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Help Choosing Softshell Jacket
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By scienceguy288
Feb 15, 2013

I am in the market for my first softshell. After extensive research, I think I've narrowed it down to 4 or 5. Beyond looking at price and some basic metrics like whether it has a DWR coating, I am pretty lost.

The Marmot Super Gravity, Outdoor Research Transfer, EMS Cloudsplitter and the Columbia Triteca are my first choices.

If I can't find them in stock, my backups will be the Marmot ROM, the Brooks Range Black Mountain, North Face Apex Android, and the Stoic Lo Welder.

I was wondering if anyone had personal experiences with any of these and was willing to share them.

PS. I figured I should also mention that I am planning on using the jacket during winter ascents (and during ice climbs and cold belays) atop a base layer, so warmth is important (all of my first choices have some fleece liner or other sort of insulation), as is wind and water resistance. Since the latter two criteria are pretty much given in a softshell, I would also like it to be fairly compactable so that I can throw them in my pack for cold starts in Spring and Fall.

Thanks.


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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Feb 15, 2013
Bocan

My past thread should help you alot. I ended up passing on the super gravity as I heard really mixed reviews about it. Additionally I ended up keeping the Marmot Tempo OVER the Rom. I like the fit and weave much better than the Rom. Additionally although the Rom is wind stopper the side panels are not and are actually really long. The Rom also has too small of a hood, which the Tempo and the Uptrack do not. I'm assuming since you want this for winter, helmet compatibility is a concern. Additionally as the thread shows you can get the tempo fairly cheap.

I tried the NF Android and did not like it at ALL. It's a very athletic cut which was bad for layering and stiff as a board. I pretty much put it on for 2 minutes and had no doubt it was more of a "around town" than a technical shell.

I also like the marmot uptrack as it has the larger hood, but is a much thicker stretchy material. Before you decide on the super gravity, check out the uptrack.

Like with shoes though, fit is key. I've sold sweet jackets because they just didn't fit my frame no matter how much I wanted to keep them.


www.mountainproject.com/v/marmot-softshell-opinions/10798131>>>


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By superkick
From West Hartford, CT
Feb 15, 2013
Free Solo up hitchcock gully WI3

If its in your price range id looking at jackets made of PowerShield Pro or DryQ Elite (or similar material)

Having a virtually waterproof softhsell that actually breathes is a pretty awesome feature.

If patagucci fits you well (some people it doesnt) the knifeblade is on sale right now:

www.patagonia.com/us/product/mens-knifeblade-pullover?p=8327>>>

the MH Kepler and Trinity which are both awesome softshells are also on sale around the web.

www.campsaver.com/trinity-jacket-men-s

www.moosejaw.com/moosejaw/shop/ProductDisplay?cm_mmc=PPC-_-G>>>

Thats jsut my two cents though. I personally have not found a marmot softshell I really like.


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By superkick
From West Hartford, CT
Feb 15, 2013
Free Solo up hitchcock gully WI3

I did just see you were looking at insulated ones.. imo a non insulated one is better just wear a mid layer like an R1 etc.

but opatagonia also offers this:

www.patagonia.com/us/product/mens-northwall-jacket?p=83260-1>>>

also on sale.


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By ADKMan
From Upstate New York
Feb 15, 2013

In my opinion an insulated softshell kind of defeats the original intent of the garment. A softshell really excels because it can be relatively waterproof and windproof while maintaining good breathability. By adding insulation you will reduce the breathability. A softshell is really not meant to be a belay jacket and generally wouldn't be warm enough anyway except in mild temperatures.

I would suggest getting whatever non insulated softshell that fits you best and then adding a Micropuff, DAS, Atom SV or similar belay jacket based on your anticipated temperatures.


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By superkick
From West Hartford, CT
Feb 15, 2013
Free Solo up hitchcock gully WI3

what ADK man said, and I said originally. Unless you are going to be climbing in alaska like conditions all the time, you are going to sweat badly in an insulated softshell.


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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Feb 15, 2013
Bocan

^^ +1. Honestly a midweight base layer, the Pata R1 or some polypro midlayer and a thin softshell is really they way to go. Throw a belay jacket in the bag and I'll bring a lightweight hardshell (patagonia M10) for if the conditions get really nasty.

I don't really care for much more that just the brushed lining on a softshell. Anything after that is overkill.


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By Goodhue
From Boulder, CO
Feb 15, 2013

If you're interested in a Patagonia Northwall Jacket , it is a very warm (R2 insulated) softshell. I have a Medium in Fennel that has seen light use (about 5 days) that I'm looking to sell for $180.

I used it in Ouray for a few days and didn't need to wear anything other than a longsleeve t-shirt under it. However, I don't think it would be very compactable. I think that compactable and warm are going to be two opposite ideals when it comes to insulated softshells.

If you're interested, send me a PM and I can take some photos for you.


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By dgregorie
From Chattanooga, TN
Feb 16, 2013
Shagg

Softshells really come down to the material. The thicker and warmer they get the less breathable they become. I have a Millet Super Touring Jacket that's made out of a lighter Polartec Powershield (not Pro). It's super breathable and just has a very light lining on the inside. I wear it most of the time, especially if the day requires any sustained exertion. The PS Pro tends to be more weather resistant but less breathable. I also have a Patagucci Northwall that I love(PS pro). I wear a Tshirt with/without R1 under it when it's supercold. I tend to find that I have better flexibility with that combo than putting 3-4 layers on with the lighter softshell. Regardless of what you get you'll still need a belay jacket at the long cold belays. It's pretty tough or even impossible to climb in the same combo that you belay in without either getting cold on the belay from lack of layers or getting super sweaty on the climb which makes you even colder on the belay. If I didn't have the Millet I would scoop up one of those Knifeblades


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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Feb 16, 2013
Bocan

Just to add a thought as well on layering, especially if you plan to do more winter trips. You want to be able to remove those layers to regulate your body temp and reduce sweating. That of course is to keep you from getting cold and losing water.

As from the above posts you'll see most people wearing heavy soft shells wear very little underneath them. Will you keep another layer in your pack for the hike up? Be in your T-shirt while you change at 11K? Myself I'll hike up in my Pata R1 and maybe a polypro vest. Or other times you get up to a climb and it's much warmer than expected. Do you really want your layering options to only have a temperature range from cold to really hot?

Just some food for thought when it comes to how thick you want that shell to be.

Again my system would be:
Baselayer - depending on season silk to mid/heavy weight
R1 or polypro hoody
Polypro vest - for only the coldest days and can be worn or removed as necessary
Belay Jacket - This will range in weight from the Arcteryx Atom LT to Rab nuetrino
Hard Shell- This is not always necessary, but I use the Pata M10 which is really so light I don't notice it anyways. It comes in handy for the days when the weather is inclement or gale force winds.

This setup has served me in pretty much any condition and I've never had an issue. My softshells have really never had more than the thin basic brushed lining.

All said and done though it comes down to preference and intent.


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By coppolillo
Feb 16, 2013

Rab Scimitar, dude! No fleece/lining/insulation to it, but you tweak that with your layers, not the soft-shell. Way more versatile. Breathes well, great fit (not all boxy like most brands these days), great hood.

If you do want an insulated soft shell (though I'd go without; more breathable, more versatile), consider a Rab Baltoro Guide--burly, warm, comfy.

Good luck, vato!


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By Alan Nagel
Feb 16, 2013
On Cube Point, Tetons

ROM fits me well (6'3" 175#), fine hood cinches down w/out helmet, plenty of room for helmet. Supple fabric, good wind resistance. Likeable.


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