I'm in the market for an insulated softshell jacket. I tried a mate's Alpha Direct last autumn and this is basically exactly what I want, however there don't seem to be any left on the internet (in my size at least, which is small). I know some people's gripe about the AD is that it's too warm, but I tend to run quite cold so it was pretty ideal for me. Does anyone have any recommendations for a similar jacket?
I found a Marmot Alpha 60 (possibly the last S on the internet) - seems to be a bit lighter on Polartec than the AD so was wondering how it compared in terms of warmth. Also Mammut Aenergy In seems pretty similar? Thanks in advance, and apologies if I've just rehashed a question that gets asked every 5 minutes!
Thanks! Seem to be even less available than the AD though, except for the antipodeans
Maybe try getting in touch direct with a store. Sydney last I looked seemed to have a Macpac store on a permanent sale on every corner and the staff were usually cool.
Have a look at the Mountain Equipment Kinesis jacket. Same idea as AD, it’s unlined ‘octoyarn’, whatever that is!
Really nice jacket, v breathable but not completely windproof, like the Rab AD. Traps warmth very well if you layer over it, but not as warm as the Rab AD.
I suspect it's not warm enough for you but take a look at the Alpkit Morphosis? Fleece inner, windproof outer.
I think alpha direct is great but there doesn't seem to be many, any, manufacturers using it anymore... Was it the Rab alpha flux you tried or a previous incarnation?
I know many would recommend using a separate base mid and shell later but there seems to be a performance advantage to using the driclime, vapour rise, alpha direct model to me... Especially if you dispense with a base layer altogether and use next to skin
From what I've seen the marmot is a very simple lightweight hoody using pertex quantum air which is more breathable but less wind proof, it has Lycra bound cuff, hem and hood... In its place I think a really good light simple hoody with a great combination of fabrics, was hoping marmot would carry this through to next season but there seems no sign of that
For me the alpha flux doesn't work as well mainly due to the permeable side panels in the hybrid design, chances are in wearing this in cold windy weather which I don't want blowing through the side panels
I think maybe done other European manufacturers, maybe salewa or dynafit may have used alpha direct in the past
Other than that you are back to previous recommendations of vapour rise, driclime, kinesis, morphosis
Outdoor Research Ascendant is a similar weight but might be tricky to get hold of as well. I've had one for a few years, bought in Canada, and it's holding up really well.
The Alpha Flux Hoody has been my go to piece for nearly 3 years now, I wear it hill walking and climbing and comes with me in all weathers, I have never really felt the cold through the side panels, although when it’s really cold I tend to wear it as a mid layer with a hard shell over the top. However if I stop (to belay, or a lunch stop while walking) when it’s cold I will always throw on an insulated jacket over everything.
Layering can be a dark art though and knowing what base, mid / outer to wear to keep you just right in different conditions took me a lot of trial and error 😃. And everybody is different so I guarantee what works for me will prob be too much or too little for someone else.
Good question, not sure, too expensive maybe, development of proprietary fabrics perhaps, I'm guessing... I'd like to know too!
The Macpac equivalent is quite good if you can order it:
A lot of manufacturers are doing their own thing with highly breathable insulated softshell jackets nowadays. Rab has VR, Patagonia uses some form of open synthetic insulation I can't remember the name of right now, and some brands are using merino wool insulation in this type of jacket. Wool works quite well in this regard, especially merino. Expensive though. I think Salewa and Ortovox both use wool.