3-4 season hardshell

6:50 p.m. on April 28, 2010 (EDT)
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So I am doing some research regarding new hardshells. I use my current jacket (old old tnf mountain light 2 layer gtx, buttons on the storm flap) extensively in windy conditions, as an outer shell when hiking in snow, when fishing, and of course in rain/sleet/snow.


I'm willing to spend a good amount to get a good shell. Initially my search started with arcteryx but now that they have shipped their production overseas and want 600 bucks for an alpha sv I refuse to look at them.


I am looking for a durable hardshell that breathes well, has pit zips, and can stadn up to some abuse from pack straps, abrasions and dirt. I'd prefer it to be a bit longer than those waist jackets you see. If I could get something made in usa/canada that would be good (like old arcteryx).

I have started looking at 3L event fabrics mainly because of their excellent breathable characteristics. I have done some research and wanted to discuss it with yall and maybe you had some ideas. I wouldn't be opposed to gore tex pro but it really doesnt breathe as well though i bet it is tougher but can't find a manufacturer that makes us/can gore tex pro jackets anyways.


Westcomb (canadian) makes a jacket called the mirage, supposedly the company was started by ex arcteryx folks. Supposed to be good quality, my concerns are mainly twofold here, is it long enough or is it really short like a ski/snowboard jacket - their primary clientele it seems. Supposedly the rear drops a bit more than the front which helps. Also its got this funky front zipper that sketches me out since the zipper is 'waterproof' like all of these fancy jackets - im scared it will wear off or something.


New company i've never heard of Loki. www.lokiusa.com Its based out of colorado, i dont actually know where their stuff is made, i suspect china based on their 'once a year shipments' but i have sent an email asking them. The jacket looks good, has some neat features, a neck gaiter thing and these mits that fold out. My concerns lie again with the length and the wrists...it appears they dont have velcro cuffs, i wonder if water gets in easily


Rab Lotak jacket. Seems very very popular, overall good reviews but it is made in china and i have read online quite a few threads about abrasion resistance lacking and the zippers leaking - mainly on uk forums where the jacket is sold more.


Wild things alpinist jacket. A little plain but appears to have all the features, i dont know how the fit is, the plain jane pics dont seem like it fits athletically...and I read a thread on here about water leaking up the cuff because it was poorly designed/not waterproofed there.


Integral designs has a jacket but its more of a lightweight piece seemingl not suited to rigors of backpacking.


Like I said earlie I wouldn't mind getting a gore tex pro jacket, in fact doing this research on event jackets has brought up some questions about this miracle fabric (the e-vent), but are there any quality companies not manufacturing overseas now?? If I'm gonna spend 350+ on a jacket i dont want to just dump it on some chinese made stuff, besides old arcteryx, ID, wild things, westcomb i cant find a jacket of any sort made here anymore..


Your thoughts?

10:21 p.m. on April 28, 2010 (EDT)
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I have ID and Wild Things jackets (and WT bibs). I have used both backpacking and on expeditions where I have had to carry 50-60 pound loads (when you are out for a month, the food alone gets up there in weight, plus add the climbing gear and the tent and sleeping bag needed for subzero weather). Young Son walked off with my previous Wild Things jacket (borrowed it for a trip he and Barb took to New Zealand and "forgot" to return it). They have stood up well to that abuse.

My WT jacket does have the waterproof zippers. Although they are a bit stiff (from day 1), they have not shown any sign of leaking. No problem with leakage "up the cuff".

5:06 p.m. on April 29, 2010 (EDT)
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I have ID and Wild Things jackets (and WT bibs). I have used both backpacking and on expeditions where I have had to carry 50-60 pound loads (when you are out for a month, the food alone gets up there in weight, plus add the climbing gear and the tent and sleeping bag needed for subzero weather). Young Son walked off with my previous Wild Things jacket (borrowed it for a trip he and Barb took to New Zealand and "forgot" to return it). They have stood up well to that abuse.

My WT jacket does have the waterproof zippers. Although they are a bit stiff (from day 1), they have not shown any sign of leaking. No problem with leakage "up the cuff".

Thanks for the reply Bill. Good to hear about the zippers.


Have you found the chest pockets are adequate in size for the odd map, clif bar, beanie, lightweight gloves, etc? (not at the same time of course)

How is the cut of the jacket? It appears longer like a parka (thats good) with two drawstrings one at waist height below pockets and one and the bottom hem. Is it cut athletic by any chance? I want a little room for layering but don't want a baggy jacket.


As far as the colors go did you just get the blue/gray model they have on their site - fashion isnt really important but i'd like something that looks halfway decent.


How was their customer service, did you have to call em or anything for questions - ive heard its decent, just wanted to know.

7:55 p.m. on April 29, 2010 (EDT)
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Sabre,

I actually recieved the Alpha SV as a warranty replacement for an old Gore-tex jacket. The jacket is made in Canada. I think all of the SV's are still made in Canada. It is a well made jacket but I have never worn the jacket outside ( and kept the tags on) so that i could sell this jacket on ebay (I think the jacket would be overkill for me).

Coincidentally, I recently purchased the Loki event jacket. It is made in China. I honestly do not know how durable the jacket is but I have heard that pro shell is more durable (with event being more breathable).

The Loki does have some cool features like a built in mitt, a faceshield, and the jacket also turns into a backpack.

There are some downsides to the gloves. They feel a little bit long when the sleeves are not deployed but it is not too noticable. Also in order to use the mitt, one part must be flipped over the hand. Water can get into that part but that is very unlikely. Overall, I think the pros outweight the cons.

The face shield is pretty cool, but the collar on the Alpha SV covers the same areas of the face.

The fact that the jacket could turns into a pack is pretty cool I guess. It can be stuffed into its own pocket and clipped onto you pack. If you are not wearing a pack, it has straps so that it could be worn as a pack (i have not used this feature yet but I guess it is nice to know it is there).

Also, the Loki has mesh hand pocket and chest pocket that could be used as vents. The back pouch that the jacket can fold into is also mesh and can be used as a vent or as a storage pocket. Another thing about the Loki is that they have EXCELLENT customer service ( Answer e-mails quickly, return phone calls fast, and immediately email you tracking numbers etc.)

The SV dosent have hand pockets unless you want to cross your arms.

I do not know how either will hold up to a pack.

Sorry my reply was so long but if you have any other questions let me know.

8:56 p.m. on April 29, 2010 (EDT)
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Have you found the chest pockets are adequate in size for the odd map, clif bar, beanie, lightweight gloves, etc? (not at the same time of course)

How is the cut of the jacket? It appears longer like a parka (thats good) with two drawstrings one at waist height below pockets and one and the bottom hem. Is it cut athletic by any chance? I want a little room for layering but don't want a baggy jacket.

As far as the colors go did you just get the blue/gray model they have on their site - fashion isnt really important but i'd like something that looks halfway decent.

How was their customer service, did you have to call em or anything for questions - ive heard its decent, just wanted to know.

Size for the "odd map" - no, but for regular maps it's fine. I always hang the "odd maps" on the wall at home.

Clif Bar (can't stand them after the first two weeks of 5 or 6 per day). They do fit, though along with the gloves in one side and beanie and spare balaclava in the other.

The WT Alpinist has two water bottle mesh pockets inside which I find handy for the summit push.

Yeah, I got the bluegrey model. I do layer, so there is room, and the skirt does come down plenty low. The pit zips help with breathability under hard, warm, high humidity pushes (African rain forest low down on the volcanoes)

Customer service from WT (and ID as well) has always been superb. I have never had to return anything, so I am talking about ordering and in person in their North Conway store. There has been some change in ownership, I think, and at the OR Show, they told me they have a large military contract. So that might slow things down.

The one lack in the jacket is that it does not have a powder skirt. But then, I have my old Marmot Alpinist III for that.

2:49 p.m. on May 1, 2010 (EDT)
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Sabre,

I actually recieved the Alpha SV as a warranty replacement for an old Gore-tex jacket. The jacket is made in Canada. I think all of the SV's are still made in Canada. It is a well made jacket but I have never worn the jacket outside ( and kept the tags on) so that i could sell this jacket on ebay (I think the jacket would be overkill for me).

Coincidentally, I recently purchased the Loki event jacket. It is made in China. I honestly do not know how durable the jacket is but I have heard that pro shell is more durable (with event being more breathable).

The Loki does have some cool features like a built in mitt, a faceshield, and the jacket also turns into a backpack.

There are some downsides to the gloves. They feel a little bit long when the sleeves are not deployed but it is not too noticable. Also in order to use the mitt, one part must be flipped over the hand. Water can get into that part but that is very unlikely. Overall, I think the pros outweight the cons.

The face shield is pretty cool, but the collar on the Alpha SV covers the same areas of the face.

The fact that the jacket could turns into a pack is pretty cool I guess. It can be stuffed into its own pocket and clipped onto you pack. If you are not wearing a pack, it has straps so that it could be worn as a pack (i have not used this feature yet but I guess it is nice to know it is there).

Also, the Loki has mesh hand pocket and chest pocket that could be used as vents. The back pouch that the jacket can fold into is also mesh and can be used as a vent or as a storage pocket. Another thing about the Loki is that they have EXCELLENT customer service ( Answer e-mails quickly, return phone calls fast, and immediately email you tracking numbers etc.)

The SV dosent have hand pockets unless you want to cross your arms.

I do not know how either will hold up to a pack.

Sorry my reply was so long but if you have any other questions let me know.

Long posts are good haha, thanks for the reply

The Loki gloves do indeed seem nice, but do you have a velcro cuff adjustment or are they just 'tighter' around your wrist? I wouldn't mind sleeves long - in fact thats probably a good thing, but the cuff adjustment lets you cinch em tight so its a non issue.

The face shield thing also appeals to me, but the backpack thing is how you say, idiotic lol, in my opinion. The duck pocket is cool though.

I haven't had a response on some questions I sent them on Wed or Thurs but thats no problem, I'm not dropping these kind of bucks overnight or anything.

When you say loki has hand pocket and chest pocket does that mean it has the slash pockets on the chest on both sides for access while wearing a hipstrap or just one for some small personal items. Thats the one big thing about the westcomb (arcteryx knockoffs pretty much) canada made jackets, they are like ski jackets so the hand pockets are actually pretty low (though they are vertical) and wouldnt work well (part of the zip would be covered by the hip belt). I don't really care about hand pockets down by hip, the chest ones dont bother me - as long as I can actually get a hand in there.

The loki has pit zips correct?

When you say the sv doesnt have hand pockets, it still has the chest pockets on each side right? I might be tempted on an canadian alpha lt or sv jacket if i saw one on ebay for the right price in my size (mens s) but i think e-vent is gonna win out here - price doesnt really seem that different for a more breathable material, heck it seems good enough i can even wear it in the summer - something my trusty old 2 layer gtx classic shell doesnt really excel at.

2:58 p.m. on May 1, 2010 (EDT)
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Size for the "odd map" - no, but for regular maps it's fine. I always hang the "odd maps" on the wall at home.

Clif Bar (can't stand them after the first two weeks of 5 or 6 per day). They do fit, though along with the gloves in one side and beanie and spare balaclava in the other.

The WT Alpinist has two water bottle mesh pockets inside which I find handy for the summit push.

Yeah, I got the bluegrey model. I do layer, so there is room, and the skirt does come down plenty low. The pit zips help with breathability under hard, warm, high humidity pushes (African rain forest low down on the volcanoes)

Customer service from WT (and ID as well) has always been superb. I have never had to return anything, so I am talking about ordering and in person in their North Conway store. There has been some change in ownership, I think, and at the OR Show, they told me they have a large military contract. So that might slow things down.

The one lack in the jacket is that it does not have a powder skirt. But then, I have my old Marmot Alpinist III for that.

I might have to call them and ask but are the sleeves correctly sized? Their website says for a mens s the sleeve is 31? I wear a 15-32.5 or so in a shirt and most jackets i have seen online for that size say the sleeve is 33 or something?

Powder skirt doesnt bother me, in fact i dont actually even really know how that works...

Hows the hood? I assume its at least got the basic two pulls on each side at the bottom of the hood near the face and one volume adjuster in the back?

I do like this jacket, made in the US, i'm kinda hoping it isnt too too long now that i look at the website pic again.

The other one I'm leaning towards is the rab latok, you can get that on sale for 300 on and off, it has ALL the features i seem to like, big chest pockets, apparently the hood is superb - wire brim and all that, cut for a european not a fat american but not too skinny. and 3L event with pit zips of course. The biggest downside I see is unfortunately its manufactured in china vs this wild things here in the US.

11:28 p.m. on May 1, 2010 (EDT)
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I have recently purchased [in November I think] and Acteryx Theta AR current model and it was made in Canada. I did a lot of research before the purchase on this subject. The "top shelf" products from Arcteryx are still made in Canada (ie, the expensive stuff) from all of my research and my current purchase.

As for the jacket itself...it was the best $300 I have spent on any jacket (I got mine for a stupid good deal--and it is the real deal). It does an excellent job at stopping rain/sleet from getting in and is very good a windbreaker too. I have worn it (granted I was a bit cold since it has no insulation) in the single digit range (though I should have layered I guess) in Omaha, NE during a sleet storm and from a ice/wind standpoint, it functioned superbly. I have not yet worn it in warm weather but it does seem to breathe pretty well, and it does have the "pit zips". I have been in class a lot lately so I haven't got to put the "miles" on it yet that I would like to, but it is a fantastic jacket.

Hopefully this helps with your search!

D

12:43 a.m. on May 2, 2010 (EDT)
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Sorry I wasnt clear enough. The chest pocket is actually a mp3 pocket and it is pretty small. You probably could not fit more than a few personal items in there.

The hand pockets are similar to how you described the westcomb pockets. I believe the website states that they are accessable with a pack on but a hip belt would go over the backpack.

The pitzips on this jacket are huge. Also, you can vent from the hand pockets, mp3 pockets and the huge lumbar pocket (If you are wearing a pack, the lumbar pocket would be absolutely useless).

There are no velco adjustments on the sleev of the Loki. Instead there is an elastic cuff that is tighter. The cuff is not too loose and I find it pretty comfortable. The Loki mitt really is convenient. So is the face shield.

The alpha SV has two large chest pockets on each side that is accessable with a pack on.

Just so you know, I do not go alpine climbing or anything like that. I bought the Loki because it was on sale. I found a 40% off coupon code posted by someone on this site: LKPRCD4......(just checked and the code still works). Breathability is important to me because I bought the jacket to run, bike ride and snowboard in when the weather gets nasty. Loki products seem to get good reviews and $225 plus shipping for a 3 layer event jacket with pitzips is a pretty decent deal imo.

1:40 p.m. on May 2, 2010 (EDT)
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I have recently purchased [in November I think] and Acteryx Theta AR current model and it was made in Canada. I did a lot of research before the purchase on this subject. The "top shelf" products from Arcteryx are still made in Canada (ie, the expensive stuff) from all of my research and my current purchase.

As for the jacket itself...it was the best $300 I have spent on any jacket (I got mine for a stupid good deal--and it is the real deal). It does an excellent job at stopping rain/sleet from getting in and is very good a windbreaker too. I have worn it (granted I was a bit cold since it has no insulation) in the single digit range (though I should have layered I guess) in Omaha, NE during a sleet storm and from a ice/wind standpoint, it functioned superbly. I have not yet worn it in warm weather but it does seem to breathe pretty well, and it does have the "pit zips". I have been in class a lot lately so I haven't got to put the "miles" on it yet that I would like to, but it is a fantastic jacket.

Hopefully this helps with your search!

D

it does seem like a helluva nice jacket..if i got one for a good deal i'd probably jump on it regardless of the membrane - and its not like the gore pro is bad by ANY means.

1:45 p.m. on May 2, 2010 (EDT)
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Sorry I wasnt clear enough. The chest pocket is actually a mp3 pocket and it is pretty small. You probably could not fit more than a few personal items in there.

The hand pockets are similar to how you described the westcomb pockets. I believe the website states that they are accessable with a pack on but a hip belt would go over the backpack.

The pitzips on this jacket are huge. Also, you can vent from the hand pockets, mp3 pockets and the huge lumbar pocket (If you are wearing a pack, the lumbar pocket would be absolutely useless).

There are no velco adjustments on the sleev of the Loki. Instead there is an elastic cuff that is tighter. The cuff is not too loose and I find it pretty comfortable. The Loki mitt really is convenient. So is the face shield.

The alpha SV has two large chest pockets on each side that is accessable with a pack on.

Just so you know, I do not go alpine climbing or anything like that. I bought the Loki because it was on sale. I found a 40% off coupon code posted by someone on this site: LKPRCD4......(just checked and the code still works). Breathability is important to me because I bought the jacket to run, bike ride and snowboard in when the weather gets nasty. Loki products seem to get good reviews and $225 plus shipping for a 3 layer event jacket with pitzips is a pretty decent deal imo.

That is a great deal! Too bad those pockets aren't accessible with a hipbelt - If they are low (by the hip) I'm just gonna guess it isnt gonna work whatever they say...it does look like a sweet jacket though. And I appreciate the replies, I thought this forum was deader than dead and I already got more owner responses here than from backpacker.com.


I'm no climber like some of the folks on here, but mainly a backpacker and I love being outdoors so I'm always wearing my shell. I wear it fishing and what not too.


The SV in theta or alpha guise would be damn nice but I might just wait out for a 20% coupon at backcountry or campsaver and snag a rab latok or have a look at the WT alpinist. I keep hemming and hawing over the goretex event debate to be honest. I know event breathes better but the goretex is generally a tougher fabric... I guess if I saw a canuck made arcteryx on fleabay for a good deal I would hop on it, I'm just not paying 400 bucks for the (now) trendy dead bird made in china.

2:43 p.m. on May 6, 2010 (EDT)
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Marmot Exum is a great jacket, gore tex pro shell. it's waist-length, though, not parka length. has pit zips, doesn't have a powder skirt. very lightweight, under a pound.

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