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Postby Autoxfil » Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:51 pm

Why did you wear a shell at all? That's just the wrong piece for that day. I'd have been in a windshirt or softshell.
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Postby asmrz » Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:10 pm

Good for you.
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Postby welle » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:05 pm

autoxfil, I think asmrz only had the shell for in case it rains, so he threw it on when unexpected windgust came.

jtomas, if you are so hung up on Patagonia, check out their Stretch Element - it's their true hard shell, as opposed to Stretch Ascent, which in my understanding is, a combination of softshell with reinforced patches of harshell.

They phased out Stretch Element, but you can get them online for under $300 (MSRP $450). They advertise it for alpine climbing. I just got the shell and used skiing in Utah in variable conditions from negative windchills to 50F and it performed well. While it was lift-served, I did a lot of hiking in and out of bounds, so I'd say the physical output was close to BC endeavors. It breathes well, IMO for a hardshell and very supple to touch. It is made of 3-ply H2No, all seams are wielded to save weight and pit zips are huge. The jacket is super lightweight and very minimalistic, the hood stows away. The sleeves are nicely tapered and are long for your any climbing pursuits.
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Postby Autoxfil » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:24 pm

asmrz wrote:Good for you.


I wasn't trying to be rude. Hardshells don't breathe very well. I don't think any other WB membrane would have let any more moisture out - it might have just absorbed it into the lining so you couldn't feel it as much. Were you wearing a long-sleeve layer under it? That's certainly how it's meant to be used.

You would have been dry, comfy, and warm in a Houdini. If there was a chance that you could have gotten caught in a real rainstorm, bring the SA in your pack. Or better yet, a lighter rainjacket.

The SA is a full-on alpine hardshell. It's just a 2.5 layer, the SE is a 3-layer. My partners have one of each - I don't like either, because I don't like any hardshell except in very specific situations. As hardshells go, they are very nice and if you want a shell I don think you'll find a significantly better one on the market.


I'm just saying, check your assumptions - why do you need a hardshell? Because it might rain? What happens if it does rain? Will you be much wetter in the softshell? Will
being wet reduce your safety? If not, wouldn't you rather be miserable and wet that one time it does storm than each and every outing when it doesn't? Would a $100 4oz windshirt and $150 6oz rainshell offer more flexibility than one 12-20oz $250 hardshell?
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Postby jthomas » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:43 pm

Autoxfil wrote:
asmrz wrote:Good for you.


I wasn't trying to be rude. Hardshells don't breathe very well. I don't think any other WB membrane would have let any more moisture out - it might have just absorbed it into the lining so you couldn't feel it as much. Were you wearing a long-sleeve layer under it? That's certainly how it's meant to be used.

You would have been dry, comfy, and warm in a Houdini. If there was a chance that you could have gotten caught in a real rainstorm, bring the SA in your pack. Or better yet, a lighter rainjacket.

The SA is a full-on alpine hardshell. It's just a 2.5 layer, the SE is a 3-layer. My partners have one of each - I don't like either, because I don't like any hardshell except in very specific situations. As hardshells go, they are very nice and if you want a shell I don think you'll find a significantly better one on the market.


I'm just saying, check your assumptions - why do you need a hardshell? Because it might rain? What happens if it does rain? Will you be much wetter in the softshell? Will
being wet reduce your safety? If not, wouldn't you rather be miserable and wet that one time it does storm than each and every outing when it doesn't? Would a $100 4oz windshirt and $150 6oz rainshell offer more flexibility than one 12-20oz $250 hardshell?


Autoxfil,
I pretty much agree with this. I have started using the Houdini for a windshell and love it. The hardshell is pretty much just for rain/sleet. What is the 6oz shell you mention? Marmot Mica perhaps?

Jim Thomas
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Postby Autoxfil » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:49 pm

I've been using a 2oz poncho, and just picked up a Marmot Essence for windier stuff. Haven't really used it hard enough to say too much for sure, but it looks promising. Check out my "What Shell for Rainier..." thread for more shells people recommended - NF Triumph is the source of my 6oz number, and as light as I've seen.

I'd really like a 4-5oz jacket exactly like the Houdini, but waterpoof/non-breathable (sil-nylon?) material. Sometimes a the UL cottage industry turns some out, but I don't know of any at the moment.
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Postby asmrz » Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:23 pm

I need one jacket for all conditions and I don't think I'm asking for too much. Seriously, for what I do, Softshell will not do all the work (not rain and snow proof enough) and Hardshells never ever gave me any problems. My better half Penelope has an OR softshell that sits in the gear room, she got it as a gift, tried it couple times and that was it. I have had at least five hardshells from Patagonia (2), Montbell, REI etc. All worked better than this SA jacket. This talk between Jim and myself centered on the coating that Patagonia uses for all their shells. BTW, even the SE seems to have the same coating, so not much breathing ability. I believe there must be a reasonably priced hardshell on the market that is rain,snow proof, fits well, is of alpine grade, has a roll up hood suitable for a helmet and breathes well. I don't think Patagonia product line has such shell.
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Postby welle » Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:35 pm

asmrz wrote:BTW, even the SE seems to have the same coating, so not much breathing ability. I believe there must be a reasonably priced hardshell on the market that is rain,snow proof, fits well, is of alpine grade, has a roll up hood suitable for a helmet and breathes well. I don't think Patagonia product line has such shell.



Yes, it does, but it has huge pitzips, they virtually run from almost your waist till past the elbows. I found my SE way more breathable than my Precip.
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Postby asmrz » Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:22 am

Long pit zips are a huge plus, I agree. My thought is that they might not compensate for the general lack of breathability of the fabric. Patagonia says that the SA is their (presently) most breathable hard shell, yet it feels and performs like a rubberized (nylon coated) rain jacket of years ago.
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Postby Autoxfil » Wed Apr 21, 2010 1:29 am

I believe when they say it wins the lab tests - it just doesn't seem to translate for you, for whatever reason.

eVent seems to win most hardshell lovers over. If I were you I'd get a Rab Latok Alpine - I believe it's pit-zip-less, though.
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Postby cp59 » Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:49 am

asmrz wrote: Patagonia says that the SA is their (presently) most breathable hard shell, yet it feels and performs like a rubberized (nylon coated) rain jacket of years ago.


I've talked with a couple patagonia reps about this piece, and I believe the description of the SA jacket is poorly written, misleading at worst... it should be read as "most breathable lightweight shell", not "most breathable, lightweight shell", meaning this is their most breathable 2.5 layer jacket. The stretch element (returning this winter), a 3-layer, or the M10 jacket (3-layer) will be more breathable, but these pieces are lumped in another category apart from the 2.5 layer "lightweight" waterproofs, such as the Rainshadow, torrentshell, stretch ascent.
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Stretch Ascent Test Drive

Postby jthomas » Wed Apr 28, 2010 3:45 pm

OK, just to close this out (for me at least). Got the Stretch Ascent and took it for a test drive last weekend. Hiked about 2 1/2 hours in light to moderate rain, temp around 55F. Felt fairly comfortable most of the time. Overheated a little on the uphills, but not too bad. Overall, I was quite impressed. I didn't notice a big difference with the pit zips open or closed, so I have to conclude they are not a big issue for me one way or the other. Toward the end, I switched to the Houdini, and yes, it was dramatically cooler, so I will go with that in light rain.

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Postby asmrz » Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:53 pm

Returned the Stretch Ascent to Patagonia and purchased Latok Alpine by Rab. About 20 minutes ago, UPS delivered the jacket.

First Impression: I like the jacket. No zippers, will see if that's justified. The feel, size (L for 175 lbs. 6'1"), quality and features are fine. Very simple, practical design. I like the two internal zippered pockets. The external pockets are high, away from the harness and pack hip belt. The roll down hood really rolls down forming a nice collar around one's neck. So far there is nothing (outside of the lack of zippers) to comment on. IMO, better, more intelligent design than the SA at a similar price.

I will comment on breathability when I have opportunity to take the jacket out. Hopefully, I will be able to test the waterproofness outside, but will take a shower test, if needed.
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Postby asmrz » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:06 am

dps

Thanks for your help and advice.

Since I never owned anything else but Goretex hardshells, I tend to compare all jackets to Goretex. If the eVent fabric is truly more breathable than any existing Gore fabric, there is nothing for me to worry about, the jacket will be fine.
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