/ Lightweight mountaineering shells?

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Taurig on 07 Apr 2014
Due to a sprained knee ligament at the weekend it looks like my winter is over; no more skiing or winter walking 'til next season. So, starting to look forward to summer climbing, hillwalking and mountaineering, and I've realised the only jacket I have that is actually waterproof is my Marmot Spire. Fantastic jacket, but overkill for anything under a blizzard, and too bulky and heavy to be carting about in a bag.

Looking for some recommendations of lightweight shells that won't disintegrate at the first brush against rock, have waistbelt/harness compatible pockets, and a good hood that is preferably helmet compatible but not essential. Don't know what to do about fabrics; Gore Active costs a bomb for something you hope not to wear, I won't buy eVent again, and I've heard Pertex Shield+ may not be durably waterproof?

Finally, an alternative might be an uninsulated softshell with a placcy bag shell in the rucksac. I'm hesitant about this though, because I see it recommended for the Alps and I'll likely be out in warmer, wetter Scottish conditions.
CurlyStevo - on 07 Apr 2014
In reply to Taurig:

for the money this could be worth a punt, the membrane is supposed to be rather good. Not super light or super durable but a reasonable compromise highly breathable (so they say), lighter than the rab latok alpine, helmet compatible hood and only 70 odd quid! A friend had the older model for many years and was well chuffed with it.
W Orvis on 07 Apr 2014 -
In reply to Taurig:

Nothing wrong with the Pertex Shield + I have had two of the Rab lightweight shells, the Spark Jacket and another very similar one with sweat zips under the arms, both lasted well while scrambling and are perfect for the summer rains, unfortunately the zip failed on one but sent it back and was replaced immediately by Equip.
Mr Fuller on 07 Apr 2014
In reply to Taurig:

I know exactly the sort of thing you are looking for. I searched for one a while back but couldn't find many helmet-compatible jackets that didn't weigh over 300 g or cost a bomb. Since then a few have emerged... I think the best is possibly one of the new Mountain Equipment Drilite jackets. They're a lot cheaper than GoreTex but have all the pluses of fit and features that ME offer. If I hadn't got lucky a couple of years ago and won a UKC comp I'd be buying one of them.
timmeehhhh - on 07 Apr 2014
In reply to Taurig:

I have a Rab Myriad Neoshell jacket, which weighs in at 372 grams for a size small.

This makes it heavier than the really light sub 200gr shells, but also more durable and functional.

So far I took it Rock climbing in Belgium (with some torrential downpours) and Ice climbing in Cogne (with some heavy snow) and really liked how it performed.
JayPee630 - on 07 Apr 2014
In reply to Taurig:

I'm with you, I don't think I'll ever buy a heavy 'traditional' waterproof shell again - for either summer or winter.

I use base, mid, and outer layers that shed water in light showers and don't absorb that much anyway, and only put a light shell on in heavy constant rain, and also I'm a bit more honest with myself that I tend not to go out that much if it's raining nowadays!
The Potato - on 07 Apr 2014
In reply to Taurig:

mountain equipment ogre - proshell, very light and breathable
Taurig on 07 Apr 2014
Thanks for the tips so far.

The Marmot Precip is one I'm going to take a look at. I think the old one had a mesh lining which is something that gets on my nerves, but don't think this one does.

Good to hear a positive review of Shield+. Not had the best luck with Rab quality control, although their customer service is good. Would maybe look at Montane stuff in that fabric.

I have to say however the ME Drilite jackets are a real find, finally someone releasing well designed mountain jackets in their own fabric. I'm quite liking the look of the Aeon, I'm going to hunt one down to try the fit.

TobyA on 07 Apr 2014
In reply to Taurig:
I think light jackets aren't THAT fragile if you're sensible. I still use this one as my ultralight shell for summer - it is carried much more than worn but still I'm stuffing it into bags lots and wearing it once in a while when the weather craps out and it still looks as new. Marmot now do that model in Gore Active (the paclite is kind of crappy), so they are probably pricey, but these new ones Marmot are doing with their new type of precip material all look interesting. The basic precip jacket doesn't look like it has the best hood for a climber, but some of their other models do look well worth checking out.

I've seen the many reports of problems with eVent so get your suspicion, but the one eVent jacket I reviewed is now 5 years old and still works fine. It a tiny bit heavier than the Marmot so I don't take it bikepacking and stuff, but it has a better hood and gets taken on summer mountain trips. It did its job well in Norway last summer, although it also gets carried more than actually used as I try my best to avoid getting rained on in the mountains!
Post edited at 21:14
AlanLittle - on 07 Apr 2014
In reply to Taurig:
I have a Haglöfs LIM Ulitimate jacket that i got half price in Field & Trek a few years ago and am very happy with. Spends most of its life crammed into the bottom of my pack weighing next to nothing and taking up next to no space, but works fine when I do have to wear it and has taken a fair amount of hammer on rocky scrambling.
Post edited at 22:01
CurlyStevo - on 07 Apr 2014
In reply to TobyA:

The precip is helmet compatible although a tight fit and large helmet could be a problem as some users are reporting issues (this is the latest model). The older model worked fine for my mate with his petzl Meteor.
The New NickB - on 07 Apr 2014
In reply to ow arm:

> mountain equipment ogre - proshell, very light and breathable

Not really a lightweight.
galpinos on 08 Apr 2014
In reply to Taurig:

I live in an ME Firefly smock:

Active shell, great cut, breathable enough (waterproofs are never THAT breathable) use for everyting from running to scottish winter and sking. Currently available at £165.

The ME Drilite jackets do look good for a slightly more budget option.
CurlyStevo - on 08 Apr 2014
In reply to galpinos:

having owned a smock in the past I'd pretty much never buy one again (well not in pertex / waterproor materials anyway, I may consider it in strechy soft shell). I find a full zip invaluable for adjusting temperature when on the move.
galpinos on 08 Apr 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:

It has a very deep zip. If I've got a harness on/rucksack waistbelt and undo the zip, i only undo it to above the belt anyway. It also holds it's shape better when unzipped.

Having said all that, it's obvious I like smocks and would buy it again without hesitation but it appears to be discontinued so the market obviously agrees with you!
The Potato - on 08 Apr 2014
In reply to The New NickB:

not that light but still its only 520g in medium size.
Ive also got a ME packlite jacket which weighs about half as much but its a proper sweat bag. Id rather wear something slightly heavier that performs properly, especially if its for summer use.

Each to their own
The New NickB - on 08 Apr 2014
In reply to ow arm:

The idea is you don't wear it unless you really need to, a light waterproof you are not wearing is by far the most comfortable. 520g is heavy.
edinburgh_man on 09 Apr 2014
In reply to Taurig:

Montane minimus jacket.
BnB - on 09 Apr 2014
In reply to Taurig:

Since you'll inevitably be disappointed with either the waterproofing or the breathability, not to mention durability, but aren't prepared to stump up for Gore Active shell, I'd buy whatever is on special offer.

I have a Marmot Super Mica which is one up from the Precip and it's okay, I suppose, for something that cost under £100. But if I thought it was going to piss down I'd be taking my Proshell (or wish I had one in Active Shell). It's only 300g heavier, and it will keep me dry, which is more than I can say for most cheap jackets.

One alternative is go with something like the Arcteryx Squamish, which is a featherweight DWR-treated windshirt. Wear that over a mid layer and it'll keep much of the rain off while breathing hard. But I wouldn't want it next to the skin in a downpour. I use it with the lightweight Marmot shell and a Rab Boreas mid layer as part of my clothing system. Very effective for temperature regulation.
CurlyStevo - on 09 Apr 2014
In reply to BnB:

What do you reckon to marmots new membrane?
Surely the Super Mica is as waterproof as the proshell no?
BnB - on 09 Apr 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:
In the lab maybe (claimed 20,000 waterproofs) but out on the mountain it doesn't seem to be. I think this is probably more to with the breathability and the corners cut with the, err, cut (cuffs, closures etc). It's very close fitting which probably adds to contact conduction of warmth as well as more sweat!!
Post edited at 08:44
PPP - on 09 Apr 2014
In reply to The New NickB:

If it's a multi-day trip, I wouldn't consider anything else. Okay, a very lightweight jacket might be okay for a day, but what if it rains both days?

I came back from mountains yesterday, we planned three days walk (9 Munros). In the first day only one Munro was ticked off and we decided to camp earlier than we expected. Next morning I found that only my boots (in a group out of 3) are dry to continue walking. I put my baselayer, a warmer fleece and a jacket on at 9:30AM. Higher up, the winds were strong, I had a hail and nearly white-out at one time and it was raining or snowing most of the day. After I came back to lower level, the weather changed a wee bit and I took my jacket off. That was about 4PM or so. I was completely dry with Montane Terra pants, Rab Xiom overtrousers (gaiters as well) and ME Morpheus (very similar to ME Ogre, just a little bit shorter in the back) jacket. And I didn't notice any sweat. I guess some other jackets could have failed as the hail was almost horizontal.

These conditions are not that likely to happen a month later or so, but it does happen (have been in similar weather in May 2013, but without snow).

As I mentioned, I have Rab Xiom pants made from Pertex Shield+ fabric, but this was the first test for them and I can't really tell anything much. I have tried Rab Volt jacket and it didn't feel that reliable. My suggestion would be to go for as heavy-duty jacket as you can afford (in terms of price and weight).
The New NickB - on 09 Apr 2014
In reply to PPP:

> If it's a multi-day trip, I wouldn't consider anything else. Okay, a very lightweight jacket might be okay for a day, but what if it rains both days?

I have got a 220g jacket that is no less waterproof than a 600g jacket. I am not sure why it would be an issue on a multi-day trip.

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