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Waterproof/breathable Shell for Skiing???

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ok everyone I could use a little help. I'm trying to decide what jacket/fleece combination to buy. I'm looking for a good ski jacket that I can also use quite a bit as a fall/winter/rain jacket. I've been looking at The North Face Mountain Light and Mountain Guide Jacket. These jackets are in the $300-$400 range. I think I will benefit by going ahead and buying some good stuff that will last 10 years or so instead of wasting money on poor quality even though it may be cheaper. Any other brand suggestions?? I don't want something so technical that it won't look good wearing as casual in the winter. I ski east coast and west coast. One more question does anyone know if there is a significant difference b/w North Face hyvent material and Gore-Tex. I know all about Gore but don't have alot of info on Hyvent

Any info will be appreciated

post #2 of 10
I bought a Descente DNA shell last season, partly because all the name manufacturers had similar stay-dry claims and the Descente was in the middle of the price range. I got it large to accommodate multiple layers if needed. I've found it suitable, with appropriate layering, in everything from windy single digits (F) up to pure sweater weather. I've worn it in rain, heavy, wet snow and sunshine. Never got wet from outside and never sweated myself wet, as I have in every other waterproof/breathable jacket I've had. Regarding the latter, however, all my previous w/b jackets have had some insulation that contriubted to overwarming.

I've had several NorthFace products, mostly pants, over the years. They've all lost their waterproofing, especially at seams. I've worn a pair of NorthFace shell pants the last two seasons (nearly 200 days). They'd wet through at seams in rainy or wet snow circumstances after the first two weeks of use. I've sweated up in them with just some sweatpants on, but that was when I also had heavier jackets. I don't remember sweating up in them while wearing the Descente jacket.
post #3 of 10
BBW1- My experience is exactly the opposite of Kneale's. I have had excellent experience with TNF stuff, and incredible service from them when any issues have arisin (they once replaced the sleeves, zipper, and velcro in a 10 year old down jacket for FREE for me because I complained that it appeared to have worn out prematurely in those areas). I have a pair of TNF Extreme Gear gortex pants that I replaced after 12 years only because they were getting a bit tight- they still look and function great, despite heavy use. Wet out can be prevented by using NikWax every season or after washing. Wet out will also interfere with breathability (leading to condensation inside).

I would, however, not pay full price. Take a look at Mountain Gear "]http://www.mgear.com/pages/sale/clearance.asp?level2_id=56&level3_id=75&level2_tit le=Men%27s+Technical+Wear+Clearance&level3_title=C learance] for incredible deals on high end mountain stuff. You can get a Marmot, Mt Hardwear, Arcteryx, TNF or other goretex jackets for far less than $400. I currently use the Arcteryx Alpha SV shell, which I found for half price on the REI outlet website- highly recommended, but very pricy if you can't find it on sale. My wife has the TNF Mountain Light, which is really nice, but it hasn't been subjected to extreme use yet.

(edited for my ineptitude in getting the URL to appear correctly)

[ October 01, 2003, 08:46 PM: Message edited by: dp ]
post #4 of 10
I think T.N.F. is a little over-rated but you can't deny the fact that they have one if not the best warranty programs going. All you have to do is mail the item to them with a note about the problem and they will fix it for free or replace the item. Problem with them today is they have too many styles to choose from. I like the Mountain light jacket with a fleece underneath with a base layer of either a mock tee or a microfleece zip tee. All anyone will need for warmth and waterproof protection.

I also like Patagonia but they are so expensive and fit differently. I've never had to send anything back to them for repair so I can't say about their warranty.
post #5 of 10
As for TNF gear, check out Campmor - I've gotten good deals on ski jackets and pants there.
post #6 of 10
I always start out at at AnyMountain and Sierra Trading Post before I look elsewhere. They usually have good prices, but the selection is sometimes thin. It's worth a look.
post #7 of 10
I wouldn't spend that kind of $$ on a shell.. Shop around...look at White Sierra

[ October 02, 2003, 11:44 AM: Message edited by: DaveV ]
post #8 of 10
I've worn a Columbia Titanium now for a few seasons both in Candada, ie v cold, and in Australia, still warm on a cold day!. The shell has always kept the moisture out and the fleece lining is more than a respectable cold weather jacket.
post #9 of 10
I think it would certainly be in your best interests to check out the Marmot and Cloudveil top of the line jackets. I've used both in extremely varied conditions and would recommend them in a heartbeat for both performance and comfort in motion. I love the fit of both these brands, as well as the workmanship and quality of materials used. Very solid products without the sweat buildup problem that I encountered with the only NF top I've had experiance with, can't remember if it was Hyvent or not. Just my two cents worth.

post #10 of 10
My experience with North Face has been terrible, and their warranty is bunk.

I bought a $130 pair of Ice Climbing gloves from them years ago. I used them exclusively for lift-served skiing, about 15-20 days/year. After a season and a half the thumbs were completely ripped out. I sent them back, and they returned them to me a month later with a note which said:

"Abrasion damage is not covered under warranty, but we'll fix it this time."

Excuse me? How else can a glove fail, spontaneous combustion? These are $130 Ice Climbing gloves, which one might expect to survive the rigors of the Squaw Valley tram.

One season later, two internal seams on the liner blew out, and the thumbs ripped through again. I sent them back again: true to their word, they fixed the liner but ***didn't repair the thumbs***.

So I covered the holes with duct tape and used them another season. Now the liners have basically disintegrated, and holes are appearing all over the gloves. They are not repairable at this point.

I am in the market for new gloves, but I will never buy another North Face product as long as I live. My experience confirms that their gear is all about image, and has nothing to do with actual alpinism.

On the other hand, my experience with Moonstone and WL Gore has been extremely positive.
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