/ softshell and hardshell
Apparently it's to do with ruining the breathability......
All depends on what soft shell.
Most soft shells can be used as a base layer, and used on there own. And a hard shell carried just incase of bad weather
Ok then say the Rab Baltoro.....
Use the baltoro and a hardshell and I don't see any problems. The baltoro breaths well and wicks moisture well if used as a base layer next to skin.
Very rare that you would need the hardshell though.
1+ All depends on what soft shell.
If you wear a softshell with some sort of membrane and than put on a hardshell over it, than you basicaly have two membranes one on top of the other. In my opinion one is bad enough let alone two.
Soaked up like a sponge. Fleece shouldn't soak up much water at all, as its synthetic.
I don't use a softshell base layer anymore but I certainly didn't have any problems. Just make sure its washed and looked after properly
Softshells with a membrane like Powershield or Windstopper don't work so well under hardshells because you end up with two significant barriers to moisture movement (the waterproof membrane and the softshell membrane). If the softshell doesn't have a membrane, the combination will be more breathable, although perhaps less so than with a fleece and a hardshell.
If you're moving, then I'd take off the softshell, as it would get too hot but if you're stationary then the breathability would be less of an issue.
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