View Poll Results: Soft shell or hard shell pants for touring?

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  • Hard Shell

    11 26.19%
  • Soft Shell

    31 73.81%
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
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    98

    Touring Friends: Soft Shell or Hard Shell Pants?

    Looking to buy some touring pants and read a lot of debate on soft shell vs hard shell pants. I understand that hard shell = more waterproof and soft shell = more breathability but curious to hear what you guys use and why?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    SLC
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    Probably depends a lot on where you are and what time of year you mean, I suspect mid-winter PNW is a lot different than mid-winter Utah. I use OR Trailbreakers and they're perfect for me, but I tour pretty much exclusively in dry snow climates...

  3. #3
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    Jan 2014
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    I dig my Flylow Magnum Pros or whatever they are called. "Softshell" but with a WPB membrane layer so "waterproof". Internal and external vents.

    Agree though it depends mostly on where you're touring.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by mall walker View Post
    Probably depends a lot on where you are and what time of year you mean, I suspect mid-winter PNW is a lot different than mid-winter Utah. I use OR Trailbreakers and they're perfect for me, but I tour pretty much exclusively in dry snow climates...
    This --^

    Mammut Champ has been my touring / hunting pant for several years. Schoeller fabric with limited wind resistance but drys super fast. No waterproofness. Perfect for dry MT / ID / UT snow but would likely be the wrong choice for PNW. If I'm expecting wet snow I throw in a pair of inexpensive/light rain pants but hardly ever need them. Never had a problem hiking in a snowstorm in these unless it's really wet. I love the breathability (and quietness for hunting).

    I think you need to restart the poll to get an appropriate response based on location.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by mall walker View Post
    Probably depends a lot on where you are and what time of year you mean, I suspect mid-winter PNW is a lot different than mid-winter Utah. I use OR Trailbreakers and they're perfect for me, but I tour pretty much exclusively in dry snow climates...
    Well currently in PNW, but moving to Idaho next year. Yeah, keep hearing these Trailbreakers being brought up

  6. #6
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    Aug 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by brundo View Post
    Well currently in PNW, but moving to Idaho next year. Yeah, keep hearing these Trailbreakers being brought up
    Well, depending on where you are in Idaho can make a difference. The panhandle can get much more of a maritime type snow whereas the southern part of the state is pretty dry snow. The trailbreakers would be a great choice for the drier part of the state IMO.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
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    98
    Quote Originally Posted by 3PinGrin View Post
    This --^

    Mammut Champ has been my touring / hunting pant for several years. Schoeller fabric with limited wind resistance but drys super fast. No waterproofness. Perfect for dry MT / ID / UT snow but would likely be the wrong choice for PNW. If I'm expecting wet snow I throw in a pair of inexpensive/light rain pants but hardly ever need them. Never had a problem hiking in a snowstorm in these unless it's really wet. I love the breathability (and quietness for hunting).

    I think you need to restart the poll to get an appropriate response based on location.
    I like you're idea of throwing in a pair of rain pants, I already have a pair and find myself craving breathability over waterproof

  8. #8
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    Aug 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by brundo View Post
    I like you're idea of throwing in a pair of rain pants, I already have a pair and find myself craving breathability over waterproof
    Yep, breathability is king in my book. I've weathered some pretty serious snow storms without the rain pants, but have really appreciated them when bucking through wet brush or dealing with really wet heavy snow coming down. The Schoeller fabric dries really fast.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Alta
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    458
    I'll second OR trailbreakers. Great touring pant. Good pocket layout, sweet gaiters for booting and not having pant leg ride up. Perfect touring pants. But I have used gore tex pro material pants in the pnw and Alaska and it works great in wet climates.


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  10. #10
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    Sep 2016
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    ID
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    Strafe Cham2 pants.


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  11. #11
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    Mar 2006
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    Whistler, BC
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    I just got some Patagonia snow guide pants, used them a couple times. Slightly tight cuffs around my Vulcans with the cuffs open wide, but other than that real nice pants.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Whelk View Post
    a more stupid motherfuck does not exist.
    Big Balls is worst asshat kind.
    kind that wear bukkake from above.
    with warm drown he gurgles final death, for one time not worried about his misplaced import known of african american social standing and prominent community members. for he is only drown, as is the way.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    115
    Another vote for OR trailbreakers. Touring in Utah/Colorado. They have little sleeves over the knees thst you can slip some closed cell foam into for extra warmth and for comfort when kneeling in the snow doing various backcountry things.

  13. #13
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    Sep 2006
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    No longer somewhere in Idaho
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    Trailbreakers here too. PNW, about 60 days on them this season. Decent build, decent zippers and pocket placement. Iíve put some damage on them, but reasonable for the amount of use. I could use a bit more room in the legs, but hey.
    I toured in hardshell the other day and was amazed how much I preferred soft shell.
    in storm conditions Iím finding that the superior breathability helps dry em out quicker.


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    Gravity always wins...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    mammoth
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    105
    Maritime snow, so I favor hardshells. I use Mountain Hardwear cyclone pants.

    Polartec Neoshell, lots of stretch, and tons of mechanical venting. Honestly would probably prefer this over many softshell options in most climates.
    Last edited by macon; 03-14-2019 at 09:37 AM.

  15. #15
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    Dec 2003
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    Seattle
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    both... or either.
    Quote Originally Posted by Downbound Train View Post
    And there will come a day when our ancestors look back...........

  16. #16
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    Jan 2008
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    OR needs to make a trailbreaker with goretex knees, seat, and gators.


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  17. #17
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    Sep 2010
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    My general response to questions like this is: if you have to ask, wear what your most experienced touring partners wear.

    As others have said, hardshell for maritime snow, softshell for dryer climates. I have one of each, but wear my softshell way, way more in CO. Personally, I like the Arcteryx Procline FL (now discontinued but supposedly replaced by the Rush FL but the vents seem a bit different), and the stinger pant. If I were to do it again, I might consider a bib for the hardshell pant. YMMV.

    I haven't tried any of the hybrid pants with hardshell in the seat, knees, and gaiter, like nick mentions OR should do in the trailbreaker
    "Alpine rock and steep, deep powder are what I seek, and I will always find solace there." - Bean Bowers

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  18. #18
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    Dec 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickwm21 View Post
    OR needs to make a trailbreaker with goretex knees, seat, and gators.
    Aren't most crocodilians reasonably well waterproofed already?
    Quote Originally Posted by Downbound Train View Post
    And there will come a day when our ancestors look back...........

  19. #19
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    Aug 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by brundo View Post
    I like you're idea of throwing in a pair of rain pants, I already have a pair and find myself craving breathability over waterproof
    it's a decent gear setup for touring.. not yoyoing. the problem with this strategy, is imo, it's hard to find a good pair of rain pants for the role. Ideally you want full side zips & a reinforced inner cuff. that combo's kinda rare these days and usually pricey.

  20. #20
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    Mar 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by auvgeek View Post
    My general response to questions like this is: if you have to ask, wear what your most experienced touring partners wear.

    As others have said, hardshell for maritime snow, softshell for dryer climates. I have one of each, but wear my softshell way, way more in CO. Personally, I like the Arcteryx Procline FL (now discontinued but supposedly replaced by the Rush FL but the vents seem a bit different
    yes this ^^ is a very good pant, don't know why they disco'ed it maybe cuz it was kinda pricey

    very good gaitors the only thing missing is another pocket

    kinda pricey but it was worth paying for the best IME cuz I got them due to a warranty credit from Arcterxy

    which was more than what I paid for my old softshell pants
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by dunfree View Post
    it's a decent gear setup for touring.. not yoyoing. the problem with this strategy, is imo, it's hard to find a good pair of rain pants for the role. Ideally you want full side zips & a reinforced inner cuff. that combo's kinda rare these days and usually pricey.
    Marmot makes some pants this, very inexpensive

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  22. #22
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    Aug 2013
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    Western MT
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    Quote Originally Posted by dunfree View Post
    it's a decent gear setup for touring.. not yoyoing. the problem with this strategy, is imo, it's hard to find a good pair of rain pants for the role. Ideally you want full side zips & a reinforced inner cuff. that combo's kinda rare these days and usually pricey.
    True softshells are perfectly fine for yoyoing, the rain pants just stay in the pack most the time. Easy to find cheap side zip rain pants and they don't have to be all that durable if used infrequently.

  23. #23
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    Sep 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by XXX-er View Post
    yes this ^^ is a very good pant, don't know why they disco'ed it maybe cuz it was kinda pricey

    very good gaitors the only thing missing is another pocket

    kinda pricey but it was worth paying for the best IME cuz I got them due to a warranty credit from Arcterxy

    which was more than what I paid for my old softshell pants
    Yep. A dedicated beacon pocket on up on the hip would have made them just about perfect IMHO.

    The replacement Rush FL is also super pricey so I doubt that had anything to do with it. As far as I can tell, they switched fabrics (which I'm neutral on), made the pocket location worse (negative), and removed the mesh backing on the vents (minor negative since I like to wear these with just wool boxers without displaying some hairy man-leg). So yeah, I'll be bummed when my Procline FL wear out.
    "Alpine rock and steep, deep powder are what I seek, and I will always find solace there." - Bean Bowers

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  24. #24
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    Sep 2006
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    Rossland BC
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    Softshells for both maximum breathability and reduced striding resistance. Iíve found Windstopper softshells add a little weather protection (over non-membrane softshell) and handle the full range of conditions I expect to find when touring.

  25. #25
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    Oct 2003
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    I have never understood the OOOH BREATHABLE allure of softshells. People who love that must just have different physiology than me.

    For me, if I am perspiring at more than the breathability of a performance hardshell, I AM FUCKING HOT. I don't need better breathability, I NEED VENTS so I cool down and can continue to exert myself and not sweat like a pig. I can't work as hard when I'm hot!

    Someone tell me where I am wrong?
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

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