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Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

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Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby traveljunkie78 » Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:42 pm

I'm looking for a new hardshell jacket that money can buy for mountaineering. Can you suggest any jackets?
I will be using the jacket for my upcoming Denali, and Kilimajaro trip.
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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby vidclimber » Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:35 pm

This is what I did. I made a list of everything that I wanted or need the shell to do and then found a jacket to fit all those things. Some of the things I was looking for a very light weight but able to withstand all the abuse and weather. So turned out that shell was not very light. Other things:

hood that fits a helmet
stiff bill on the hood
three way adjustible hood
the jacket does not lift when I lift my arms
very breathable

So I went with the Westcomb Mirage Jackets
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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby etai101 » Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:05 pm

including all that was mentioned above only unique and cheap i love it
bask-ice rockv4 nuff said
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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby Nitrox » Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:16 pm

If you're looking to spend a ton of money there is Arcteryx. My first choice for a hardshell is the OR Mentor jacket. Second choice is the Marmot Troll wall. Also consider a Pac-lite shell jacket in conjunction with a softshell.
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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:40 pm

Montbell Versalite: 10.3 oz (you want something light because it will be in the pack most of the time, at least on Denali), full featured, waterproof, breathable, pitzips, Hood fits over a helmet well (not that you need a helmet on the West Butt or Kili). You have to be kind of skinny to wear it, my 44 inch chest strained at the zipper. After a bout with a serious illness and a loss of 31 pounds of muscle mass, my puny 42 inch chest fits much nicer under the jacket.

There is also the Marmot Precip, on sale now for at REI $65.00. Light (13 oz), waterproof, breathable, and durable. If you have a woody to spend a lot of money, give me $500 and I will send you back a Precip with an ArcTeryx logo on it. You won't notice the difference.

While I like my softshell jacket for riding the bus to work or while lift service skiing (it is a terribly attractive jacket, a gift from my wife) soft shell jackets have to be the most useless peice of clothing for mountaineering. They don't offer much insulation, They don't layer well (they feel rather like an ace bandage if you put too many layers on or under them) they don't shed wind and water nearly as well as a hard shell and they are heavy and bulky. Softshell pants on the other hand competely rock.

Does it rain a lot on Kili? Denali is a very dry mountain and you don't need a waterproof hardshell. A very breathable, microfiber jacket that is wind proof works extremely well. I wore a cheap nylon anorak on Hunter and on Rainier in winter. A partner with a Gore-Tex jacket had a huge layer of frost build up on the inside of his Goret-Tex jacket after a very easy, dry winter summit of Rainier.

Too often new climbers equate expensive and feature rich name brand garments as the best that money can buy. Long experience as a climber and biologist has taught me several things:

If is is raining a cheap Helly Hansen rubberized rain jacket will keep you drier thant the most expensive Gore-Tex jacket available. Also, light and breathable are far more important than waterproof in the high mountains. It generally doesn't rain in the high mountains. Kili may be diferent. Then you may want to buy a cheap platic poncho.
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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby Nitrox » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:55 pm

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:
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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby Brad Marshall » Mon Oct 04, 2010 2:22 am

Mammut Extreme Logan Jacket $600+

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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby hatidua » Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:04 am

vidclimber wrote:This is what I did. I made a list of everything that I wanted or need the shell to do and then found a jacket to fit all those things.


That's a really good idea. I don't think there is one "best" shell for all of us as we all have different criteria for what makes a shell good. I have an embarrassing number of shells from the very light to the overbuilt and I pick which one is going based on forecast/destination/overall pack weight/etc. While some want the lightest, some prefer the most abrasion resistant. If being capable to fit over a helmet is important, take the helmet to the vendor with you, some shell makers must think climbing helmets are only 1/4" larger than our heads...

I've yet to find any shell in which "highly breathable" goes hand in hand with 'highly waterproof'. It just doesn't seem to work that way, at $50 or at $500.
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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby rush » Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:02 am

Marmot Exum Pro-shell. I shopped around and found one for $200. It's light, helmet compatible, breathable and keeps the wet out. I used it quite a bit on Denali. Great to climb in to cut the wind, especially around windy corner. Threw it on over my base layers and was pretty warm. Also down low on the mountain it can be warm and wet (either wet snow or rain).
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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby sneakyracer » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:32 pm

Hi, I read (and seen photos) that Kilimanjaro can be a very wet hike. Freezing levels can be as high as 16-17k So you will be in the rain zone most of the time and in the transition zone (wet snow/sleet) quite a bit if precipitation is falling. I would say a waterproof and breathable jacket is a MUST there (and pants).

I would try to find jackets and pants made from eVent since its the most breathable of the waterproof fabrics.

I personally own a Mountain Hardwear Typhoon jacket. Its a fully featured (pit zips, chest vents, helmet compatible hood) GoreTex paclite shell. Absolutely waterproof.
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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby Dow Williams » Mon Oct 04, 2010 2:37 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:


no, sounds like he just has more experience than most...I literally shy away from climbing with folks with $500 jackets if they want to climb with me at a higher level based on experience...tells me they oversold same (experience)....although such jackets do look great on the subway in London
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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby pyerger » Mon Oct 04, 2010 2:58 pm

I love my Marmot softshell, but only for running around town, on cool days or in winter. As far as the mountains go , it stays home! Layers, and the MARMOT PRO SHELL, is the only way I go to the backcountry. Great jacket, warm, water proof, thin,very durable, and light. A bit Pricey!
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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby ScottyP » Mon Oct 04, 2010 5:13 pm

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.
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Re: Best hardshell jacket money can buy?

Postby Nitrox » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:07 pm

Dow Williams 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:


no, sounds like he just has more experience than most...I literally shy away from climbing with folks with $500 jackets if they want to climb with me at a higher level based on experience...tells me they oversold same (experience)....although such jackets do look great on the subway in London


My experience is that anything waterproof isn't breathable. Regardless of manufacturer's claims.

There are plenty of softshells on the market that aren't bulky or designed for grocery shopping.
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