Snowshoeing- To prevent overheating in this highly aerobic activity, wear just enough to stave off a chill, and focus your layer selection on moving moisture off your skin.  On top of a light or midweight base layer, wear just a highly breathable wind layer.  If you plan to take extended breaks, cold may become an issue. Slip a midweight fleece between your base and wind layers. A soft shell combines your fleece and wind layers into one highly breathable garment. Resist wrapping yourself in down and a waterproof shell to avoid becoming a walking sauna.

High Activity/ Moderate Temperature:

Fall/ Early Winter Hiking- Late fall and early winter days run the gamut from damp mornings, warm (maybe hot) midday temps, and cool or cold evenings as daylight hours decline. Dress for versatility. Start the morning with base, fleece and shell layers, and shed them as you warm up, reversing the process as sunset occurs. Keep a down or synthetic insulated jacket, and a hat and gloves, in your pack to be prepared for the temperature drop accompanying a surprise storm.

Moderate Activity/ Low Temperature:

Riding the Chairlift- Sitting in the cold on the lift may be bracing, but with a full complement of layers you will stay comfortable. Downhill skiing presents a layering challenge—wearing enough to stay warm on the ride up without overheating on the ride down. Start with a mid- or heavy-weight base layer and add a pair of snow pants. Up top, add a light fleece quarter-zip and a waterproof/ breathable ski jacket. If you need more insulation add a vest to retain core heat. Compliment with a helmet, goggles, buff or fleece neck gaiter and helmet liner and you can enjoy below-zero days at Cannon or Jay.

Moderate Activity/ Moderate Temperature:

Around Town- Whether shopping, commuting or heading out for an evening this winter, you will be in and out of cold and possibly wet conditions. Dress for success with a lightweight base layer and a warm insulating layer such as a wool sweater. When the mercury plummets, and you’ll need ‘sleeping bag’ level insulation out of doors. Add a long down jacket with a hood; they are worth their weight in gold when you really need them.

It All Starts With A Good Base

Choose the perfect base layer for your winter adventure