UKC

/ GROUP TEST: Summer Softshells

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softshell montage test, 5 kbLightweight softshell jackets are a summer staple for both walkers and climbers. We compare 11 models here.

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Wee Davie - on 10 Jul 2018
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Excellent budget option- £39. I have one of these and it's superb value for money.

https://www.decathlon.co.uk/men-mount-light-softshell-blue-id_8386970.html

Post edited at 09:29
Andypeak - on 10 Jul 2018
In reply to Wee Davie:

They also do a quechua version which is pretty much identical except for having thumb loops and being a tenner cheaper.  Brilliant bits of kit

Hat Dude on 10 Jul 2018
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

I've had an Outdoor Research Ferrosi for a few years now and generally found it a great piece of kit

one small niggle , unless they've changed it, is that the zip is the other way round i.e. the slider is on the opposite side to usual; this makes it surprisingly fiddly to do up.

Got mine for £30 in a R&R sale

 

nathan79 - on 10 Jul 2018
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

I've always been quick to recommend the Montane Dyno Stretch after buying one early 2017. Light, stretchy, breathable a great warmer weather option.

I bought a new one last week (tempted by a Needlesports 50% off deal) and the difference between the old one and the new one was noticeable instantly. Felt much thicker and heavier. The scales confirmed it was 100g heavier (for my XL). I'm no lightweight obsessive but that's a 20% increase on my older one. Big difference between the older Chamaeleon Kinetic fabric and the Chameleon3 fabric.

As far as I can see what Montane have actually done is renamed the heavier Alpine Stretch as the Dyno Stretch, and ditch the lightweight previous incarnation. A strange move for a company priding itself on a fast and light philosophy.

galpinos on 10 Jul 2018
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

I live in my Squall and use it for everything from summer cragging and profile photo selfies to bluebird winter days/skiing. Fab jacket.

asteclaru - on 10 Jul 2018
In reply to galpinos:

same here, although I think that they've ruined the cuffs on the latest one. they should have stuck with the elastic on the previous version; the velcro doesn't work anywhere near as well in my opinion

TobyA on 10 Jul 2018
In reply to Wee Davie:

I very nearly bought one of them a couple of years ago but decided if it was windproof it might be to sweaty for me. How do you find the fabric? Is it breathable enough? And does the hood go over the helmet?

I reviewed the BD Alpine Start Hoody separate to this review recently https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/clothing/softshell/black_diamond_alpine_start_hoody+alpine_light_pants-10834 It's great. Yes, they are not cheap for a light windjacket but they do seem tough and well made. Mine got used loads over winter and still is in great nick. And for summer conditions the lighter jackets like the Alpine Start are great - the ROM I reviewed for this review is arguably a bit too heavy and protective for good summers like the current one.

hbeevers on 10 Jul 2018
In reply to Wee Davie:

What's the sizing/ fit like for it, I've been eyeing it up recently?

captain paranoia - on 10 Jul 2018
In reply to Andypeak:

Looks like they've increased the price of the Quechua one. I got mine for £28. Now the same price as the Simond, which is a bit odd.

https://www.decathlon.co.uk/trek-900-windwarm-jacket-m-blk-id_8370292.html

captain paranoia - on 10 Jul 2018
In reply to hbeevers:

Consistent with other Decathlon stuff (that is, their sizing is one size smaller than 'normal'; go up one size). Slim fit.

Wee Davie - on 10 Jul 2018
In reply to hbeevers:

Yeah they're very neat fit. A medium is snug on me. I haven't tried to get a helmet to fit under it as yet. I'd doubt the hood is large enough. Nice and breathable. 

Post edited at 22:21
Dale Berry on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to asteclaru:

Agreed on the cuffs. I did take the precaution of future proofing mine though, by getting a second for the cupboard; not that the original is showing signs of failing anytime soon.

asteclaru - on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to Dale Berry:

Good idea. I actually had two, but sold one as I wanted the new Tasman Blue colour. Stupid thing to do without seeing the new one in the flesh first, but I did not think for one second that ME would change something that worked so well.

Oh well, you live and learn. Once the one I have gives up the ghost I'll get a new one and put elastic cuffs on it myself.

galpinos on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to asteclaru:

I think the cuffs are a bit horses for courses, they were changed after a lot of feedback from people saying they needed o be adjustable I think!

asteclaru - on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to galpinos:

The problem I have with the new cuffs is that, even though I don't have abnormally short hands, the sleeves are way too long : with the old model, the elastic would just stop the sleeves from rolling onto my hands, and the excess fabric length would then just be spread along my arm. With the new design, I have to bunch up everything above my wrists and also somehow secure it with a patch of velcro that's way too small.

Probably a good idea to have adjustable cuffs (I'm still not convinced that you need them on a jacket like the Squall), but badly executed in my opinion

I have this problem with too long sleeves on almost every single ME jacket I own (again, I don't think my arms are abnormally short, so how long are the arms of the models ME are using as reference?). I have a varying degree of success in getting the cuffs to work fine : the worst ones were on the new Squall, the Tupilak is half decent, and the best ones are on the Prophet which is a mixture of elastic and a well sized velcro patch

Post edited at 09:11
Qwertilot - on 11 Jul 2018

Arm length to body size varies a lot through the population. ME jacket arms always rather too short on me.

Ideally these big brands would offer some choices that way rather than focusing on so many different styles of jackets to cater for micro niches. Maybe no one cares enough to make it economic. I'm waiting for robot tailors to become economical


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