/ Hard shell (skiing + mountaineering)
Having reviewed dozens of threads... I am afraid I still no nothing! Hence my little request for help.
My plans are taking me skiing this winter, and to an mountaineering course in Chamonix next summer.
I currently have:
->Base Layer: Ice breaker 200, Capilene 1 et al.
->Patagonia R1 Pullover
->Arc'Teryx Atom LT (beautiful piece of gear!)
What I am missing, obviously, is the hard shell jacket and trousers, which could serve me well both while skiing and mountaineering.
From the numerous reviews I have read it seems like Arc'teryx Alpha SV is the leader here. Unfortunately, their S size is a bit too big and they don't do XS for men... Also, I am not sure if paying 1000 GBP for a set makes sense, especially given that I am an intermediater skiier and a beginner in alpinism - thus it is likely I will destroy it relatively quickly. I can technically afford it, but I cannot justify the expense to myself.
Thus... what would you recommend? What are the other hard-shells worth looking at?
My little research has resulted in the following suggestions:
----Mountain Equipment Tupilak (Gore Tex Pro Shell)
----RAB Latok (eVent)
----Montane Endurance (eVent)
----Rab Stretch Neo (Polartec NeoShell)
Do you know anything about them? How do they compare?
Also - what would be the best option: salopettes/bibs or trousers, given that I want to use them both for skiing and mountaineering?
Thank you all for your kind help!
I find Goretex Proshell more hardwearing. Skis and axes are far less prone to abrade the fabric IMO. Granted it won't breathe as well as the Neoshell but it breathes pretty well and longevity is better assured. Event tends to lose performance when dirty and Neoshell is relatively unproven. When I'm thrutching up some awful chimney I don't want to be fretting about tears in my precious new jacket.
Proshell will also keep out 100mph winds better than anything else. I've laughed in the face of many Alpine storms while down and Primaloft-clad skiers cower and freeze.
Meanwhile the cut of the Tupilak seems just right for my build. The arms are beautifully articulated and there is simply no lift at the waist when making a big reach. I wore it for a sopping wet ascent of the Giant's Crawl on Dow Crag the other day and I was as snug and dry as the proverbial bug in a rug.
But I'd try and see which fits you best as the quality of the fit has a major bearing on the performance. Happy shopping
BnB - I totally agree with your opinion regarding the fabrics. I don't trust Neoshell yet (seems a bit flimsy, though I am open-minded - once I hear the opinions of people after 3-5y of using it). Goretex Pro Shell seems to tick all the boxes.
I have actually had a chance to try some of these jackets recently and I discovered that Alpha SV and Patagonia Super Alpine are quite baggy in stomach/back area (mind you, I have 30'' waist, 46cm arms!). Rab and ME offerings, on the other hand, had great close fit and high armpits - with amazing movement freedom.
Now... do you know anything about ME Tupilak vs ME Tupilak Ultra vs ME Changabang?
On a separate note, I have looked at various pants offerings. I think I will ultimately go for Patagonia Alpine Guide. From what I have read, they are very durable and waterproof enough for skiing and quite good for mountaineering (except maybe for lower altitudes in hot summer, as they are quite thick), to the extent that hard shell pants might be unnecessary (well, I don't tend to ski in rain and I doubt I will have crazy and long rains in Alpine summer/late spring). Thus, they seem to be a pretty versatile investment. Would you agree? What have you chosen?
Neoshell is a membrane, it can be attached to totally different face and inner materials as far as I'm aware. The Marmot Zion for instance is rather heavy and the material feels totally bombproof - much more like other thickish membrane "softshells". I've used mine extensively for two winters now, skiing and climbing and just as a general coat in crappy weather and it is still in excellent condition http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=4425
Toby is correct that Neoshell varies hugely in it's application. But in the Rab jacket you listed, it feels flimsy next to Proshell, not to mention that the Tupilak is cut much better (for me). The Marmot Nabu which you can find at Go Outdoors nationwide might be worth a look. it isn't as lightweight as your original choices, but it would make an excellent winter jacket. I just wouldn't have much use for it the rest of the year round, where a traditional hardshell can be useful any day of the year.
Erm... one point that i've noticed hasn't been raised. Whilst the shell jackets all will pretty much cope with what you need for both skiing and alpinism, the major flaw in the plan is using oone set of waterproof pants for both skiing and alpinism.
If i were you i'd go to decathlon and buy a cheep set of ski pants / bibs, which ever takes your fancy. Firstly they'll be insulated so when you're on your arse for the 50th time in a day you'll be warm and also when you're learning about ski edges, it's very easy to shred your ankles (even with reinforced areas).
So go with a decent jacket, cheap ski pants and then a moderate pair of shell pants for the alpinism. I wouldn't bother getting incredibly hardcore pants as they "should" spend most of their time in the rucksack!!!
Just my thoughts.
sweenyt - any reason for choosing Changabang over Tupilak? Have you had a chance to compare these two by any chance?
Also, has anyone had any experience with Montane Endurance?
Given your opinions, as far as the jacket is concerned, I think I will ultimately go for: (1) Tupilak, (2) Latok, or (3) Montane Endurance - subject to the fit (with significantly higher preference given to Tupilak).
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