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Mountain Hardwear Kepler Softshell jacket

post #1 of 126
Thread Starter 

I picked up this jacket after reading and doing research on some of the new fabrics like OutDry, DryQ Elite, NeoShell and some others that are said to be Gore-killers....  I also wanted a soft-shell.  I like the way they fit and the soft feel.  Nothing wrong with Gore-pro shell and such but I like that soft feel.  The problem wit most softies is that the h20-proof ones tend not to be a true softshell. they are more like a hybrid feel and not that sft, smooth fabric

 

 

 

OeKw_4zo9YUB-0nwjbuCcVvsy9LhH47BzgO9-L3M0_hyZAgt9qQgClEC8Sw9DSjyTsZBAyZmUFWAZYf0KJz9M9fuY7YwKHNyA0f7iDhADkuAN9wyy8vwQLphxOxvMRMCfr4tosMHV-MKMhNRf2hK7nIdpDJgwONJDynoXh0U4YcrGRse=s220-c

 

 

The kepler is a soft-shell jacket that is cut at 29" (below hips), has two hand pockets, a chest pocket and an internal pocket on the opposite side of the external chest pocket (so you can use both pockets). No powder skirt, and a fantastic helmet hood. Pit zips, waterproof zips.

 

The fit is more towards the athletic cut but not uber thin. I wear a Large and it fits perfectly. I am 6' 172, 31" waist, 42" shoulders. not a big guy.The material has a soft hand and quiet, very substantial feel with a thin micro fleece backing.    The sleeves are cut just right on this jacket. I saw some complaints about short sleeves but I don't agree and I have rather long arms.  The cut around the hand is nice, its an asymmetrical cut with a bit more length on the top of the hand.  Its a very light jacket as well. 

 

the fabric is DryQ Elite material which was new last season. Read here about it.  http://www.rei.com/product/video/817993?IxY2F2MjplrZ8l5Q8h3JRcI5rE38ucSp#ooid=IxY2F2MjplrZ8l5Q8h3JRcI5rE38ucSp

 

Basically, its 100% water and windproof and about 5x more breathable than gore-tex. Plus it doesn't have to heat up to begin transporting moisture like other materials.

 

The pockets are well placed however a pack with a hip belt will cover the pockets.  No big deal for thin strapped packs. They are large and roomy and the internal fabric is mesh allowing even more ventilation. Fit and finish is top-notch. All seams are neat and spot-on. Zippers work smoothly.  Hood has a one-hand feature that works very well and is cut so that when pulled up over my Vantage helmet, I had complete peripheral vision. Something most helmets restrict.  This is huge on a blower day or cold lift rides.

 

I actually got a chance to try the jacket out this weekend during our snow storm. Every 3 hours I went out to clear the slushy snow off my trees. It was snowing heavily and the snow was very wet.  The jacket came through with flying colors. It not only stayed dry but the fabric didn't get even the slightest bit wet. It also breathed extremely well. i was swinging around a 8 foot wrought iron pole on the trees for about a 1/2 at a time certainly working up a sweat. Not that I was perfectly dry inside but I didn't have that overheated, wet feeling clammy feel I have had with other jackets. It also moved well while swinging around the pole 

 

So far, i am extremely impressed, a jacket that retails for $340 full MSRP worked as well if not better than any 500 shell....


Edited by Finndog - 10/31/11 at 10:25am
post #2 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

I picked up this jacket after reading and doing research on some of the new fabrics like OutDry Elite, NeoShell and some others that are said to be Gore-killers....  I also wanted a soft-shell.  I like the way they fit and the soft feel.  Nothing wrong with Gore-pro shell and such but I like that soft feel.

 

 

 

OeKw_4zo9YUB-0nwjbuCcVvsy9LhH47BzgO9-L3M0_hyZAgt9qQgClEC8Sw9DSjyTsZBAyZmUFWAZYf0KJz9M9fuY7YwKHNyA0f7iDhADkuAN9wyy8vwQLphxOxvMRMCfr4tosMHV-MKMhNRf2hK7nIdpDJgwONJDynoXh0U4YcrGRse=s220-c

 

 

The kepler is a soft-shell jacket that is cut at 29" (below hips), has two hand pockets, a chest pocket and an internal pocket on the opposite side of the external chest pocket (so you can use both pockets). No powder skirt, and a fantastic helmet hood. Pit zips, waterproof zips.

 

The fit is more towards the athletic cut but not uber thin. I wear a Large and it fits perfectly. I am 6' 172, 31" waist, 42" shoulders. not a big guy.The material has a soft hand and quiet, very substantial feel with a thin micro fleece backing.    The sleeves are cut just right on this jacket. I saw some complaints about short sleeves but I don't agree and I have rather long arms.  The cut around the hand is nice, its an asymmetrical cut with a bit more length on the top of the hand.  Its a very light jacket as well. 

 

the fabric is OutDry Elite material which was new last season. Read here about it.  http://www.rei.com/product/video/817993?IxY2F2MjplrZ8l5Q8h3JRcI5rE38ucSp#ooid=IxY2F2MjplrZ8l5Q8h3JRcI5rE38ucSp

 

Basically, its 100% water and windproof and about 5x more breathable than gore-tex. Plus it doesn't have to heat up to begin transporting moisture like other materials.

 

The pockets are well placed however a pack with a hip belt will cover the pockets.  No big deal for thin strapped packs. They are large and roomy and the internal fabric is mesh allowing even more ventilation. Fit and finish is top-notch. All seams are neat and spot-on. Zippers work smoothly.  Hood has a one-hand feature that works very well and is cut so that when pulled up over my Vantage helmet, I had complete peripheral vision. Something most helmets restrict.  This is huge on a blower day or cold lift rides.

 

I actual got a chance to try the jacket out this weekend during out storm. Every 3 hours I went out to clear the slushy snow off my trees. It was snowing heavily and the snow was very wet.  The jacket came through with flying colors. It not only stayed dry but the fabric didn't get even the slightest bit wet. It also breathed extremely well. i was swinging around a 8 foot wrought iron pole on the trees for about a 1/2 at a time certainly working up a sweat. Not that I was perfectly dry inside but I didn't have that overheated, wet feeling clammy feel I have had with other jackets. It also moved well while swinging around the pole 

 

So far, i am extremely impressed, a jacket that retails for $340 full MSRP worked as well if not better than any 500 shell....


I was looking at this myself. I occasionaly find myself in possession of Columbia/Mountain Hardware employee store passes.

 

post #3 of 126
Thread Starter 

Mountain hardwear has it misclassified on their site and it doesn't show up when you look under Softshells. For me, I don't want or need anything more as far as pockets or powderskirts. I am very impressed. the Voltage color is a lime green but slightly muted with hunter green trim around the zippers, the front zipper is dark gray. It is really a 3 season jacket.  My wife loves it; so it's gotta be good! 

post #4 of 126

ya these jackets look sweet. 40k water proof and 40k breathability? IF it was in the ~200-300 range i'd bite.

 

post #5 of 126
Thread Starter 

bite away my friend. I paid 270 with my REI coupon and I just saw it on a site for the same.  It's a steal in my book.  Please note my original unedited post stated, OutDry, it is really DryQ Elitem Outdry is used on their gloves.

post #6 of 126
Thread Starter 

for more info on fabrics and H20-proofness/breathability theres a lot of banter on my review of the Bazuka gloves.  A lot of back and forth with Alex but its good info.  

post #7 of 126

Is there enough room in the sleeves (esp toward the wrists) to layer properly? I've had that issue with some other athletic fit jackets.

post #8 of 126

I picked up practically the same jacket, the Snowtastic, in the same color, but I think it's going back.  I made a deal with myself that if I didn't love absolutely everything about it I would return it (because I had to pay full retail on it - I don't pay full retail for anything - not even my DPS 112RPs).

 

I'm not loving the way the hood has been setup on the jacket (and it looks like the Kepler is the same).  IIRC, Finndog's jackets usually have had hoods, but mine usually don't, but I figured I'd give it a shot.  The hood on the Snowtastic does not fit over a helmet and the way it lays when not in use, it actually reduces neck coverage (unless zip all the way up) and would most likely collect snow and wind in a storm.

 

The material is phenomenal - kind of a cross between a soft shell and a hard shell - and it has all the ski features I could ever want.  I just can't figure out what to do about the hood.  Am I missing something?  Is the Kepler the same?

post #9 of 126

wierd. all MH jackets that i've had had super huge hoods and even could fit over my watermelon helmet.

 

post #10 of 126
Thread Starter 


Not sure what to say. I have a medium helmet size, the Vantage and it fits perfectly with excellent peripheral vision. I love this hood!  In the back of the hood is a small tab that might be tightened. Make sure it's fully loosened.  in the front of the jacket are tigheners on each side. Again, make sure those aren't tightened.  I pull my front tabs closing the radius of the hood; it cinches it nicely around my neck and almost acts as a gaitor. I pull up the fabric of the hood around my neck so as to create a collar. the hood collapses and lays flat on my upper back.  Honestly; I love this hood.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post

I picked up practically the same jacket, the Snowtastic, in the same color, but I think it's going back.  I made a deal with myself that if I didn't love absolutely everything about it I would return it (because I had to pay full retail on it - I don't pay full retail for anything - not even my DPS 112RPs).

 

I'm not loving the way the hood has been setup on the jacket (and it looks like the Kepler is the same).  IIRC, Finndog's jackets usually have had hoods, but mine usually don't, but I figured I'd give it a shot.  The hood on the Snowtastic does not fit over a helmet and the way it lays when not in use, it actually reduces neck coverage (unless zip all the way up) and would most likely collect snow and wind in a storm.

 

The material is phenomenal - kind of a cross between a soft shell and a hard shell - and it has all the ski features I could ever want.  I just can't figure out what to do about the hood.  Am I missing something?  Is the Kepler the same?



 

post #11 of 126

Am debating whether to go with the Kepler/Snowtastic "softshell" or the Snowpocalypse "hardshell".  To hear Finn AND Noodler say such positive things about the softshell DryQ Elite material is impressive.  I'd listen very seriously to you two gear whores anyday LOL.

 

I'm 6'2" with a considerable wingspan, so I'm a bit concerned about arm length. Wrist gaiters with thumbs help if something is a tad short, but I don't think the Kepler/Snowtastic has them?  I'm also packing 30lbs more than you as well, and it's not in my pack rolleyes.gif

post #12 of 126
Thread Starter 

you can order both and return one or both if you don't like.

post #13 of 126

Heh.  I wonder if that's an option since I live in Canuckland.  They all say "free shipping" but only to the US.  Shipping to me and then back again....you have no idea how much we get hosed up here on shipping.  Was gonna order $100 snowpants for my daughter, most places in the US wanted $50 for shipping.  It's robbery. 

post #14 of 126

I'm not a big guy (5' 7" 175 lbs.).  All my Mountain Hardwear jackets are large whereas I have medium for my Patagonia and Cloudveil stuff.  For me if I didn't get the large in the MH jackets I wouldn't be able to layer much of anything under them.  The arm length is also perfect for me (I have a 32/33 sleeve length).  The Snowtastic does have the butter jersey cuffs with the thumb holes - if you're arms are too long for the jacket I would expect that those thumb holes wouldn't be too comfortable. 

 

Hope that helps in sizing for yourself.

post #15 of 126

So the Snowtastic is definitely going back and instead I've decided to give the Alakazam a shot.  Decided to go with black - never had a black ski jacket before.  Should be warmer, right?

 

What caught my eye on the Alakazam is the different way the hood is attached so that the collar is still "intact" even with a permanently attached hood.  It's still a Dry.Q Elite shell made of a stretch fabric (Stretch Twill AXF) so it's probably not quite a hard shell, but not a true soft shell either.  The Snowtastic and the Kepler are the same material (Synchro NBT) yet MH classifies the Snowtastic as a soft shell and the Kepler as just a "shell" - go figure.

post #16 of 126

Noodler, please report back after the Alakazam, I'd be very interested in a "review".  How the fabric compares to the Snowtastic, hood design, etc.  Didn't you know that black jackets make you faster on the slopes? Ninja!

 

As for size, I'm thinking I'd need an XL for an MH jacket.  6'2", 200.

post #17 of 126

Are these as windproof as a hardshell?  Having gone from Goretex, to Goretex XCR, to Goretex Softshell Pro, I'm always looking for something more breathable.  I've tried true softshells, and while breathable, they don't stop the wind like a hardshell. 

 

As an EC skier, I'm usually dealing with those cold, raw, windy days, yet I still seem to sweat up a storm in my hardshells.

 

Oh, btw Mountain Hardwear has way too many shells that are just too similar.  Can't even choose by color since they all come in the same ones.

post #18 of 126
Thread Starter 

I can only go by what they say is true: the DryQ Elite is described as beinhg Windproof.

post #19 of 126

Hello,

 

Wondering if you received your Alakazam jacket and how you like it.  I'm deciding between it and the Kepler and am interested in your opinion.  Why does the mountain hardwear site call it a two-layer softshell?  What does that mean?

 

Thanks

post #20 of 126

i ended up ordering a kepler. using it as a replacement for my MH synchro from a few years ago. pretty excited.

 

post #21 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by jarock View Post

Hello,

 

Wondering if you received your Alakazam jacket and how you like it.  I'm deciding between it and the Kepler and am interested in your opinion.  Why does the mountain hardwear site call it a two-layer softshell?  What does that mean?

 

Thanks


About 2 days later I cancelled my order.  I decided that I really didn't want a black jacket.  What can I say - I'm fickle. rolleyes.gif

 

So I'm skiing in my older MH Synchro shell (Conduit SL soft shell) and my new MH Sub-zero down jacket.  And...  I think I'm going to leave it that way for the season now.  I'm looking at buying another pair of skis and I've already spent too much money on ski gear for this season.  What I really need to do is sell more stuff.  If I spent as much time selling off the gear I'm not using as looking for new gear I'd be in much better shape.

 

post #22 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnerbob View Post

Noodler, please report back after the Alakazam, I'd be very interested in a "review".  How the fabric compares to the Snowtastic, hood design, etc.  Didn't you know that black jackets make you faster on the slopes? Ninja!

 

As for size, I'm thinking I'd need an XL for an MH jacket.  6'2", 200.


I was trying on MH jackets over the weekend. We are close in size an XL would be correct. Don't even consider a L, although I found XL to be looser than I wanted.

 

PS - resisted the need to buy, like Noodler, I've got too many jackets.

 

post #23 of 126

Well I ended up going with a Westcomb EVent shell for now.  It had a very small imperfection on a tiny piece of the fabric (I can BARELY see it!!) so I managed to scoop it for $150.  Too good a deal to pass up. 

 

I still have my eye on the MH Victorio or Snowpocalpyse, though I'm tempted for the Snowtastic softshell instead.  It'll have to wait though.  Fighting the temptation.......SIGH.  Thanks for the size verification LP, I figured an XL was the way to go.

post #24 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnerbob View Post

Well I ended up going with a Westcomb EVent shell for now.  It had a very small imperfection on a tiny piece of the fabric (I can BARELY see it!!) so I managed to scoop it for $150.  Too good a deal to pass up. 

 

I still have my eye on the MH Victorio or Snowpocalpyse, though I'm tempted for the Snowtastic softshell instead.  It'll have to wait though.  Fighting the temptation.......SIGH.  Thanks for the size verification LP, I figured an XL was the way to go.

A major player in my jacket quiver is a RAB e-vent shell I bought from Finn. Great jacket, if DryQ sheds water as well and breaths like e-vent, the line will be a great success. I've found MH runs smaller in sizes and I'm in between L & XL - That's an advantage in being in a real store.
 

 

post #25 of 126
Thread Starter 


its actually a 3L softshell on the DryQ elite
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jarock View Post

Hello,

 

Wondering if you received your Alakazam jacket and how you like it.  I'm deciding between it and the Kepler and am interested in your opinion.  Why does the mountain hardwear site call it a two-layer softshell?  What does that mean?

 

Thanks



 

post #26 of 126

I tend to have the same problem.  6;0", 190lbs, 34w, 42chest....typically wear larges, but my one MH fleece is pretty form fitting.  I would think i would want some room to layer under the Kepler. 

 

I should probably just hit REI and try them on...

post #27 of 126

ya just got mine in the mail.  I am 6' 0" and 42" chest with a 35" waist about 185. My previous jacket is a MH large and this kepler in a large is much smaller. The upper arms are made for some 165lber with no guns. It is quite tight. I'll have to go to REI and try on the XL. If it doesn't fit and might just have to trash the idea.  Otherwise it seems like a nice jacket -- very similar in feel to my westcomb event jacket. I'd say it is likely the same membrane with a different laminate which someone stated on backcountry and I agree.

 

nice jacket otherwise.

well rei does not carry it in stores near me, so I ordered an XL now as well. will be returning one or both of them.

 


Edited by shoal007 - 11/18/11 at 6:27am
post #28 of 126
Thread Starter 


yep, 6' 172  41.5 chest (seriously) with a 31" waist- L fits great.  sleeves are a thinner cut but I am a bit trimmer it sounds...   the story of the DryQ is above in one of the video's

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shoal007 View Post

ya just got mine in the mail.  I am 6' 0" and 42" chest with a 35" waist about 185. My previous jacket is a MH large and this kepler in a large is much smaller. The upper arms are made for some 165lber with no guns. It is quite tight. I'll have to go to REI and try on the XL. If it doesn't fit and might just have to trash the idea.  Otherwise it seems like a nice jacket -- very similar in feel to my westcomb event jacket. I'd say it is likely the same membrane with a different laminate which someone stated on backcountry and I agree.

 

nice jacket otherwise.

well rei does not carry it in stores near me, so I ordered an XL now as well. will be returning one or both of them.

 



 

post #29 of 126

Is the snowpocalpyse fitted the same way?  I ordered a Large.  Should be here Monday and I guess I'll find out.

post #30 of 126

ya, the main issue i have is the upper arms being way to thin. MH synchro had much more room in the shoulders/arms.

 

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