/ Winter softshell?
I tried Neoshell last season and, while I was very impressed by the breathability, the durability was non- existent on the model I tried so I'm ruling them out.
I'm looking for a proper heavy duty one that will be as wind proof as possible. Water resistance is secondary in my list of priorities to the windproof-ness. Ideally I'm thinking of a Schoeller type material. I'd quite like a bit of lining inside.
Hey Davie what is your budget?
I'm using the Rab Exodus and it's very water resistant for stretchy soft shell and pretty wind resistant and it has a helmet compatible hood. However its not perfect, it doesn't have an inside pocket and its fairly heavy (but also heavy duty).
It isn't lined but I prefer that as it makes it more versatile as I can wear whatever layers I want with it.
On the major plus side a quick google shows you could pick one up for around 80 quid from go outdoors (by using the 10% off guarantee)
If my budget was unlimited I'd maybe get something else but its great value and works fine.
My budget probably is around the £100- £180 mark. I spent over £200 last season on something with zero durability so the heavier duty the better!
How's your Exodus in terms of build quality and wear and tear?
totally left centre field.....I picked up a soft shell from Trespass...think it was their 400 range....pretty heavy duty and I used it all last winter.....and it was great....and it was £22.95 in a sale!!!!!ANdy
Will have a look cheers.
I just googled it and saw a £280 rrp which would rule it out I'm afraid...
You probably know what I'll suggest, but Neoshell can come in different forms. I've used the Zion http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=4425 loads for two winters now. My usage doesn't include as much udging up chimneys as Scottish routes would but I do a bit plus I carry skis over my shoulder a fair amount, fall down whilst skiing in it, hook ice tools over the shoulder etc etc. and the material seems fine. Yes the Zion's hood is crap if you are wearing a helmet but the new Nabu goes over a helmet fine. It's slightly lighter than the Zion but not much - so the material still has that softshell sort of feel to it, rather than that stiff hard-shell feel. I used the Nabu ski touring in Lyngen and was over all rather impressed. I like the Zion except the hood (its heavy as well but I can like with that if its an all-day-wear sort of coat) but the Nabu is way better in the first respect and bit better in the latter, and you still get all the advantages of neoshell - i.e. it's a real shell if it really starts to rain! Definitely worth a look anyway.
Fair point, the Nabu is well over your budget too. Sorry.
I've got a mate who has the same jacket CurlyStevo was suggesting and he really likes it. Looks very good to me if you want a non-membrane softshell.
Cheers! Will have a look at the Nabu...
The hood fits well over a climbing helmet. It has three zipped pockets, one inside by the main zip, and one for each hand. It has pit zips for ventilation too. It has an internal ipod pouch too.
In terms of layering for winter, I have worn this with either just a baselayer underneath if warm winter conditions or moving fast, or if cold winter conditions or crap weather conditions, I have worn this with something like a Rab VR smock underneath next to skin, or a baselayer and technical fleece. It is a versatile winter softshell.
This jacket has been used on 6 days and definitely has plenty of life in it still to go. It is still cutting it in terms of waterproofing and weather proofing. I would gladly wear this for winter climbing right now safe in the knowledge that it is up to standard.
Hi- it's probably too big. I'd be a medium in that size range. Cheers though
Is your new neoshell jaiket got holes in it? If so, the Chin will be glad he didnae get one!!!!
For whit it's worth, I'm still wearing that red jaiket in your photo, 1 tear and worn cuffs, still my go to piece for this season. I wouldn't dream of wearing a non waterproof (worn Buffalo in past), unless in constant movement, ie MTB or hillwalking or tip toeing up the Ben, in a March high.
Soon be the second week in October, how are you placed for days out??
The jaiket went back and I got refunded (but without any explanation or apology for the poor build). Bit p'ed off to be honest as it's the same make as your red jaiket and I expected better. Hope it doesn't signify a downturn for said company.
Have some time off coming soon. Have a feeling season won't start till later?
Failing that, I used a ME Orbital jacket successfully for a lot of the season last winter. Layering it with a Patagonia R2 fleece when it was a bit colder.
A wee bit info, and comparisons here..
Cheers for that- never seen that comparison table review one before.
The new BD range is schoeller-driven and impressive on the details. Rwasonably burley too. But not cheap.
> My budget probably is around the £100- £180 mark. I spent over £200 last season on something with zero durability so the heavier duty the better!
> How's your Exodus in terms of build quality and wear and tear?
I think the build quality seems pretty good I used it for a week in cogne, 6 days winter climbing in N Wales and also used it quite a bit during a two week trip to the alps this year. So far no issues.
Its membrane based, I don't buy membrane based soft shells (anymore).
Ok you replied to me which is why I commented as such.
The point holds though that one of the main advantages of soft shell is the breath ability and as soon as you put a membrane in your compromising that. My belay jacket is very similar to pertex (both on the outside and the lining) so I use that if I'm getting cold and need more windproofing. Each to their own though.
> totally left centre field.....I picked up a soft shell from Trespass...think it was their 400 range....pretty heavy duty and I used it all last winter.....and it was great....and it was £22.95 in a sale!!!!!ANdy
The red and black Aldi one they sell with their ski wear for £30 is very durable, I have had mine nearly two years and use it for all sorts - cragging, winter stuff, biking etc. It has some sort of mesh lining which I am sure you could cut out though I've not felt the need. Breathability seems fine. Friends with posher ones have commented that mine seems pretty good. If it had cost me £80 I wouldn't be complaining. I paid £15 :-)
I've not been out in horrendous weather with it as such, but it was blowing a minor hoolie on High Street when we topped out from climbing a frozen Blea Water Fall, my friends with posh gear succumbed to chucking on extra tops but I was quite happy to let my Aldi softshell bear the brunt of it.
I seem to remember going in to aldi to buy some soft shell kit some years back and it was membrane based, not sure if your jacket is or not (you can tell by putting the fabric against your mouth and hand on the back and blowing on it)
Gamma Hoody looks nice, maybe a bit more than I wanted to spend at the time and I don't think I saw any in the shops when I was looking either. Not at the online prices anyways.
+1 for the Patagonia Ascensionist, closest modern equivalent to a good canvas anorak. It's what I wear if I'm pretty sure it's too cold to rain.
Not sure if they still make it or what the current equivalent would be though.
Cheers for replies. I'm getting loads of ideas I hadn't checked out before. Very useful! I'd probably not be interested in Gore windstopper stuff- does it not get a rep for being a bit 'boil in the bag'?
Get a proper close weave soft shell, much more breathable and practical
I think the equivalent in today's line-up would be the Knifeblade. I've got a Dimension, which was the Ascensionist's predecessor and also an excellent jacket - good wind and water resistance, very breathable and burly. After 10 years it's finally worn out though and I plan on replacing it with the Knifeblade this year.
I have a Haglöf windstopper jacket, maybe from 6 or 7 years ago now so it MIGHT have improved hugely, but it's the worst outdoor jacket I've ever had. The actual cut of the jacket, hood is etc. is great but the fabric is rubbish. You get as sweaty in it as you do in a goretex but it leaks quickly in the rain. Worst of both worlds!
Also appears to be membrane based......
I've had two membrane fleece "softshells". One looked quite nice with a white shaggy pile outer so was ok for snowboarding in good weather. Both were completely useless performance wise - sweaty but not usefully showerproof or even particularly windproof. Avoid.
Most of my mates on hard shells have gone through 3 in the same time...
Not lined, but I prefer it that way as it's easier to adjust your overall warmth. If it's too windy for just a baselayer on the approach I can chuck it on as it's breathable enough that I don't get sweaty.
Did a bit of trying on softshell jaikets today. Only the Rab Exodus had a hood that would fit over a helmet. I tried promising- looking North Face and Patagucci ones that had unusable hoods. The search is not over yet, but the Rab Exodus was impressive...
It's a shame they don't make it anymore...
Ask me after the weekend!!
I picked one up yesterday. Thinking of it as a lightweight moderate insulation belay jacket you can keep wearing while climbing rock on mild to cold days. In winter, I expect it to function as an outer over a base tee-shirt on the walk in and mid-layer under a hardshell on the route. If it functions as advertised it may make long belays more comfortable without faffing about with rucksac on/off, belay jacket on/off etc.
Then again, it might be gimmick.
First impressions are that it breathes beautifully compared to any other primaloft outfit. The fabric lining is similar to vapour-rise so much more pleasant next to the skin than the hard linings of traditional insulation. The breathability and absence of clammy fabric combine to give the impression (and perhaps a disappointing reality) of lower warmth but much greater comfort. I'm already pretty sure that high exertion will be possible in comfort. The key performance measure for me will be, having generated heat before the stance, how well does the jacket hold onto it over half an hour of inactivity. I'm looking forward to finding out.
I replaced my very old paramo with a furtech claw 2 iirc in their sale and it addressed all the old paramo issues: rubbish hood adjustment, baggy fit.etc.
Seems to be the perfect soft shell for me now. it's got a decent fit, a great hood, is warm and monstrously breathable; and will double as a hard shell if it lams it down. Not much heavier fhan most of fhe above either.
I've one and it can be warm for the walk-in but with the zip down it's okay, I have made an internal pocket as it only has external pockets. No problems with the hood and a helmet.
I see the urban rock only has XL left perhaps they are low on stock, hence the relatively cheap price.
If its treated like regular synth insu it pretty much will, tho it wicks as well.
If not faced with windproof fabric it acts like a pure insulation layer but with much less bulk, and much less moisture retaining properties.
Its interesting stuff that opens up new ideas about being warm and dry. But will take the market a while to adjust to.
They look very interesting and having found I can get sweaty in light synthetic puffies when doing something like XC skiing in them, I'm interested. But I'm not sure if I've completely got my head round it yet!
alphas strengths are in its hydro-phobic insulation properties. it dries really fast and evacuates sweat really fast. so windproof outer facings really only inhibit this if too impermeable.
i think of it as being like those high loft poodle or monkey fabrics, but at half the weight and retaining far less moisture. really, its a midlayer, or outer layer when weather proofing isnt the priority.
i also think of it as an insulating layer that i can lock off with a superlight pertex shell. imagine wearing primaloft, but it breathes much better (and doesnt shed water), then you can throw a 110g shell over it if the weather demands.
when i wear it its been over a very light wicking base (brynje or HE), then with a windshirt if its not too cold, or a primaloft outer if i want protection in deep cold (where primas properties to deflect moisture are utilized).
also, because its so conductive, under a prima layer it keeps the prima drier and therefore even better at repelling moisture.
its perfect for high output stuff where you can sweat like mad but not then have all that condense into trapped moisture when you stop. part of its insulating properties is that it simply lets little moisture get stuck in it (bearing in mind that heat is lost to moisture much faster than to air, and so even a small amount of trapped sweat compromises insulation).
its great stuff, but needs a rethink. will be interesting to see what people come up with. it works best i think when systemized smartly. also, it doesnt really compete with prima, it complements it.
how the market will accept it i dont know - it really needs a shift in other factors to really see the benefits.
i will be interested to see how it goes in the uk where humid winters may be a good niche for it - or not.
its worth noting that because it doesnt need down proof or fibre proof facing, much more permeable fabrics can be used.
Gamma MX hoody all the way. Incredibly hard wearing, water resistant, comfy to wear with a harness and easily swallows a helmet. You definatey won't be disappointed if you buy one of these.
I hear its 80g Hi-loft?
Can you compare to a "dual layer" softshell like Rab VR or similar?
Whilst I'm all for bargain left field offerings, my experience of the likes of Regatta and Trespass are that their armscyes are cut very much with a 'conventional tailoring' pattern, so the arm raise is atrocious (and thus of very limited use for climbing).
The one you had might have been the exception, of course...
Davie, swing by Tiso Perth and I'll show your round a few new ones. OR have some good soft shells ... Used an alibi for the past few seasons. Like it a lot.
If you're interested, I have one of the Zions that Toby mentioned.
Blue, size medium - bought in haste as I thought I would need it, but never did so it's never been used, ever.
Let me know if you're interested mate.
I have an ME Himala which is windproof & highly water resistant, its 650 for the warmth but the ME fits it close to the body than other designs.
I went to Sports Direct and bought a windshirt for under £20. Prices have since come down.
Wearing this over the midlayer of choice (for winter my current preference is an old-style Berghaus Extrem Hoody) gives me a warm softshell, with the ability to adjust warmth and windproofing according to the situation.
And for £12, I don't mind if the windshirt doesn't last more than a season. But I have found such windshirts to be very tough in the past, often getting snags that make the top look ugly, but rarely tearing.
> I went to Sports Direct and bought a windshirt for under £20. Prices have since come down.
> And for £12, I don't mind if the windshirt doesn't last more than a season. But I have found such windshirts to be very tough in the past, often getting snags that make the top look ugly, but rarely tearing.
This is all good thrifty common sense, but perhaps the OP wants to enjoy wearing some nice kit on the hill.
My wife has a different pair of shoes for every occasion, some guys need a jacket for every microclimate.
> This is all good thrifty common sense, but perhaps the OP wants to enjoy wearing some nice kit on the hill.
> My wife has a different pair of shoes for every occasion, some guys need a jacket for every microclimate.
I don't dispute what you are saying.
I am just replying to the original question by saying what works for me.
Even if I was to spend lots of cash, I would still prefer the windshirt and fleece combo above the single softshell jacket, because for the same weight I can get a more flexible system.
Is it really half the weight of a fleece though? Rab quote 430g for the hooded Strata and 370g for the non-hoody Strata, and a heavy 200 weight fleece is 500g or so and a light 100 weight fleece can come in at about 250g or so.
Lighter for sure, but not sure it's half the weight.
I agree that flexibility is good. I tend to favour two lightweight layers over one heavyweight. I just thought your answer wasn't what the OP wanted to hear :-)
In reply to JayPee630:
> Is it really half the weight of a fleece though? Rab quote 430g for the hooded Strata and 370g for the non-hoody Strata, and a heavy 200 weight fleece is 500g or so and a light 100 weight fleece can come in at about 250g or so.
> Lighter for sure, but not sure it's half the weight.
I took my new Strata out in the rain yesterday for an afternoon at Slipstones scrabbling up slippery VDiffs and Severes. It was a very humidly warm afternoon and I can safely say these are not its optimal performance conditions. It needs more of a temperature/humidity gradient to do its stuff!! But it looks bloomin' great. And feels very comfortable over just a t-shirt. Like a British Atom LT.
> my friends with posh gear succumbed to chucking on extra tops.
You need to read Mark Twight's book. It's all about chucking on extra tops.
I'll spend the price of a Twight book on another Aldi softshell, now that you've given away the plot :-)
It's kind of a prized possession, but seeing as it's you I'll lend you mine. The whole 'action suit' thing is well worth getting in to.
> It's kind of a prized possession, but seeing as it's you I'll lend you mine.
I am a crap reader, I'll never get beyond 30 pages then you will hate me for dissing Mr Twight....
For the same insulating properties, its not far off. Its closer comparing it to high-loft rather than regular fleece for that.
Also depends on construction. Most alpha jkts are designed with the usual accoutrements of a jacket (wrist tabs, hand pockets etc), unlike a fleece.
The thing is to compare fabric weights (gm2) and functional value.
For similar functional value youd be looking at a high loft fleece over a high efficiency base then a wind dampening outer (which you may well want for conditions etc). In which case a good alpha design (ie not just a primaloft design transferred) works out much lighter.
Ah yeah, good point, I was thinking about garment for garment, but I guess an Alpha would replace a fleece mid-layer, windshell, and maybe mean you could carry a much lighter waterproof shell as well.
I think I may have just talked myself into getting one...
Who else is making Alpha jackets apart from Rab and Marmot?
Maybe not a high tech solution, but
I got hold or some microfleece and pretext online. I sent it all off to Tundra in the NE with my mates vapourise top and a ME changabang jacket. I asked for a copy of the VR but with longer sleeves, chest pockets, a full length zip and a copy of the changabang hood on it. All done, with postage, cost me about £120. After six(?) years of use in the Lakes and Scotland it is still my jacket of choice.
from what i know lots of companies have designs for it, but not sure who is releasing what for this winter (which shold be hitting stores about now). mammut, arcteryx, westcomb all have designs, but it may depend on existing contracts, regional stuff etc (ie boring shit).
for what its worth, i like the stuff.. ive long worn primaloft as a mid layer over the thinnest base i could, and alpha beats that. ive been wearing a regular alpha jkt with just a pertex-type windproof outer facing, as well as some stuff faced with a new version of membraneless powershield, and both work (tho the pwrshld doesnt work for what i specifically want.
it certainly dries fast. ive worn it actually into water and it relofts fast.
primaloft is still the shit for weatherproofing tho i think, and the two combined i think is a seriously good system (over a very light base, in my case kinky bryjne mesh).
its also nice to sleep in. primaloft sometimes was too warm and got kinda clammy, but alpha didnt feel like it did.
ME Orbital: v weather resistant & durable & breathable. Excellent hood. Maybe not as wind proof in 60mph +.? Great lightweight jckt. Alps? Ski touring? Good value.
Rab Baltoro Guide: great jckt but not impressed with water/wind resistance.
Patagucci Ascentionist: awesome. Best fabric/value (IMO) but pockets poorly positioned & no longer made. Hood not great without a helmet. Get one if u can.
Patagucci Knifeblade: v v good compromise: durable, surprisingly breathable for a membrane (more than windstopper/hardshell) & to all extents and purposes for winter weather it's 99% water & wind proof. Cut could be better (a bit sack like) but still v good. Hood a little tight for climbing in but fine for belays. Some good sale deals around.
Patagucci Speed ascent: insulated Ascentionist. Awesome in v cold conditions. Prob not best for Scottish mild conditions & long walk ins (have tried). Great on blizzard routes. Hood a little tight over a helmet.
Have used them a lot over last 5 years in UK, Alps, Alaska.
Yup, it all sounds good.
My 'system' comprises of a base layer of varying weight dependent on conditions, then sometimes a very basic microfleece, then a Patagonia Primaloft gilet, then a Pertex windproof, and then a 60g hooded Primaloft top and a 100g Coreloft Arcteryx hooded top, and then a light waterproof.
I tent to only wear the Primaloft gilet while moving and the other Primaloft tops when stationary. Might look into swapping the Primaloft gilet for an Alpha one as it sounds like it'll be better when generating heat while moving.
Keela in Glenrothes have a sale on this weekend. You could easily pop up and take a look at one of these.
I'm considering using a windshirt underneath the softshell as a means to stopping the heat loss and windchill effect on stormier days.
My layering system would be- baselayer, Patagucci Piton hoody fleece, windshirt, softshell outer jacket.
Anybody using a similar system at the moment?
> Anybody using a similar system at the moment?
Do you read the Cold Thistle blog? I read on there that Dane was singing the praises of the combination of a long sleeve base layer, Patagonia Piton, Patagonia Houdinin and Patagonia Nanopuff.
Maybe you should buy a Nano Puff Hoody instead of a softshell?
Nanopuff hoody would be fine if it was ice- but not suitable for Scottish Mixed.
A couple of Scottish routes would have a Nanopuff jaiket in the bin...
I'm finding anything except 3 layer bullet proof shells are built like bog paper these days.
The Neoshell one I returned lasted 1/2 a season- light isn't always right?
> but not suitable for Scottish Mixed.
It's an odd suggestion I admit, but modern Ventile smocks are great for mixed climbing. The performance is pretty amazing if you treat them with TX10. Maybe a bit more than you want to spend, but they will literally last forever...
(This isn't just BS, I've climbed a couple of roues in a Ventile smock, and been very impressed).
> Nanopuff hoody would be fine if it was ice- but not suitable for Scottish Mixed.
> A couple of Scottish routes would have a Nanopuff jaiket in the bin...
> I'm finding anything except 3 layer bullet proof shells are built like bog paper these days.
> The Neoshell one I returned lasted 1/2 a season- light isn't always right?
I've gone back to hardshell in anticipation of this winter. Gonna wear the Rab Strata (Primaloft Alpha) over a base tee shirt for the walk-in. Then swap to a dry Rab Boreas as base layer with hood under helmet (worn just like the R1 many sing the praises of), Strata as midlayer, new Goretex Pro hardshell over the top. 100g Primaloft belay jacket in the sac. Hoping the Alpha insulation can breathe through the Goretex Pro and encourages the belay jacket to stay mostly in the bag. Here's hoping anyway.
Rab Boreas as a base layer? Crazy.
> Rab Boreas as a base layer? Crazy.
And wearing the R1 as a base layer (as worn by Dane "Cold Thistle" and a hundred others more experienced than you or me) is any different?
Don't knock it 'til you've tried it. The hood under the helmet works a treat.
I would have thoughts so yes. The R1s are a fluffy grid fleece, I normally wear mine over a base layer but if you put it on next to the skin its soft and cozy. The Boreas are like a soft, light stretchy windshell aren't they. They might wick fine next to the skin I suppose, but it's not really the same as a fleece and I don't think really what RAB had in mind for them. RAB now do the Baseline hoody that looks just like a R1 hoody and MeCo hoody that also looks like a great hooded baselayer if you prefer merino.
Cold wet and slippery next to the skin after sweating like a toe path rapist. It hardly wicks at all except as a windlayer.
Been out trying a few on again-
Arc'teryx Gamma MX is a nice jaiket- but I am not buying a black one regardless of how good it is. Black jackets look crap in photos.
Patagonia Adze Hoody looks great- nice R1 type inner fleecy lining. Unfortunately the hood is NOT helmet compatible. Shame as I would have bought one otherwise.
Rab Exodus ticks all the boxes- but I'm very very reluctant to buy anything from them after my last jaiket was such a let down. The red colour scheme is also very drab. Why not make it brighter?
I really like the sound of the Montane Sabretooth but I haven't seen one anywhere to try it on. I currently have a Montane Fury which is a Summer weight one in Medium. I was wondering if the sizing is the same?
Also is the hood a decent size?
I think that type of material is also hard wearing and easy to sew. All the non-membrane softshells I have tried have worn really well, and Joel's Exodus seems to be lasting well - he uses it loads.
It's not fugly, I'll grant the Exodus that. But it isn't bright like the red scheme of the Neoshell.
We're meant to be in a revival of the eighties at the moment and the Exodus is just staid looking IMO ; )
It's time for the jaiket makers to design funky but functional stuff!
personally I'm going to re proof my big smelly paramo. though in the great weather last year the gamma lt jacket did work well and look cooler even in grey!
I use a similar system. R1 hoodie with a wind shirt for walk ins. Patagonia Dimension jkt over the top when climbing. Works great and the wind shirt (marmot ion I think) stops any wind and moisture that finds its way through the Dimension.
What's the piton hoodie like?
Clydebank Go Outdoors had the Sabretooth jkts in recently.
I got the Piton hoody last season. I like it, but to be quite honest I paid half price for it and it was still £90 odd. No way would I pay any more for any fleece.
Cheers for the headsup!
Arc'teryx Gamma MX all the way, any day!!!!
+1 again for the Patagonia Ascentionist, if you can get something with similar fabric go for it. I have found soft shells which are too stretchy rip easily against the rock, just a little stretch over the whole jacket (like you pull the ends of the sleeves and you can tell there is some movement) is what you need.
as for clothing system, Polartech Power dry under a high loft grid fleece then either soft/hard shell, voila.
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