Hard Shell for over all layers

11:14 a.m. on November 15, 2011 (EST)
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I have been gathering gear for over a year now for my trek to Base Camp. I think I made a mistake choosing the Mountain Hardwear Tundra for my outer shell. At the time, I just found it on the rack at REI on sale so snagged it. Now that I am reading about it here, I think it may be a heavy choice for my trip. Seems it gets low marks for being heavy. Any alternatives you guys might suggest?

2:01 p.m. on November 15, 2011 (EST)
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2:57 p.m. on November 15, 2011 (EST)
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you can get a really nice waterproof/breathable/windproof shell near or slightly less than one pound, so you could save some weight.  i'm not sure it's worth swapping jackets to save a little bit of weight if you otherwise like the jacket you have.  that's a personal choice, i guess.  you might find that eVent and gore tex do a marginally better job 'breathing' than Conduit, but again, i'm not sure it's so different that it's worth not using an otherwise good shell. 

the RAB shell i'm using now and the alternatives are a good example of what you can find.  the RAB Latok weighs a pound and a half, roughly.  it's a full-featured shell - pit zips, several pockets, fairly heavy shell material (eVent) designed to take a beating.  the RAB Latok Alpine is a lighter version, fewer pockets, no pit zips, weighs about a pound - also made of eVent, and may be on sale depending on your size and tolerance for less-desirable colors. 

that's just an example - many of the well-known outdoor brands will have a lightweight, stripped-down waterproof-breathable hard shell in their lineup.  i have an older Marmot gore tex shell that weighs under a pound and has worked great for me in terrible weather. 

3:59 p.m. on November 15, 2011 (EST)
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It has a snow skirt.  Most jackets with this feature are for lift serviced skiers.  Designs for that crowd tend to run heavy.

Did your outfitter for the base trip stipulate you need a hard shell?  If not it is only extra weight. 

There are many brands and models out there.  My suggestion is go to a good camping supply store, and avoid the cheap knock offs.  While pit zips, styling and multiple adjustment features sound cool, I try to select parkas with minimal things that can break or fail.  No pit zips for me, likewise nix the designs with beautiful  multiple color panels of fabric stitched together to create a visual, where a single panel performs just as well without the additional weak points each seam represents.  And I see no point in those mesh liners - added weight as far as I'm concerned.  But cargo pockets are nice, just make sure the opening can be accessed while wearing a pack, the zippers operated while wearing gloves, and the opening protected by flaps that divert rain from getting in.  Lastly size the shell to fit over all your layers without compressing them.


6:00 p.m. on November 15, 2011 (EST)
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I envision myself as working pretty hard at altitude and if I can pick something up that will ease the load, It would be prudent Also, this one is big to be in my pack, it seems. I like it, but wish I had not been so hasty. Snow skirt is so non essential for my purpose. I could use it for shoeing, I guess. Mountain Madness listed a hard shell on my gear list.....so That is why I am bringing one.

9:01 p.m. on November 15, 2011 (EST)
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I would agree that the powder skirt is not essential for your trek. But most powder skirts are zip-off these days. I disagree about the pit zips "sounding cool". They are very functional, particularly when you have a wide range of temperatures over the day, as you will have in the Base Camp trek.

Right now, I have a Marmot Alpinist 3 (old, very worn, no longer available, worked great for 7 years of hard use of expedition use, including in cracks, off-widths, and chimneys in rock climbing in pouring rain and snow - photo below. has pit zips and removeable powder skirt)), the current Marmot Alpinist equivalent (has pit zips and removeable powder skirt), a Wild Things alpine jacket (Wild Things at wildthingsgear.com doesn't have this jacket on their website, and is concentrating on their military contracts these days, but give them a call anyway - the jacket has pit zips, no powder skirt, has inside water bottle holders), and a Patagonia Super Alpine jacket (pit zips, no powder skirt). The Wild Things is eVent and works extremely well. Our local Patagonia Outlet has the Super Alpine (last season's version) at a goodly discount (I think your nearest Pata Outlet is in Reno - I am always astounded at the deep discounts Pata has for their "last season" gear in their outlet shops. Barb got a jacket from them at less than half the original price).

Me in the Marmot Alpinist 3 in the Tatoosh. Marmot has a great replacement policy. I went them the very abused Alpinist 3, they called with an offer of replacement at a deep discount, which I accepted, and they returned the old and new jacket, all within about a 2 week turnaround.

Me in my Wild Things hardshell on Mt. Mansfield in Sept 2010 (and Trailspace cap!)

9:13 p.m. on November 15, 2011 (EST)
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Callahan said:


 Dude, can I get her phone numebr or email? 

11:31 p.m. on November 16, 2011 (EST)
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She is busy helping those stuck at Everest Base Camp find a way out.

The hard shell helmet has been hampering the communication a little though.

10:44 a.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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If I get stuck at base camp, I prefer this assistance, if you don't mind:


May 21, 2018
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