I am planning a 2-3 night Spring trip in Colorado between 8-11,000' in elevation, where some pretty extreme ranges of conditions are possible. While I must be prepared for cold, I also must prepare for wet in the form of snow, rain, or deep melting slush. I am working on my bottom layers, and hoped I could get some assistance.
My basic plan at this point is to have 3 layers: Smartwool bottoms, REI Mistral pants (Schoeller Dynamic), and some REI Element rain pants with ankle zips. I imagine my ID eVEnt gaiters will be worn all the time. Of course, I could potentially wear all 3 layers at once, but I have found I can wear the Mistrals in a wide range of temperatures while moving, and expect that most of the time they will be worn alone. However, I like the idea of a pant shell for two reasons. First, I can't rule out the possibility of the kind of moisture that might overwhelm the Mistrals during the day. Second, I am sleeping under a tarp, and the shells would be nice while puttering around camp in the snow. The Smartwool bottoms are there to wear in camp and sleep in.
I suppose there is an argument for getting rid of each of these garments. I could wear the Mistrals to sleep, and pair them w/ the rain pants for added warmth morning and evening, and leave the Smartwools home. OR, I could wear the Smartwools all the time, during the day w/ the rain pants, leaving the Mistrals home. I am reluctant to go this route because I like how the Mistrals handle sweat at high levels of exertion, and have yet to meet a shell I could work hard in and stay nearly as comfortable. OR, I could just go without the rain pants and not worry if the Mistrals get wet, letting them dry out at night or, if necessary, in the sleeping bag with me (I don't have any experience with drying damp Schoeller Dynamic overnight).
So, should I think seriously about leaving one or more of these home? Am I on the wrong track entirely? Would a certain purchase, such as a very well vented and breathing pant shell in Paclite or eVent change the whole equation?
Thanks for the help!