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Softshells - hood or no hood?

Original Post
Chase Roskos · · Golden, CO · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 90

So I am looking at getting a softshell jacket for ice, cool-weather rock, and some alpine climbing. I have a hard shell jacket and my puffy down jacket, both of which have hoods. I will likely be using the softshell as both an outer layer while climbing and such, and as a mid-layer when it's really cold. My question is should I get yet another jacket with a hood, or leave it out? Do you think having a hooded softshell is nice enough to justify the extra bulk behind the neck, or is it really not needed? Thanks for your input!

Kevin Flowers · · Granby, CT · Joined Mar 2010 · Points: 0

I would definitely get a hood. You'll probably want to use it as a stand alone piece at times and you'd want a hood. Not having one makes you vulnerable to rain/snow/ice running from your head down to your core.

Scott McMahon · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 1,425

I have both, but if I only had to choose one a hoody would probably be your best bet overall.

Trevor Kreznar · · Richmond, VT · Joined Mar 2010 · Points: 15

I would agree. I have a cloudveil softshell with hood and it is great for keeping the spindrift out. Yea, its a little extra bulk, but well worth it.

Go Back to Super Topo · · Back of my truck · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 260

i have a hood less softshell and there is not a day goes by that i dont wish i had a hood, but if you are doubting it then you might want to look into something that has a removable hood like the marmot superhero or vertical softshell jackets (that is if you do not need it to be waterproof)

also as a side note i vowed to myself to never buy a jacket without a hood unless it is an absolutely killer deal

Richard88 · · Sheridan, WY · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 65

especially with any shell, always get a hood

bearbreeder · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 3,065

hood definately ... not only for the stuff pouring on your head

but if its not that cold you might get away with just zipping up and pulling yr hood over on the belay instead of carrying a belay jacket on lead ...

hoods retain warmth

personally i wouldnt really bother with shells that have removable hoods or ones which zip away ... it just adds extra weight ... you can just tuck it in on the inside

Wyatt H · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 6

MEC Ferrata 2. One of the few things left made of Shoeller Dryskin Extreme, its got a hood, its way nice and a good price. Best softshell ever.

And yes hoods rule. The extra bulk behind the neck keeps the wind off even if you don't have it up.

Dane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 567

If you have t ask nix the hood.

Kai Larson · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 250
Wyatt H wrote:MEC Ferrata 2. One of the few things left made of Shoeller Dryskin Extreme, its got a hood, its way nice and a good price. Best softshell ever. And yes hoods rule. The extra bulk behind the neck keeps the wind off even if you don't have it up.
+1.

This is a great softshell.

(and yes, you want a hood)
Petsfed · · Bay Area, CA · Joined Mar 2002 · Points: 990

I have a hooded, non-insulated soft shell (the patagonia ascensionist) as a proper shell jacket for days when I need a shell, but I don't need a waterproof shell (very cold ice climbing, for instance). I also have a lightly insulated, hoodless jacket for days when I want something a bit more wind resistant than a fleece (cross country skiing, alpine rock climbing). Different tools, different jobs. I'm never comfortable on the days when I brought the one but conditions called for the other.

Even an uninsulated hood can add a bit of warmth, fyi.

Glerb Derb · · Black Hawk, CO · Joined Mar 2007 · Points: 1,405

I used a hood-less MHW Synchro jacket. Under it I wear a Patagonia R1 hoody. When I need/want a hood, I put up the one on the R1 under my helmet. The hood on the R1 is thin enough for that. I've found that when looking up a lot while ice climbing, having a hood on the outside sometimes impeded my view. YMMV. At a belay I put on my DAS w/hood.

jack roberts · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2002 · Points: 0

Get a jacket with a hood. Most good designs will allow you to fold or wrap the hood down so that you have a high collar and that keeps it out of your way when you don't need it.

Having a hood over you when the weather cools down or gets nasty keeps you warmer and happier. Definately a hood.

Kyle Freeman · · Oakland, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 45

With the overwhelming majority of people responding in favor of hoods, myself having made a similar vow as czuke, why do retailers continue to make 'most' jackets without hoods? Especially puffies, a hood can keep you sooo much warmer with a minimum bulk and weight penalty. I was looking at the new Montane Antifreeze, which seems to be an incredible, moderately priced jacket, and they don't offer a hooded version! Guess I'll still be saving up for a WM Flash XR hoody...

To the OP, I put my softshell hood under my helmet when it is windy but I'm moving quick, it keeps my head and neck warm and breathes. I usually don't even bring a hat if it is above freezing. Hoods in the woods!

Kai Larson · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 250
Kyle Freeman wrote:With the overwhelming majority of people responding in favor of hoods, myself having made a similar vow as czuke, why do retailers continue to make 'most' jackets without hoods?
Because the majority of people who buy soft shell jackets are not climbers. Most softshells will be worn on trips to the mall, not trips to the mountains.
jmeizis · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 210

I can sort of see not having hoods on a puffy. I think they're better with a hood but I can understand having puffies with and without. Shells on the other hand (more often with softshells) I never understand why they make them without hoods. The whole purpose of the garment is to keep the weather out. It's kind of hard to do that with the big hole where your head goes.

If you're getting it for situations where there might be minor precipitation or wetness then definately get a hood. Otherwise it won't serve the purpose you're going for. Not all softshells are lined so if you're just wanting something to block the wind and cold then either make sure you're getting a lined softshell or just get a wind shell to layer over a fleece.

jmeizis · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 210
Kai Larson wrote: Because the majority of people who buy soft shell jackets are not climbers. Most softshells will be worn on trips to the mall, not trips to the mountains.
Fair point, I wonder what I would do if I had enough money to buy softshells just to go to the mall in? I just can't understand that. I wonder for how many people those garments pull double duty?
bearbreeder · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 3,065
jmeizis wrote: Fair point, I wonder what I would do if I had enough money to buy softshells just to go to the mall in? I just can't understand that. I wonder for how many people those garments pull double duty?
not that many from what i see ... softshells are great for the city ... but then any decent jacket would do ...

main reason i suspect is to look "outdoorsy"
Jasmine Kall · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2008 · Points: 40

They pull double duty for me... To poor from buying the soft shell to buy another jacket for around town, then again I dont need a jacket here much.

Dave Deming · · Grand Junction CO · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 25

I bought my first softshell without a hood and constantly wanted one. When MH came out with the Dragon, I jumped on it. Don't mean to sound like a shill for MH, but definately happier with it. Same with puffies, plus, I'm always losing hats when stuffing them in pockets and what have you.

fossana · · leeds, ut · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 13,261

For cold weather trad I would rather climb with a hat than a hood. The hood adds more bulk with a gear sling and I don't like the potential for loss in peripheral vision if it doesn't stay in place.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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