New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Soft Shells

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I know there was some discussion last year on soft shell jackets. I'm planning on going soft shell this season and wanted to see if owners are satisfied with soft shells and ask for buying advice. Thanks for any tips or insights. Are the brands just about equal? Are they good in cold weather?
post #2 of 26
I have a Mountain Hardware Alchemy jacket but I only wear it in the early or late season. I wear an XCR hardshell most of the time. I don't think softshells are as waterproof or water resistant in really wet weather. It is warm and blocks wind pretty well.

I personally like the look of Mountain Hardware, ArcTeryx, and Cloudveil softshells.
post #3 of 26
Really depends on the material -- there are several. I have a Marmot with Gore Windstopper. It wouldn't compete with Goretex in heavy or steady rain but it certainly repels water very well. It's very wind proof -- as good as Goretex XCR? Maybe not, but very good and I find it very warm. Something made with Scholler WB-400 would be very water resistent and almost completely windproof. OTH, something made with Schoeller Extreme 3xdry would be more breathable but considerably less windproof or water resistent. I really like the soft shells. That said, if you're really cold blooded or will be in very wet conditions goretex (or one of the clones) is probably a better choice.
post #4 of 26
I did a bit of research on the net and read that Dryskin Xtreme 3dry and Polartec Powershield perform very well. using warmer layers under the jacket should keep you warm, carrying a waterproof poncho in your pack as a backup will protect you from the worst weather.

Mammut's New Age just won the Guides Awards, so can't be that bad?
http://www.guideschoice.com/2004winners.asp

I am 6'2'' and slim 160lbs and have a problem with fit. med is too short and large to baggy, any recommendation which brand will fit?
post #5 of 26
Love my EMS softshell. I'm pretty warm-blooded, so generally I use a lightweight base layer, fleece mid layer (long sleev or vest depending on temp) and the softshell. Fit is important, so try them on with your layers that you will be wearing. For serious storm days, you'll probably want a hard-shell to fall back on, but I wear just the soft shell 90% of the time.
post #6 of 26
I have an REI softshell that I wear on mild weather days (use my Arcteryx XCR shell for other times). It's made of Scholler fabric (I forgot which one, but it is unlined, not the stuff that is laminated to a thin leece layer- Dryksin extreme, perhaps?)I have been very happy with it, and paid next to nothing for it at the clearance sale this past spring. It really is quite wind resistant and is both warm and breathable, so it works well in a wide variety of conditions. If it is really blowing out, or there is a threat of bad weather I still reach for the goretex. It is cut to accomodate a mid-layer fleece underneath (at least on me, anyway).

If you are thin I would look at the Arcteryx- their clothing has a very slim profile with long arms. I'm pretty skinny, and their stuff fits me really well. Unfirtunately it is also expensive, but you can often find things on sale on line. I have found that Patagonia is the roomiest in the body, so that may not be the brand for you.
post #7 of 26
I can chime in here...I wore the Mountain Hardware ALchemy all last year. Then my dogs ripped it to shreds. So I thought this would be a good opportunity to trade for something else as I just couldn't bring myself to pay $$ for the exact same jacket. I have looked at _everything_ on the market and couldn't find anything to compare. In the end I bought another alchemy; comforted myself by getting a different color.

From a couple of peoplee I got the idea that one thing you really want is Gore WindStopper -- Scholler just doesn't cut it for wind control. And wind is the thing to worry about -- at least out west. The Alchemy has a fabric combination that just can't be beat -- the closest I found was the Mammut New Age (too thin) and the Arcteryx ($$$, I think they are looking to replace Patagucci). And -- as long as you keep the dogs away -- is nearly indestructible. Plus the fit is perfect, very close, but not at all confining.

To the general question -- there was not a single day that I skied last year that I felt as though I needed a hardshell. Even very wet snow was fine as long I kept it brushed off. But I am in the Rockies -- YMMV esp. for those folks living in the East and Pac/NW. And I cannot say how awesome it is too finally ditch the bulky hardshell -- you don't have to worry about getting your layers just right, you don't retain nearly as much sweat, and you don't feel like an ompalompa heading down the mountain which is how I feel now whenever I put on my hardshell.
post #8 of 26
How heavy is your hardshell that it feels bulky?

My Arc Sidewinder XCR is lighter then my Alchemy weightwise.
post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scalce
I have a Mountain Hardware Alchemy jacket but I only wear it in the early or late season. I wear an XCR hardshell most of the time. I don't think softshells are as waterproof or water resistant in really wet weather. It is warm and blocks wind pretty well.

I personally like the look of Mountain Hardware, ArcTeryx, and Cloudveil softshells.
I kind of feel the same as you do re: hard vs. soft, but when you think about it, isn't your reasoning contradictory to what you actually do?

If the soft shell is warm and windproof it would make more sense as the mid-season piece. If the hard shell is better in rain, wouldn't you wear it in the early and late season?

I don't own a softshell that is appropriate for skiing, but Stowe has added one to our uniforms for this year, so I look forward to trying it out. I think most people will use it as a layering piece even though that's not what it's really for.
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scalce
How heavy is your hardshell that it feels bulky?

My Arc Sidewinder XCR is lighter then my Alchemy weightwise.
Its not weight, its bulk. Though I do have an older shell... I know the newer hardshells are more close fitting. But with a softshell you don't have to layer and that also cuts down that bulky feeling.
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic
I kind of feel the same as you do re: hard vs. soft, but when you think about it, isn't your reasoning contradictory to what you actually do?
Sorry I meant in warmer conditions in the early winter and Spring, not neccessarily rain or wet conditions. I like it with just a base layer or wicking T under it and slightly unzipped.

The other drawback to some softshells are that they do not have pitzips which I always use riding up the lift or in the morning getting ready. My Alchemy does not have pitzips which can be annoying if I want to wear a fleece under it. They are breathable but you still get wet.

I think more companies are starting to put them on.
post #12 of 26
Crashhelmet, i think that Arcteryx has the cleaner fit, though you might look
at Mammut too.
post #13 of 26
btw, I found the Alchemy online for $169 -- but I think I might ahve got one of the last one's from last yr.
post #14 of 26
Is there a difference between the models?

They looked the same in the stores but I didn't look closely.
post #15 of 26
No, exactly the same. SOme new colors this year I think.
post #16 of 26
post #17 of 26
thanks for the fit suggestions. I went yesterday to my local ski shop and they also pointed me towards Arcteryx for a slim fit, or is it jsut that the margins on this brand are the highest?

by sheer fluke, on my way out I ended up talking to the staff member doing all the product training instore, he spent the last couple of seasons at Whistler. he has a dryskin xtreme Cloudveil esoftshell which he thinks is the most breathable (great for ski touring, uphill) but too draughty on the downhills, he needs to put on a hardshell on descents. for better wind resistance and warmth he recommends PowerShield.

btw the Arcterys Gamma Hoody has a longer torso cut this year and uses Gore tex XCR in the shoulders and arms, PowerShield anywhere else. They are not allowed to mention the XCR bit b/c the jacket is not 100% waterproof!
post #18 of 26
Rab & Montane do the event fabric which is more breathable than Goretex XCR but provides better protection than Dryskin, might be worh considering .....

http://www.rab.uk.com/review_corrie.html

http://www.rab.uk.com/review_vrsmock.html
post #19 of 26
Don't know what the Arcteryx margin is, but i would guess that wholesale to retail for a lot of clothing would be 100 per cent at MSRP. So if an article goes to the store for $50, they would price it at $100.
post #20 of 26
Finding a soft shell with pit zips is the key. Here are some options:

Burton AK
http://www.burton.com/Burton/gear/pr...ber=B529 6101

Marmot Sharp Point
http://www.marmot.com/

Arcteryx Sigma-SV
http://www.arcteryx.com/product.aspx...ells&prod=1096
post #21 of 26
I own a Arc' gamma SV and it is very warm and adequate for most weather, If you have a athletic or thin build then the jackets are perfect. They are cut that way. Although they are not waterproof they are fine for any day of skiing or hiking that it is not raining or snowing with any kind of force. If it's lit drizzle or flakes, it's fine. That said, the new Cloudveil, Headwall jacket http://www.cloudveil.com/product.php...3620&cat=19974 is a great jacket with Gore windstopper for $250 retail. The one thing I can vouch for is that Arc' Teryx stands behing their prodicts. I have had my Theta AR jacket reconditioned twice, once because my dog had a little bout of separation anxiety and tore a couple of nice holes in it! The other time, I wore a couple of holes in the underarm area and had a leak in one of the zippers. Arc' replaced all of the Zippers and patched the wear areas so well I could barely even see them, NO CHARGE, after 2 years of heavy use!
post #22 of 26
Did they charge for the patches and repairs? I had a pair of Helly Hansen pants that had a few rips on the cuffs and they were trying to charge me $40+ for patches and stuff.

I have a Sidewinder from last year and I just got some Theta SK pants as a gift from my wife and I got her a Theta AR jacket.

I figured that they were all well worth the money.
post #23 of 26
Scalce, for the repairs due to the leak in the zipper and the wear under the arm, there was no chargea t all, not even shipping. For the dog's revenge, they charged $60. Considering that there was 3 areas of jagged tears and they patched and resealed the jacket, the $60 was very fair. The work was great. You can hardly even see the tear locations. I own several pieces because the stuff is bomb-proof (not canine proof though) and it works.
post #24 of 26
Man, what is the deal with dogs and expensive ski gear...I swear our grrrls go for the most spendy thing in reach.

:-D
post #25 of 26
Hey, they are much smarter than you think, they know how to get their point(s) across
post #26 of 26
A reveiw on the latest Cloudveil serendipity jacket .....

http://www.wildsnow.com/articles/ser...ty_jacket.html
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Gear Discussion