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Apparel for Rainier
  • Apparel for Rainier

  • Gear Guide

Welcome to Rainier!

Climbers know that efficiency is key to enjoying adventures in the mountains. This is true both for movement and for equipment. In addition to all of the training you are doing, part of the preparation for your climb is making sure that you have the proper gear. The right equipment choices provide an added degree of comfort and safety, allowing you to focus on the climb and enjoy the experience.

We know you have many choices when it comes to outdoor products. And because we also know that navigating all the options can be overwhelming, we created this Gear Guide to help simplify the outfitting process. In this post we share our philosophy, tips and advice, and specific functions and features of each equipment item listed for a summit attempt on Rainier. We also identify the products that we believe are the “best in class” and ideal for climbing Rainier.

Our guide was written with input from the RMI guide team, who have been guiding climbers on Mt. Rainier since 1969. As outfitters of RMI for the last few decades, we have a pretty good idea about what works and what doesn’t up on the mountain. All of our gear suggestions can be bought or rented from our store, in person or online.

How This Works:

We've divided our guide into two pages; Gear and Apparel.This is the Apparel page.

If you're looking for Gear please click here.

If you're looking for Guide Pick please click here.

Otherwise, feel free to click on the section you're interested in below, or just start scrolling! 

Upper Body Layering

We recommend a minimum of 5 upper body layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Two of these should be insulating layers, one light and one medium, that fit well together. Today there are many different layering systems to choose from, including fleece, soft-shell, down and synthetic options. The following pages discuss each layer in more detail.

Layering System

Layering System

Guide to

Upper Baselayers

This is the first layer of your system. Long sleeves are mandatory on the summit climb and upper mountain to protect your skin against abrasions should you slip or need to self arrest. This should be a quick drying, fast wicking, non-cotton, and comfortable top.

We recommend a long-sleeve wool or synthetic top. Quarter zip or loose fitting sun hoody styles will allow for better temperature regulation. We recommend light colors, which best reflect the intense sun on hot days.

Advice in Motion

Choosing a Baselayer

Guide to

Lightweight Insulation

This layer adds a bit of warmth to your system, while maintaining breathability during heavy exertion. Light weight with or without hood. Think of a Pacific Northwest running layer - lightweight enough to work out in and with just enough material to combat the cold.

Shop the best

Lightweight Insulation

70% Off
Regular price $74.70
Sale price $74.70
Regular price $249.00
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From the Summit to the Board Room We liked our Alpha Ascender hoody so much, we decided to hack the sleeves off and turn it into one of those technical vests everybody’s wearing these days. But th...
Regular price $179.00
Sale price $179.00
Regular price $179.00
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Stay Warm, Move Fast The R1® Air Full-Zip Hoody is a lightweight, breathable and quick-drying technical fleece for high-exertion activities in cold conditions. Fabric is made with 100% recycled p...
Regular price $179.00
Sale price $179.00
Regular price $179.00
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Perfect Layering Piece for Climbing Any Peak With a waffle weave that extends all the way into the hood, the R1 Air is the perfect second layer for high-exertion activities in the mountains. It'll...
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Regular price $34.95
Sale price $34.95
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You Might Not Know You Are Wearing Them Light and stretchy liners that provide efficient insulation under a shell glove, the Black Diamond LightWeight GridTech gloves feature a warm yet lightweigh...
70% Off
Regular price $44.70
Sale price $44.70
Regular price $149.00
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Fleece Is Not Dead It still has a place in our kit. The Fissure is built for active, technical, and aerobic use with a generous hood stretchy enough to fit over a helmet, extra length in the sleeve...
40% Off
Regular price from $57.00
Sale price from $57.00
Regular price $95.00
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Incredibly Soft, Yet Durable Better than a sweatshirt and KÜHLer than a sweater! The versatile REVEL™ outperforms on every level. Super soft, lightweight warmth and comfort that easily transitions ...
Regular price $69.00
Sale price $69.00
Regular price $69.00
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A Great Layer for a Great Price Providing everyday warmth and comfort, this lightweight quarter-zip fleece is made of 100% recycled polyester and can be worn as a lightweight jacket or layer. Made ...
Sold Out
Regular price $159.00
Sale price $159.00
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You'll Want to Wear this All-The-Time Lightweight yet super cozy, the KÜHL PRISM™ Women's Hoody is that go-to fleece you've been searching for. Experience breathable warmth and superior comfort wit...
35% Off
Regular price $89.99
Sale price $89.99
Regular price $139.00
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This Fleece Never Goes Out of Style Providing everyday warmth and comfort, this lightweight, classic pullover is made of Synchilla® 95-100% recycled polyester fleece. Made in a Fair Trade Certif...
51% Off
Regular price from $33.99
Sale price from $33.99
Regular price $69.00
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A Great Layer for a Great Price Providing everyday warmth and comfort, this lightweight 1/4 zip fleece is made of 100% recycled polyester, with classic clean lines and a stand-up collar. Made in a ...

Midweight Insulation

Midweight Insulation
Guide to

Hardshell Jackets

Your hard shell coat should be made of a water proof, air permeable fabric. A thinner and lighter weight jacket is ample, and ideal for the climb. It should have an attached hood for protection from the elements. We recommend a non-insulated jacket for this layer. 

Advice in Motion

Choosing a Hardshell

Guide to

Expedition Parkas

The parka is primarily worn during breaks to maintain your body temperature in the cold and wind of the climb. The parka may also be worn on the upper mountain as a piece of emergency backup gear. The parka must have an insulated hood to allow you to batten down the hatches and remain warm throughout any conditions, and should fit over all your other layers, so you may want to size up. 

These expedition-style heavy parkas should extend below the waist and must have an insulated hood. We recommend down rather than synthetic fill as down weigh less. The parka does not have to be waterproof, though that is a nice feature. Here are a few of our top Parkas. 

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Expedition Parkas

70% Off
Regular price $98.70
Sale price $98.70
Regular price $329.00
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"I found it to be the insulating layer I grabbed most often for moderate-output activity with temperatures near freezing." - Gear Junkie's Best Synthetic-Insulated Jackets of 2020 Our favorite ski ...
Regular price $550.00
Sale price $550.00
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Mountain Hardwear's Ultra-Warm Down Parka in 800-fill RDS®-certified Down for Bone-Chilling Temps Our ultra-warm down parka for shiver-free belays on ice and alpine routes, après-trek warmth at Eve...
Regular price $550.00
Sale price $550.00
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Mountain Hardwear's Ultra-Warm Down Parka in 800-fill RDS®-certified Down for Bone-Chilling Temps Our ultra-warm down parka for shiver-free belays on ice and alpine routes, après-trek warmth at Eve...
30% Off
Regular price $227.50
Sale price $227.50
Regular price $325.00
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Our recycled PrimaLoft® Gold P.U.R.E. insulated jacket with a durable outer for base-to-summit action. When the going gets wet and cold while pitching climbs, the Compressor™ Alpine Hooded Jacket i...

Lower Body Layering

We recommend a system of 3 layers, all of which can be s used in conjunction with each other. Products which combine several layers into one garment, such as traditional ski pants, don’t work well as they don’t offer the versatility of a layering system.

Guide to

Lower Body Baselayer

Depending on the weather, you'll want to go with baselayer bottoms or non-cotton underwear. A lightweight pair of baselayer bottoms provides added insulation for cold climbs when worn in conjunction with the climbing pants. Lighter is often better, as it easy to overheat, and difficult to remove baselayer bottoms mid-climb.

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Baselayer Bottoms

Regular price $79.00
Sale price $79.00
Regular price $79.00
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So Nice You'll Forget You're Not Going Commando Designed to manage the extremes of high-output exertion, Patagonia's Capilene® Midweight fabric hits the sweet spot of weight, breathability and wick...
Regular price $79.00
Sale price $79.00
Regular price $79.00
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So nice you'll forget you're not going commando. A classic, all-around 100% recycled polyester baselayer. The smooth, soft face makes for easy layering. Hollow-core yarns and a diamond-grid back...
Regular price $90.00
Sale price $90.00
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A Great Feeling First Layer A year-round favorite, our Classic All-Season Merino Base Layer Bottoms work hard to keep you comfortable everywhere, from the ski lifts to the campsite. With an updated...
Regular price $90.00
Sale price $90.00
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Durable and Breathable First Layer Our Women's Classic All-Season Merino Base Layer Bottoms are the perfect layer to put on for your warm-weather adventures. Made of lightweight, breathable Merino,...
50% Off
Regular price $49.99
Sale price $49.99
Regular price $100.00
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100% Merino. 100% capable. Our Women's Merino Base Layer Bottom is always ready for what's ahead and what's next. With a fit updated to improve functionality while enhancing aesthetics for a range ...
Regular price $115.00
Sale price $115.00
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A Thicker Baselayer for Cold Weather We've updated our Men's Classic Thermal Merino Base Layer Bottom to bring you a better fitting, more functional tight. The technical benefits of 100% Merino woo...
Regular price $110.00
Sale price $110.00
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100% Merino. 100% Capable. Our Women's Classic Thermal Merino Base Layer B is always ready for what's ahead and what's next. With a fit updated to improve functionality while enhancing ae...
Regular price $35.00
Sale price $35.00
Regular price $35.00
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Light and Comfortable Performance boxer briefs made with moisture-wicking recycled nylon/spandex stretch micromesh fabric for high-output activities and travel. Made in a Fair Trade Certified™ ...
15% Off
Regular price from $46.75
Sale price from $46.75
Regular price $55.00
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Breathability and Comfort The Switchback® Sports Bra provides added breathability and comfort without affecting support or performance. Cross-back straps provide compression and support, and the li...
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Regular price from $35.00
Sale price from $35.00
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Natural Comfort Every epic adventure starts with a solid foundation, and the last thing you want to overlook is the first layer you put on. Ultra-comfy Merino next to skin helps regulate body tempe...
Regular price $22.00
Sale price $22.00
Regular price $22.00
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You'll Forget You're Wearing These Made of 89% nylon (66% recycled)/11% spandex with HeiQ® Pure odor control, these seamless hipster underwear dry quickly and stay put. Fair Trade Certified™ sewn.
Sold Out
Regular price $35.00
Sale price $35.00
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If Your Undies Aren't Comfy, You Won't Be Either That's why Smartwool designed the Men's Boxer Brief with features like a double front panel for extra support and seams that help prevent chafing. P...
36% Off
Regular price from $37.99
Sale price from $37.99
Regular price $59.00
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Cute and Functional Your favorite Everyday and Transform styles have been remastered and renamed as the Chakara™collection. Now made from Earth-Friendly recycled nylon, this fabric is more sustain...
60% Off Sold Out
Regular price $26.00
Sale price $26.00
Regular price $65.00
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Classic Halter-top Style The pool-day essential that matches with nearly everything in your swimwear wardrobe, our women's Lexie Top has that iconic halter style that's always an easy choice.Made w...
Regular price $59.00
Sale price $59.00
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Feels Like a Gentle Hug Made from our ultra-soft Heavana™ collection, this v-neck bra feel like a gentle hug. The heathered fabric provides a sleek look and the back has a strappy detail that will ...
Regular price $48.00
Sale price $48.00
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Perfect Fitting Natural Underwear Every adventure starts with a solid foundation, and so does your outfit. Whether you're in Tennessee or Timbuktu, the ultra-comfy and durable Merino fabri...
Guide to

Climbing Pants

Soft-shell climbing pants offer a wide range of versatility. You can wear them in combination with the base layer on colder days, or alone on warmer days.

The soft shell material breathes well and allows the sweat and heat generated during the climb to dissipate, while still offering some resistance to light wind and precipitation. These climbing pants are our main workhorse layer, often worn alone to ascend the snowfield, and with a baselayer on the upper mountain for added warmth. A fleece pant serves the same function but is not as durable, breathable, or weather resistant and as a result are rarely used by guides. Depending on the model, soft shells come in varying thicknesses If you are climbing in the middle of the summer climbing season when temperatures are higher, or you tend to run warm, aim for a lighter weight version. If you are climbing in the early or late season or find yourself always being the person wearing an extra layer, use a pair made from a thicker material. 

Shop the best

Climbing Pants

30% Off
Regular price $111.30
Sale price $111.30
Regular price $159.00
Unit price
per 
Boxes = Checked  When it comes to climbing pants, there are quite a few boxes that need to be checked. They've got to be comfortable with and without long underwear, be harness compatible, and reg...
30% Off
Regular price $111.30
Sale price $111.30
Regular price $159.00
Unit price
per 
Our Guides Recommend these Pants When it comes to climbing pants, there are quite a few boxes that need to be checked. They've got to be comfortable with and without long underwear, be harness com...
Regular price $149.00
Sale price $149.00
Regular price
Unit price
per 
Hike, Alpine, or Rock, this Pant does it All Fully featured, lightweight soft-shell pants with added durability for long alpine rock routes and all-day movement above the tree line. Inseam is 32 in...
Regular price $149.00
Sale price $149.00
Regular price
Unit price
per 
Great for Climbing Rainier or a Hike in the Woods Fully featured, lightweight soft-shell pants with added durability for long alpine rock routes and all-day movement above the tree line. Inseam is ...
Regular price $150.00
Sale price $150.00
Regular price
Unit price
per 
Year-round Workhorse Black Diamond updated their Alpine pant in 2024 with numeric sizing; the version from 2023 was alpha sizing.  Here is the link to the new version: Men's Alpine Pants – Whitta...
Regular price $150.00
Sale price $150.00
Regular price
Unit price
per 
Our Climbing Guides Love this Pant During any spring or fall mission, the Black Diamond Alpine Pant blends extreme durability with a highly breathable construction. Designed with a four-way stretch...
Regular price $95.00
Sale price $95.00
Regular price
Unit price
per 
The lightweight, sustainable sibling to the Halle Pant, this style has all the performance you need for long days outdoors. Made from our recycled nylon ReZion™ fabric, this lightweight pant pa...
Regular price $130.00
Sale price $130.00
Regular price
Unit price
per 
Lightweight Pant for Climbing, Hiking, Beer-ing An ultralight wind barrier, the Black Diamond Alpine Light Pants are the three-season solution for lightweight weather protection. Designed with a si...
Guide to

Hardshell Pants

 A waterproof pant with 3/4 side zippers (sometimes called 7/8 or full side zips) are required for facilitating quick clothing adjustments over boots and crampons.

Here are a few of our favorite Hardshell Pants. 

Shop the best

Climbing Pants

30% Off
Regular price $111.30
Sale price $111.30
Regular price $159.00
Unit price
per 
Boxes = Checked  When it comes to climbing pants, there are quite a few boxes that need to be checked. They've got to be comfortable with and without long underwear, be harness compatible, and reg...
30% Off
Regular price $111.30
Sale price $111.30
Regular price $159.00
Unit price
per 
Our Guides Recommend these Pants When it comes to climbing pants, there are quite a few boxes that need to be checked. They've got to be comfortable with and without long underwear, be harness com...
Regular price $149.00
Sale price $149.00
Regular price
Unit price
per 
Hike, Alpine, or Rock, this Pant does it All Fully featured, lightweight soft-shell pants with added durability for long alpine rock routes and all-day movement above the tree line. Inseam is 32 in...
Regular price $149.00
Sale price $149.00
Regular price
Unit price
per 
Great for Climbing Rainier or a Hike in the Woods Fully featured, lightweight soft-shell pants with added durability for long alpine rock routes and all-day movement above the tree line. Inseam is ...
Regular price $150.00
Sale price $150.00
Regular price
Unit price
per 
Year-round Workhorse Black Diamond updated their Alpine pant in 2024 with numeric sizing; the version from 2023 was alpha sizing.  Here is the link to the new version: Men's Alpine Pants – Whitta...
Regular price $150.00
Sale price $150.00
Regular price
Unit price
per 
Our Climbing Guides Love this Pant During any spring or fall mission, the Black Diamond Alpine Pant blends extreme durability with a highly breathable construction. Designed with a four-way stretch...
Regular price $95.00
Sale price $95.00
Regular price
Unit price
per 
The lightweight, sustainable sibling to the Halle Pant, this style has all the performance you need for long days outdoors. Made from our recycled nylon ReZion™ fabric, this lightweight pant pa...
Regular price $130.00
Sale price $130.00
Regular price
Unit price
per 
Lightweight Pant for Climbing, Hiking, Beer-ing An ultralight wind barrier, the Black Diamond Alpine Light Pants are the three-season solution for lightweight weather protection. Designed with a si...
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Feel free to shoot us a message at info@whittakermountaineering.com, give us a call, or visit our store!