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Softshell Standoff

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Re: Softshell Standoff

Postby MoapaPk » Sun Apr 28, 2013 2:33 am

I like pitzips. I will defend to the death your right to have pitzips. They will take my pitzips when they pry them from my hot, sweaty fingers.
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Re: Softshell Standoff

Postby Lindahl » Thu May 09, 2013 10:53 pm

To me, it sounds like you don't actually know what you want, and, if you get something based on your criteria, you'll get something you might not like/use. Softshells work best when they're stretch-woven, non-membrane and lightweight.

This means:
NOT windproof (only wind resistant)
NO pit zips (no one except beyondfleece.com creates a woven softshell with pitzips)

The previously mentioned Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hoody and Marmot Tempo Hoody are both excellent choices. The Tempo is a bit more durable and a bit heavier/warmer. The Ferrosi is extremely light, thin and packable.

Windshell + fleece is not better than a softshell - it solves a different problem. A windshell does not breath as well as a stretch-woven softshell. Most stretch-woven softshells are around 10-15 CFM. Most windshirts are 1-2 CFM, with only a few being around 5 CFM (Stoic Wraith and Patagonia Houdini). A windshell works best in warm/moderate temperatures when it'll mostly be in your pack, but comes out if the weather gets nasty (i.e. ridgelines/summits). It's a lightweight packable layer. A softshell works best when you'll be wearing it most of the time, such as in winter, or for pants. It breaths better, so it is comfortable across a larger temperature range.

Polartec Powershield is a perforated membrane (think hardshell with tiny holes), not a stretch-woven softshell. It is more water resistant, less stretchy, and less breathable. Powershield is around 5 CFM. Powershield Pro is around 2 CFM. They work best for backcountry skiing or alpine climbing in blizzards. They don't breath well enough for nicer days - you'll be carrying it most of the time. I'd rather own a windshirt and fleece over Powershield varieties. IMO, Powershield is only really good for pants, where layering a windshell and fleece doesn't really work.

Maybe this will help, but here's what I've found to work best for my layers in CO:

Winter climbing and Winter/Spring backcountry skiing:
softshell pants
softshell jacket
skiing: lightweight synthetic hoody (i.e. patagonia nano puff)
climbing: midweight synthetic hoody (i.e. patagonia micro puff)

I choose my baselayers to suit the temperature. Usually Cap 2 top and briefs in spring, and MEC T2 top and Cap 2 bottoms in winter. If it's really nasty out, I'll usually just ski the resort, or bring a hardshell jacket and full-zip hardshell pants. For remote trips, I add a Blizzard Survival Bag for emergencies.

Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking and climbing:
softshell pants or shorts
windshirt
lightweight down jacket
hardshell jacket
rain kilt (http://www.zpacks.com/accessories/cloudkilt.shtml)

I choose my top baselayer to suit the temperature. OR Echo top in warm temperatures, Cap 2 top in moderate temperatures, and MEC T2 top in cold temperatures. For remote day trips, I add a Blizzard Survival Bag for cold temperatures, or a Space Blanket Bivy for warm temperatures.
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