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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
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    105

    softshell jacket (yes, again)

    i know, there are plenty of other threads regarding softshell jackets and i have tried to read them all (almost).

    I must confess that before discovering this place of perdition i thought that you could only use a hardshell.
    Then you gently persuaded me to buy a Mammut softshell pant. But on the jacket I am still confused.
    I have a Arcteryx Proton which is very similar to Patagonia Nano air, so it can be used on the way up since it breathes very well, and it can be used on the way down under a hard shell since provides insulation.
    And i thought that the Proton IS a softshell.

    Today i saw this https://arcteryx.com/it/en/shop/mens/procline-jacket
    and as you can see in this video
    https://images.arcteryx.com/videos/p...ield.mp4#t=5.5

    there is the Proton/Atom under the softshell, so it would be a softshell above a softshell.

    Just sticking to the Arteryx example for sake of simplicity:
    what do you consider a softshell: the Atom/Proton or the Procline?
    would it be common to have Nano/Atom/Proton under the Procline?
    Would you use a jacket like the Procline also on the way down? is it a replacement or a complement to a hardshell?
    how many things do you keep in the backpack then (windshirt, puffy, nano air, softshell, hardshell, etc)?
    i see the Procline is windproof, but not waterproof. Do you simply check the forecast and then decide what to bring, or carry both hardshell and softshell?

    thanks a lot!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Colorado
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    2,907
    I mostly just use an Atom LT for my outer layer, up and down. Sometimes I'll throw a windshirt on top if it's really windy. I honestly don't recall the last time I used a shell jacket for BC skiing.

    Atom is a "mid" layer but mid is the new outer.
    "High risers are for people with fused ankles, jongs and dudes who are too fat to see their dick or touch their toes.
    Prove me wrong."
    -I've seen black diamonds!

    throughpolarizedeyes.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Maine Coast
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    We all run different. I only use a mid layer if it is really windy or very cold. Otherwise a no membrane soft shell covers everything until it’s too warm on the up

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Colorado
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    Quote Originally Posted by cat in january View Post
    We all run different. I only use a mid layer if it is really windy or very cold. Otherwise a no membrane soft shell covers everything until it’s too warm on the up
    You're also near sea level while I am touring early morning near the continental divide most often. "What layers should I wear?" is impossible to answer without knowing what the weather is generally like.
    "High risers are for people with fused ankles, jongs and dudes who are too fat to see their dick or touch their toes.
    Prove me wrong."
    -I've seen black diamonds!

    throughpolarizedeyes.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    DownEast
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    2,116
    Wool base layer with an OR Ferrosi jacket (highly breathable stretchy shell) for the up. I keep a light Puffy in the pack for the summit and descent under the Ferrosi if needed.

    Point being, the OR Ferrosi is a favorite for many folks.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
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    105
    Quote Originally Posted by singlecross View Post
    Wool base layer with an OR Ferrosi jacket (highly breathable stretchy shell) for the up. I keep a light Puffy in the pack for the summit and descent under the Ferrosi if needed.

    Point being, the OR Ferrosi is a favorite for many folks.
    wouldnt a breathable softshell too "windy" on the way down when you go faaaast?
    what blows my mind is that some SOFT (Nano, Proton, and i guess also Ferrosi) are air-permeable, soft/supple to the touch, while some other softshell are windproof, more rigid and made with material not so soft. So to me they look like two different jacket, while it seems you call them all "softshell".

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Colorado
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    Quote Originally Posted by lorcar View Post
    wouldnt a breathable softshell too "windy" on the way down when you go faaaast?
    what blows my mind is that some SOFT (Nano, Proton, and i guess also Ferrosi) are air-permeable, soft/supple to the touch, while some other softshell are windproof, more rigid and made with material not so soft. So to me they look like two different jacket, while it seems you call them all "softshell".
    Atom LT, nano air, etc are not softshells by any standard, theyíre typically considered mid layers.
    "High risers are for people with fused ankles, jongs and dudes who are too fat to see their dick or touch their toes.
    Prove me wrong."
    -I've seen black diamonds!

    throughpolarizedeyes.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    678
    Quote Originally Posted by bean View Post
    Atom LT, nano air, etc are not softshells by any standard, they’re typically considered mid layers.
    This. Softshell is just that, typically a woven synthetic fabric that is air permeable and water resistant usually meant to be worn as an outer layer. The woven pattern determines how breathable/weather resistant it is plus some of these have a backing fabric that further impacts this.

    Proton, Atom, etc are insulated mid-layers not softshells. They’re either meant to be worn as a standalone when weather is cold but there’s little to no precip. In my experience all of these are way too warm to tour in but I do throw one over my softshell (if it’s windy, cold, snowing) or baselayer (if weather is generally calm) at the top for the descent if it’s windy and cold.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
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    105
    Quote Originally Posted by GoSlowGoFar View Post
    Proton, Atom, etc are insulated mid-layers not softshells. Theyíre either meant to be worn as a standalone when weather is cold but thereís little to no precip. In my experience all of these are way too warm to tour in but I do throw one over my softshell (if itís windy, cold, snowing) or baselayer (if weather is generally calm) at the top for the descent if itís windy and cold.
    now i am even more confused. The Atom ABOVE a softshell? you write that they are for no precip, then you put over when snowing. Is just a typo? also dont see how a midlayer could fit over a softshell. My Proton is too permeable to be worn as external layer for the descent when it's windy.

  10. #10
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    Nov 2015
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    Reno, NV
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    Quote Originally Posted by lorcar View Post
    now i am even more confused. The Atom ABOVE a softshell? you write that they are for no precip, then you put over when snowing. Is just a typo? also dont see how a midlayer could fit over a softshell. My Proton is too permeable to be worn as external layer for the descent when it's windy.
    Not trying to confuse you, but yes put the synthetic insulating layer over your softshell on descents or if you’re standing around for a rest /transitioning. It keeps all the body heat you’ve generated insulated as opposed to taking off your jacket, losing that heat, and then putting the insulating layer on and then the softshell on top. Also saves time and less fiddling with multiple layers. I usually try to find a trimmer fitting softshell and a regular/relaxed fitting mid-layer and it goes over the softshell just fine.

    Obviously if it’s nuking snow or raining, layer it underneath but the Atom and Proton can handle light snow without wetting out and one of the benefits of synthetic insulation is it still keeps your warm even when wet.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    8,134
    so many different approaches - as mentioned above is weather, location, activity, and personal physiology dependant.

    but yeah - Atom/Nano etc are not "softshells" - of course different versions of these midlayer insulating jackets can come with various levels of outer "shell" fabric protection - likely trading breathability for more wind/wet protection

    The Atom LT is such a versatile jacket though - and as they age they just become less insulating and probably more breathable - so they kinda transition into other kinds of uses. My ten year old Atom LT is now what I bring along for cool temps in the summer - whereas my newer version is into the winter rotation.

    Despite having a puffy jacket addiction/collection these Atom LT see the most use

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Fraggle Rock, CO
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    6,899
    Love the merino base and schoeller wb400 softshell with or without a mid layer (digging the alpha mids the most right now) depending on conditions but that's along the divide where it's chilly and usually pretty dry.
    Brandine: Now Cletus, if I catch you with pig lipstick on your collar one more time you ain't gonna be allowed to sleep in the barn no more!
    Cletus: Duly noted.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    14
    Quote Originally Posted by GoSlowGoFar View Post
    Not trying to confuse you, but yes put the synthetic insulating layer over your softshell on descents or if you’re standing around for a rest /transitioning. It keeps all the body heat you’ve generated insulated as opposed to taking off your jacket, losing that heat, and then putting the insulating layer on and then the softshell on top. Also saves time and less fiddling with multiple layers. I usually try to find a trimmer fitting softshell and a regular/relaxed fitting mid-layer and it goes over the softshell just fine.
    This. I skied a few times with @neck beard and he made me re-think my entire layering system for touring. Baselayer + softshell/hardshell stays on me the entire day and I add/remove layers based on the temp and elements.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    135
    Yeah, words matter ya know.
    The Exemplar in the class seems to be the Arc Gamma LT. Everyone seems to love it for its intended purpose. I'm not made of money though so bought an outdoor research San Juan jacket last spring. $249 vs $90.
    Fucking love it.
    Just about the right protection/windblocking ( for me) with a decent DWR. The San Juan replaced the Ferrosi which i just found problematic due to being to breezy/non protective when the weather was funky but too warm otherwise. Still use the ferrosi as a midlayer on colder days.
    I use a Mt Hardwear Preshell as a very light mid and top layer depending on the conditions.

    What exactly is a softshell anyhoo? Pretty amorphous concept IMO. I'd argue that some of the very thin and breathable softshells ( ferrosi, mountain hardwear preshell, patta houdini AIR-not the regular version, etc) are just breathable windshirts. Ferrosi is kinda on the break point between a more classic softshell and a windshirt. There's zip up cycling tops that do the same thing pretty much. The lightest of these variety are more like using a second long sleeve baselayer than what you'd legit call a jacket.

    Anything with a membrane and/or completely blocks the wind just shouldnt be called a softshell.

    Nano-air and it's ilk are really just a lightweight insulated, but still breathable softshell. I kinda know the Proton but not really. I've got an old Atom lt from a little while back with the fleece underarm sides but thin synthetic insulation and shell everywhere else.
    It's too damn warm for me to ski with unless its below 15*. Not sure but think the Atom has been redesigned since then?
    Bought the Strafe Alpha Direct Insulator last year as a more breathable alternative. Nice piece but still too warm.
    Why did everyone decide fleece sucked? Breathability is king for me and the the thin puffies just don't work as a mid at all. Moving forward i think I'm gonna look for a very thin fleece vest.
    I really feel like all the new thin synthetic psuedo puffs are just reinventing fleece. My Strafe insulator is just a fleece with a softshell.

    Ack thread drift, sorry.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Not Brooklyn
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    7,875
    I wear a base layer with a wind shirt (Houdini) over it. If you run colder a light softshell can replace the wind shirt. I wear breathable insulation (such as the Proton) over the wind shirt if I'm cold. That's it for 99% of the time I'm touring. I run hot and don't sweat much.

    You don't need to put a shell (hard or soft) over your other clothes in order to ski down a mountain. It usually adds nothing except partners waiting for you to adjust your pointless layers.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Reno, NV
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    678
    Quote Originally Posted by HotSchmoo View Post
    Why did everyone decide fleece sucked? Breathability is king for me and the the thin puffies just don't work as a mid at all. Moving forward i think I'm gonna look for a very thin fleece vest.
    I really feel like all the new thin synthetic psuedo puffs are just reinventing fleece. My Strafe insulator is just a fleece with a softshell.

    Ack thread drift, sorry.
    I think the main thing with the synthetic insulation vs fleece is the ability to have a water resistant layer to protect the insulation. I think fleece definitely still has itís place in cold dry climates. Iíve had good success with just running a baselayer tshirt and the R1 techface, the techface give it more of those softshell/weather resistance properties but still breathes pretty well. Still too warm for me unless itís in the teens but I think its good fleece option.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wenatchee
    Posts
    11,558

    softshell jacket (yes, again)

    For touring I usually use a wool or poly t shirt and my Eddie Bauer knock off nano air if itís below 25f. Soft shell on the transition and off at the bottom. Sometimes a heavier puffy if itís really cold on the transitions. If itís warmer I use the same base t shirt and something like an R1, any light grid fleece.

    Regular fleece is fine as long as you arenít in the trees with snow falling on you. They collect snow in my experience


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    135
    OP are we talking about touring or ski area use too? It makes a difference. Also I don't ever use a hardshell while touring unless im expecting heavy snow. Or rain😢.
    FWIW I think a discussion of dressing for touring/mountaineering is in order.
    Similar to Black Diamonds post above, lots of people don't carry a traditional mid layer AT ALL.
    In orher words, keep it simple stupid. People get crazy geeked out on all these newfangled techy layers. Most of em aren't really necessary.
    So for example, for me:
    50/50 wool/synthetic baselayer.
    Only One of the three below, depending on conditions.
    [ Mt Hardwear Preshell
    Ferrosi
    Fleece/my Strafe insulator if its especially cold. ]

    Outdoor research San Juan softshell for downhilling or if it's feeling colderand windy.

    Medium puffy Atom Lt for over the top of everything while taking breaks.
    OR
    Massive Puffy Patagonia Hyperpuff for over the top of everything while taking breaks.

    I really try to not carry a heavy midlayer though.

    This has all been discussed before .....


    Lift served use of course throughs a while different wrench into the works.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    105
    Quote Originally Posted by Stenis View Post
    This. I skied a few times with @neck beard and he made me re-think my entire layering system for touring. Baselayer + softshell/hardshell stays on me the entire day and I add/remove layers based on the temp and elements.
    wow, i really cant see my hardshell being under anything besides the big puffy.
    Which brand/models do you use? or it's just a matter of buying the different sizes?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wenatchee
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    11,558
    I never wear a hard shell ski touring. If itís warm enough with wet snow or rain Iím pulling the plug. A nano air or quality soft shell will shed snow if itís cold enough to tour. I keep a really light rain shell or even poncho in the bottom of the pack in case of emergency and I get caught out in the rain. I donít know how people tour in a hard shell.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
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    105
    Quote Originally Posted by I've seen black diamonds! View Post
    You don't need to put a shell (hard or soft) over your other clothes in order to ski down a mountain. It usually adds nothing except partners waiting for you to adjust your pointless layers.
    for me it would be crucial to have wind blocking + when I fall i would need a layer that doesn't soak snow and doesn't break apart. I took so many damages that would have torn apart the Proton, but the hardshell resisted pretty well.
    I am learning so many things in this thread. I never saw anyone coming down just with baselayer and houdini.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
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    105
    Quote Originally Posted by HotSchmoo View Post

    Anything with a membrane and/or completely blocks the wind just shouldnt be called a softshell.
    the arcteryx in Goretex Infinium which i posted first is windproof. So that should not be labeled as softshell.
    https://arcteryx.com/us/en/shop/mens/procline-jacket

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Reno, NV
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    678
    Quote Originally Posted by lorcar View Post
    for me it would be crucial to have wind blocking + when I fall i would need a layer that doesn't soak snow and doesn't break apart. I took so many damages that would have torn apart the Proton, but the hardshell resisted pretty well.
    I am learning so many things in this thread. I never saw anyone coming down just with baselayer and houdini.
    Are you falling on rocks and trees? Any of these layers can and will hold up just fine if you fall in snow and in the occasional brush against vegetation.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
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    105
    Quote Originally Posted by GoSlowGoFar View Post
    Are you falling on rocks and trees? Any of these layers can and will hold up just fine if you fall in snow and in the occasional brush against vegetation.
    done occasionally in the past. Also the snowboard edge.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    8,134
    at the top of the skin I put my hardshell on right away (I have it lashed to side of pack so can grab it quickly) and then pull out puffy jacket to put on top of hardshell if it's cold or windy - that keeps me warm while up there - then puffy gets stuffed back in pack for ski down in hardshell

    typically use Arcteryx Nuclei for puffy - light, stuffable, windproof - not the most durable shell material though

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