I'm going to be doing a bunch of winter hiking starting this winter, mostly in New England and Northern New York (the Whites, the Adirondacks, the Green Mountains). I need a down jacket, and am looking for some advice.
I haven't done any serious winter camping - the coldest it got on my thru was consecutive days in the twenties, so I'm not entirely sure what the best layering system is. Here's what I'm envisioning:
With temps in the twenties, I'm comfortable in a t-shirt and frogg toggs jacket. I haven't hiked much below there, but basically, I generate a lot of heat while hiking, and I sweat a lot. Is the general practice to hike mostly in a fleece, saving the jacket for camp/breaks, unless it's really really cold, and then hike in the jacket?
Assuming that's the case, I've found a bunch of jackets that seem like good camp jackets - warm, light, not too expensive, and I have no idea how to choose between them.
Most of them are the Montbell Alpine Down (16oz, $175), Mountain Hardware Phantom (18oz, $170 or less on backcountryoutlet), Mountain Hardware Sub Zero (27oz, $120 or less on backcountryoutlet), Golite Inferno (19oz, $230), Marmot Guides Down Sweater (28oz, $120 or less on backcountryoutlet.com), North Face Elysium (19oz, $175 or less on backcountry.com).
The price difference between all these isn't enough to bother me too much, it's more a question of warmth, weight and quality. Is there a compelling reason one of the heavier jackets would be preferable? Does any one (or two) of these jackets/companies stand out as better than the others? Do you know of another jacket that would be as good or better?
And of course, am I reasoning correctly that I want a down jacket for camp/breaks that would be comfortable in zero/sub zero temps, possibly with the addition of a midweight fleece jacket?