Strong immune system is more than technical clothing.
The secret is to wear as little as possible and be always slightly cold – less you sweat the less water you need. If you stop, use your emergency jacket.
Only simple, modular system matters – it is pointless to have the best jacket in the world if your feet froze and you are dead meat!
Anything more complicated that Swiss Army Knife is doomed to fail – keep it simple, you live longer.
I use only synthetic underwear from Sensor – it is cheap Czech company using same material as Craft. For half price it is same as Craft and it falls apart in one year anyway. I used to use merino underwear but it dries out longer than modern synthetic materials. Time of stinky synthetic layers are long gone. Of course, merino is natural material and start to stink after one week. Synthetic stinks three days later.
My favourite socks are Smartwool merino socks. I use hardcore testing facility…WORK. It’s work proven because I need socks that don’t stink after one hour in safety boots required at my work. They stink after three days – 25 hours of use. No synthetic socks are able such a performance!
Don’t worry about socks too much because they will soaked wet anyway. Change them every five hours or so. During my last mountain ultramaraton, I had socks for over fourteen hours. Not optimal but my feet survive – next time I will take an other pair of socks and cycle them.
Of course, I use Gore-Tex…only -20deg Celsius and strong winds, otherwise it is safe and sound in my backpack for emergency only use.
Micro-fleece is material number one for heavy perspiration activities – only idiots sweat in Gore-Tex like clothing. I still have almost ten years old fleece clothing from Berghaus.
My latest revolution and most used t-shirt/jacket, the mighty Marmot WindShirt – most used material over winter.
Shoes – my favourite is Raichle (now Mammut) but their quality is dropping as anything else. Still, it is decent compromise. I use Gore-Tex shoes for most of year. I like soft shoes because I’ve strong ankles from bare-foot running. I don’t like modern heavy, hard ski-like shoes. That’s winter shoes for me 😉
Gore-Tex shoes are great for some wet fun but never ever get them water soaked, otherwise you’ll boil from inside !!!
Shoe brands – it doesn’t matter as long as you pay certain amount of money. My extensive and expensive research shows that anything around 100€ lasts up to two years of hardcore use – if you’re tourist, it will last forever for you. My last shoes did cost 200€ and I wrecked them in about one year. If I didn’t damaged the boots by crampons I believe they would last three years.
Shoes are similar to knifes – they must fit on your feet.
Make a choice and survive – I don’t really have time to change shoes every half year or so. Two years of hardcore use is minimum for me!