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Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby fatdad » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:14 pm

The OP strikes me as being really naive. The best hardshell "money can buy?" How about buying a shell appropriate for its intended use? Denali and Kili are almost polar opposites in terms of conditions you'd find. Maybe it's just a matter of wording, but I get the feeling this person is looking for a shell to climb the mountain for him.

BTW, I love my Pre-cip, but would I take it as my shell on Denali (never been BTW), no way. A great lightweight shell but seems too flimsy for the conditions there should they turn bad.
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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby Autoxfil » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:59 pm

Nitrox wrote:
ExcitibleBoy wrote:...soft shell jackets have to be the most useless peice of clothing for mountaineering.

Also, light and breathable are far more important than waterproof in the high mountains.


Sounds like you have a love/hate relationship with softshells. :lol:


Much of the hate for softshells comes from abuse of the ill-defined term as a marketing buzzword. There are "softshells" which are fleece-lined 3-layer WPB shells - WTF?

A properly-designed alpine softshell is pretty phenomenal.

1) Even an eVent jacket with decent venting will get quite damp if you sweat much in it.
2) When covered in technical climbing gear, layering up and down or venting is not easy.
3) If it's much below freezing, you don't need a waterproof shell anyway.

In fact, you only need a waterproof shell if you're going to be getting wet in cold, alpine conditions. I have a Marmot Essence but would prefer a Super Mica (or Pata M10...) for alpine use, where you may encounter cold, driving rain unexpectedly. But, be honest... will you really be in a place where you'll be outside when a storm could come up and soak you, and not let you safely get back to your tent? The number of climbing trips where I've actually needed a hardshell sits at exactly... zero. There was one 30º day of ice climbing in wet snow and drizzle where it might have been nice, but I doubt I could have actually stayed much drier in a hardshell, with water running down my tools and up my sleeves, and blowing in my hood, plus I would have been sweating up on every pitch.

I rarely ever use a hardshell anymore. My Patagonia Ascentionist has a great DWR finish which repels snow and ice and some water. It breathes many times better than a hardshell, and feels warmer to boot - the solid, plastic-y construction of hardshells seems to conduct heat rather well, even as they trap sweat. I was the first of my climbing partners to try a real alpine softshell, and they've all converted now.

Oh... and the prices are much better.
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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Tue Oct 05, 2010 12:07 am

fatdad wrote:Denali and Kili are almost polar opposites in terms of conditions you'd find.

Good point, Denali is, well, polar and Kili is tropical.

fatdad wrote:BTW, I love my Pre-cip, but would I take it as my shell on Denali (never been BTW), no way. A great lightweight shell but seems too flimsy for the conditions there should they turn bad.

I did take my Pre-cip as my shell on Denali as well as on numerous other Alaskan peaks and conditions on occasion turned quite bad. The Precip worked just fine and when conditions are bad (read cold, windy, snowy) the belay jacket goes on over everything anyway.
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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby fatdad » Tue Oct 05, 2010 12:19 am

ExcitibleBoy wrote:I did take my Pre-cip as my shell on Denali as well as on numerous other Alaskan peaks and conditions on occasion turned quite bad. The Precip worked just fine and when conditions are bad (read cold, windy, snowy) the belay jacket goes on over everything anyway.


Interesting. Like I said, I really like my Pre-cip and it's been my go to shell for most things from local mt. biking to the Sierra, but I haven't done anything gnarly in ages. Good to know it can handle it. Oh yeah, I guess the belay jacket doesn't hurt either.
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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby Nitrox » Tue Oct 05, 2010 12:35 am

Autoxfil wrote:
Nitrox wrote:
ExcitibleBoy wrote:...soft shell jackets have to be the most useless peice of clothing for mountaineering.

Also, light and breathable are far more important than waterproof in the high mountains.


Sounds like you have a love/hate relationship with softshells. :lol:


Much of the hate for softshells comes from abuse of the ill-defined term as a marketing buzzword. There are "softshells" which are fleece-lined 3-layer WPB shells - WTF?

A properly-designed alpine softshell is pretty phenomenal.

1) Even an eVent jacket with decent venting will get quite damp if you sweat much in it.
2) When covered in technical climbing gear, layering up and down or venting is not easy.
3) If it's much below freezing, you don't need a waterproof shell anyway.

In fact, you only need a waterproof shell if you're going to be getting wet in cold, alpine conditions. I have a Marmot Essence but would prefer a Super Mica (or Pata M10...) for alpine use, where you may encounter cold, driving rain unexpectedly. But, be honest... will you really be in a place where you'll be outside when a storm could come up and soak you, and not let you safely get back to your tent? The number of climbing trips where I've actually needed a hardshell sits at exactly... zero. There was one 30º day of ice climbing in wet snow and drizzle where it might have been nice, but I doubt I could have actually stayed much drier in a hardshell, with water running down my tools and up my sleeves, and blowing in my hood, plus I would have been sweating up on every pitch.

I rarely ever use a hardshell anymore. My Patagonia Ascentionist has a great DWR finish which repels snow and ice and some water. It breathes many times better than a hardshell, and feels warmer to boot - the solid, plastic-y construction of hardshells seems to conduct heat rather well, even as they trap sweat. I was the first of my climbing partners to try a real alpine softshell, and they've all converted now.

Oh... and the prices are much better.


An unlined softshell with a lightweight rain fly in the pack seams ideal. Throw an R1 Hoodie under the softshell and you're set.
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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby Autoxfil » Tue Oct 05, 2010 12:58 am

Sort of - if it's warm enough for rain, it's way too warm for a real softshell. I use my Houdini for warmer temps, and complement it with a poncho for emergencies. If I actually suspect it'll rain, I just take the Essense.

My Ascentionist plus light wool or cap baselayer is good to 20 degrees or so with moderate effort, and colder when climbing hard. Add my R2 and it's worked well down to -20 with moderate hiking or climbing. I just got an R1 for this season but haven't tried it yet.
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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby rasgoat » Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:34 am

Loki Levity

Without a doubt, really awesome.
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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby Eman2005 » Tue Oct 05, 2010 5:45 am

jschrock wrote:If I were in the market for a new shell...

I've tried it out but don't own one...

9oz.
Marmot Super Mica
Image



My current jacket. Used it in New Mexico over the summer and in State College now. It is so light and I love it. I used to use the precip, which I did not like. I know so many people love the precip, but I found that it was not at all breathable, and I hated the rubbery feeling on the inside. And to the OP, thick, expensive and heavy is not needed. Granted I will not be doing any winter climbs until 2012 as a poor college student. But you can get by with just a windshell in cold climates. It breaths better and is lighter. Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoACZH2N9gE
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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby Snowslogger » Tue Oct 05, 2010 4:01 pm

Autoxfil wrote:Sort of - if it's warm enough for rain, it's way too warm for a real softshell. I use my Houdini for warmer temps, and complement it with a poncho for emergencies. If I actually suspect it'll rain, I just take the Essense.

My Ascentionist plus light wool or cap baselayer is good to 20 degrees or so with moderate effort, and colder when climbing hard. Add my R2 and it's worked well down to -20 with moderate hiking or climbing. I just got an R1 for this season but haven't tried it yet.



You have way too many jackets!
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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby Grampahawk » Tue Oct 05, 2010 10:19 pm

ScottyP wrote:I used the Marmot Pre-Cip on my Denali trip this year. I used it over a micro-puff on a stormy day on the move to 17k and was very happy. I looked at the Super Mica but felt that the material would not stand up to use with a heavy pack very long. The Pre-Cip is also terrific on my road bike on chilly, windy days as well.


+1 on the Precip. I've had great luck with it. But, as many others have noted, nothing really breathes well enough to keep you from creating your own rain forest inside the jacket if you are pushing hard.
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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby radson » Tue Oct 05, 2010 11:12 pm

Funny how everyone recommends the jacket they chose to buy.

As for sweat, I concede I dont sweat much to begin with or perhaps I dont work hard enough. Any shell jacket I have must have pit zips and the ability to open the wrists to allow venting.
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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby bearbreeder » Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:20 am

any event shell ... no needs for a softshell with event

westcomb mirage or revenant comes to mind
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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby CClaude » Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:26 pm

I am with Fatdad. Having the best that money can buy may not be appropriate for the intended use, nor may it be the best fit, or the best use of your money. Go to the store and try on what fits YOU the best with the intended layering system that you use. See how the hood fits and rotates with how you will use it (with a hat, a helmet, ......). How do the sleeves interact with your arm length and your layering system. If you plan to use it for technical climbing, does the cut get in the way of access to your gear.

Personally my only hardshell jacket (since I also have a one piece) is an Arcteryx Alpha). For me and the way I use it, its a nice jacket.
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