Need definition

11:39 a.m. on April 14, 2013 (EDT)
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What is the meaning of soft shell jacket compared to hard shell jacket?

I will be looking to replace my woolrich 60-40 in Fall, for a unlined shell that will at least stop wind and resist water.

1:40 p.m. on April 14, 2013 (EDT)
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Hardshell : generally windproof, waterproof and somewhat breathable depending on the membrane used. Usually not designed to stretch. Think goretex. Link to a hardshell review I recently did: http://www.trailspace.com/gear/westcomb/focus-lt-hoody/#review27122

Softshell : generally wind resistant, water resistant and designed to be highly breathable specifically for aerobic activities in cold weather but not necessarily storm conditions. Usually made from polyester and designed to stretch.  Link to a softshell jacket made by Marmot: http://www.trailspace.com/gear/marmot/sharp-point-jacket/

6:47 p.m. on April 14, 2013 (EDT)
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I never knew that either!

9:09 p.m. on April 14, 2013 (EDT)
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Thank you Rob. So many new things and so many new terms. This would make mt woolrich 60-40 hard. It won't stretch, and it does stop wind and will resist rain a while, depending on things... it works well in snow, but not so well in rain.

I like the guide parka look, cut of coat, hood, can live with or with out lower pockets where they can't be used when wear a pack

I can wear polypro but not in skin contact. I own limited outdoor wear in that  and pretty much leave it home, preferring wool.

See Trailjester??? I can be used as a bad example :-)

10:06 a.m. on April 15, 2013 (EDT)
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Some soft shell manufacturers use a CFM number to rate the wind resistance of their jackets. Like TNF's Bionic softshells have a wind rating of 0 CFM meaning it does not allow wind to pass thru the material, but, this will also increase the bulk and stiffness of the material.

10:13 a.m. on April 15, 2013 (EDT)
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cubic feet per minute eh?  Is that info found on the tags?

1:42 a.m. on April 16, 2013 (EDT)
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I don't know about the tags but it is on TNF's website. I don't know if other manufacturers rate their softshells this way, using a CFM rating.

6:07 a.m. on April 16, 2013 (EDT)
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Not sure I agree with Rob's definitions.  For example artic duty down parkas are softshells, but are neither stretchy nor suited for aerobic activity. Likewise referencing materials creates a definition surely to become obsolete; instead the termjnology should focus on performance specifications.  It seems to me the main consideration is both shell types protect against the wind, while a hard shell is additionally good for use in a sustained rain or wet woodland.  This recent thread kicked the topic around some.

Ed

8:28 a.m. on April 16, 2013 (EDT)
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the outer shell of most softshells (a) tends to have more 'give' and stretch than most hard shells; (b) tends to feel heavier than a typical hard shell, so they are better suited for cooler weather, usually; (c) unless backed by a waterproof/breathable membrane, tends to be water resistant as opposed to waterproof.  

But, i think the definitions have become increasingly blurred.  there are soft shells that are truly waterproof, like a rain shell, but also do a nice job allowing sweat/vapor to escape; there are "hard" shells where the fabric has more ability to stretch than a 60-40 parka.  

i think it depends on how you plan to use the jacket.  if it's going to be your do-all, all-season outer layer for wind and/or rain, i would go with a hard shell that has a waterproof/breathable membrane; gore tex, eVent, or neoshell.  every soft shell i have used or tried is just too warm for summer, and that is particularly true for the soft shells that have a waterproof/breathable membrane.  BUT - if you don't need it to be fully waterproof, get some kind of windshirt without the membrane.  those membranes can jack up the price quite a  bit.  however, there are some fairly reasonably-priced waterproof breathable jackets these days.  

also, i think it depends on what you are looking for in terms of durability.  if you are still wearing a 60-40, you keep jackets for a really long time.  i have some photos my dad took of me hiking up Tuckerman's 30 years ago in a 60-40.  there are some great ultralight wind shirts out there - patagonia's houdini, wild things gear's hooded windshirt - that will serve basically the same function as a 60-40, but the nylon is less able to endure off-trail walking where branches might snag you, or being around a lot of rocks where the material gets scuffed.  honestly, though, modern fabrics, even the super-thin ones, are surprisingly tough.  

finally, i think you will find that jackets today are designed with backpacking in mind perhaps more than they were when you bought that 60-40.  you will find plenty of options where there are no pockets at the hip, but big pockets in the chest area that are accessible with a backpack on.  also, hoods have come a long way.  setting aside fabrics and membranes, fit and features are still pretty important and, in my opinion, have improved quite a bit.  

if you're local in new hampshire, i encourage you to consider wild things gear.  their only store is in north conway, and it's a place founded by climbers and well-designed.  their gear doesn't fall apart, it's built to last.  

10:39 a.m. on April 16, 2013 (EDT)
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leadbelly, That was great....... What's Dads name? LOL 

30 years ago I was all over the NH whites and living in Bartlett.

I wore out a woolrich rust color 60-40, next a green one, and not a tan one. The tan one has a year or 2 left before it just breaks up.

I want the next parka to be like a 60-40 in cut, feel, other than it won't have hand warmer and cargo pockets like the 60-40's do probably. I will expect it to be a lot more water proof than 45 minutes in a hard all day rain though, and it if is, it will be wind proof enough.

I would like it to be hard enough that it can deal with brush a lot of thick brush and with reasonable care not become torn to bits.

I know the store.... The last time i was there were doing exotics for military, and i didn't see a thing like a parka cut the way I like.

Old geezers have ideas ya know....

I have another tan older by a few years 60-40 and it is at the last days too. This one is a size large not the XL I want.

My wife has been using that one and it belonged to my little brother. I let her use a lot of his gear, with the idea it's like he is along. That is just a little on how I am.

Recently in a consignment store in Meredith, by chance and with a lot of luck I found a real NF XCR yellow and black 60-40 like parka (unlined hard shell I guess) that fits my wife well. Dollars wise it came right. After getting it home I found a tiny hole, but a dob of seam sealer can fix that. The hole looks like a dust ball pile.

Why that is important here, is because we looked it up and found it is very easy to find a counterfeit jacket.

I believe this site is a fake site, and nothing on it is real TNF.

http://www.nfaceclearance.com/north-face-for-men-gore-tex-c-4_8.html

It looks real enough at first, but it you rear around there is a lot of errors.

(ot: see you have been to crag, gray knob, the perch, assume the log cabin. I don't have the new in pics really but I know the head guy on the crew that built them. I have pics of what were replaced. I may have pics of the trail that used to be there bolted to the boulders too.)

You know what i am looking for.... A good bet is what ever that is, isn't made any more. LOL

....................

Ed What me....

That threw a bone in the gears... Now i am as confused as i began ;-)

I want bullet proof against hard rain, blown at 160 MPH.

Of course i can't stand up to that weather myself, but if the parka can I might live to tell of it.

TNF seen to be short in the thigh too.... If i wear a dress jacket, with a tea shirt and a wool dress shirt I fit a size 42 and can move ok.

I like the XL Wool Rich 60-40 but not for it's ability to leak water.

But what else is built like TNF gore tex and is cut like the woolrich 60-40?

9:54 p.m. on April 16, 2013 (EDT)
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Lodge Pole said:

..Ed What me....

That threw a bone in the gears... Now i am as confused as i began ;-)

I want bullet proof against hard rain, blown at 160 MPH.

Of course i can't stand up to that weather myself, but if the parka can I might live to tell of it.

TNF seen to be short in the thigh too.... If i wear a dress jacket, with a tea shirt and a wool dress shirt I fit a size 42 and can move ok.

I like the XL Wool Rich 60-40 but not for it's ability to leak water.

But what else is built like TNF gore tex and is cut like the woolrich 60-40?

In my world your spec calls for a hard shell: Gear that puts wind proof and rain proof performance before all other criteria.  I would go with gortex or similar membrane technology.  I understand there are tech fabrics that have microscopic hairs on the external surface that achieve effective water shedding because the water drops shed, due to surface tension and the hydrophobic qualities of these hairs.  I have not tried this fabric, but others on the forum who can be trusted spoke positively of this gear.  In summary, I would get an un-insulated rain parka. Several companies make rain parkas that are tailored similar to a trad 60/40 parka.  I like the feel of old 60/40s too, something the rain parkas do not emulate.

Ed

10:36 p.m. on April 16, 2013 (EDT)
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Unlined is a key way to go for me. The old 60-40 was great so long as it was wind and snow. Shed both well. Rain was another matter, and where wool stood the test of time.

I don't own a lot of pile.... beater work clothes is about it for me and pile, as wool isn't easy to find anymore either.

What little TNF stuff i have is just 2 old down parka coats 10 oz each, over pants of pile oddly for setting about after the hike is over or ice fishing where no hike happened, and a down sleeping bag for around 20 degrees.

'I think' before TNF was so popular they were cloned by anyone with a sewing machine.

I will do the home work..... by late fall i will have something, probably used.

2:52 a.m. on April 17, 2013 (EDT)
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Ed, I was thinking more along line of the typical backpacking outerwear available to the general users, like me. I don't have any experience with the extreme arctic clothing. Good point.

I think the Polartec fabrics behave like a hard shell in terms of waterproofing and like a soft shell in breathability and stretchiness.

There's so many different variations of shells out there that it becomes difficult to select just one.

7:03 a.m. on April 17, 2013 (EDT)
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as a predicate, i am not particularly weight-conscious, so i do not necessarily look for the lightest-weight jacket.  if that is important to you, arcteryx's alpha SV is light, durable, does it all.  for a big pile of money, retails for over $600.

for the money in that category, i chose the RAB Latok.  it has an eVent  membrane, not gore tex.  it weighs a few ounces more than the arcteryx.  you usually need to go up one size, UK brands all seem to run small.  the main zipper is reversed, you will see that if you try one on (you have to pull the bottom right to unzip, not bottom left) but, the outer shell is substantial and built to last, the pockets and hood and pit zips are all great.  best of all, you can find it at huge discount, under $300.  check out climbhigh or everestgear, both of which have it at 40% off or better.  

yes, we have stayed at grey knob and crag in the winter.  heck of a lot easier to cook dinner than with a tent, and usually pretty quiet.  

9:00 a.m. on April 17, 2013 (EDT)
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rob5073 said:

Ed, I was thinking more along line of the typical backpacking outerwear available to the general users, like me. I don't have any experience with the extreme arctic clothing. Good point.

I think the Polartec fabrics behave like a hard shell in terms of waterproofing and like a soft shell in breathability and stretchiness.

There's so many different variations of shells out there that it becomes difficult to select just one.

 It should be easy to see how confused i am when the terms isn't rock solid as to what is, what isn't and what is hybrid.

Then there are too many choices almost. None long like the woolrich parka evidently
ashes.jpg

bad pic, but all I have at the time..... Oh no wait.

These are both woolrich parkas and damned old ones at that.


us-at-champney-falls.jpg

Roomy enough to bend over and not have them ride up.

I like mid thigh length too.

9:15 a.m. on April 17, 2013 (EDT)
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leadbelly I google all these items i have never heard of before.. i won't be spending any 600 bucks though. More than likely what ever i come by will be discounted deeply or used. 

Being old school I carry items that are considered to be too heavy these days, but a woolrich 60-40 to me isn't one of them.

For all the looking I am not sure there is anything in a gore tex or gore tex like parka CUT.

In the pic above with my wife, if it were cold i would have on over pants, heavier woolrich jack shirt, and maybe a down vest more on, not counting head gear, or mitts. That would be about all I ever use in winter in these Mts, so long as I remain moving.

In the other pic I am standing on the summit stone of Mt Jefferson, in Feb 1999, barely able to stand in the wind. It is the same parka.

12:04 p.m. on April 17, 2013 (EDT)
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Lodge, the only thing I have that comes close to the photo above is my military issue goretex BDU field jacket. It's thigh length and with a full hood. It's nylon lined and tough as nails. But, it is that camouflage color which some people don't find practical.

3:25 p.m. on April 17, 2013 (EDT)
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rob. Camo is ok with me. not everything I have blends with the woods well, but some does. I hunt.

I have a mil camo old wood land gore tex that leaks water bad... I don't know where i came by it anymore and use it as a barn coat. On that one there is something about the neck that pushes  against me, and it has no hood, but i think it did once before it came my way.

I know what you mean about mil camo on the trail, and that gets worse if you also have a hunting gun too big to be concealed.

The recent find of a used TNF Yellow and black XCR I believe, coat from a local consignment shop does go to the mid thigh on my wife. We just got lucky, but i find that coat is no longer made. So for one of those it is a waiting game.  i would take any color I guess in xl, but would like olive and black as a first choice.

I tend to avoid blue and black solids because they are dark and hard to see in a pack, or in tents I don't like the blue cast of light on other people.

12:30 a.m. on April 18, 2013 (EDT)
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The problem with a parka cut, in my experience, is that while it works fine for walking, it limits motion for climbing, scrambling, or any other activity where you have to be able to move your legs and back fully. Depending on how you hike, though, that may not be a problem. 

The other difficulty is that the design doesn't really work well for carrying a modern, form-fitted backpack vs an old exterior rack. The pockets are in the wrong places for easy access, and what might be a nice down pile without a pack can get squished down quite badly with any weight compressing it it. Not a big deal if you're riding a snowmobile or pushing a dog sled, but it could be a problem if you're on foot. 

Rob specified that his definitions were general ones, and I fully agree that for practical purposes, you can rate a shell as hard or soft simply by how it feels and buy target performance. Getting the perfect combination of weight, waterproofness and breathability, has been the holy grail of the outdoor garment industry for decades, and sometimes the line is blurry when you get into hi-tech comparisons.

Generally, a shell meant to protect against wind and be waterproof in the worst conditions will have a hard, non-porous surface that water beads up on and runs off. The water that does soak in, doesn't penetrate to the inside. DWR (Durable Water Resistant) fabrics are normally a nylon shell with a sprayed-on coating that makes water bead up and roll off, but whatever does penetrate the coating, along seams or driven through by the force of a storm, soaks through and you get wet.

A shell meant more for insulation, where some water resistance (rather than absolute water proofness) is needed, will usually have a more porous surface. In modern softshells, looks for the ones designed on the old Eddie Bauer model, where a loose, soft inner layer was combined with a tighter, exterior weave for extra wind protection. Not perfect, but it can be coated with DWR for use in light snow or a light shower. 

Variations are available, and many fabrics have been tried out. At present a hardshell will usually incorporate a fabric like Gore-Tex, which relies on the difference in molecule size between water droplets and water vapour molecules to let wet air pass through and keep rain water out. I believe eVent uses the same principle, as do Pertex, Omnishield and a lot of the others. 

 I love my old Sorel jacket, made with Omnishield, quite breathable but more water resistant than waterproof.

I've tried Pertex, the standard for British military and SAR. As a stand-alone shell, I wasn't happy with how it worked in a driving thunderstorm. I could feel the water gradually soaking through.

Interestingly, the Buffalo shirt that is the preferred military garment has a Pertex (hardshell) shell bonded to a fleece (softshell) inner layer. The assumption seems to be that even if you get soaked by sweat or rain, you'll stay warm anyway.  I actually discovered the same principle on the Jacques Lake trail a few years ago. When my Sorel got soaked through, the fleece I was wearing underneath, even though wet, kept me nice and warm. Reduced evaporation = reduced heat loss, I guess.

I've tried Polartec and while I think it qualifies as water-resistant, like the DWR materials, I would never trust it in either a heavy thunderstorm or steady misting soaker. The surface is too porous and seems to hold water that would eventually soak through. But maybe I'm just not giving it a fair test - if I'm expecting rain, I'll always cover it with a waterproof hardshell.  

For hiking on the BC side of the Rockies, I'll wear my OR Gore-tex Paclite Shell. While not as breathable as Gore-Tex ProShell or the rival Neoshell, it's very light and completely waterproof. See my review. 

You might want to note that in my experience the manufacturer is less important than the fabric the jacket is made of. Pattagucci, Dead Bird, REI and MEC, and TNF all sell Gore-Tex jackets, and they all buy the fabric from the same factory. It's the fabric that makes the difference, more than variations in design. I have to admit that I get pro-deals on a lot of my gear, though, so cost is less of an issue and I can buy big-name gear when I want. 

8:41 a.m. on April 18, 2013 (EDT)
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the rain jacket i have that runs parka length isn't made anymore - wild things gear snowkite jacket.  it is an odd duck in some ways.  the hem sits just below my hip, the fit is quite roomy, good for layering, and it's a nylon shell with an eVent membrane.  the front zipper is offset to one side, it has very minimal pockets, and it has small openings front and back to wear a harness underneath but have belay loops stick out from inside the jacket.  i supposed you mind run across them used from time to time.  i reviewed it on this site; funny thing is, despite the oddities, it's a great jacket, and i consistently wear it - had it on today when i was out early in the rain.    

a used wild things alpinist jacket might also run long; the new ones are shorter.  

11:18 a.m. on April 18, 2013 (EDT)
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Looking at everything I can find from TNF to Gander, LL Bean and more the fashions have gone to short jackets. Not my style...

Not much in life is easy for me. But then much of my gear is suited to 250 years ago and you can't buy that easy either.

Finding the NF xcr was just luck as that shop has a bit of everything. They had a Filson jacket too, a heavy woodsmans coat for 3 seasons, built like a tank. Seeing that was a first time for me. That one was made of canvass duck and oiled.

In another life I might like one of those...

Then there are 2 more shops in N Conway-ish, if you count Intervale as a part of N Conway. Really it's a part of Bartlett. When I need it something will turn up.

Over summer I might take a ride up to Chattam too. What is it up there Log Cabin Design?

So the next thing I need to learn is what else is out there made in a like cut and made with a breathable fabric.

I know all about egyptian oiled cotton coats. You can wear 2 wool trade shirts and move in a slow mode with one of those on and you will be soaked even if you just used it as a wind breaker.

Knowing that, you can take it off every so often and turn it inside out to dry and allow the 2 wool shorts to dry, but i would be caught dead with that in real winter above tree line. Maybe I would be caught dead.... Bad choice of words that time ;-)

I do read typo..... ;-) "i supposed you mind run across"

i supposed you might run across

2:47 p.m. on April 18, 2013 (EDT)
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Going back to the original question -

The basic problem is that the manufacturers do not themselves have a clear definition of what "softshell" means. Originally it meant a water-resistant, wind-resistant jacket or pants that had a "soft hand" and was somewhat "stretchy" (though not as much formfitting as Spandex). The original fabric used on the outer side of the garment was made by Schoeller. Schoeller currently makes a fairly wide variety of fabrics.

"Hard-shell" originally meant waterproof breathable fabrics. They are also inherently windproof. And they tend to be fairly stiff fabrics, often making a lot of noise as you move around. The oldest of these, Reeveaire. was a ripstop nylon coated with a microporous rubber. The immediate problem with the material was that the rubber quickly delaminated when in contact with body oils. The cagoule I had of this material soon left me with a bad case of "red body-dandruff" - everything was covered with tiny flecks of red rubber.

Gore had been manufacturing medical materials using teflon coating. Generation 1 Goretex was similar to the present dozen or so varieties of "Goretex" (emphasize - there is no single "Goretex" fabric) in that it was a thin sheet of microporous teflon (there are multiple varieties of "teflon"). Note that Goretex refers to the teflon membrane. Gore works with various fabric and garment manufacturers to laminate the membrane to a variety of fabrics - some 2 layer with the membrane attached directly to the fabric that will serve as the outer surface of the garment, some 3 layer with the membrane sandwiched between inner and outer layers of fabric (usually different fabrics). Gen 1 Gtex had less problem with delaminating than Reeveaire, but my wife's gen 1 Gtex parka delaminated (and was replaced under warranty), and the inner hood of my first Feathered Friends -40° sleeping bag delaminated (FF replaced it under warranty, though the new bag was switched to Pertex on their advice). It is important to note that Gore works closely with the garment manufacturers to ensure that garments that use their membranes meet their standards for durability and waterproof breathability. But at the same time, this means that what you see as "Goretex" from one garment manufacturer is not necessarily the same "Goretex" from another garment manufacturer, even when made during the same year. The outer and inner fabric in the sandwich may be unique to that particular garment manufacturer.

There are a number of other companies now providing fabrics that are waterproof/breathable, hence are marketed as "hardshells". eVent is in many ways, in my experience, superior to Goretex (I have outer shells made from both, as well as a couple other wp/b fabrics). NeoShell is a very breathable wp/b fabric (I don't have any NeoShell, but friends who do tell me it works well). Patagonia has a shell fabric they call H2NO which seems very waterproof and breathable, yet is almost as soft as some Schoeller garments we have (though not as stretchable). Barbara has a Pata H2NO jacket and boarder pants which she tested before our dogsledding trip by standing in the shower while I moved the shower wand all over (Patagonia is having a 50% off sale on their on-line outlet store through the end of the month - trouble is that most of their stuff is XS or XXL, which does not fit me).

Someone above made a comment about wearing a Pertex jacket and being unhappy with it in a major downpour. Pertex is one of the microfiber fabrics (actually, again a family of fabrics). It is quite wind resistant and is water-repellent, but is not billed as waterproof. I mentioned that my FF sleeping bag (plus my Western Mountaineering sleeping bag) has a Pertex outer shell. If my tentmate spills his hot chocolate on my bag (I, of course, never spill any liquids in the tent), I can just brush it off with no problem of it soaking into the down fill. You can't dunk it in water or sleep outside in a thunderstorm, but I have found it pretty water-resistant.

A number of softshell jackets and pants use microfiber fabrics on the outer face. They will resist a light sprinkle or rain or snow and do breathe well. But if you wear them in our very wet Sierra snow or a mountain downpour, they will soak through.

There are a number of supposedly waterproof/breathable fabrics I find to be almost as unbreathable as a vinyl "raincoat - among them are ones mentioned favorably above. I should also note that Polartec is a company that makes fabrics ranging from fleece to windproof fleece to Schoeller-like to hard-shell fabrics. They are not a garment manufacturer per se.

3:24 p.m. on April 18, 2013 (EDT)
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The weight and breathability factors you mention are some of the problems the the modern fabrics have tried to correct. A parka weighs more than a waist-length jacket, for example, and if your pants are as well insulated, there would seem to be little obvious benefit. 

There have been significant changes made since the days of the voyageurs. Wool, while having the huge advantage of keeping you warm even while wet, started to lose out to synthetics after WWII. Leather, fairly waterproof and definitely windproof, is quite heavy. Waxed cotton or linen for rain gear (like a cotton tent) is also very heavy - not a big deal if you're on a horse, but a substantial extra weight if you're on foot. 

For example, Hillary and Norgay wore wool suits (with a cotton wrap/nylon weft shell) when bagging Everest in 1953, and they carried loads of about 44 lbs each. Modern climbers equipped with hi-tech 800-fill down suits and other modern gear carry about half that weight. Mallory's wool and leather gear for his 1924 attempt is described as 'something you'd wear for a walk in the forest'!

Changes like the Eddie Bauer innovation of multi-weave fleece I mentioned have also made a difference, just by applying modern scientific principles to the design of gear for a specific purpose. Probably the most significant recent ones are the use of down for insulation (again by Eddie Bauer, in 1936), the chemical technology, (related to Teflon) used in Gore-Tex (1976), which requires the creation of a very specific pore size in the fabric, and the very different compounds for lugged boot soles, intended for hiking and climbing, that Vibram began manufacturing in 1937. I was looking at some of those old hob-nailed hiking boots used by the Swiss Guides here. Sturdy, and great for mountain rock, but very heavy, and quite slippery on wet rock. 

 

4:29 p.m. on April 18, 2013 (EDT)
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I am not so sure wool lost out to synthetics because it didn't work as well,    as I believe synthetics being a product of oil were easier to come by for less. IMO wet wool works better than wet fleece.

I have some early Gorte-Tex bibs and assorted wind pants, and as far as i am concerned new they were not water proof. They went drier than a 60-40 for longer but not a lot longer.

The newer terms hard and soft with out a industry standard are meaning less almost,  being a hunter i would like a water proof thigh length unlined parka that is soft and quite.

Again there is no such thing. I find a unlined shell works well sine you can use it year round and add what you want in the way of insulation.

The so called hard shell will run off hard rain faster than most softer materials, but the whole thing is moot where there are no shells with out insulation in mid thigh length.

I don't count grams, I may count ounces, but not in what I wear so much. I want what i wear to be comfortable and to protect me.

When i count ounces that comes under metal and glass items I might have like cameras, lens, binoculars, etc.

5:01 p.m. on April 18, 2013 (EDT)
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Bill S, I googled  'event waterproof vs gore tex'.

Pretty techie stuff.

 http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/rainwear-how-it-works.html

8:19 p.m. on April 18, 2013 (EDT)
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peter1955 said:

... and the very different compounds for lugged boot soles, intended for hiking and climbing, that Vibram began manufacturing in 1937. I was looking at some of those old hob-nailed hiking boots used by the Swiss Guides here. Sturdy, and great for mountain rock, but very heavy, and quite slippery on wet rock. 

 

 Vibram, developed by Vitelli Bramani as a replacement for hobnails in the 1930s, was indeed a major step forward. If you hadn't noticed, the shape of the lugs on the "standard" Vibram sole are copies of the nails used on early nailed climbing and hiking boots - the edge lugs are shaped just like the tricouni nails and the inner lugs imitate the original hobnails.

Modern "sticky rubber" actually works fairly well on wet and mossy rock, though it is still not as good as on dry rock. Ice still requires built-in metal spikes or full crampons. The Vibram "5-finger" shoes were developed by Vitelli's son for use on the slippery decks of racing sailboats (he is an avid sailboat racer). They use not only sticky rubber, but the rubber is siped as well.

8:31 p.m. on April 18, 2013 (EDT)
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To add to Bill's post in regards to Vibram soles there are quite a few compounds available as follows(which are contained in the link provided below:)

http://www.vibram.com/index.php/us/B2B/Technology/Mescole 

Some of which are designated by a colored "plug" in the sole of the boot as seen in the photo below of my Scarpa SL M3s.:

Scarpa-SL-M3-003.jpg

I am not quite sure of what different colors are out there as far as the "dots/plugs" go but I did find this out a bit back so I do know of Green and Red.

"The green dot signifies a dual hardness compound which means the sole would be more durable and harder and may not grip as well as a single hardness sole.

The red dot signifies fire compound. The Style #100 is available in our Fire & Ice compound which offers good heat resistance and slip resistance."

8:38 p.m. on April 18, 2013 (EDT)
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On a side note I just recently snagged up a Westcomb eVent shell(Specter.)

Westcomb-Specter-002.jpg

I am hitting the ridge for a few days in the coming weeks and I will post back in regards to how eVent performs.

May even fire out a review if I can get "unintentionally" caught in a storm. 

Yeah, unintentionally....

9:11 p.m. on April 18, 2013 (EDT)
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Rick. LOL even the REI model couldn't find a place to put his hands. Too short for me.. I have spent hours looking at parkas and jackets and these are all short these days.

I can still get a new Woolrich. I wonder what would happen if i nikwaxed the one I have more than once?

The cit on the NF jacket is longer too, the one i just lucked into that fits my wife, so at one point in time NF made mid thigh parkas not lined.. Well it has a mesh..... When I say not lined I mean almost no insulation.

Don't come back till you get rained on ok? ;-)

9:19 p.m. on April 18, 2013 (EDT)
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Lodge, have you by any chance considered a waterproof parka such as this?

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Cabelas-GORE-TEX-PacLite-Rainy-River-Parka-Regular/1318375.uts?Ntk=AllProducts&searchPath=%2Fcatalog%2Fsearch%2F%3FN%3D%26No%3D0%26Ntk%3DAllProducts%26Ntt%3Dwaterproof%2Bparka%26Ntx%3Dmode%252Bmatchallpartial%26WTz_l%3DHeader%253BSearch-All%2BProducts%26WTz_st%3D%26WTz_stype%3DSP%26form_state%3DsearchForm%26recordsPerPage%3D80%26search%3Dwaterproof%2Bparka%26searchTypeByFilter%3DAllProducts%26x%3D-868%26y%3D-51&Ntt=waterproof+parka&WTz_l=Header%3BSearch-All+Products 

(holy smokes that is a link)

Or maybe something more geared towards hunting or fishing? My thought is it would be cut a bit longer than your conventional summit/bping shell....

Another link:

http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/search/?N=&No=0&Ntk=AllProducts&Ntt=waterproof+parka&Ntx=mode%2Bmatchallpartial&WTz_l=Header%3BSearch-All+Products&WTz_st=&WTz_stype=SP&form_state=searchForm&recordsPerPage=80&search=waterproof+parka&searchTypeByFilter=AllProducts&x=-868&y=-51 

Woo-hoo, not as big of a link but golly, gee whiz, shucks. 

Oh and btw, I am looking at the weather and will NOT hit the ridge unless I know the sky is going to open up at some point and time while I am on it. 

Gotta test the product and make sure it performs right? ;)

10:41 p.m. on April 18, 2013 (EDT)
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Rick, Funny you went there, as i did too. Right now of i were buying with the homework i have done it would be this in green/black

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Clothing/Mens-Casual-Clothing/Mens-Rainwear/Mens-Rainwear-Jackets-Parkas%7C/pc/104797080/c/104746680/sc/104522580/i/104091480/Cabelas-Dry-Plus-Tourney-Trail-Parka-Tall/1152314.uts?WTz_l=SBC%3BMMcat104797080%3Bcat104522580%3Bcat104091480

I looked at the camo too, but they tend to be short and or over insulated.

Sure Hunters move slow or not at all..... never the less a shell that sheds water and in large enough can be filled with anything or nothing all you want.

If my woolrich was waterproof or close to it, for me it would be the perfect hiking coat. It will stand about 45 minutes of pretty hard rain, but then that's it. 

If there were no suck thing as mid thigh, my next choice would be to the knee before i took a waist jacket. But i would probably hack it off..

That tourney jacket would get the wrist cuffs hacked off first thing after i saw it fit or not.. if it fit, those cuff things would be history.  :-)

I can be pretty fussy about certain things and not care a whit about others. I only like LL Bean down vests for example. 

Recently i bought a Timberland down vest but it will never see a trail.

IME has great deals and that timberline is a nice tan and feels funny, slippery sort of, but is stiff and won't stuff as well as the LL Bean vests do. I mix real wool and down, and in NH that works well for me in all 4 seasons.

I run too hot anyway, and will be in longies, cargo shorts, and wind pants when it's -20 below above tree line... Topside gets a duofiold top as the mate to the longies, next a dress plaid wool shirt, then a woolrich wool jack shirt and then the tan parka.. That's it year round so long as i am moving.

Winter pants are LL Bean wool I modified adding 18 inch ykk zippers to the leds with, for stopping. A down vest and a down NF parka coat from the 70's does it for good... it just doesn't get cold enough here for more to me. I carry that NF down coat more than i wear it.

Now ALL of that or nothing fits under the tan woolrich parka.

2:04 p.m. on May 14, 2013 (EDT)
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Sorry, Bill, but Pertex (specifically Pertex Shield in the OR Revell jacket) is indeed promoted as "Waterproof". 

From the OR website: 

"PERTEX® SHIELD

Pertex® Shield fabric balances waterproofness, breathability and wind resistance all within a flexible, durable and lightweight construction. The combination of technically advanced face fabric technology with a proprietary PU film laminate balances the best performance in waterproof breathability with excellent durability. Outdoor Research uses Pertex® Shield fabric in select skiing and mountaineering shells, and shelter systems."

It says "waterproof", not "water-resistant". That's why I was choked when it failed on me in a downpour. 

6:08 p.m. on May 14, 2013 (EDT)
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peter1955 said:

It says "waterproof", not "water-resistant". That's why I was choked when it failed on me in a downpour. 

 Please continue.

6:34 p.m. on May 14, 2013 (EDT)
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peter1955 said:

Sorry, Bill, but Pertex (specifically Pertex Shield in the OR Revell jacket) is indeed promoted as "Waterproof". 

From the OR website: 

"PERTEX® SHIELD

Pertex® Shield fabric balances waterproofness, breathability and wind resistance all within a flexible, durable and lightweight construction. The combination of technically advanced face fabric technology with a proprietary PU film laminate balances the best performance in waterproof breathability with excellent durability. Outdoor Research uses Pertex® Shield fabric in select skiing and mountaineering shells, and shelter systems."

It says "waterproof", not "water-resistant". That's why I was choked when it failed on me in a downpour. 

 Peter,

As I noted, Pertex is currently a family of fabrics, ranging from the original Pertex made by Perseverance Mills (taken over by Mitsui), through a family of about 8 fabrics from a Microlight to the two Shield fabrics. The two Shield fabrics are indeed wpb, and were introduced fairly recently. All the Pertex line are microfiber, with the 2 Shield (Shield and Shield Plus) having the PU film added. The several products I have with Pertex fabrics are from their earlier lines (I have had the FF sleeping bag for almost 10 years now).

Some of Pertex own descriptions are a bit confusing. For example, their Endurance fabric is listed with a water resistance of 1000mm, which isn't really waterproof at all, the descriptive material saying only "water resistant".  Their Equilibrium is listed as "weatherproof" with no water resistance number. Shield is listed with a water resistance of 10,000 mm, and Shield Plus with 20,000 mm, which are pretty waterproof. T

6:44 p.m. on May 14, 2013 (EDT)
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peter1955 said:

Sorry, Bill, but Pertex (specifically Pertex Shield in the OR Revell jacket) is indeed promoted as "Waterproof". 

From the OR website: 

"PERTEX® SHIELD

Pertex® Shield fabric balances waterproofness, breathability and wind resistance all within a flexible, durable and lightweight construction. The combination of technically advanced face fabric technology with a proprietary PU film laminate balances the best performance in waterproof breathability with excellent durability. Outdoor Research uses Pertex® Shield fabric in select skiing and mountaineering shells, and shelter systems."

It says "waterproof", not "water-resistant". That's why I was choked when it failed on me in a downpour. 

 Peter,

As I noted, Pertex is currently a family of fabrics, ranging from the original Pertex made by Perseverance Mills (taken over by Mitsui), through a family of about 8 fabrics from a Microlight to the two Shield fabrics. The two Shield fabrics are indeed listed as wpb, and were introduced fairly recently. All the Pertex line are microfiber, with the 2 Shield (Shield and Shield Plus) having the PU film added. The several products I have with Pertex fabrics are from their earlier lines (I have had the FF sleeping bag with a Petex outer shell for almost 10 years now).

Some of Pertex own descriptions are a bit confusing. For example, their Endurance fabric is listed with a water resistance of 1000mm, which isn't really waterproof at all, the descriptive material saying only "water resistant".  Their Equilibrium is listed as "weatherproof" with no water resistance number. Shield is listed with a water resistance of 10,000 mm, and Shield Plus with 20,000 mm, which are pretty waterproof. The five other than Endurance and the 2 Shields have no claim of waterproofness listed.

I do see that OR lists their Revel jacket as having the Pertex Shield. Given my experience over the years with both OR and Pertex, I am more than a little surprised that you had such a major failure. What did OR have to say when you contacted them about the problem? You are sure it wasn't condensation or just sweating inside the jacket (something I have a problem with when I do fast hikes in pouring rain, since breathability is always an issue even with eVent).

7:02 p.m. on May 14, 2013 (EDT)
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Far be it for me to dispute your knowledge and experience but, respectfully Bill, your statement was that "...It is quite wind resistant and is water-repellent, but is not billed as waterproof."

The statement from the OR website ("... the best performance in waterproof breathability....) directly contradicts that. Outdoor Research told me the Revel jackets was waterproof, not water resistant, and that was why I felt I'd been misled.

Further, the Pertex website says about Pertex Shield that:

"Pertex Shield represents a fusion of technically advanced face fabrics with a breathable microporous waterproof coating. With the focus on durability, Pertex Shield combines wind and water protection with excellent comfort, by reducing condensation build-up within the garment."

Link here; http://pertex.com/fabrics/shield/

I am indeed positive that the failure was caused by the fabric. In a heavy thunderstorm, I could actually feel the water forcing its way through i  a fine mist. When I called them, OR's response was in keeping with their warranty - they simply offered me a GoreTex Paclite jacket instead. See my review of the OR Foray. 

7:20 p.m. on May 14, 2013 (EDT)
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Peter,

I took another look at the OR website in their description of the Revel jacket. There are a couple questions I have from the several links in the product description, which I would have to look at an actual jacket to really understand what they are saying. They mention stretch fabric and the "Torsoflo" and do say that the zippers are water-resistant. These all sound like potential entrances for water in a heavy rain. They also have a statement that "Ward off drizzle with a waterproof shell jacket built for backpacking or hiking under uncertain skies." This sounds like to me the jacket would be problematic in a heavy downpour.

Pertex' description of the two Shield products sounds like Shield and Shield Plus should work as well as the Gore and eVent products (except remember that both Gore and eVent have ranges of products that have greater or lesser tradeoffs between breathability and waterproofness.

7:25 p.m. on May 14, 2013 (EDT)
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That was the problem, Bill. In one set of circumstances, the fabric failed, contradicting the advertising, which as I have shown says it should have been waterproof. 

September 23, 2014
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