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i spent a lot of this weekend outside in blowing snow, cold (for here), oscillating between being stationary and high-output. mostly wore my soft shell (TNF Apex) and had some issues with the wind and with stuff soaking in after being out for a long time. otherwise, i was glad while going uphill & carrying that i wasn't wearing a 'hard' nylon wind shell, which i only put on over the soft shell when i was static. though i have an eVent shell with major armpit zips, it's a hard shell - hard faced fabric, slippery against backpack shoulder straps and hip belts, noisy, doesn't stretch or flex at all.
question is - has anyone used polartec neoshell, the 'soft shell' iteration, enough to say how it actually works and performs with a soft shell jacket? more specifically:
-are 'soft shells' backed with polartec neoshell really soft shells, or are they more like a hard shell in terms of stretch/freedom of movement? (i acknowledge that some jackets using polartec's neoshell are classic hardshells, eg. the Westcomb jackets. i'm not interested in those).
-is the neoshell membrane really on par with a non-membrane soft shell in terms of how well it 'breathes,' or do neoshell soft shells tend to be meaningfully more moist inside?
-does the neoshell membrane really keep you fully dry and really do a better job stopping wind than a non-membrane soft shell (i'm assuming the answer to this question is 'yes.')
i'm not looking for a technical comparison or a discussion of water vapor transfer rates or hydrostatic pressure tests; i have done my research and understand what the numbers say. looking for someone's actual practical experience. i figure that some time this summer, a vendor will want to unload neoshell 'soft shells' that are too warm to feasibly wear in many places in the summer....but i'm trying to figure out if it's even worthwhile.