/ One of those softshell posts, but a bit more specific

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Si Withington - on 03 Jun 2012
Hi

I didn't really want to add to ukc's massive list of softshell threads, but hey:

Am after what is probably a 'lined windshirt' with a hood that fits well over a helmet. So a thinish softshell I reckon. I like my Rab VR but it's too warm when moving quickly outside of winter.

I also like the new Rab VR lite or whatever it's called but I'm dissapointed to hear that the hood doesn't fit over a lid.

I recently tried an ME Astron hooded thing, which would have been bang on if it didn't have stupid fleece panels which leak wind like nothing else. It's useless in anything where the wind is up, despite the speed you're moving. Tested this in anger on an MR call last night and wasnt impressed.

Any recommendations? A light VR with a decent hood would be perfic. As would a Montane Featherlight thingy that's more robust and has a decent hood.

Oh yeah it's for alpine & spring - autumn UK use. Happy to layer over/under as needed

S
David Hooper - on 03 Jun 2012
In reply to siwithington: i believe Marmot do a driclime with a hood now - driclime is the best sftshell out there.
stewieatb on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to siwithington:

Rab Alpine Jacket or Pull-On? My APO is one of my favourite bits of kit. Warmish, windproof, rarely sweats me out, great hood.
In reply to stewieatb:

> Rab Alpine Jacket or Pull-On? My APO is one of my favourite bits of kit. Warmish, windproof, rarely sweats me out, great hood.

It does have a great hood, one of the best I seen on a windproof, BUT it doesn't have a liner that this chap seems to be interested in. The one I tested a few years back also didn't fit me brilliant because by chest/shoulders are too big. I'm by no means a body builder, but RAB seem to favour a noticeably slimmer fit than some other firms.

I have a Marmot driclime and a TNF version of the same thing. Both have been really excellent bits of kit that are very versatile but neither have hoods. There is a hooded driclime now but the hood looks quite simple - maybe better under a helmet than over for example.

In reply to siwithington: The new TNF thingy might be worth considering too - sort of looks like what you want. Sounds a funny idea, but Petesy's close up photos show its not so dissimilar to a driclime and the hood looks very good: http://www.petesy.co.uk/the-north-face-alpine-project-pullover-wind-jacket/
peas65 - on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to siwithington:

I just got an awesome thin soft-shell, Haglofs Krait. Its a smock but really nice fit, big hood. Very light but also warm for its thickness, not quite a VR lite as it sing lined as such but the perfect lightweight layer for spring and autumn. You could layer up if you needed to be warmer.

Anyway only had it for 3 weeks but done approx 4 days walking and very happy, keeps the wind off well, very comfy and looks good. Its nice and long in the body so it doesn't creep up. The pockets are nice and big and can be used as vents.

Highyly recommend!
Al Randall on 04 Jun 2012
Damo on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to Al Randall:

Al, the Boreas is a useful top but it's not very windproof, just a bit, and has a small hood. I used one a lot last year in Peru, very good for high trekking, and probably multipitch rock routes etc. Nice and stretchy, not too hot. You can whack a full shell on over the top too, without needing to change, as it's not impermeable enough to be doubling up on membranes.

I don't like lined garments, I feel they pull and grab too much. A thin fleece, or Powerstretch top underneath a light windshirt is more versatile in differing temps, and as it's not all attached it moves better. Of the light windshirts, the Rab Alpine Pull-On does have a noticeably burlier material, compared to say the Patagonia Houdini or Arcteryx Squamish - both of which are excellent though.

The new North Face thing looks interesting though.
In reply to peas65:

> I just got an awesome thin soft-shell, Haglofs Krait.

I have the jacket version - same material "flexable" or something like that.

A nice stretch woven softshell - totally breathable and comfy even in humid conditions but it is NOT windproof like a driclime or similar - the weave of the fabric just isn't as tight. I use it a lot in winter and its cold up here, so skiing down hill or even moderate breezes, you feel the wind come through. The material is a lot heavier too - so very tough but quite different from driclime like garments.
Al Randall on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to Damo: Are you the Damo I know from Bristol?

You are right I suggested it because it looked like a cheaper version of the Haglofs Krait mentioned previously. I have one and use it for multi-pitch rock climbing when it's a little cool due to a light wind. If it's colder I would wear my Marmot Driclime which is quite possibly one of my favourite pieces of clothing.

Al
peas65 - on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to TobyA:

I understand it is not fully windproof but i found it performed very well on a cold windy day on Pillar, i could not feel the wind at all and had to vent it. It is a wind resistant jacket. Fully wind proof is excellent in certain situations however i find it too much for most of the year, no breeze canmake for a very sweaty time. Whilst i understand the applications of VR and i fact own several, it is clearly too warm for quite a bit of the year, as is the VR lite.

The poster wanted a spring/autumn jacket not a winter skiing jacket and so i felt it was a viable option and thus recommended it.
Damo on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to Al Randall:
> (In reply to Damo) Are you the Damo I know from Bristol?
>

No, but don't tell him I stole his name.

I see Mountain Hardwear have now made a similar garment to the Boreas, so they must be a popular thing.
Denni on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to siwithington:

I have a North Face "don't think about it jacket"
Don't ask me where they get the names from but it is a great bit of kit.
Essentially a primaloft lined body, helmet compatible hood ( i have a grivel salamander xl and fits fine) light thin rip stop material making it shower resistant but very windproof.
I bought it in Canada as I don't think you can buy it here.
It also stows into it's own pocket and I hang it off my harness, it is also ridiculously light.
I wear a HH lifa top underneath it in autumn conditions when it is a wee bit cooler for climbing and I love it.
Get one if you can, you won't be disappointed.
Hope this helps, Den
http://www.moosejaw.com/moosejaw/shop/product_The-North-Face-Men-s-Think-About-It-Jacket_10183464_10...
eschaton - on 04 Jun 2012
Ron Walker - on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to siwithington:
The original Rab VR smock from about 10 years ago would have been ideal. As you say the most recent version of the hooded VR smock is too warm if moving in the spring and summer months. It's also not particularly wind-proof compared to the original smocks, so I end up carrying the Paramo Fuera wind-proof smock as well.
The new Rab VR Alpine sounded like it might suit the bill for you, though I find the lack of decent hand-warmer pockets the major annoyance rather than the smaller hood. The material won't take much abuse on rough rock either. I also have a ME Alpine microtherm top which is really good, has hand-warmer pockets, but then is let down by the lack of hood! A smock version with hood and handwarmer pocket would be ideal - a bit like the original 10 year old VR smocks!!!!
I'll probably end up using the Fuera with a long sleeved Helly Lifa or thin fleece in the Alps as it's far lighter and much more adaptable...
In reply to eschaton:

> have you tried the montane krypton jacket?

And as no one else has suggested it, Buffalo do a thinny top as well don't they still?
In reply to Denni:

> Essentially a primaloft lined body, helmet compatible hood

Do you get sweaty in it Den? Sounds sort of like the Marmot Variant, where I found you could get noticeably sweaty under the insulated bit: http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=4447
Ron Walker - on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to eschaton)
>
> [...]
>
> And as no one else has suggested it, Buffalo do a thinny top as well don't they still?

Still a great all round top but unfortunately now only in black!!
Ron Walker - on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to TobyA:
Have you seen Sub Zero Clothing?
No hood unfortunately but made with durable, comfy and windproof Tactile Nylon. The material feels warm next to the skin unlike most unlined windproofs. I use mine as a windproof for rock climbing and skiing when I don't need a hood.
A bit like the old Troll Omni Tops you can no longer get, though still use mine for Skye Gabbro!
See http://www.subzero.co.uk/lightweight/lightweight-windproof-and-showerproof-smock
lumu_tit - on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to siwithington: Have a look at the Mountain equipment orbital jacket, light, excellent fit with a helmet, very similar to pertex in terms of breath ability and wind resistance but seems a lot more durable. I have last seasons stitched seam version and couldn't recommend highly enough, presumably the newer jacket with bonded seems is even better.
http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/news.php?id=4526
ads.ukclimbing.com
L.A. on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to lumu_tit: Anyone tried one of the new lighter weight Arcteryx Gamma jackets ??
http://www.arcteryx.com/Product.aspx?EN/Mens/Jackets/Gamma-SL-Hybrid-Hoody#
In reply to siwithington: Marmot Ether is good, i used it as my undershell layer for winter climbing. I sold it on here recently cos the fit wasn't quite right for me. To replace it I bought a Montane Krypton, which is a much better fit and the hood is better, with volume adjuster. £55 online.
Si Withington - on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to siwithington:

Ta all. Looks like there's a gap in the market. Who'd have thunk it?

That Apine Lite would be superb if it had a good hood. Close but no cigar Rab.

The Krypton looks okay ish in that it fits the bill - again the hood looks crap. Saw a vid of some chap struggling to zip it up with the hood over his lid.

Cheers
Si Withington - on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to Ron Walker:

Yeah. True Ron. I've got one. It's dead though :(
Si Withington - on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to lumu_tit:

Ta re tye Orbital. Always worrys me when something tries to be a hardshell though. Gonna be sweaty and heavy usually
mattrm - on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to Ron Walker:
> (In reply to TobyA)
> Have you seen Sub Zero Clothing?
> No hood unfortunately but made with durable, comfy and windproof Tactile Nylon. The material feels warm next to the skin unlike most unlined windproofs. I use mine as a windproof for rock climbing and skiing when I don't need a hood.
> A bit like the old Troll Omni Tops you can no longer get, though still use mine for Skye Gabbro!
> See http://www.subzero.co.uk/lightweight/lightweight-windproof-and-showerproof-smock

Out of interest how do they stand up to climbing? I tend to find that most of my gear ends up holed and knackered after a short time. Trying to find a windproof that lasts a reasonable amount of time and doesn't cost the earth.

Kane - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to siwithington: I have the hoodless jacket that's made from the same fabric. Really breathable, weather resistant and durable. very impressed. Much prefer to wear a thick base layer and this rather than my vapour rise top. Again amazed it's still in one piece as I've took quite a few crashes on my bike with it on and also have done a fair amount of thrutching in it. In comparison my VR is stitched together all over the place - still like the VR and sometimes wear both on really cold days.
Kane - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to Kane: Sorry meant to reply to your post about the ME orbital.
bouldery bits - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to siwithington:

Get yourself a Patagonia R1 hoody and a montane Featherlight jacket (I managed to get one of the old ones with a hood. Not sure if they still make a hooded featherlight though)

This combo is lighter and cooler than my buffalo, but works on the same principle and the R1 hood is just the best and fits under a lid - the featherlight hood can then go over.

it also allows for using 1, or the other (more options!)
bouldery bits - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to bouldery bits:

From andy KP's site:


These days I wear a R1 Hoody and Houdini pertex top under the Speed Ascent. Reasons are I wear this set up for most of my winter training (running and biking), and know how to play around with it to match my heat output. The shell keeps out wind, snow and a short shower, and the R1 fleece has great breathability (due to grid), and wet warmth/dry time (better than most normal base layers). I can get away with just this on my top (no hat or gloves), on most approaches, using the hood, thumb loop sleeves (long enough to cover your hands), and big zipper to tailor my warmth.



When Iím climbing Iíll wear the hood up on the hoody under my helmet as it gives a better fit then a balaclava or a hat (I hate balaclava creep!). The Houdini top creates a slick layer that stops the R1 or pile binding as well. If things get worse I can also throw up my Houdini hood (I think Patagonia have - eh em - stopped making this desert island bit of kit, so buy a Montane Filament jacket instead).
lumu_tit - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to siwithington: Not sure why they market it as aspiring to be a hardshell and not just a good softshell, it is crap in anything more than a shower (like all softshells). I would say its protection is akin to a Goretex Windstopper jacket but a lot more breathable and lighter at 430g.
bouldery bits - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to lumu_tit:
> (In reply to siwithington)it is crap in anything more than a shower (like all softshells).

Not all softshells are crap in the rain. All the buffalo stuff is excellent. Sure you'll get wet but you'll also stay warm! and dry out quick enough when needed.

Ron Walker - on 06 Jun 2012
In reply to mattrm:
> (In reply to Ron Walker)
> [...]
>
> Out of interest how do they stand up to climbing? I tend to find that most of my gear ends up holed and knackered after a short time. Trying to find a windproof that lasts a reasonable amount of time and doesn't cost the earth.

If I'm not expecting a storm up high or on an overnighter the Sub Zero smock is my first choice over the Paramo Fuera due to it's comfort.
It's much more comfortable to wear, so much so that I wear it next to my skin, if really hot, skinning up when ski touring or hiking.
The ripstop tactile nylon very durable and after more than 5 years of use I've still to make a hole in it!
I really don't understand why so few companies now use this material. It's very robust, very windproof, showerproof, very breathable and extremely comfortable next to the skin.
I just wish they make a hooded version or I if I could get someone to make one up with the same material.

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