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Softshell Standoff

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Re: Softshell Standoff

Postby Strider » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:03 am

A good but a really broad statement.
lighter- agreed
more universal- agreed
cheaper- a good powerstretch pull over and a quality windshirt combo could cost you as much as a good softshell or more. depends on the brands , sales etc.
warmer- not always.
vents better - not always, that is why i think large pitzips are a must have in a softshell
more windproof - not agreed
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Re: Softshell Standoff

Postby Wastral » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:17 am

Warmer per weight. Hands down. Its not even a contest. Go on over to backpackinglight.com and look in the gear threads for their R values of all different types of garments new, old, of the gear they have tested. Have to be a member to post, but all can view. They were getting spammed to death. =(

Easily vents better, take the windshirt off/roll it up and vents Vastly more than any pitzip membrane. Stating it doesn't is ridiculous.

Windproof, ok, depends on which of the new softshells. Problem is said softshells have membranes so can be just as windproof, but likewise they don't vent worth a damn, thus your and my need for pitzips. I agree on the pitzips WHOLE Heartedly!. So, Ok, tossup or agreed with your position. =) I use two types of windshells, well 3, but hey. 1) Full front zip with large flap in back, self explanatory for breathing. I always take it. Always. 2) Half zip pull over, I bought, and frankly NEVER use unless it is damned cold out as you are 100% correct in that it does not breath all that well. Most "windshirts" sold are like this #2. My 3rd is a pull over I modified with pitzips that I got for free after my friend ripped it. I had to sew it up anyways, so kept right on going and "accidentally" used a knife, slitting pitzips from the elbow nearly to the waist on both sides and then applied snaps. Note SNAPS, velcro sucks ass as the pitzips self CLOSE. Everyone does this as its cheap. I have seen a friend use velcro to close said pzips and then have a 2nd tab of velcro to keep it open. When weighed mine with 2 snaps was lighter but didn't stay open as well as his velcro modification.

Cost. If you are so barmy as to pay $100 for a windshirt or a fleece top, or $250 for these heavier less warm softshell buggers, yes, you would be right. If you pay more than $50 you are an idiot and only buying a name. I can go to Target or Marshalls etc Big 5 Sports Authority and get one. Altrec.com for sure if one watches the site for a bit. none namebrand.

I will grant you durability though you did not bring it up. The fleece 100 etc powerstretch(old type) weren't very durable. Well they were durable, but got LOTS of holes fairly easily. My old ones look like they were infested by moths... I have not bought the newest powerstretch whatever its called, as frankly the old version is vastly cheaper via no name brand, but supposedly it is vastly more durable, breathes more, more windproof, but not warmer per weight according to guys who have tested it I have read over on backpackinglight.com and this site as well as nwhikers.net. So, these points I guess depends on which powerstretch one is talking about.

EDIT: I don't go for hoods in my windshirt/fleece top for this reason only: That is what a half neck balaclava is for. More universal in its use. Sweat rag to a neckerchief etc. Carry 2. 1) for neck, 2) to cover ears/forehead leaving top of head bare to vent heat. No, I don't win the fashion police wars. PS. My 2nd warm layer ALWAYS has a hood be it down or pro 1 insulated. PPS. More layers = more conditions one can accomodate. Especially true of Spring/Fall climbing. Summer, can get away with Cotton dirt cheap whatsit and be 100% fine.
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Re: Softshell Standoff

Postby Strider » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:13 pm

Wastral, first of all your feedback is awsome thank you very much!
you sure give a lot to think about man.

i will get my head around all this new info you gave me. but for now i have to ask you- a balaclava? i only put one when the things are really hitting the fan.
the hood protects the head and neck from snow or ice falling on from above and from wind but can be "switched off' easily unlike the balaclava.
IMO the hood is more versatile than a balaclava.

edit: i do bring a balaclava (in fact i bring 2 a powerstretc warm one and a lighter one) but i rarely use them.


P.S
Softshell users - unite! Wastral is taking me apart here...
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Re: Softshell Standoff

Postby JB99 » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:10 pm

One of the main points of a softshell, for me, is to have one layering system that I can get away with in a number of conditions without stopping to take layers on and off. The windshirt/fleece combo doesn't accomplish this. For example, on a fall day 14er last year the temps ranged from around 15-50 degrees Fahrenheit, yet I was able to start and end my day wearing two layers, Patagonia R1 Hoodie, North Face Kishtwar softshell. At my only prolonged stop of the day I put a lightweight puffy on. Other than that I didn't mess with my layers aside from to put on or remove my Buff, and shift my zippers up or down. I don't think a windshirt/fleece combo could have accomplished this. Lastly, my softshells stretch and are significantly more comfortable to wear, climb, run, hike, scramble or just move around in, than any windshirt. It's personal preference and what your goals are, though. Not even to mention where you live and the climate you go out in. In Colorado and for what I do, a hooded softshell, with no pitzips, is ideal most of the year for me.
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Re: Softshell Standoff

Postby Wastral » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:25 pm

Yup, convenience factor, softshells win. No contest.

JB99 I take it you don't sweat much? I sweat buckets, and I take it Strider does as well. Then again this is CO, where its so dry it SUCKS the water vapor off your skin and every house has at leas one or two humidifiers.
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Re: Softshell Standoff

Postby JB99 » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:38 pm

I don't tend to sweat too much and it is super dry here, especially up high. For me the key to stopping sweat is having my base layer, like the R1, have a big zipper so I can vent right down to my bare skin - that cools me off quicker than any pitzips I've used. To be fair I moved away from pitzips pretty quick, so my experience with them is limited. My basic jacket priorities, in order, are currently something like: comfort (read stretch, breathability), weight/packability, bombproofness, and style (all my favorite pictures are of me climbing, might as well have a jacket on that I like...).
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Re: Softshell Standoff

Postby Strider » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:55 am

i dont sweat usually but then again when i hike/climb i give it all i got and sweat a lot!
i really dont undestand how use a jacket without pitzips! i think it's a must have!


damnit, we deviated so much from the subject that i really cant remamber what it was.
Would you/ Should i buy a non hooded softshell ?
what are the uses of a hood in a softshell for you?
can a beanie or a balaclava replace the hood?
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Re: Softshell Standoff

Postby jbvdb493 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:01 pm

check out the tempo hoody by marmot or the OR ferrosi both super light and breathable both come in hooded versions and no need for pit zips
i also have a westcomb skeena that i used on rainier and in the alps and rockies as well as for ski touring it is as breathable as the last 2 i mentioned but offers more weather protection
if u want to buy a "breathable" jacket if it has pit zips it is clearly not breathable enough
i no longer have pit zips on my hardshell either just dont think they are necessary if you are doing things right
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Re: Softshell Standoff

Postby Strider » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:59 pm

Please explain me why should i get a softshell without pitzips?
does it save so much weight? i dont think so.
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Re: Softshell Standoff

Postby logsden » Fri Apr 26, 2013 2:13 am

OK, recommendation first. Outdoor Research Ferrosi. Very light, very durable fabric softshell. Sheds reasonable amounts of mist, sheds snow fine, blocks just enough wind, and breathes very well. I have thrutched my way around, over and through various granite, ice and miscellaneous choss everywhere from the Cascades to the Canada Rockies to Patagonia and it's still going strong. I can wear it out of camp on the approach where it provides just enough insulation to keep me warm on chilly starts, dries out quickly if I sweat too much, and takes the edge off breezy belays where pulling out a puffy would be a little too much. And it packs down to a softball that either clips to my harness or stuffs in a leader pack. And the balaclava hoody and offset zipper mean it wards off spindrift and drafty gusts. Longer cut stays under my harness. It's not perfect, but it's good.

So, from the above you can cherry pick the features I look for. But in answer to your question(s). Pitzips are unnecessary and add bulk and some weight. I HATE extra weight and I REALLY hate useless bulk. Having to fit three or four days of bivy, cooking, and technical gear into a leader pack and a follower pack make this ridiculously obvious...immediately. Pitzips are also useless. The only time I can imagine using them is in the rain...at which point I go home. Ice and rock in the rain are no fun. Unzipping the front gives plenty of ventilation when needed. They are also useless while climbing with your hands over your head.

Zero personal benefit for added oz. & size...no brainer for me.

Hooded - always. Majorly upgraded warmth and protection. Period. I also wear a "Buff". Look em up if you are not familiar.
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Re: Softshell Standoff

Postby radson » Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:18 am

I'm a pit zip fan for my outer shell. I just think it gives a lot more flexibility whether it be psychological or physiological or a combo of both. The weight bulk to me is negligible. Horses for courses.
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Re: Softshell Standoff

Postby logsden » Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:32 am

No radson you're WRONG!!!


























=)

Image
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Re: Softshell Standoff

Postby WyomingSummits » Fri Apr 26, 2013 6:12 am

I always found chest/torso zips to be more useful than pit zips. Pit zips don't vent much of anything when your arms are in a downward position. Plus, it just becomes another entry point for water when climbing. As far as a hood, I love having a hood. There's nothing worse than having snow blowing down the back of your neck and I never had much luck with buffs......I hate feeling things against my throat/neck area. I use a zip up softshell with a hood.....If I overheat I simply unzip the front and it dumps a ton of heat quickly. But lots of people like pit zips....if you like em, buy em! :)
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Re: Softshell Standoff

Postby JB99 » Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:01 am

Aside from the aforementioned issues and pointlessness of pitzips, they also ruin a jacket's ability to stretch.
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Re: Softshell Standoff

Postby Strider » Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:25 pm

hmm good feedback about the downsides of pitzips. i have to admit i had not thought about some of the things said above like loosing stretch ability and being an anoying factor when your arms are above you head.

i see that everybody share my thought about buying only a hooded Softshell then.
i really think that maybe all of those slick looking non hooded softshell are more casual ' walk around town' oriented .
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