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Outdoor Retailer: First Polartec NeoShell Jackets

by Tom Mangan
January 23, 2011

Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2011 offered the outdoors industry its first peek at outerwear built with NeoShell, Polartec's new waterproof-breathable shell fabric. Stylish and pricey, the jackets are nevertheless built with hard-core adventurers in mind.

neoshell logoNeoShell has generated a lot of buzz — the company says it's the most breathable waterproof fabric on the planet.

Westcomb, the Canadian outerwear brand, is among the first manufacturers to craft NeoShell garments. The company was wary at first: they prefer results in the field over data from a lab, said Melody Ikemura, a product manager from Westcomb. So the company sent samples out for testing on real mountains with no brands, labels, or other identifying marks to bias the outcome.

The response from testers was emphatic. "They all said 'I want it'," Ikemura said.

Polartec says NeoShell is twice as breathable as eVent, its nearest competitor in the waterproof-breathable rivalry. Here's a look at three new NeoShell jackets seen at Outdoor Retailer.


 Marmot Zion Jacket

Marmot Zion Jacket

"Customers are getting one jacket that does it all," said Marmot's Jordan Campbell of the Zion.

  • Weight: 1 lb 2 oz / 510 g (men's); 1 lb 0 oz /454 g (women's)
  • MSRP: $370
  • Release: Fall 2011


  • Polartec NeoShell waterproof/breathable 4-way stretch soft shell fabric
  • Marmot M1 Softshell
  • 100% seam taped
  • Attached storm hood with laminated brim
  • Water-resistant CF zipper
  • Chest, pack, and sleeve pockets with water-repellent zippers
  • Asymmetrical cuff with adjustable Velcro Closure
  • Internal zippered pocket
  • Elastic draw cord hem
  • Angel-wing movement


 Rab Stretch Neo Jacket

  • Rab Stretch Neo JacketWeight: 480 g / 17 oz
  • MSRP: $365
  • Release: Fall 2011
  • Sizes: S-XXL (M); XS-XL (W)


  • Polartec NeoShell stretch waterproof fabric
  • Helmet-compatible hood with wired peak
  • YKK Aquaguard front zip with internal storm flap and chin guard
  • 2 external Napoleon YKK Aquaguard zip pockets
  • 2 internal mesh zipped pockets
  • Double exit hem draw cord
  • Velcro adjustable cuff tabs
  • Reflective trim




Westcomb Apoc Jacket

  • Apoc JacketMSRP: $480 (tentative; final pricing has not been set, Ikemura said.)
  • Release: Fall 2011

Polartec says: The Apoc Jacket is our NeoShell alpine piece decked out with enough pockets for your next expedition without weighing you down. Its soft hand and comfort stretch in no way compromises durability.

The tightly woven face and NeoShell exclusive membrane offers unparalleled water protection and breathability to keep you on the move.

The hooded Apoc Jacket will be available in men's and women's sizes.


Other brands with NeoShell apparel in the pipeline: