/ Are most softshells quite short?

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Taurig on 26 Nov 2012
So I was thinking of asking Santa for a softshell for Christmas. I don't have ridiculous requirements, just non membrane, helmet compatible hood, and a medium amount of insulation at most. Went into a shop today to try a few on (a few Rabs, Montane, Sherpa and a membraned Mountain Equipment) but with exception of the ME they were all annoyingly short in the body. I'm not one to fo for knee length anoraks or anything, but the jackets I tried were barely past belt level. Going up in size to a large meant a load of excess fabric everywhere else, whereas the fit was good in the mediums I tried,bar the length issue. Anyone had similar issues and could recommend a softshell that won't pull out my harness or expose my midriff at a stretch?
Nick_Scots on 26 Nov 2012
Decathlon - softshells are VG and have an arc at the back so lower than your beltline.
Taurig on 26 Nov 2012
I was considering checking the decathlon out, but it's actually at the front I found the jackets I tried too short so I'm not sure a scooped back would help for that, cheers for
the reply though.
thin bob on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Taurig:
buffalo 'pile & pertex' and paramo / furtech could count as softshell.
colina - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Taurig:
have to a tall fellow and had to buy a bigger jacket to get the length .wish i hadnt bothered now as ive lost some weight and reckon at a push i could use it as an emegency shelter.
thin bob on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Taurig: made to measure stuff from Cioch (and another place I can't remember... ususally mentioned in same posts on made to measure clothing on here & outdoors magic etc.)
Taurig on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to colina:

Thing is, I'm usually Mr Average; 5' 9-and-a-bit, 75kgs, take a medium in pretty much everything and I don't have this problem with hardshells. Just pretty surprised to have trouble finding a softshell that covers at least the top of my fly!

I do have a Rab Pertex top that I can use with a microfleece, so probs not much point going down the pile n pertex route. I was looking for something like the Rab Scimitar with better moisture resistance, good stretch and a bit tougher for scraping up rock. Didn't think I'd have these issuea with fit though.
ice.solo - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Taurig:

accept the short length and get some salopettes to cover your waist. two birds but not 2 cheap ones unfortunately.

or look beyond gear only made in the UK. depending on what you call a softshell the yanks and euros have different designs for them.
The Ex-Engineer - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Taurig: A second thumbs up for the Quechua Bionnassay softshells from Decathlon.

Not 100% sure about how they compare to the others you've tried but I have never had any issues with the length.
Taurig on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to ice.solo:

Salopettes would do the job I suppose, sort of limits the usage of what, in theory, should be a pretty versatile bit of kit. Most shops round my way stock good kit but with little variation in brands between them; might be able to get my hands on some haglofs, norrona and marmot with a bit of digging, perhaps that could be he answer.
ice.solo - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Taurig:

salopettes resolve a few matters, freeing up an element of what you put on your top half.
just make sure you get something that works for taking a crap or you will curse the day you bought them.

as for softshells, again depends on your definition, but im not sure they are all that versatile, especially for the UK. softshell 'theory' differs from softshell 'garments'. the former being the way forward, the latter often a sales gimmick.

none of which answers your question.
yes, softshells are often short. mostly because they designed as either very specific or very redundant parts of a companys range. 'gotta have a softshell'...

given the choice, i think salopettes to cover the waist then a softshell you can whip off when its limits are found is about the best niche for a softshell in the uk.
geordiepie - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to Taurig:

Yes I've got exactly this with a Montane Sabretooth (and others I tried on). Because it's so short the small rides up when I put my arms above my head, but the medium is far too baggy.

I think part of the problem is that we're used to wearing our trousers a lot lower than is traditional. Get yourself some tweed breeks and yank them up round your chest!
colina - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to Taurig: pesonally think soft shells are awful .i get quite sweaty in mine and they take an age to dry out.
ice.solo - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to geordiepie:

its interesting what you guys say and to my mind points at softshells being ill-designed and sort of industry cul de sacs, at least the ones available in the UK (by UK brands).

what makes me think is that the waist riding up is problem with the design/panelling - regardless of the length, correct design with a true 'climbers' gusset in the arm (it may actually be called a firemans gusset or somesuch) eliminates almost all riding.

makes me think these garments are designed for news presenters rather than climbers.

if anyones into it i know of an international company doing neoshell jackets (basically seamtaped softshell of the menbrane variety) that have such gussets. pm me so i dont get in trouble for overt self-promotion.
they are not cheap, but in the montane price range.
captain paranoia - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to Taurig:

It depends what soft shells you've looking at, I guess...

Then there's the issue of the supposed origin of soft shell; ice climbing, and mostly US, who tend to go for shorter jackets anyway. Ice climbing will assume a harness, so that might influence length.

But you're right that there's no good reason why the designs shouldn't have evolved to a more useful length by now, with the wider adoption of soft shell.

I have an old Montane Soft Tech soft shell in IBQ Thermaskin fabric, and that's a good length. Shame the fabric wasn't quite weather-resistant enough...

Then there's the Patagonia MixMaster, which is a decent length. Also obsolete, of course...

There are a lot of low-end jackets around, from the likes of Regatta and Trespass, and they have terrible armscye designs, almost as if they're designed with classic tailor's block-cutting rules, rather than an active cut. The arm raise is terrible. These might be okay for around town or skiing, but they're hopeless for anything a bit more active, especially climbing.

This active fit is what you pay for in specialist clothing; designers who understand the needs of active users.
tlm - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to Taurig:

Haglofs are much longer and thinner. I didn't buy a jacket for ages, cos they were all such a stupid shape, but I love my Haglof jacket. Bit pricy, mind you...
Fraser on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to Taurig:

The Decathlon Bionnassay I have is quite a snug fit in a 'medium' for me at 6'0. (The large was just too big and baggy so I couldn't get that.) For me, there's no way would the medium stay in place below a harness.
GridNorth - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to colina: Have you tried schoeller fabric, it drys out in minutes.
Mal Grey - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to Taurig:

I have a Patagonia softshell (Guide?) about a year old. Its non-membrane, so nice & breathable, and the length is perfect for me ( nicely below the belt). Importantly, the cut is good enough that it doesn't tend to ride up. I was lucky to get it at a very good price.

I haven't used the Decathlon softshell tops, but have used the Quechua/Simond pants which used a similar fabric, and they were absolutely excellent.

captain paranoia - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to GridNorth:

> Have you tried schoeller fabric, it drys out in minutes.

Which particular Schoeller fabric did you have in mind...?


Or whatever Schoeller are choosing to call them this week...

I think Dynamic and Dryskin are the best of these, being non-membraned stretch wovens, but I don't find they dry noticeably faster than any equivalent weight stretch woven. Their 3XDry DWR treatment is pretty good.
Taurig on 27 Nov 2012
Glad to hear it's not just me being an inconvenient body shape! Geordiepie, exactly the problem I had with the Montane swapping from medium to large. On the recommendation above I think I will take a look at Haglofs, they do look a bit longer, on the website at least.

I can see the benefits of shorter cut, you don't want swathes of fabric billowing out from under a harness. Also, perhaps the origins of these types of softshells mentioned above (ice climbing in North America) are somewhat at odds with requirements of a Scottish spindrift sh*tstorm. But, for me, they've gone a bit too far in exposing the crotch. I think ice.solo is right in that if they had perfectly cut arms you could get away with it and it wouldn't pull out of a harness, but in the shop, waving my arms round like a tit, the hems definitely yo-yo'd up and down. I think Marmot make a point of having angel-wing arms or something, I'll look into them as well.
captain paranoia - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to Taurig:

> Also, perhaps the origins of these types of softshells mentioned above (ice climbing in North America) are somewhat at odds with requirements of a Scottish spindrift sh*tstorm.

Indeed. It's a growing trend in waterproofs, too. There may be a bit of a driver in the 'lightweight paradigm', too; cut the jacket shorter and you instantly reduce the weight...

Cuff pull/arm raise is something I always test for: arms reaching above head, arms reaching behind back, etc. Check to see what the cuff and hem do (I remember Berghaus' 'statement product', the Musashi softshell jacket, had about 5cm of cuff pull in an overarm test, which wasn't very impressive; then again, it was a collection of stupid design features, such as waterproof zips on a non-waterproof fabric jacket, hood toggles that thwacked you in the face, no cuff closure, etc...). One design solution is a shallower armscye, and another is sufficient spare fabric to allow unrestricted movement, but both of these can lead to underarm bunching or constriction if not done properly.

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