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Softshells in the Northeast - specifics?

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
Hey, so I've been doing a bit of research and figured I'd see what the collective knowledge here has to say as well...

I'm thinking of getting a softshell that I can use on the East Coast--typically Killington and Jay, i.e. something that can deal with WIND, and will stay dry in most eventualities. I have a goretex jacket for the very heavy days (if we ever get any, that is

I've been looking at patagonia scythe (proprietary), mammut ultimate (windstopper), and mountain hardwear alchemy jacket (windstopper) as good all-arounders that I can wear and won't die if the wind starts gusting or if the clouds open up. I've ruled out the cloudveil razyor and most other schoeller fabrics because the research doesn't seem like they're very windproof--seem like more of a western bluebird softshell. I don't need absolute zero-bulk, but hoping for more of a 3-season jacket that can deal in the winter.

I'm open to all ideas---and hopefully insight into the jackets above. I've searched the forums and didn't rummage up much on these...Help!

PS-Sierra trading post has a coupon for an additional 20% off on most of those jackets...if anyone else is in a similar quandry
post #2 of 46
If you where an XL - go for the White Smoke:

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=45093
post #3 of 46
I have an EMS softshell from 3 or 4 years ago with the WB-400. It's my primary ski jacket that I wear 90% of the time here in the Northeast - plenty windproof for me. The compactness and breathability are big plusses in my book. For me pit zips are a must, so I would check that on the jackets you are considering. Fit is also pretty important, as I think the softshells are designed to be snug-fitting. I can get my hardshell over the softshell for a very cold/stormy day. A friend of mine has the MH Alchemy and he loves it.

FYI - REI Outlet has the Patagonia Scythe (black only) on sale for $190, original price was $275.
post #4 of 46
If you really want a softshell you should know that a true softshell does not have a membrane. So no windstopper or other membranes.
Schoeller and Malden Mills. Look for their fabrics.
Schoeller's Dryskin and WB-400. Malden's Polartec Power Shield.
post #5 of 46
I have the scythe and can concur that it is very warm and windproof without much bulk. The problem with that jacket though is that when it's zipped up all the way it is very uncomfortable to the neck. You should be able to find it cheaper than $190 though...I think sierra trading post has them for sale.
post #6 of 46
sywsyw knows his stuff - windstopper is not the best softshell. And, the Scythe is not a softshell - it is a hardshell - competes directly with goretex XCR.

Youre right - Cloudveil Rayzar is a light softshell - schoeller dryskin.

Recommend:

WB-400
Powershield
Patagonia White Smoke (proprietery), Coreskin (Powershield)...


Just went through lots of research last spring and made purchases during the summer. One thought - do you ski hard and sweat in your hardshell? If not, perhaps the benefits of a softshell wont be realized...?

Someone said it best about shells - Hardshell = sometimes clammy and a bit too warm. Softshells = sometimes a bit cold but not clammy...

Softshells:

http://www.backcountryoutlet.com/out...l-Jackets.html
post #7 of 46
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input thus far...

I just found even more threads on this topic. Good lord...info overload
Sounds like you went through something similar kuma...and sywsyw I can't imagine how much you've read on the subject to know all that

It sounds like I might be asking the wrong question. Here's my problem and why I'm looking for something new:

I telemark, tend to turn a lot and jump around, generally an energetic skier without much economy of motion but just having a good time

These don't help, of course, but they're staying!!!
[gratuitous ski pic]

[/gratuitous ski pic]


When doing lift served, I sweat like a pig on the way down and freeze on the way up. Typically I'm wearing a synthetic, then an old thin wool sweater, then (depening on temperature) either my insulated goretex jacket or adding a third layer of a mountain hardwear windstopper fleece, and then the outer jacket. Yes, I get cold easily.

I was thinking if I got something more breathable it might diminish the sweat-freeze-sweat-freeze problem, hence the question about "softshells." After reading this, http://www.psychovertical.com/?thebestsoftshell, I think my best bet is to ask:

What will be windproof (number 1!), highly breathable, and decently water resistant, and can double as a mid layer when it starts getting really wet?
post #8 of 46
SOS Shell on Ebay, I picked one op for 60.00 plus shipping. Top notch quality, I knew SOS was always good, these are real nice. He has them in Blue, Grey, Black and Red.
post #9 of 46
Thread Starter 

gore windstopper

Come to think of it...does anyone here have the mountain hardwear alchemy? Seems like people are saying it's not as breathable as a "true" softshell due to the membrane...any user reports?
post #10 of 46
Thread Starter 
Thanks Phil...I see me an eVENT sticker there! I assume you did a Best Offer of $60 and it was accepted?

I like the comment: A wonderful sitcom in a world of informercials. Gr8 Ebayer.

I'm always skeptical of buying stuff on ebay with the seller located in China...And he's selling arcteryx for $50 bucks. Maybe I'm just paranoid
post #11 of 46
I have a mountain hardware soft shell and love it. One morning was below zero and it was not a problem. I also just bought some ibex soft shell pants to go with it. It is like wearing Pajamas while going skiing

Alfonse
post #12 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by icer View Post
Thanks Phil...I see me an eVENT sticker there! I assume you did a Best Offer of $60 and it was accepted?
yeah. The guy was real good to deal with. I ended up buying a second one when he listed the red.
post #13 of 46
Thread Starter 
pajamas...mmmm....

Alfonse, do you know which model it is? What are your experiences with the breathability?
post #14 of 46
I think it is the Synchro jacket looking at their website, it is in the car right now and it is pouring rain so I am reluctant to check. It is like wearing a shirt. As for breathability it seems great. I skied at Killington in April bumping on OL all day wearing it and lots of guys were just wearing shirts. I am sure I got warm but I do not remember any problems with getting too hot. It is a light coat and if it is cold you need to layer. Preferably with fleece in the middle but I love it. To be honest if it is too cold for me to ski in it I am not sure I want to be skiing on a day like that anyway. Call me lazy or not dedicated but I have seen my share of cold days and now that I live near the mountains if it is horrible out the couch looks real inviting. Check out the Ibex stuff as well. The pants I got are amazing, they double well as nice sweats at Ultimate frisbee tournies as well. They recently had a huge ibex tent sale up here and I got an amazing deal on them

Alfonse
post #15 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by icer View Post
I'm always skeptical of buying stuff on ebay with the seller located in China...And he's selling arcteryx for $50 bucks. Maybe I'm just paranoid
You should be paranoid. Do you know what the Silk Street Market is in Beijing?
post #16 of 46
Thread Starter 
I can infer from your comment...but I know you're dying to tell us
post #17 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by icer View Post
What will be windproof (number 1!), highly breathable, and decently water resistant, and can double as a mid layer when it starts getting really wet?
WB-400 (first choice)
Powershield (second choice)
There may be some other fabrics between them or even better than WB-400 (everything's possible).

For a mid layer maybe it's better to use a fleece. It's softer. Look at the fabric comparison chart from Beyondfleece that i sent you and you will see that they think the Dryskin is even more breathable than 200 fleece. The fleece will be warmer and more comfortable. After all, it was made to be worn as a mid layer.
post #18 of 46
I have the Alchemy and it is simply amazing ... i'll probably end up using it 80% of the time skiing.
post #19 of 46
If price is a concern, the North Face Apex Bionic is a nice product. It can usually be found for around $100. Its pretty tough, has a bit of insulation for those colder days. I tried one on the other day and was impressed with the fit. I personally use a MHW Alchemy softshell, its pretty sweet, although was a tad pricey. The only thing I don't like about it is that it has a bit of a boxy fit, at least on me. I've heard great things about the EMS softshells as well.
post #20 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by icer View Post
Thanks Phil...I see me an eVENT sticker there! I assume you did a Best Offer of $60 and it was accepted?

I like the comment: A wonderful sitcom in a world of informercials. Gr8 Ebayer.

I'm always skeptical of buying stuff on ebay with the seller located in China...And he's selling arcteryx for $50 bucks. Maybe I'm just paranoid

be very skeptical of this one. eVent fabrics does not even list SOS as a client: http://www.eventfabrics.com/find_eVent.php the price and generic appearance also scream knockoff.

that said, if it IS legit, it's a killer deal. SOS jackets are $400+ in the UK and eVent fabric is really nice stuff (i almost bought an eVent shell).
post #21 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by icer View Post
I can infer from your comment...but I know you're dying to tell us
Seeing the Silk Street "fake-goods market" in person is actually rather impressive. It's something like 8 or 9 massive floors loaded with cheap souvenirs and brand name knockoffs. I bought one of those Arcteryx jackets there. BTW, very nice jacket regardless of authenticity. You can haggle down to around $25 if you're good and speak the language (I had plenty of help).
post #22 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voltron View Post
I bought one of those Arcteryx jackets there. BTW, very nice jacket regardless of authenticity.
I bought two North Face Mountain Light jackets off of e-bay from China sellers. $80 or $90. One was such a good imitation that even the local outfitter shop could not tell the difference. Even the tags and upc codes matched up. Five years later I still wear it skiing and can tell no difference from my authentic one.

The second jacket I bought was clearly a fake as the color was not even the same. The material felt different and it was not built as well. I turned around and sold it for what I paid for it, stating in the auction that I though it was a knock-off.
post #23 of 46
I have the mountain hardware alchemy jacket....I ski mostly @ wildcat in NH which has a rep as a frigid; windy mountain (deservedly so)...very versatile...has great windblocking ability&very breathable as well (I sweat a lot also)...I use it mainly as my middlle layer under my hardshell....problem is my hardshell breathability isn't as good and I sometimes get damp from the hardshell condensation...on the whole the combo works on all but the coldest Jan days(ambiant temp below zero) ...good luck
post #24 of 46
Thread Starter 

knockoffs

It's funny...looking at the arcteryx jacket this guy has for sale, it looks like the cut is similar to the mountain hardwear windstopper fleece--gore windstopper tags and all.

Them pirates need to put a little more dough into R&D
post #25 of 46
Thread Starter 

The Definitive Info--courtesy of sywsyw

So the King of Softshells has spoken...and this is what I was looking for. Much thanks to sywsyw for the link.

http://www.verber.com/mark/outdoors/...a-testing.html

Hopefully people in the future will find this of use as well.

Kind of amazing the difference between goretex xcr/event and even the middle-of-the pack softshells. And you have to love the "percent of naked" rating!

Yes, this winter when you see someone skiing in their schoeller dryskin softshell, ask them how it feels to be 98% naked. Then, if you're really feeling lucky, ask them about the other 2%
post #26 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Madison View Post
be very skeptical of this one. eVent fabrics does not even list SOS as a client: http://www.eventfabrics.com/find_eVent.php the price and generic appearance also scream knockoff.

that said, if it IS legit, it's a killer deal. SOS jackets are $400+ in the UK and eVent fabric is really nice stuff (i almost bought an eVent shell).
I have one of these SOS jackets, it is well built and I see no clue that it is a knock-off.
post #27 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Pugliese View Post
I have one of these SOS jackets, it is well built and I see no clue that it is a knock-off.
The clue is that you bought it from a knock-off supplier. Though in reality, that may be the biggest difference between it and the real thing.
post #28 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by icer View Post
So the King of Softshells has spoken...and this is what I was looking for. Much thanks to sywsyw for the link.

http://www.verber.com/mark/outdoors/...a-testing.html

Hopefully people in the future will find this of use as well.

Kind of amazing the difference between goretex xcr/event and even the middle-of-the pack softshells. And you have to love the "percent of naked" rating!

Yes, this winter when you see someone skiing in their schoeller dryskin softshell, ask them how it feels to be 98% naked. Then, if you're really feeling lucky, ask them about the other 2%

Love this chart - as it is a couple years old, look at the Krushell if considering a 05/06 White Smoke. Last year they changed the fabric to that of the Krushell although the White Smoke has a slightly heavier weave - close to Powershield/CoreSkin jacket in terms of "nakedness" Prior years are according to chart.

One things for sure with all this, nothings free. Less nakedness/breathability = better wind/water resistance...
post #29 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voltron View Post
The clue is that you bought it from a knock-off supplier. Though in reality, that may be the biggest difference between it and the real thing.
I didn't even think that it was a knock off seller, I jsut assumed that he was selling soem clearance jackets.
post #30 of 46
In looking at this jacket again, more closely, I cannot see this being a knock off. This is tight, it has the SOS hangtags, the eVent tags, the lables are all highest quality, it has the SOS embossment and all of the SOS fine details. There is no way this is a knockoff that could be sold profitably for $60.00.
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